Sunday, May 17, 2015

More May Flowers

From the garden, more dead plants to cull from the plant spreadsheet.
  • armeria juniperifolia, sea pinks
  • a Pink Azalea

Current Blooms:
 Clematis, 'Nellie Moser'
 Lilly of the Vally, all over the place.
Dianthus subacaulis
Erigeron linarfolia This one from Wrightman Alpines in New Brunswick Canada. Purchased it at the 2014 Alpine Plant Sale at Stonecrop Gardens, just about 1.5 hours from out little patch of heaven, a nice garden to visit and the drive isn't too bad.

Estate Staff Update:
Gina earned her wages today, getting us home from the beach with as few shifts as possible. Our first inkling that something was amiss was Gina rolling through a stop sign, it's not in her nature to break the law, fragrantly anyway. She took local roads and managed with her newly acquired local knowledge (she has a vast map collection) to cover the 6 miles stopping only 3 times, at stoplights. We decided against keeping track of the traffic violations she accrued, but if she triggered any traffic cameras we'll just deduct it from her pay. Her guess is that either the clutch master or slave cylinder of the Land Rover needs to be rebuilt. She said she will look to see if there are any adjustment first and asked to borrow the repair manuals.

Have a lead on a Gamekeeper, goes by the name Duncan MacLoughty and comes along with this little summer cottage in Scotland. A bargain at 1,350,000 GBP. The floor plan is not the best, but we'd only be there for a few weeks at the start of Grouse season. Check it out here, while it lasts.
I believe he is a member of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and The National Gamekeepers Organization and has given a bob or two to the  Gamekeepers Welfare Trust . Gamekeepers maintain the properties of an estate, the fields, woods and hedgerows and they keep down the populations of pests of all kinds, the first Gamekeepers would have dealt with poachers(aka Pests) in the Royal Hunting Forests. They participate in muirburning to promote biodiversity, but no longer officially hunt down poachers with their bull-mastiffs.

Some further reading on the Muirburn (Scotland) or heather burning (England) here, at The Heather Trust.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mid-May Flowers

Keep finding more plants that didn't come up, it's quite discouraging.
Two Erodium from last year didn't survive and I even planted them in the ground.
An Edelweiss from Edelweiss Perennials, Leontopodium discolor did not make it either. Still have lots of things blooming about the estate.

Current Blooms:
 Lewisia, cotyledon "sunset strain"
 A weed as yet unidentified by me
 Star of Bethlehem, Ornithogalum umbellatum L., in the East Foundation Garden, can be invasive and some consider it a weed. The USDA lists this plant as a noxious weed by the states of Alabama and Connecticut.
 It is pretty though.
 Creepy phlox.
 A new Azalea
 Spanish Bluebells
Sweet Woodruff, shares 2 gardens with the Peri-vinkle and is getting elbowed out. I probably should segregate the two, would hate to lose more plants.

Beers in the Fridge:
Sapporo, it's Japanese and they have a Museum in Sapporo on the Island of Hokkaido in Japan. Sapporo is about 10 hours from Tokyo by train or a 16 hour direct sleeper which a few websites say is short lived. A flight takes about 1.5 hours.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen wheat beer.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May Flowers

First grass cutting of the season this weekend, reminds me that I need to get a gardener. And I need to add a house maid to the staff roster I've been told. And the web says I can start sentences with a conjunction.

Current Blooms:
 These 2 photos of Gentiana angustifolia
 Gentiana acaulla hybrid Holzmann
 Primula, in the last posting it wasn't in bloom
Lilac are also in bloom and grape hyacinths too.

Beers in the Fridge:
From Trader Joe, brewed by Greene King in Bury St. Edmunds, UK. Greene King have  Brewery Tours in summer. Travel time about an hour and 40 minutes from London. Bury St Edmunds known for its floral displays, has an Abbey ruin with gardens, a Cathedral,  interesting building and a few small museums. The tourism website is here. Nearby is Kentwell Hall, a moated Tudor mansion and also close by (3 miles) is Ickworth, a Georgian Italianate Palace. One wing of the house is a hotel.
Did I mention that I was not fond of the brew? I wouldn't get it again.

Bought more Sixpoint Sweet Action ale though, like it a lot.

Quandary of the Week:
If you see your neighbor put what could a body in his trunk, should you mention it to someone?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Alpines

 I haven't kept the flower spreadsheet up to date and this winter was quite harsh, so I will have quite a bit of editing to do. Over the winter I was not too keen at picking out plants even though several catalogs had arrived. Recently though I picked out some plants I want to add to the Heath and Heather garden. All are dwarf, small or slow growing. Want to go back and look for another with gold/lime green foliage for contrast.
  • Erica Carnea, Aurea, gold foliage, deep pink flowers Jan - May
  • Erica Carnea,  Ann Sparkles, orange foliage, rose pink flowers Feb - May
  • Calluna Vulgaris, alba minor, bright green foliage, white flowers July - Sept
  • Calluna Vulgaris, Lyndon Proudly, medium green foliage, lavender flowers Aug - Oct
And recently browsing through some blogs I saw someone's garden that had dwarf Iris, Iris Cristata, they would look nice around the pondlet.

No big 2015 plans for the garden. Still have some things from the 2014 Garden Plan that need to be done, Gunther has his marching orders.

Current Blooms:
 Here are some plants that made it through the winter.
 Hyacinth, a dwarf I think.
 Heath - Erica x darleyensis. Heaths have needles, Heathers have scales
 Primula x pubescens R. Lupp, from Wrightman Alpines
Azure Bluet, Houstonia caerulea, the flowers are such a pale blue, it doesn't come through well in the photo.
 Snow Cap, rock cress
 Dicentra, it grows like a weed and not really an Alpine. Had a white variety, but it was not as hardy as the red.
Juliana "Jay Jay" Primula

Meet the Estate Staff:
Hodge, my Valet, some would call Hodge their Gentleman's Gentleman, but that would be straying too far from the truth. I don't know much about Hodge, but I can tell you that Hodge wears a monocle and can pull it off, only seems to read books in braille and listens to audio books in what I think is Japanese. I have on occasion caught Hodge listening to British Military marches while ironing my socks.
 I posed a series of questions to Hodge and here is what I received in response*.

ME: Hodge, do you prefer polishing my titanium cufflinks or cleaning stains from my cravat?
HIM: I endeavor to give satisfaction, Sir.
ME: Is this one of the more humble households you have been employed in?
HIM: I wouldn't like to say, Sir
ME: Your Cuba Libre are quite good, how do you make them?
HIM: I'm not at liberty to divulge the ingredients, Sir.

PS  - I set up a nanny cam and recorded Hodge making one of these
  Cuba Libre
   4 oz coco-cola
   1/2 oz gin
   1 oz of a good white rum
   juice from 1/4 lime
   dash of club soda
   3 dashes of bitters, Hodge uses proprietary home made, so you are on your own there

ME: Do you prefer Archer over Bond?
HIM: I fear not, Sir.
ME: So where did you pick up that outrageous accent?
HIM: I wouldn't like to say, Sir
ME: I only have a few more questions, I have to go out.
HIM: Pardon for asking, Sir, but are you proposing to appear in public in those garments?
ME: So I shouldn't wear these clothes outside the house?
HIM: Very True, Sir.
ME: Boxers or briefs?
HIM: Will that be all Sir?
ME: Yes, yes, just lay out the freaking appropriate clothes.
HIM: Thank you, Sir.

While Hodge does light housekeeping, car windows are not part of the bargain.

*If Hodge's response sound at all like P.G. Wodehouse's character Jeeves, you may be on to something.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Garage Shelves

I finished up the garage shelves today and did a whole bunch of little things around the place. It was a real nice day to be outside puttering around.
 I used wire mesh for some of the shelf and plywood for another third of the shelf length and left the middle third open so tall items could be stored on the existing shelf that is right below the new shelf. Picked up the deer skull on a Hardy Boys Hike in NJ, back in the 1990s.

Current Blooms:
Lots in bloom this week, periwinkles, daffodils, tulips, squills, grape hyacinth, snow cap. I've posted photos before so it seems redundant to do it again.
The peonies are sprouting, lilac are in bud, sweet woodruff will soon be blossoming, spring is in full swing.

Estate Staff Update:
Gunther is out of hospital. While we were bolting pictures to the walls in the Long Gallery with a crossbow in preparation for Easter festivities, Gunther sneezed, I flinched, the bolt went astray and his arm got attached to the wall not the picture as planned. Gina drove him to hospital, no major arteries were hit, no big deal. Though he is back from hospital, he has a doctors note specifying he should be limited to light duty.

Belated Easter

Was overloaded at work the past two weeks and by the time I got home I was way too tired even to just post photos.

Had a nice time on Easter, not everyone made it, but enjoyed the company we had. The usual assortment of brunch foods(plus some new ones see here for more details) was put out and there was way too much desert.

Current Blooms:
Current as of 2 weeks ago.

Beers in the Fridge:
Yikes too strong tasting and only 8.1 abv, an unfiltered dopple bock, there was something flavor wise about it I just did not like. I remember my Gramps on occasion having Double Bock beers in small squat bottles, can't remember the brand. Though he is more remembered for providing Cold Duck at family gatherings

I nabbed the Cold Duck Label from a carton (one of many) I found down his basement and framed it. Of course I framed it, what else was I to do with it, put it in a box full of other mementos.

Hofbrau Hefe Weizen, I frequently get this, I have a bias towards Hofbrau since we actually ate and drank there.
Sixpoint Brewery, The Crisp, a pilsner style, it was good, but I like the Sweet Action Better.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Grill Table

Was adding a shelf to the garage yesterday, I want to get more items off the floor and for awhile I had been wondering what I was gonna to do with that 35 gallon drum that had been there since we moved it from the last place we lived.

Sometime last week I thought it would make a good base for a grill table,  currently I put the grill utensils and the food platters on the garden bench. The barrel height is good and it is 18 inches in diameter, leaving only a 3 inch overhang of the tabletop. Not enough leverage to easily tip the table.
 Added 3 angle brackets to the top of the drum.
 Bracket detail, only needs to keep the tabletop from falling off.
Purchased an inexpensive 24 inch diameter unfinished tabletop and stained it with some stain Gunther had in his workshop.
Added many layers of polyurethane, also from Gunther's workshop.
I plan to leave the barrel unpainted since it is galvanized, but I could always paint it the same color as our Big Green Egg.

Current Blooms:
Have a bunch of Alpines putting out buds, but this one is the first that has any color. This Primula is Auricula "Forset Twlight".