Thursday, August 11, 2011


Frost and Wren have become overgrown with hair.  Its a blessing.  Its a curse.

Yesterday, I cut Wren's with the buzzer and he is now less like a girl.  I confess, I told him that usually boys didn't have long hair but he could if he wanted.  He said he wanted long curly hair like Rowan but I explained his could be long, but not curly because his was straight.

So, he said I could cut it.

Frost has been getting compliments on his overgrown thatch of hair.  He has been told he has a Justin Bieber style.  See for yourself.  Both boys are before haircuts (including Wren).
"I don't know.  You say its long but everyone thinks its cool.  I don't
know why you want to cut it.  Well, you can cut JUST A BIT.  This
is SO embarrassing."

Wren with the face-paint from preschool.  He said
"I didn't know you could do it AROUND the eye
but when I saw Nates I said "WOW, I want it like THAT!"

Breaking out

I barely slept last night because I kept waking up afraid one of the kids would leave the house unexpectedly and set off the newly activated burglar alarm.

I know, its not supposed to be like that.  You're supposed to worry about people coming IN but I think its more likely we will lose money by excess police call-outs from kids leaving to scooter at dawn than from robbers.  Apparently the police charge $75-$100 per 'excess call'.

So, I finally dashed out of bed when I heard footsteps at 7.45am and turned the thing off.   Did I mention I barely slept?

Josh says we should just use it when we go out and he may be right.  I do love the door alerts though.

Meanwhile, our neighbor is alarmed by our increasingly wild poppies.  They are seeding everywhere (including in the cracks on the drive) and she has suggested that we harvest the seed stalks carefully to prevent them spreading.

That will be on my wishlist for today, along with dinner at M and a tour of the new school site, swimming at the public pool etc.   I should also walk Beezle before his big moment of isolation at home.

This morning, after the alarm was off.  Wren told me he was feeling the worst ever.  He had growing pains AND a headache that was very bad and I should "be worried".  I was.  I coddled him for a while.  He wrung out of me that he was too sick for school and promptly recovered.

He is such a con-artist.

It didn't help that I was feeling a bit guilty about him going to school today and tomorrow because I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow that he can't come to.   So, he is watching Frost play Halo.  Frost tells me its on the "non violent mode and I am just building a base" but I think he just tells me that and is really shooting everything.

Wren seems to know the names of all the mechs / aliens / ships / tanks.  See, I can't even categorize them in my ignorance.

Ask Wren what is the best tank in Halo Reach and he will talk for half an hour about Scorpions and modified mechs. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pruning Basics

My latest project is pruning.  The new house has many overgrown and vigorous shrubs which need containment and redirection.   They include a large Japanese Laceleaf maple with a  9" caliper (the truck diameter about 5" up) which looks like a crouching beast on our lawn.

I have had a consultation with Mike Thepruningguy and he is going to start a gradual prune in September with me as his pupil.  The goal is to learn to manage it without expert pruning.  I plan to document the process.   From information gained from neighbors, the maple is about 45 years old.  We have another 20 year old one on the back garden which also needs work.

The Laceleaf Maple on the lawn
In addition to maples, we have huge banks of lavender, an unruly wisteria (do they come any other way?), wild bush roses gone leggy and huge rhododendrons (branching dendrons, indeed) as well as gone-wild poppies and a mid-sized weeping cherry.

Watch this space for updates on my work.

My first assignment is to "Remove the dead wood from both maples".

In reading about pruning maples, I read a story from Japan claiming that only master gardeners can prune the laceleaf maples in botanic gardens.  Apprentices must follow the masters for 10 to 15 years before they can make a cut.

Until then, they gather the wood that the masters cut.  From the pieces removed the apprentices must learn what is important and how to shape the trees.