Monday, June 23, 2014

Patio project progress

For the last month, it's been bothering me that what would take a normal person a day, or at most two, to accomplish on the Grand 2014 Patio Project has been taking me forever. One small task would drain me for days.

At first, I thought I was just putting things off because I really don't like gardening and outdoor work. Never have. Then, I thought maybe I wasn't getting enough sleep; for the last several weeks I've made an effort to get as close to seven and a half hours a night as possible. When that didn't seem to fix the flagging energy levels, I figured I was just lazy.

Wrong on all counts. The bloodwork done last week showed my thyroid function is way off. Low thyroid function creeps up gradually, with a cluster of symptoms that can make you think you're simply getting older - fatigue, dry skin, brain fog, hair loss, hair growth (not in the same places) and a few other things. Even having been hypo for twenty-five years, I didn't realize what was happening.

The fix is easy, an increase in the daily dose of synthetic hormone I'm already taking. But it, too, takes time. So in the interest of making things easier on myself (and frankly, to just be done), I've adjusted my expectations on what will and won't be done on the patio project, at least in the short run.

- Pressure washing the concrete will have to wait. This isn't just because of the lack of energy, but because it simply will.not.stop raining. As I type, rain is falling in sheets and buckets and nasty, angry waves. Rain is forecast every single day this week, from showers to thunderstorms. Did I mention I spent quite a bit of time yesterday watering?

- At this point, nothing else is going to be planted in the urns. Stupid urns. They weren't even my idea - they were left by the previous owners. There are three. One has the new hydrangea, which doesn't seem to much like it. I'm going to give it another couple of weeks, hoping its poor showing is simply transplant shock. If it doesn't survive, I do plan on trying again next year.

To keep things from looking forlorn and ugly, I bought a giant hanging basket of petunias. By "giant", I mean the plant itself spreads out more than three feet in diameter, with lovely white/purple striped flowers. It's sitting on top of one of the urns, spreading and covering as if it's actually planted there, adding a much needed splash of color.

- The iron quilt square will be put up, but not until we have several dry days in a row, if that ever happens.

- The deck box actually got put out yesterday. Poor thing, it's a lighter putty color, and is being pummeled with rain-splash. At least I'll be able to accurately judge how water-resistant it is.

- The dianthus ground cover for the front bed (which was not part of the plan, but needed to be dealt with after the unexpected removal of the jumipers) is here, but currently lined up in a tub in the living room. It was clear a good portion of the day Sunday, but I had other priorities. These will be fine until next weekend, when there may be a dry enough time to plant.

- The previous owners also left a shepherd's hook in the basement. A week ago I stuck it in the front bed - the new bushes are only ten inches high, slow growing and reach a maximum height of thirty inches. Things looked a bit bare. A second giant hanging basket now makes its home on that hook, this one full of a "red white and blue" mix - purple petunias, a pretty round red flower and some white...stuff. Fortunately, the local garden center is offering 20 - 30% off all hanging baskets this week, and I had a heft gift card that was a credit card reward. The two baskets cost me nothing, with enough left over on the card for a cheap breakfast.

- In spite of heavy fog yesterday morning, I put out the flag for the first time. It looks great, at least until the brisk winds got the corner caught up on the rain gutter. Sigh. It flipped right out without any damage, but still...

Repainting the table and chairs will eventually get done, as will putting more shelves in the small outdoor storage closet. The grill won't go out until it either stops raining for a few days, or I get the cover for it made.

The new guys just said we've only had seven dry days in June so far. Today is the 23rd. Geez. Anyway, that's where things stand at the moment. Pictures sometime, again, when/if it dries out.

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