September 2, 2021

I left the back porch lights on last night to deter prowlers into the Back Border Garden. The irrigation line connector was still intact this morning, although I will next try Del’s suggestion of leaving out a bowl of water to eliminate the need to take apart the irrigation line. The deer appear to enjoy a varied diet of crape myrtle, lemon tree foliage and roses

I tended to two near casualties from the summer heat, cutting back the dead growth on the pink salvia and sweet pea in the Front Border Garden. The sweet pea will look odd for a while because the center was dead but green growth was left on the sides. A kind of sideburns to compensate for the absence on top.

The Berry Patch continues to have good irrigation. The straw blanket was damp this morning, and all three plants are coming back with new growth after being Spotified.

I picked up another watering pad from Valley Springs. It purpose is to spread water over a broader area around new plantings, also to provide a cover to hold in moisture. I will try it next to Grandmother Oleander where multiple penstemons and a hebe have gone to die.

I will mow the back lawn as soon as it has dried. Outdoor works is still manageable at midday,

September 1, 2021

The summer weather has broken with moderate temperatures during the day. Overnight temperature of 54 degrees cools the house down, as low as 48 degrees later this week. The air conditioning did not kick on at midday.

Lower temperatures have brought plants back to life. The liriope is showing light blue brush blooms. The maida elegans came back for a brilliant second bloom after pruning. That section of the Back Border Garden appears to borrow ample water from the lawn sprinklers.

I repaired a severed irrigation artery in the Triangle Garden and replaced the bubbler on the columbine with a compression dripper, two gallons per hour. The raphiolepis has responded to increased water and fertilizer with new growth.

I stopped at the Circle Garden on my way in this afternoon. I opened the bubblers to increase water flow to the germander and the cistus at the end of the line. The screen filter on the irrigation timer silts up quickly and chokes off the water flow. Nevertheless, the purple lantana and other plants are thriving.

The indoor cactuses can survive on little water but not without water. I cleared a few dead branches and will add water in small amounts over the next few days. The new indoor plants – fern, purple heart and zamioculas zamilifolia (zz) – all seem to be settling in well.

August 22, 2021

The temperature was 54 degrees when I woke this morning, and the house cooled down overnight to 65 degrees. Dew on Spots’s feeding containers was a pleasant site. Spots received five grams of probiotic with the breakfast helping of spinach and geraniums.

I tended to a few chores before church this morning. I continued straightening the PVC line and moved the outflow to the far side of Mount Suribachi and nearer the current outer edge of the Fire Prevention Pond. The indoor plants needed water as did the container camellia. Two more bottles of wine with disintegrated corks were deposited on Little Myrtle of the Far East and the adjoining Back Border succulent garden.

August 20, 2021

Today was the first day cool enough to spend the morning in the yard. I mowed the overgrown lawn and weeded and deadheaded for two hours or so. That process included digging out sprinkler heads that had been overgrown.

The garden plants are reviving after the intense heat of the past two weeks. Two rose bushes show new growth and blooms. I pruned back the dark red rose bush back to its core.

The morning chores including deadheading the Mexican daisy in the Back Corner garden. The daisy in the Box Garden receives more water and is thriving, although it produces fewer blooms. I cut back the maida elegans to its core, releasing a swirl of pineapple scent.

Another five bottles of older wine were poured onto the plants. I need to ask Del about the benefits or harm from steady wine irrigation. If harmful in large quantities, I have a few favorite areas just below the retaining where I would be glad to poison the soil.

The rhaphiolepis, euonymus and columbine in the Triangle Garden received another application of 10-5-14 fertilizer.

I continued uncoiling the 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe line that reaches 200 feet down the hill from the valves at the barn to the Fire Prevention Pond. Mike connected another 60 feet of leftover line to extend it well into the pond.

August 18, 2021

Back from Fresno after a few days of even more extreme heat. Heavy smoke from the wildfires in the Sierras now extends all the way down the Valley.

The sunflowers are back!

All volunteer corps, self-seeding along the length of the back slope. Birds may assist in scattering sunflower seeds up and down the slope. The sunflowers are almost spent, and I will try scattering the seeds uniformly along the back slope to see what takes hold and blooms next summer.

The pictures capture how smoky the air is this late afternoon.

July 10, 2021

I made my first trip up to Silver Lake today. At 600 feet the ranch basically follows the weather pattern of the Central Valley, with a high of 113 degrees today. At 7000 feet the temperature was twenty degrees cooler. The timber line is thinning but not gone at that altitude.

Following Highway 88 just past the Bear Reservoir, you crest a hill and see the entire lake spread out below you below. I wound my way down to the lake at Plasse’s Resort. From there, a two and half mile shoreline walk takes you out to Granite Lake, an associated body of water. An afternoon filled with the scent of pine and wildflower meadows, a gentle breeze off the lake flowing over granite outcropping where I sat. A bit further down the path was a high ledge above the lake, and a rock at the perfect height and shape to act as a pillow for a nap.

July 9, 2021

I dealt with a few chores early in the morning. The forecast high is 109 degrees today and higher temperatures tomorrow.

I cleared the irrigation lines to the two butterfly bushes that were sagging in the intense heat. The kangaroo paws received supplemental water because the paws have yellowed in the heat. It may be time to prune them back, encourage root growth and hope for a second bloom maybe in the fall. The correopsis is slow to bloom, not the riot of blooms that I have had in prior years.

I cleared out the herb garden, tearing up mint and oregano by the fistful. I drew water from the rain barrels to give the Berry Patch extra attention. The ground under the straw cover stays surprisingly moist.

I applied fertilizer on the rhaphiolepis in the Triangle Garden. The recommendation was for a nitrogen rich fertilizer, which I could not find. I will try 10-5-14 and see what results, if any, I get.

July 2, 2021

The investigation of spigot that feeds the Fire Prevention Pond is ongoing. It sputters for a minute or so, and then the flow reduces to a trickle. I will need to dig out the spigot to determine where it connects and what line it connects with. Other spigots sneeze but eventually clear the air holes. The tank for irrigation water in the barn is now nearly full. Any issues with drawing pond water up the hill have yet to surface.

The two larger myrtles have begun to bloom. The correopsis is almost ready and on schedule for its annual bloom. The maida elegans blooms in the morning and then folds up in the midday heat. It still gives off that wonderful scent while I was mow the lawn and weed early in the morning.

I applied deer and rabbit repellent generously on the photinia that refuses to die. Surprisingly, the white geraniums are not thriving in the extreme heat this summer unlike their pink and red cousins.

While I was away, Mike worked on the irrigation lines and sprinkler heads at the Berry Patch. All three varieties have come back to life although unlikely to bear this year.

July 1, 2021

The mystery plant is a type of fuchsia with orange-red tubular flowers. One of the successes flourishing this summer in the relentless hear. The French lavender is also profuse. Most of the Front Slope Garden is carrying on with just a drip on a two day cycle. I will let the last of the coleonemas go.

The two shrub rockroses and the Saint Francis Rockrose are getting spars for Spots. I will need to consider a drastic pruning in the fall to keep the plants compact and full.

The dianthus in the Circle Garden at the barn gave up the ghost. It seemed to have adequate water but was unable to take sustained days of extreme high temperatures.

One of the carpet roses in a gazebo box was in critical condition, strangely because the other was thriving. I cut back dead growth and will monitor the water. The Japanese euonymus also appears to suffer in high continuous heat.

Juneteenth, 2021

The first time a new federal holiday has been declared in 47 years. Extreme temperatures may abate a little today.

Most of the work now is checking and repairing irrigation systems as needed and cleaning the main filter. Mike may need to speak to the pump contractor about an automatic shutoff in case the pump starts to suck only algae, or worse yet only air. I gave the blueberries and photinia supplemental water. So far everything is surviving on a minimal drip and two day cycle.