Archive | October 2013

Plantings

One plant (shrub) that I had not noticed before moving here to South Carolina is a Confederate Rose. And this year with all the rain we’ve had, they have been blooming extremely well. (Until this weekend’s cold spell, anyway.) Very pretty, blooms look like roses, opening in white, then changing color to light pink and eventually to deep pink. I am in a slightly different climate now, out of the mountains. Supposedly from zone 7B to 7A, but I did grow a camellia in Roanoke in a sheltered location. It just won’t grow as large as it will in SC. A friend nearby has some long-established camellias which were so tall and beautiful this spring.

confederate rose from last year's cutting

confederate rose from last year’s cutting

We are planning to plant ornamental grass, relatively short, not like pampas grass, along the driveway in the meadow. It will give us something to catch gravel that works loose, and might help with the water runoff from the higher tier of the yard. We also suspect that a drainage pipe for gray water is running to one part that we called The Swamp last winter. With the excess rain, one area was a mud pit. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but we will be watching it. Sharon wants to fix some bad plumbing in her basement, plus rearrange some bathroom fixtures (prior to a major remodel), so we may check into the drainage then.

We have been deciding on some shrubs for the lawn around the cottage. Sharon has some forsythia starts for me, and I want a couple of hydrangea and some maiden grass. I want to plant shrubs at the ends of the septic drainage bed, to let us know where to avoid when driving, planting trees or edibles, and when we build another house which will need a septic drainage bed. I have such a beautiful oakleaf hydrangea in Roanoke, from which I hope to be able to bring cuttings for Sharon to work her magic, like she did with blue hydrangea.

oakleaf hydrangea in front yard of house in Roanoke

oakleaf hydrangea in front yard of house in Roanoke

Advertisements

Meanwhile, Back in Virginia

I spent a while in VA, working on the old house and doing some health things – a few doctor appointments. My former company is switching insurance providers and I want to make sure the doctor I choose in SC is in the plan. It seemed easier to just visit the doctor I have been seeing instead of a hurried switch. It was a good thing to see him and discuss the move and handling getting paperwork transferred, plus get my prescriptions refilled.

While I was at the house, I was told the huge sycamore across the street was mostly dead and had dropped a large limb, smashing my neighbors’ car. Since they have small children who played in the yard, it had to go. I got a front row seat to watch it come down. I never heard anyone say how tall, but think the tree must have been 100 feet, with over 4 foot diameter. The matching tree on the other side of the property is till healthy. The tree company trimmed out any bad branches in it and the one large one which overhung the house and yard. Here’s shots from the first day, which was cloudy and a light rain at times.

I took the pictures from my front window, where there were more shrub branches than I noticed.

cutting branches from bucket truck

cutting branches from bucket truck

 

low branches gone, now from crane

low branches gone, now from crane

final branches

final branches

ready to start on trunk

ready to start on trunk

At this point, they used the crane to hold a strap around the top of the trunk, while a man in the bucket truck cut across at a good length. Then the crane operator maneuvered it into a truck bed. There were three large trunk pieces.

trunk cutting

trunk cutting

very large notch at base, made with a huge chain saw

very large notch at base, made with a huge chain saw

Of course, I did not notice until later that my leaves hid a lot of the base in this picture, sorry for the oversight, but you can get a sense of the size of tree and equipment with which they were working.

tree is down

tree is down

placing last of trunk into the truck

placing last of trunk into the truck

end of day one, tree is gone

end of day one, tree is gone

You can see how clear it is above the house and yard, so cars and people are now safe. The next day the crew returned and completely cleaned up the debris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Close to Completion

Finally we had good timing with the weather! Three days clear, although a bit hot by afternoon (mid-80s), so the exterior paint is done. Now we are watching a tropical storm that is likely to pass over this area at the end of this next weekend. I should get some grass seed out before the rain. Since we had some strong men around, we also had a few other odd jobs completed – moved the small shed around beside the dome rather than in front, some rocks and concrete blocks retrieved from the newly cleared land and now an edging around Sharon’s future hoop house garden. My boxes of stuff are out of my living room and stored in my loft, although I’ll bring more back each trip to Virginia.  Inside, we are waiting on baseboards, making sure no rain seepage happens – latex paint is supposed to stop any. Outside we found a spot that needs an application of cement, but the house looks good.

paint done and shed moved

paint done and shed moved

I even got my screened room set up on the back patio – just in time for porch-sitting weather this fall. Now I will set up my keyhole garden off the side of the front patio, convenient for kitchen to compost bin. Sharon has finally been able to get me to think about plants, and we are mapping out where things will go. We learned how much space construction takes, and don’t want to plant where things might get run over when the next house is built, or where the septic system needs to go.

back patio with screened room

back patio with screened room

We are expecting guests this weekend for an overnight visit on their way to Florida (they are just missing the tropical storm there). Since we are about 15 miles off I-85, we hope to see more friends drop by – whether for overnight or just a day visit. Our plans have always been to make Soul’s Ease a welcoming place for guests, besides a retirement location. Our biggest problem with the current housing arrangements is the fur-kids. Sharon has four mini-schnauzers and I have three indoor cats, all of whom are early risers. Once I build the next house, there will be an animal-free guest room wing.

Since we are aware of our less agile bodies as we age, we have gone with one-story living – although I will have lofts for long-term storage. Sharon had a ramp built to her front porch when she had limitations after a surgery, so not even a couple of steps up there. Mine is built on slab, so fully ground level. Bathrooms will be as handicap accessible as we can make them, and wide hallways are a must. The last house my mother lived in had a bathroom renovation, designed as handicap accessible. She loved it, even though she was fully mobile. Once she had to spend about 10 days in a rehab center, getting over bronchitis, and was so pleased with the reaction of the woman who inspected her house before final discharge (to make sure she wouldn’t have problems getting around). The woman asked if she could take pictures, since she was about to remodel and loved what she saw.

Mother's bathroom

Mother’s bathroom

Mother's shower

Mother’s shower

 

Painting Started

Not a lot to say today, but I wanted to show what the dome looks like after the first day of painting. Lots of prep time for taping and trimming out edges, then used a sprayer to paint all around, but not to the top. Tomorrow should be good weather, first coat will be completed and second coat started. The door and window trim will remain white, and the edge on the overhang will be a creamy beige.

no longer looking like an igloo

no longer looking like an igloo

I turned the A/C units off early, and almost 8 hours later, with outside temperatures over 80 degrees, it was not bad inside – these thick foam walls make such a difference. My only problem with comfort lately has been humidity, because the make of dehumidifier I’ve been running was recalled for fire hazard. I have filled in the appropriate paperwork and sent off the physical data needed so am waiting for my refund. The stores are rather short of stock right now, maybe because of the recall and maybe it’s the time of year.

Painters stirred up the bugs that were gathered around the house, here’s one that I spotted nearby after they left – not sure if it was intentional or not. It’s a pretty teal daddy long-leg.

teal spider