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Monday, April 30, 2012

What a way to jump back in the saddle

So this weekend I decided that if my stupid leg is going to hurt like Hell - even though it clearly has healed up enough to ride - I am just going to grind my teeth and start going to fun stuff again. F it! I am so sick of riding around in the round pen.

This Saturday the RANCH I used to board at started a new event : Ranch Sorting. Its going to be the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 5pm and it's $15 for 3 turns. I highly recommend that you come out and try it if you live near Sunland/Tujunga and you have a horse. SUPER SUPER FUN!!!

Ranch Sorting differs from Team Sorting in that it is done in a smaller set up and you work in teams of 2 rather than 3. For people who just want to do something fun with their horse this is it. I like Team Sorting too, but it's more challenging and right now I need lower impact for sure. Plus I get to do something horse related with MCH that does not involve me standing in a hazing line for a few hours. Or him trailering me to a training.

We did not get any points this time around but we sure had fun and so did everyone else.

On Sunday - we went to the Corral 210 Playday and we brought Dutch for MCH to ride, as I still can only do about 20 to 30 minutes on him because he is so wide and my calf muscle just can't take it. Plus all that fits him now is my cutting saddle, which super sucks if you have a leg injury. If anyone has any suggestions on a good saddle for this beast to do Gymkhana in , I am all ears.

I rode Cisco again, and after the sorting he was none too happy to be back out. He's as unfit as I am right now, sadly. We made it through 4 events before he had just had enough and I was pretty fatigued as well.

All in all a great weekend, we hung out together, got to see some good friends, and my calf does not hurt any more than it did last week. I smell a patrol in my near future!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Bamboo Wall

Bambusa Olhamaii # 1 seems to be pretty happy in its new home. I added Creeping Blue Star to some of the holes in the rock barrier and I planted a really pretty New Zeland Flax to start the grasses off that will be hiding the ugly repurposed barrier. It will stay fairly compact which is important because I don't have much space to play with.

I started to level off the ground here and I will be making a pathway with all of the bricks we have either dug up or pulled out while we have been fixing the various porches and planters.The previous owners really loved bricks. God love 'em!
New Zeland Flax

You can really see how bad the base of the retaining wall is in this picture! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This has turned out to be a lot more work than I thought. If you want to see the original instructions go HERE.

Because of the horses, we have pallets for days. These are heat treated and not pesticide treated. This is super important if you are planning on putting anything edible in your pallet garden.

I had one that is super weathered, which I love. It also means that it is weak. I had to really work around the missing and broken boards and I also had to strengthen certain areas.
The back

With the landscape cloth attached - forgot to take a picture of the plywood backing

Pallet in place before planting

I doubled up my landscape cloth on the back , bottom and the sides. I used T50 5/16 " staples which are what is called for in this application, but I think next time I will use 1/2" . More heavy duty because that dirt and water will be putting a lot of pressure on the cloth and what's is holding it on. I also screwed on a piece of plywood to the back which gave me more support where there were missing boards and it also is helping to support it while it lies on it's back letting the roots take hold.

I love the look of overflowing cascading plants, so I used Petunias and Nasturtiums . I am trying my hand at Strawberries again , so those are on the top and first layer. I put in 4 kinds to see which does best. I saw another cool idea for Strawberries using cinder blocks , which I may try next year.

Putting in the dirt and getting the plants in is much more time consuming than it appeared to be on the instructions I followed. Maybe because I took the time to read all the user comments and took into consideration the pit falls each experienced it took me longer and I used more material than was listed. I used 3 full bags of soil and I made sure to really pack the dirt in after each row got its plants. I also used a soil amendment so really, 3 and a half bags of soil. I put the pallet up on a couple of pots to keep the dogs off it and to make it easier to pick up next week when it gets put in place. I also will not be putting the plants in to the top until it is right side up.

I really like it as a horizontal garden and think I will do this in my little garden plot that MCH built for me a couple of years ago. No weeding really appeals to me!

Once I finished planting it I watered it down with a mist setting on my hose and then I mixed one capfull of Superthrive into 2 gallons of water in a watering can to help the plants recover from shock.

As of today(4 days later) it has been laying on its back and the roots have definitely started to take hold. I will be putting it upright this weekend. Word to the wise - DO NOT try to move the pallet or place it in position by yourself unless you are a trained iron man. This thing is stinking heavy!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Making The Neighbors Disappear

I got inspired in Kauai at the Allerton Garden to finally tackle the issue of the hill and the creepy neighbors.
I have been looking for something to plant since we moved here and I never knew there was such a thing as clumping Bamboo. Bambusa Olhamaii you are my new best friend. My expensive needy best friend, but that's okay. Below is a picture I took at the Allerton Bamboo Forest - this one is Giant Golden Timber Bamboo and does not do well in our zone.
This stuff grows up to 55 feet ( probably won't get higher than 35 feet here) and spreads 6 feet wide. It needs maintenance 3 times a year and does not require a barrier. It will also hold up and in the retaining wall that belongs to my neighbors and with luck it will prevent extensive damage when their hillside detaches in the next few years. It also will provide an excellent privacy hedge. I wont even go into that creepiness.
Here you can see how bad the retaining wall is.The neighbors won't address it, so this is my answer. I built up the bed wall using  whatever  we had lying around to go to the dump.There is even a bowling ball in there, ha ha! Better to reuse and recycle then put it in the landfill. I will eventually cover up the barrier with grasses and Canna. For the bed I dumped all of last years gardening attempts to build up the soil. Bamboo is a grass and needs a lot of Nitrogen and water. 

Here is the view now. Can you say Fishbowl? 
My First Bambusa Olhamaii . I went with a smaller 3.5 gallon plant for this corner. I have to be really careful digging out the dirt here and there are some old roots and rocks that make it hard to get a big enough hole for a 5 gallon plant. 
On the other side of the yard where the gate is, we have chain link fence and another view directly into our other neighbors yard, plus the dogs see all the outside action and react accordingly. These neighbors we are on the same level with and they do a lot  in their yard and when we are not home the dogs bark at them.
I decided to use ideas I got from Pinterest to do a smallish container garden that will create a living fence. If the dogs can't see out they will be less stimulated to "guard" the yard.  Yesterday MCH helped me get it started. Most everything is an idea I got from the gardening " Pins". I will report back through the season to let you know how each idea actually panned out for lil ol Brown Thumb !
The new redwood trellis. Great price at

The lovely view

The Wine Barrel will eventually be tiered, but for now it is housing my  Tangerine Beauty Crossvine which will  cover the trellis and fence. Lots of Hummingbird food ! The pallet will have strawberries and flowers in it plus provide a much needed barrier for the dogs. More on the pallet garden next time.  

Last years Yellow Pepper plant which I am experimenting with . I used a wash of 4 cps warm water and 1 Teaspoon of Epsom Salts to revitalize it. I will spray it again in 10 days. It already has about 25 flower buds on it. The water bottle in the soil is for deep watering and feeding. I use SuperThrive. 
Some of the above ideas came from these cool sites : , , and