December 12, 2018

I am back at the Ranch after a successful Christmas Sing Along with the good residents of Salem Lutheran.  The largest crowd we have had, and they welcomed the chance to sing and jingle a few bells.  Very gratifying to share the spirit of the season.

MJ is on her way back to San Diego. We spent yesterday afternoon loading up a suitcase that flies for free on Southwest.  Socks, a hand mixer, a clock radio with CD player and odds and ends that she wanted.  As she left she switched back to her lighter San Diego clothes, having spent the week in flannel lined jeans and bulky sweaters. I have not yet heated the house during the day, but 62 degrees at night keeps me comfortable.

I finished laying the concrete supports for what will be the planter box containing the old lemon and new lime trees.  Like the planter box for the crape myrtle the back supports are raised several inches off the ground, and the ground needed to be dug out at the upper end of the slope to achieve level.  Building on my experience with laying planter boxes on a steep slope, I laid the foundation stones first, filled in with dirt and gravel and laid the concrete supports on top.  Much more effective than shoving the foundation stones in after the concrete supports are laid.  I measured twenty-one feet from the west edge to the crape myrtle planter box, and twenty-one feet from the east edge to the end of the lawn and the flagstones.  With fill, soil amendment and erosion control. that combined forty-two feet should provide a fine border garden.

I previously dug out the water line that runs the entire length of the back yard from the middle of the new citrus planter box to the fence. That line could water the east end of the expected border garden, the bush variety crape myrtle and new plantings in the (fast being overgrown) area that I cleared between the flagstones and the fence.  I hope Mike will help me with two problems.  The water line attaches to a pipe that feeds underground to what I believe to be the line of sprinklers at the far edge of the lawn. The sprinkler pipe does not generate much water pressure, and the sprinklers are anemic at best.  How much water remains to travel down fifty feet of a water line is a concern.  The line attaches to the pipe close to the ground.  That ground level will rise significantly when the planter box is filled to level with new topsoil.  Attaching a taller extension pipe should not be a major project.  I have said that before.

For reasons I do not understand, a second water line attaches to a pipe a feet further along the border.  That water line heads west and waters the crape myrtle and plantings down the slope from the gazebo.  That line has plenty of water and is responsible for the hugely flourishing crape myrtle at that end.  An extension of the pipe will also be needed so that the connection does not disappear into the topsoil fill.

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