Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Happy Bookends

This started off my Thursday in a good way with my husband's video on the front of his university's web page.  He'd participated in speaking about his research and what he does with the campaign Living the Promise.  Of course, I love the video and played it numerous times during the day.
(And at 1:27, you can see the blackout curtain that I sewed for him the first year he was a professor.  And yes, that Prop 65 sign about needles and pins is from my local JoAnn's store!)

I worked all day sewing on this quilt. Really I've worked all week on quilting this quilt.  More information can be found on my quilting blog,

And then this was the ending to my day: acceptance of all three quilts of my quilts into Road to California, a nationally ranked and juried quilt show, held locally.  I'd been rejected the last few years I'd entered and despaired of ever seeing my quilts hung again in a show.  To get in all three?  It leaves me shaking my head in amazement and jumping up and down on my bed in pure happiness.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Phone Calls

Recently, with the aging process going full steam in my life, I feel like I'm getting in on some of the good "old" jokes that I never understood before.  Like the phone call cartoon, my quirks and peculiarities seem to be increasing, and if I can just keep my sense of humor about it all, I may just make it through.  But perhaps I should apologize in advance to my children?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Before and After--Year of Planting (2014)

Here are a few photos, shown side-by-side, of the Before and After.  I hope to do this again, maybe every year for a few years in order to show the growth of the plants and the filling in of the landscaping.  I asked our landscaper how big these all would get.  His laconic reply: "Multiply by eight."  Okey-dokey.

Click to enlarge the photos.  The red numbers on the before photos relate to the location where I took the pictures on the plan from *this post.*

 The front hill -- the "juniper hill" -- as we used to call it.  (The trees in the after photo have not been erased: it's just an early-morning shot and the exposure was off.)

Front walkway.

Front rock wall and front door.

Standing at the outer perimeter of the upper yard and looking towards the backyard.  These photos are not an exact fit, but I wanted to show how the juniper hedge completely blocked off the side yard.

 In the "before," I lifted the camera up above the juniper hedge and took the photo. 

View from side corner towards the driveway.

 Not an exact match, but the side fence is about eighteen inches off the corner of the house, in front of the big tree.

This last one is a bit difficult to envision.  We took out all the cement "pavers" just under the number 36 in the left photo.  If you stood just to the right of that red number, feet on the brick patio and looked toward the fence, you would have the view of the "after" photo. 

Confusing?  You'll just have to come and visit.  

The other night my husband and I carried our dinner plates and glasses out to the small table and two chairs we have in front of the fountain, and enjoyed our dinner outside, overlooking the city's landscape and enjoying the new space.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Landscaping is All Finished -- 2014

 On Tuesday, Bruno came to finish the construction of my raised vegetable garden bed.  And I had a phone call with the cranky guy I'm allergic to, wherein he cussed me out, yelled "I'm off your job!" and hung up on me.  Long day.  That evening we got the two young men across the street, who are wrestling buddies, to help us move stones here and there, and finally we were both happy with how the path and layout looked.
 Wednesday morning, with no cranky guy in sight, nine men plus the owner showed up to "put this job to bed."  Here they are filling the garden bed with their special grow soil and are finishing up the stone.

Power shovel because our house is built on "cut," where they cut into an existing hill to create space for our house, and the whole thing is mostly decomposed granite.  He parked his shovel here while they took lunch at about 10:45 a.m. and one of them said "cookies?"  So I went inside and made a batch of snickerdoodles and took it out to them, along with jugs of ice water. I clear out upstairs so they can relax, and it sounded like a party on my back patio, with lots of laughing and joshing (in Spanish) going on.  Most speak English, though.

The plants were laid out and top dressing (the darker brown soil) was brought in.

Planting the hill.  We have over 70 plants on the hill.  Cranky guy showed up to place them, so I ducked into the house.  He's skilled and talented but we are allergic to each other (prone as I am to be allergic to cranky guys who criticize the plans, are constantly wanting to make changes yet are resistant to mine, who call me "Sweetie" and who cuss a lot).  I think we have the entire truck fleet here, but the owner assures me we don't.


 Leftover bits of rock, chipped off from the slabs of flagstone. 
 The fountain is up and running!!  We have an "autofill" set-up where I never have to add water -- they ran a pipe that has an automatic shut-off valve. Bruno put lots of rock all around, but then had to uncover it a little because they had not run the drip lines yet.

Now they begin to run the drip lines.  A PVC pipe is buried under the ground, emerging at midline of the drip system, so it can feed to both sides evenly.  They lay the drip tubing out around the plants (guess there is no moving them now), then poke the pipe with a sharp nail and push in an emitter wherever there is a plant.  The emitters drip about 2 gallons per hour.  They put several on the trees and even run the tubing twice around those that need the most water.

This is where the day ended.  The next morning only three men arrived first, and went to town making sure the back lawn area where the sod was going had adequate coverage with the sprinkler nozzles.  A few more plants arrived: two peonies (bred for our climate) and two lilacs (the tag says: blooms are better after a cold winter.  Looks like I'll be packing the roots with ice or something).  I went off to run errands and when I came back, then sod had been laid in the back yard, covering the empty spot where we'd taken out the olive tree, and which had sat empty for about a year.

More drip irrigation work, a few plant changes, then a break for lunch (no cookies today -- only ice water).

 The truck with the mulch arrived and everyone sprang into action.  Three more men were on this truckfull of springy "woodland mulch."  The one guy on the truck pitchforked it into trash cans, which others carried up the driveway and dumped in piles around the plants.  They started in the back and moved toward the front.  I asked Jesse how they got the mulch on the hill, and here he is demonstrating the "toss" method.

 The mulch covers the drip lines.
Here are the two men who made it all happen: Bruno (l) and Jesse (r).  Actually Jesse's real name is Jesus, and he often wore baseball caps that had slogans like "Come to Jesus," and "Jesus is the center of the universe."  He has a great sense of humor, as well as two daughters who are going to Cal State San Bernardino.  Bruno's daughter is studying to become a doctor.  Both of them work for Paradise Garden Center full time, but keep extra jobs going on the weekends to keep their children in college.  I took this at the end of the day, and everyone seemed really pleased with how the yard turned out. 

Backyard path from brick patio to gate.

 I took the following photos this morning, as everything looks so fresh and clean.

 One of the plants on the hill is Cape Plumbago, which is a bush with clusters of icy-blue flowers.  They are very popular around here.

 Eventually a hedge will grow up and shield this side yard from the front.  The hedge will run from the corner of the house and back around the raised garden bed, with a break at the walkway.

 We have two crown jewels in our yard now.  The one above, and the one below:

 Ah, yes.  See you plants in three years.

 View to the backyard.

In my next post, I'll do some side-by-side comparisons of the before and the after.  But for now, we are really enjoying the "after."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Progress: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Yard update consists of two steps forward, one step back.  Here's the photos for this morning's update.
 Fences, plus gates, on both sides of our property are installed today.  I showed the beginnings of it all in the last post, but here are some photos showing the finished product:

 Dave and I call this the grandchildren's gate, as they like to hike up and around our property, and we needed a way for them to get through.  It's very cute.

Two pallets of flagstone were delivered and laid out.  Of course, being a quilter who works with spatial relationships ALL DAY LONG, many parts of this flagstone "puzzle" are driving me nuts.  I tried to "help" but was shooed away by the cranky foreman (see previous post).  I'll hopefully get the changes made this morning, with Dave's help (he agrees with me).

Look!  My U-shaped "grow boxes," or "raised garden beds."  It only took the owner's intervention to get them made to my specifications.
Some of the boards were cut the wrong size.  Hopefully they'll finish it up today, along with the laying of the flagstone in sand.  To qualify for the city's rebate, we have to have "water permeable hardscape" if we use any at all. So, no concrete in between the stones.

They brought out the larger basin for our water feature and set it in the ground and then worked the flagstone around it.  Then the owner found out which basin they had used, sighed exasperatedly (when I showed him--upon his request), and made them put the correct basin in.  Here's the problem with the flagstone: now it is too far away from the basin.  (see above). Luckily, I have complete faith in this company and have heard many times about how good they are, so I know it will work out.

I know the owner wants to bring in the plants either today or tomorrow, get the irrigation done and the mulch laid.  Then somewhere the sod in the backyard has to happen.  I try to stay in the house as much as possible, and out of the way.
We need green!  I have gotten used to how the dirt looks, but I do miss our greenery. Stay tuned.