Poison Ivy’s Secret Lurk

Tree covered in poison ivyI’ve had such terrible poison ivy problems in the garden for the past two years.  Finally, it occurred to me that there had to be a flourishing mother plant nearby, and I was embarrassed at how little time it took me to find it!  It turns out that a tree that straddles the property line between me and my non-gardening neighbor sported a lush vine 20′ to 30′ long.  My loppers and I made short work of its connection to the earth, so it should wither nicely, and no more poison ivy heaven in my Drive Beds.

The only other thing I did today was get the rest of the hostas that had been uprooted in the well pump installation project replanted (or, for some, transplanted).

Yesterday, I did also talk to two lawn irrigation folks who knew what they were talking about.  (YAY!)  We have 18ppm of iron in the water, which means that you could forge a weapon from it given enough time.  Anything under 10 is fairly straightforward to treat, but my numbers are getting into the painfully expensive zone.  The plants don’t care, but the water leaves bad, obvious stains on houses and hardscaping, so that’s to be avoided whenever possible.  So the question is how much of my water just needs the particulates flushed out, and how much needs to be entirely conditioned to keep from trashing my hardscape (currently just a lofty name for my driveway) and house?

It turns out with my planting plan, which calls for beds up against almost all the hardscape, that I can avoid having to remove the iron from almost all of my well water used for irrigation by using drip irrigation in the beds.  This will save me thousands in water equipment and in conditioning media, etc., plus it will put less strain on my septic from the backwash/regeneration.  I’ll still be going through Big Blue 5 micron filters like they’re going out of style, but those are cheap in bulk.

So that’s some good news in the midst of bad!

The interior of our house is being remodeled right now, too, as a kind of extended fallout from the geothermal installation last year.  Since the house is over 50 years old and virtually nothing but flooring and paint has been done since then, almost everything needs replacing.  The hollow-core doors, even, were the veneer type, and the veneer was peeling off everywhere.  It wasn’t that bad when we moved in because one very feeble old woman had been living alone in the house for the past 10 years or so and didn’t put much wear on anything, but as soon as, for example, the closet door in the entry was opened and shut half a dozen times a day as different people grabbed or returned coats going in and out of the house in the winter, it began quickly falling to pieces in a most literal way.  Even the VCT tile in the basement is popping up under actual traffic.

So last week, our new master bedroom closet got sheetrocked.  The master bedroom only had one 4.5′ closet in the whole room, and it was actually too shallow to use with regular hangers, AND we lost another chunk of it when we had to have ducts run for geothermal.  So I had the door flipped to open onto the upstairs landing instead to make a linen closet, vacuum storage, and dirty clothes hamper, and we carved off a the back end of the bedroom to make a proper closet and dressing table, which now has 6′ of double-hung space for my husband and 8′ of some single-hung, some double-hung, and some pullout drawers for me.  The new setup means you walk through the closet/dressing room to the master bathroom (not functional right now, BTW), but it makes it very handy for getting dressed without bothering the other person.  There will be a floating dressing table for me to do hair, makeup and jewelry without accidentally dropping things down the sink, too.  This week, the only thing that happened was that more doors got put in.  It is unbelievable how many doors this house has!

I see a light at the end of the tunnel with the remodeling now.  As soon as the master bathroom is done and the master bedroom is painted, I’m putting a temporary end on the remodeling for a while.  The half bath still desperately needs doing, and the living room needs to be painted, and the entry way needs sheetrock work AND painting, and the cabinets in the kitchen are quite literally falling off the walls.  But from August until January, I’m done for a while.