Today felt like autumn has arrived.  It was overcast most of the day and a full 20 degrees cooler then this past weekend.  I needed a sweat shirt when leaving for an appointment in the morning.


Although when I sent the screen shot to my friend who was here and battling the heat this last weekend I was reminded that this photo constitutes Summer to her.

To me it looks like yard work weather.  Not much has been done in August and September because of the heat but I am hoping to get quite a bit tackled this weekend.

There is a small threat of rain, but I am guessing it will pass.  I do need to get up on the roof and check a spot in the roofing that looks weird before any rain actually does start.  (That could be a couple more months)


Planting the hill

A little update and pictures.
We had to clear this hill at the new house because the old landscaper had trimmed some shrubs back so hard they didn’t make it.  To make sure the hill stays in tact we filled it up with three different species.  Portulacaria afra variegata and Aloe cameronii, 19 of each of those that my sister and I picked up from the nursery (Lori designed and put them on hold) also 5 Furcraea foetida that Lori luckily got from work.

All of the Aloe’s didn’t really fit with how much they will spread, so four of those we (my nieces and sister were helping) planted elsewhere.  I am hoping to to bring a little continuity to the yard.  The little old ladies that lived here clearly loved their garden.  But they have one each of forty-bajillion varieties in the yard.  It looks like a sample garden for a greenhouse.  Instead we are moving toward swaths of plants, trying to pair things that actually need the same watering needs together instead of drought tolerant in the middle of high water plants.

—oh I forgot to mention, it was 98 degrees!!!  Lori lucked out having to be in class last Saturday—








Middle Schoolers

Saturday morning was a volunteer day at a local(ish) middle school.  I say -ish because this is LA and there is a middle school near us but this isn’t it.  This was an LA-Central Middle school that serves a disadvantaged population.  So if you can get anywhere in 30 minutes which we did, its considered close.

One of Lori’s students has been helping them put together a garden area.  It used to be a horticulture department before funding was cut in the 70’s.  Then it was mostly ignored and overgrown.  The school uses the area and there are also some community members that garden there.  It sounds like one of the teachers spends every single free moment there and helping kids.  These people are rock stars.

There are a ton of fruit trees, a pond they have refurbished, lots and lots of vegetables growing and even more weeds and garbage.

We spent several hours helping 100 or so middle schoolers and kids doing community service, weed.  They were doing more, moving mulch, horsing around, watching the cinco de mayo parade go by, but we just weeded.  A few hours in and Lori’s student asked for her advice on some projects.  I thought I would just keep weeding but they drug me along.

I got to see the whole place this way, I guess about 3 acres.  It was a nice, albeit early, way to start the morning.  The kids were sure fun to listen to as they learned what was a weed and what was a plant.  I am sure some plants were mistakenly pulled as were weeds missed!

February Bloom


You may have remembered our cutting this beauty all the way back last Summer.

I chose to leave the roots of this on one side of our Oasis.  This beauty blooms every February, smells intoxicating and is covered in bees!

We are determined to keep it trimmed to a reasonable size, but no trimming right now until the blooming stops.

The rain stopped today.  The sun was out and it was a gorgeous day.  The reports were  we were to get more rain this weekend, but now they are put off for another week.  This would be great.  Yes we need the rain, but having it all at once does not help it just all runs out to the Pacific.


I spent more time in the front yard yesterday.  When we plan the front yard the soil was iffy.  Having things fail in it was part of the plan to put nutrients back into the soil.  That was several years ago.  And while the trees have grown up from little gallon pots to what look like actual trees the rest has grown too and needs editing.

All of the sages have been removed.  I have also pulled out over half of the fox tail agaves.  That started months ago when they were being donated to the berm project for school.  But recently I got the rest out.

Yesterday I spent nearly six hours.  Mostly weeding, moving 7 golden barrel cactus.  Removing a spot we had laid brick out at the very beginning of this process.  They are all stacked up and we are going to widen the walkway with them.

July vs. Today.

IMG_6597 IMG_7898


97% Complete

Yes I am talking about the back yard, again.

Saturday after our morning walk we weeded and prepped for more gravel in the backyard.  We moved one of the last two bags of gravel and called it a day.

Sunday we finished with the gravel.  There are some final things that need to happen like placing a few pavers, painting the tool shed and finishing touches.  But the main goal of getting the weeds out, covering with cardboard and gravel all to reduce the maintenance is complete.

Some plants will probably go back in, but not now.  Now we will just live with what we have.





Hodge Podge

Its been well over a week since I even thought about blogging.  And although life seems super busy, there hasn’t been much to report.

The date has been set for my step-dad’s memorial service.  This has been a year-long event.  He passed last Thanksgiving but there was a ton of stuff to deal with and sell his house and get through probate.  Now I am not taking credit for any of that work, my sister has taken the brunt of all of those tasks, physical and emotional.  My involvement was monetary and being a venting / sounding board.

But now a road trip next week up to Washington.  Eighteen hours in a van with my sister, nieces and great-niece.  Hilarity will ensue I am sure.  We have rented a house for the time we are there which will make life with the baby a bit easier.

Besides planning that trip which all I can say is it’s a good thing we have an unlimited text plan, school started this week.  So we are sliding back into the usual routine.  Lori has multiple classes a day on three days and a combo of classes and committee meetings on the others.  She is asleep when I get home which is now always after midnight, or 1:30am if I go to the gym.  I see her briefly in the morning while she is getting ready for work and I try to get breakfast made for her.  Back to the usual schedule of prepping food that she might want to eat when she gets home, except it is so late the likelihood is low.

We spent some time this last weekend working in the back yard again.  Weeding the back and putting down cardboard to put the gravel on.  I moved a bag of gravel on Monday, one on Tuesday and one today to fill in where we had been working.  The end of the gravel project (at least for the back) is near.