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What a concept!

Solar Roadways – I ran across information about this company last week, and have spent a lot of time reading their pages and just being amazed at how revolutionary their road concept is. The brainstorming sessions must have been a lot of fun. I have been inching toward as green as possible for our Soul’s Ease venture, but this is on a gigantic scale. In the past, I have seen suggestions for solar panels on covered parking lots, but this is better yet, with all roadway, parking, sidewalk, playground, etc. areas being covered with solar panels. Please take time to look at their videos or TED talk, and I hope you will be as excited about the concept as I am. I have no connection to this company or anyone employed there, but I have sent a contribution to the current fundraising. I hope to see even a small part happen in my lifetime.
http://solarroadways.com/intro.shtml
I am still saying Wow! about this.  Here’s one of their press pictures of an artist’s rendition of a full street in Sandpoint, Idaho covered with solar panels.

Solar Roadway artist rendition of street

 

And here is a picture of their parking lot prototype.

 

Solar Roadway parking lot

Spring Prep in the Garden

Resident Gardener checking in here. I have some idea of blogging about my efforts to start a plant nursery and using it as a garden journal.

Blooming now: daffs, hyacinth,  hellebores, pussy willow, forsythia and winter jasmine. Day lilies and iris are 2-4 inches high, the new Chestnut tree has swelling buds. I wonder how long before it is mature enough to bloom?

With spring almost on the horizon, I am getting excited and starting to make progress. In the past week I have:

washed 50-odd pots, all 1 quart size or less

potted up 16 baby hellebores

have 8 hellebores divided for planting

gleaned multiple types of hydrangea, spirea, montauk daisies, pussy willow, curly willow and a wealth of other cuttings from a generous friend. These all need to be sectioned, treated with rooting compound and potted up – dozens and dozens and dozens worth. Last year I started about 150 pots of hydrangeas.

determined that I needed a sand bed, to be used for starting multitudes of cuttings at once, the potting up process being very labor intensive as described above. We have a large sand  pile left over from DonnaW’s dome build which will need to be relocated.

had a mature pecan tree taken out, to use that area for nursery stock. ARRGGHH, I still am having difficulty with the fact that I caused the death of a mature tree. To soften the blow, I found a wood artist  (http://www.fullmoonartists.com/wc.html)  who was excited to get the wood and – better yet – pay for having the tree taken down. As part of our agreement I get a finished piece of his work. The tree will live on in beauty, so that helps my guilt somewhat. I donated the mid-sized 4-6 inch thick pieces to a neighbor who does serious smoking for BBQ, and am hoping to get some product to sample.

purchased a cubic yard of potting soil from a local farm for the first time. This was educational. It has been windy and raining a good bit, so I specifically asked for dry mix. Guess what happens when a front loader dumps a cubic yard of dirt into your pickup bed? The entirety of the wet truck and especially all of the glass you’d like to be able to see out of, looks like it has been involved in some serious off-roading. I just *thought* I had had a working truck before!

This second weekend in March is promised to be partly cloudy, zero percent chance of rain with temps near 70.  I have so much to do including a bizillion pots yet to be washed, new flower beds to finish prepping, all the cuttings to process and  a multitude of chopped leaves to be spread as mulch.

A word on the chopped leaves source – the lady who had grown up in this house dropped by a couple of years back. Joan brought Polaroid pictures from the 1950s of the house and property; it was awesome to visit with her. I was amazed to see how much the trees had grown in just 60 years.  Joan’s mother was a big time gardener. Joan has given me iris and daylilies that her mother originally grew on this property – life does come full circle.

Joan and I were chatting one day, and I discovered to my horror that she had been hauling bags of yard clippings and shredded leaves to the dump for years! They now come to Soul’s Ease and greatly aid in soil improvement, much less weed control.

Driveway

I now have a driveway that can be used in rainy weather. The crushed stone was delivered and one dump truck load covered the essential part. It is such a long driveway, that I wasn’t sure how much would be covered. I’ll drive on it a while to pack it down, then we’ll get another load and cover more, hopefully also over the muddy part of the traffic circle next to Sharon’s house. She has curbing between the lawn and driveway, but nothing back into the meadow, so I am using crusher run, a combination of gravel and crushed concrete which is porous and stays in place. We felt this was the most economical, the grid we had considered would take too long to have grass grow into it, and we have a very low spot that gets swampy with heavy rain, which the stone should prevent.

driveway across meadow

driveway across meadow (dome is not leaning, my bad camera skills)

 

driveway across meadow from dome

driveway across meadow from dome

We have a neighborhood family of crows with the biggest crow I’ve seen. It’s nearly the size of a raven, must be the grandaddy who has survived a long time. Rabbits and squirrels are wandering near the dome, one rabbit was so big that one of my cats growled at it. I guess he’s never seen a rabbit before and it was bigger than he considered prey.

One bit of wildlife I am not happy to find is fire ants. It is taking a bit of adapting on my part to be able to tolerate them. I plan to kill what I can near the house, as Sharon does, plus she is trying to keep them out of her flowerbeds. I have mostly stopped wearing sandals in the yard, since slip-on canvas shoes are much easier to brush off and kick off when they swarm onto my foot. Right now I have over half a dozen bites on one ankle from standing too near a nest, not even on it. I am doing my annual spray around the inside and outside of the house, to keep the crawlies outside. One creature I hope not to see are timber rattlers. We definitely have black snakes, so hope the poisonous are far from the house. I don’t mind black snakes, but Sharon does. I have more insect and spider phobias. I had enough of palmetto bugs in Florida, I sure hope we are far enough inland and near the mountains that those monster bugs are not around.

The cats are using the windows in the doors, I always see one or two pairs of ears and eyes watching me pull up in the car. They like looking out onto the patio and back yard, too. For older cats, they do like to stay awake and watch outside.

view of green field across the highway, from top half of bathroom window

view of green field across the highway, from top half of bathroom window

Another Inspection Passed

Another milestone – we passed inspection for the slab. Tomorrow the concrete finisher will be out for the pour, and make my floor nice and smooth.

approved for slab

Today while waiting for the inspector, the crew worked on filling in things – 500 feet of water line and next is the old cistern. Any leftover crushed stone from the cistern fill will help the existing driveway.

For the new, very long driveway, we are looking at a product that will allow us to drive on the grass and not require gravel or paving. It would be better for the environment, allowing water to drain through normally, and would be less expensive. I don’t know yet about lifetime maintenance. It does allow us to mow right over it once the grass grows up through the mesh. http://www.boddingtonsonline.com/products/grass-ground-reinforcement/grass-reinforcement-protection/turfprotecta-turf-reinforcement-mesh.php