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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Early spring

dogwood trees in bloom

Now that It's spring, I've been enjoying all of the spring ephemerals.

Things like blood-root, may apples, star flowers, trout lilies-AKA dog tooth violet, Virginia bluebells. The shade garden is full of surprises as something new comes up every week. The turn-over of bloom in the early spring means that we seem to have a different garden from month to month.

The soil is soft, which means that it's still time to create new garden beds.

Keep the heavy equipment off the soil! Someone told me a story last week about putting in a wildflower garden that gave me the shivering horrors!

It seems the client hired a paving company to replace their turf with a wildflower garden. The person doing the work went out there with a bobcat and took up the turf.

I'm sure they got the turf grass out... they also packed that wet soil into an impermeable hard pan that nothing will be able to send roots through.

The solution? Most turf will die if covered in the autumn. This is why people rake their leaves! So... save yourself some work and leave those autumn leaves in place, and no more turf. No leaves? Cover the lawn with wood chips, or any other organic mulch.

Next they spread the seed and covered them with several inches of wheat straw. Ok, First of all, wildflower seed needs light to germinate. Secondly, Wildflower seed really should be spread in the autumn here in middle GA. The plants grow all winter and bloom in the late spring, after the spring ephemerals have finished.

Moral of the story? Hire the paving company to pack your driveway, not your flower garden.

 

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Chores

There's a lot of gardening to be done in the winter here in zone 8.

Number 1 on anybodys list:

Locate a source of manure!



It is really important to be specific about it being in a pile!

Amazingly, people will often tell us that they have all that we could want... When we get there.... they point out to the pasture.... give us permission to scoop it up behind the animals!

I don't let them load it for me. I have tailgate damage from the last time that someone used their front end loader to load my truck.

2. Thining
If you're lucky enough to have a wooded lot, winter is an excellent time to assess the health of your trees.

With the leaves gone, we can see how the trees are shaped.

Do some look mishapen? Do the smaller ones have a clear way to the sky, or have they stopped putting on top growth because of larger trees?

Are they leaning toward the light?

With these thoughts in mind, now is the time to consider getting out the chainsaw.

3. Soilwork.

The soil doesn't freeze in the deep south, thus making winter the ideal time for soil prep & bed creation.

It goes immediately into summer here, with temps in the 90's from March on.... Rain is scarce, thus creating baked hard soil that is impervious to pick or shovel. In the winter, it finally rains, loosening the soil, making shovel-work possible.

 

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Monday, November 26, 2007

"Drainbow Communities"

Having skills means that there are plenty of property holders who will want us to improve their property for free. Doing this takes our time away from paying gigs, where we would've been paid for our work.

These "drainbow" property holders will act like they did us a favor by allowing us to waste our time & money & other resources improving their property.... They gave us a place to stay!

They will conveniently "forget" the promises they made when asking us for help... And there won't be a damn thing we can do about having been taken advantage of. The laws are written in their favor, making it possible for them to rob us by the letter of the law, while proclaiming to all & sundry that they were helping a "homeless" person!

We don't need that kind of help.... There are lots of employment opportunities that provide housing while paying us.

If we try to warn others about our bad experience, these "drainbow" property holders will drag our names through the muck, conjuring up ridiculous claims justifying their failure to keep their promises, even denying they ever made any.

We're out materials, wear & tear on our equipment, the money we could have made doing the same work for honest people, plus these people are saying some really nasty stuff about us!

There's no place to take our grievance, other communities don't seem to care, many refuse to even acknowledge the problem exists!

The Yonderfamily community experience.

Next, some warning signs to look for, that you may be at one of these "Drainbow Communities".


  1. Lack of honesty

  2. I was at a community where the property holder asked us to buy in. Unfortunately, he would go around claiming that he hadn't been paid if we paid him in cash... in an apparent bid to keep us divided.

    I began paying by check.... That ought to fix the problem... right?

    Wrong. The years that I paid in cash, he still claimed not to have been paid. Eventually, he "decided" that he wasn't actually selling anything... we hadn't been "buying" anything... we all needed to pay 3 times as much to continue to live in the homes that we'd built.

  3. Unwillingness to help... IE:Ask us to do something w/o providing materials or being there to help do the project.


  4. Apparently when they get the help for free, and aren't there to see how much work goes into the project, they aren't able to recognize the value of our efforts.... or even able to recognize how much work it took!

  5. Unwillingness to perform a favor in spite of what we've already done.


  6. When someone acts like this, run! They seem constitutionally incapable of doing anything in return... This never changes!
    Incredibly, nothing will convince some people to return a favor.

    For some insane reason, as a result of our efforts, they seem to treat us worse, the more that we do. I saw this happen to other people too, that's how I was able to see that it wasn't me, or anything that I did.

Soutions

  1. discuss the problem

  2. It doesn't help anyone to pretend the problem doesn't exist. It doesn't even help the abusers. When people are being used up like this, it gives community a bad name, & loses valuable potential members.

  3. Create a data base of "drainbow" communities

  4. At least other people will be able to avoid these bad scenes.

 

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pictures

 

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