Monthly Archives: September 2011

Jasmine “progress”

After my “success” with the bougainvillea, I figured I’d better get to work on the jasmine. We’d already heard a comment from at least one neighbor that the vines were creeping under the fence into his yard, so I did some researching on pruning. From what I found, it looks like jasmine can handle being pruned back pretty harshly, it just may take a few years before it starts flowering again.

I started with the biggest one, which I had previously tried to cut away from the purple bougainvillea, with limited success (jasmine on the left, bougainvillea on the right):

That’s a 6-foot tall fence behind it, in case you needed some perspective. It also mounded out a good 3 feet. For lack of a better plan, I just started hacking away with no idea how far I’d get. I quickly discovered that only about the first half foot was leafy green vine, the next 2 feet in were dried and disintegrating plant matter from who knows how many years of growth. And after some more hacking, I found a trellis, which explained how this thing was so tall and deep:

I gave up at that point since my forearms were on fire. When Dave came home and saw the carnage, he could only say, “You killed it!” I think he was joking, since there was clearly still a big chunk of green stuff on the left-hand side…

I didn’t get a chance to work on it again for another two weeks, but I may have really killed it this time. I’m pretty happy though, I can actually see the ground on all sides and the rather decrepit fence is no longer being attacked:

I left a few short vines with leaves, maybe it’ll grow back? If it does I’m going to put up a new trellis for sure, and make sure it doesn’t get completely out of hand again.

Unfortunately I managed to snip through the irrigation line during the battle:

We were already planning a trip to the hardware store though, and they have an entire aisle devoted to accessories for irrigation systems, so this should be fixed pretty quickly.

One down, two to go. Who knows if my arms will hold up, though…


Entertainment Center Upgrade

With our media computer finally functional, we decided it was past time to ditch our “temporary” media storage solution that we’ve lived with for the past four years. It’s an old dresser that we pulled the drawers out of. The horizontal supports were flimsy at best, but we just never got around to shoring them up. This thing was just not wide enough to balance the TV and unnecessarily deep to boot.

When we started looking for lower/longer solutions, they were all surprisingly expensive, and mostly dark wood. We ideally were looking for something with with some sort of doors we could use to hide stuff behind. We spent a day looking around goodwills and yard sales for something we could refinish, but we didn’t find anything, and since we had finally decided it was time for a change we really just wanted to get it over and done with. So we went for that old stand-by for inexpensive storage, Ikea:

I’ve been waiting for an excuse to get something with cube-shaped cubbies anyway. As a bonus, it was easy to just not install one of the partitions to leave enough room for our media computer on the upper right. I had bought the black fabric cubes a while ago and up until now they had been holding our socks. They could still be holding our socks for all you know. 🙂 Here’s a wider view of our living room, as seen from the front door:

We may eventually cut little legs out of 4×4’s to get it up off the floor a bit, but I think it looks fine for now. And I guess we’ll eventually do something to hide the cables coming down from the TV. Here’s a close-up of the organizational mayhem:

We’ve got board games, the PS3, computer, and Wii across the top, and cubbies, (which actually contain wiimotes and such) movies, and video games across the bottom. Mokona (the white stuffed animal) plays the critical role of keeping the cats from climbing on the PS3.

And now that we have our computer set up, maybe I’ll finally take the time to figure out how to upload pictures from our SLR. I currently mostly just take pictures with my iPhone, otherwise I’d never end up posting anything.

Tree Removal

Remember the crazy-looking trees growing in the back corner of our yard that we’ve been calling “yuccas” because we really have no idea what they are?

Well, notice the power lines? They’re hard to see in the picture since the sky washes everything out, but the tree on the right is getting pretty close to the highest ones, which are the high-voltage lines. So the power company sent some people out to cut it down. I’m a little sad, but apparently they’ll send us a check for $50, so that’s cool. And we get plenty of shade from the mulberry tree, so it’s not like these trees were doing much other than looking cool…

… and hiding the power pole, which is suddenly a lot more prominent. Hm. Oh, and the tree-cutters haul branches away, but not trunks or stumps, so we’ll have to think about what to do with this huge pile. And that stump is massive. Here I am crouching on it (it’s covered in sawdust so I didn’t really want to sit) for scale:

Do we get a chainsaw and get rid of the rest of it? Do we turn it into a table or make it part of an obstacle course for Loki?

The one definite up-side is this odd little 4-foot tree that was apparently planted in the shade of the two “yuccas” is now going to get some good afternoon sun:

It’s barely managed to push out a few flowers and leaves since we moved in. The flowers are pretty cool though:

Unfortunately the little tree took a bit of damage on the left side during the “yucca” removal, which is why it looks a bit lopsided in that full picture of it. So I guess we’ll watch it and see how it does.