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Archive for the ‘General Gardening’ Category

Triple Crown Blackberries

I will have a handful of berries this year with much more expected for next year. Triple Crown Blackberry.

Mulched with wood chips and fertilized to keep them green. I am hoping for more primo canes between now and the fall months. Black Satin is on the right, the rest are Triple Crown Blackberries.

Plants are filling in, but I was hoping for more growth. Triple Crown Blackberries

Anna Apple Tree, overloaded as usual.

These are junior first year plants. Watch out next year! Marionberry and Boysenberry in the background.

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Planted the Marionberry and Olallieberry and pounded in the trellis to support them. I hope there is enough room for the semi Dwarf Anna Apple Tree and the berry bushes. I think I will be trimming heavily over the next few years.

The Olallieberry will be trained against our outdoor dog enclosure, which our dog only uses during the heat of the summer. At least the plant will provide shade for her.

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The blackberry has to be the easiest plant in the world to propagate. Simply put soil on top of one of the blackberry canes. You can also neglect the plant and let the canes touch the ground as I did with the Marionberry. If you don’t trellis the canes each year, you may have a monster growing in your yard. The Marionberry pictured below, tip-rooted twice by mistake. I managed to pull this one up, the other is broken off in one of Shelley’s flower beds. I better get it out of there or I am going to be toast. 🙂 Growing blackberries requires due diligence in keeping them from spreading.

This Marionberry cane touched the ground and started new roots. Tip-rooting is one of the major ways that blackberry bushes can grow into monsters in just a few years. I plant to trellis all seven of my blackberry plants.

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Yesterday was a big day. I had some help in the yard and all the weeds on the entire property are all safely bagged and waiting for trash pickup on Tuesday. I will admit first that I did not touch a single weed. I managed to trim the bushes in my front yard and bag the clippings. I do plan to spray some preventative weed block in a week or so to slow the overall progress of the weeds roaring back to life.  The yard looks so much better now.

Before

Cutting back the jungle. It looks like I permanently removed the Lantana plants, but I simply cut them down to ground level. The frost killed back most of the growth and it needed to go. The good news is that these plants are almost indestructible and use very little water. They will be 6 fee across and 3 feet high by the end of the summer.

Before

I did not weed out this side yard. I had my hired help complete this task.

Before

Chopping the Lantana plants and Plumbago.

And now the after photos:

Here is the clean up photo. Everything looks so nice…but the process will be repeated again next year.

After

Same angle of previous photo, but I wanted to capture the view up the street to the horse ranch. By the way, any of you can become my neighbor. They have the house listed behind me.

After

Not happy with the gophers eating up my front lawn. They are all taking “permanent” naps now. I am just waiting for the lawn to repair itself.

After

This is what a call “home”. This pic is not to impress anyone; I just wanted to share what makes me happy. I could care less about the structure itself. This is where memories are being created with my family. It is one of the reason’s why I rush home from work each day. BTW, As much as I want to claim that trailer in my front driveway, it belongs to my in-laws visiting from Oregon.

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In an earlier post I mentioned that I am adding three more varieties of blackberries. I planted an Ollalie Blackberry and a Marionberry. The last blackberry to plant is a Boysenberry plant. It is of the thorny variety. The three plants that will live in this berry section are all thorny varieties. The blackberry plants on the other side of the fence in the background are of the thornless variety. Pleas see the photo below. After the Boysenberry is planted I will pound the 2 seven foot metal t-stakes that will act as a part of the blackberry trellis.

The side yard is still under construction. In the foreground, (left) is the Ollalieberry and Marionberry, (middle left). The Boysenberry will be planted next to the pot in the background. The thornless Triple Crown and Black Satin blackberries are on the other side of the fence. The apple tree is an Anna Apple. Yes, the tree is leaning. I need to figure out how to straighten the tree without damaging it.

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My Nikon D70 has been the only camera that I have used over the last six plus years. After a few thousand shutter clicks, I noticed that my camera would not meter correctly and the lens had to be zoomed in a little to focus correctly. I have become tired of carrying around the larger body and heavy glass that comes with it.The Fuji x10 was released last month and I was instantly hooked. A small compact camera with one attached lens that has a range of 28mm to 112mm. The camera has a smaller sensor than the D70, but the sensor excels in dynamic range and low light situations. There are macro modes, image stabilization, panoramic modes, portrait, fireworks modes and more.  The Fuji x10 also has a very bright optical viewfinder and the camera is designed to look like an old range finder. The camera is built exceptionally well. Most of it is metal. The camera has all of the manual functions that a enthusiast photographer would want. It can be a bit overwhelming at times to figure out how some of the modes work, etc. There is a firmware update for this camera that will be released soon, so I hope it will take care of a few quirky issues. Over all, I give the camera a 9 out of 10 for my use.

I may revise my rating later once I feel a bit more confident. The old D70 and the accessories will be sold to offset most of the costs associated with this camera. I will miss the D70 as it has served me well. I won’t miss the weight and multiple lenses that I had to carry around.  The first photo was taken by my D70. All of the other photos were taken by my Fuji x10.

You have to CLICK on the pictures twice to see greater detail. Please !, Please ! Please! The detail in the yellow flower is amazing after the second click. 🙂

The Fuji x10 is very small and fits almost in the palm of my hand. For reference, ther is a lottery ticket in the background and part of a TV remote in the background.

The fine detail is exceptional. My Nikon D70 did not have a macro mode. I am going to enjoy this feature the most when it comes to flowers and bugs.

Another fine example of Fuji x10 macro mode. Nice color and detail for such a small sensor.

This camera loves low light situations. No flash used here. Just the ambient light from the windows off to the right.

Some animals at Sea World San Diego. (Camera Fuji x10)

Nice colors. (Fuji x10 at Sea World San Diego.)

Jakey next to our master bedroom window. This shot was extremely under exposed and required a lot of post processing. (Camera: Fuji x10)

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I made the pilgrimage today to get a truckload of firewood. There is an older guy who lives in Lakeside that sells firewood, and he is a character that words simply can’t describe completely. The pilgrimage starts with a phone call and the instructions are to drive to the gate with a huge stop sign with the several “No trespassing Signs” posted on the chain link gate.  I was told to get out of the gate and ring the old school bell. I did as I was told and the bell woke every stray dog occupying the property. I had to wait a few minutes before an older fuzzy gentleman limped to the gate. He stood about 5 feet 6 inches tall and had a pot belly, but he was of thin build. He wore an old Calvary hat and he had a custom Bowie Knife strapped to his side. He was smoking a cigarette way past the point of pleasure. It must have been unfiltered since it look liked he was putting out the cherry with his lips. I really can’t describe the conversation without offending a few folks. The man has a large vocabulary of offending words, or euphemistic speech as they say. He could make a french sailor blush. It was a good thing that little Jakey was asleep in the back of the truck, or he might have had a few extra words to share with mom.

The best way to describe the property is to compare it to the American Pickers episodes that show a combination of barns, old vehicles and pets. He even has a 5 to 6 foot plaster chicken from an old restaurant in his yard. Since this was my second trip, I knew what to expect. There are many farming antiques and old saddles and cowboys stuff all over the place. He has a helper who lives in a fifth wheel. He walked by and banged the side. Like clock work, the door opened with a younger man with gloves in hand. I backed up to the 30 foot tall pile of wood and the owner hopped on an old backhoe with a front load bucket and rammed that old tractor right into the pile. I was a little nervous as he dumped a yard of wood into the back of my truck. Remember that little Jake was sleeping in the truck? It did not even phase him. Jake even slept through the second load of firewood that shook my truck violently. I noticed that several logs bounced of the tailgate of my truck. I have some dings and scratches, but my truck is almost 4 now and she has a few beauty issues already.

Here is some photos of the load. They were taken with my Sony Bloggie, so the quality suffered a little.

Just pulled in to the driveway. The hard part is unloading and stacking.

Another view of the load.

Neatly stacked up on one side of Zoey's outside shelter.

Neatly stacked on the other side. This load should last us two winters. Remember that we live in So Cal!

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