I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rainbows and Gardenitis

Last night before dinner we experienced this beautiful gift of nature.

Can you see it?
A Rainbow landed right in our canyon. It was still raining when I took the picture but the sun was shinning too. That's all you need... some sun and rain together and the magic begins. We had rain, wind and some hail all day long so I took this rainbow as a sign that this was the end of the rain.. for a while. That's quite a biblical  supposition for me, but I like to throw those ideas into the mix occasionally. Keeps my readers wondering where I'm really coming from.
The Prospector said that he thought he might  go down to our neighbor's creek to see if there really was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He should be so lucky. Nothing is ever that easy..... and then, of course, the rainbow vanished.
The clouds were breaking up. The rain stopped.
Across the Mokelumne River the rain continued and one more vague rainbow appeared.
Then all the clouds move east to the Blue Mountains and into the Sierras.
What a beautiful evening it was.
This morning I awoke to sunshine and the clearest, most beautiful day you can imagine. One of those "take your coffee outside and never come back in until dinner"  kind of days.

First we had to get a "poop" sample from Brownie. That's technical farm talk. This is a whole lot easier than it sounds. They do pellets. It's not messy, just logistically difficult.  We succeeded and the Prospector left for the valley to drop off the sample at the vet, go to an appointment to see the "back, leg and knee" doctor and a few more touch and go landings that we save up for our trips down there. 
The dogs and I went out into the garden. My mistake was picking up the loping shears and putting my gloves on.... thinking I was going to just trim a few areas back and pull a few weeds. HA!
I went down to the vegetable garden to dump the scraps in the composter and I have decided that the weeds are in love with all this rain. They were everywhere.... and huge.
I really could start a NETTLES processing plant. I have nettles everywhere. A friend on Vancouver Island, BC. told me how to cook Nettles and you can make tea with it too. But, again, I let it get beyond its prime and all this rain kind of makes it look like it is already cooked. The really nice big plants are wilted and brown. But, never fear... there are baby nettles everywhere. 
So I went to work..... weeding, pulling down the dead vines on the trellis and feeling like I was a Master Gardener on steroids.
This mess, above, became this clean garden bed below.
This only took about 45 mins. The soil was wet and soft. The weeds came up without much effort. Gloves and a long sleeve shirt are absolute necessities when working with Nettles. They aren't called Stinging Nettles for nothin'. If your skin comes in contact with the leaves, you won't believe how it hurts. You can read why HERE.
When I came back up to the front yard I saw the Vinca. I decided to go in and have some breakfast first. Good thing... because once I went outside again I didn't come in for quite a while. This is weed pulling weather. It's not hot. The ground is wet and soft. The mosquitoes are so confused that they don't know whether to bite you or run for cover. This rain is also keeping the Rattlers at bay.... for a while.  That's a good thing.
So I started cutting back the Vinca. This is a landscaping nightmare. Please don't ever plant Vinca Major. It's an invasive, noxious weed that never goes away. We have controlled it by surrounding it with rock and concrete blocks but still it spreads everywhere.
This stuff would survive Armageddon.

It's beautiful but it's so invasive. It creeps everywhere and I truly wish I had never planted it. 
Look at this...
It grew right through this rock. Lava rock is an igneous rock that is volcanic in origin. It's very porous. The Vinca found an opening and has grown all the way through. I know this happens. I've seen ivy grow through concrete. But still, I find this amazing.
So I made a big mess everywhere. Not even neat piles of cuttings. I just tore through the Vinca.
I even had lots of help...
Then I noticed that the Yarrow was almost on the ground after all the wind and rain so I cut some of it back and made another pile of these beautiful yellow flowers to hang and dry. I will use them for an arrangement later on in the Fall.
Oh, and the hillside had some huge weeds growing as though they belonged there, so I sat down on the hillside and picked as many as I could. And then... I cleaned up the Chrysanthemum bed. More Nettles!
When I realized that I couldn't stand up straight without severe discomfort and that I couldn't feel my toes anymore, I knew it was time to stop.
I have six or seven piles to clean up this afternoon. Don't you just hate it when you work this hard and  have to CLEAN UP afterwards?.. Darn.

Rockrose Collage


  1. awesome stuff love the rainbow!
    love carl and cutter too and yes hate the cleaning up part!
    hugs and grits! :)

  2. you have been working hard and it shows!! I made the same mistake with the vinca...putting it in my front garden thinking I could control it. Not. I've been pulling it out endlessly for years now, you just can't get rid of it. As for nettles, I remember them from childhood but rarely see them around here anymore...I hope it stays that way!
    Have a little stretch and put your feet up for awhile...

  3. Enjoyed strolling through your garden. Those sky sights are stunning.

  4. Sounds like you found a pot of energy at the end of that rainbow. Your photos of it are beautiful! A very busy day, indeed. But at least you have something to show for all your labour.

  5. Oh Connie, I feel your pain! My lower back is killing me right now. Did the same thing today, clean up. Just got back to our cabin in WA, and total mess, weeded and unpacked all day long. Made great progress, now need to plant, that's the fun! Hugs to you, Riki

  6. Wonderful shot of the rainbow! Don't you love the days when you can accomplish so much, look back, enjoy and then rest?

    Oh, you have those days every day! LOL

    This is a busy time of year outside isn't it?

  7. You really did get a lot accomplished. Your yard looks good. The photos of the rainbow are wonderful. Here's hoping you did get some rest after all that work. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  8. Here's another tip for using nettles...VERY CAREFULLY stuff a burlap sack (a big coffee one) full of nettles and tie it with string. Stick it in a barrel of water for a week or so, remove the sack (you can put the inside junk in the compost), then use the 'nettle tea'(1 part tea to 15 parts water) for your plants. Apparently it's full of minerals and good stuff and your plants will love it. Don't use it straight though or it will burn. I'm brewing some out in the garden as we speak. Good God you're busy! Time really does fly when you're out there doesn't it?!

  9. Wow...the Spring-cleaning bug got you, didn't it! This is great weather though for doing this as I can attest. Living in the same Sierra Foothills as you only a bit farther north, you have to seize the day, don't you! Because before we know it, it will be hot and hotter and then we will never get out there except to water. I am going over to my daughter's place today to bring over all the plants that we placed in her care during the move. The high fence is up now so they should be safe in my "new" yard.

  10. You HAVE been a busy little bee, haven't you?
    Just make sure that you give yourslef a break every now and again - but I'm like you... I like getting things done before the rattlesnakes start warming up.

    You know... this entire post has me just itching to head over and start tackling MY OWN little area of Calaveras county!!! (maybe you can do it for me, before I get home, eh? ;)

  11. Oh yes, Vinca is a real brat. But I wish I had her tenacity!
    Love the shots of the hills
    What vitamins are you taking??

  12. Hi there - not sure if you saw my response last week to your comment on my blog or not. I would love to send you a bit of kai llama fiber to play with. It would make me very happy, in fact. I posted my email in a comment on that post - pls send me your address, ok?


Please leave a comment here.
I love to hear what you think about my blog. Feel free to speak your mind. Please be honest.., but remember your manners.