New pathway in the garden, dance videos, future clarinet lessons

So… it’s Saturday… time for another blog…

As I posted on Monday, for now I’ve put Under My Skin on hiatus.

Afterwards, I was starting to think maybe I made a mistake, but oh well. Not enough of a mistake to make me feel like writing a new episode and tracking it.

So, since I haven’t been making that podcast, what have I been doing?

Well, it’s go time in the garden right now. Mid-week my spring order from Breck’s arrived and it was time to plant up the back corner of the yard by the gazebo.

Here I planted 6 cannas, a bunch of foxtail eremurus bulbs, a bunch of liatris, a few foxgloves, some white/lime echinacea, a couple delphiniums, a larkspur, two peonies, three phlox, a 6-pack of snapdragons, a couple dozen lilies, and a kniphofia.

Of course, as there were almost all either bulbs or tubers/rhizomes or bareroot perennials, the area still looks barren outside of larger items that were already there last year (eg, a mock orange, a rose, a tall but spindly Japanese maple I transplanted a couple months ago).

I left room in the middle where I knew I wanted to put a pathway, which I got done this morning using materials I had kicking around: a piece of black plastic folded to make a barrier, flagstones that were kicking around in a pile from previous owners, and aggregate that was leftover from last summer and fall when my dad used it to mix concrete for the foundations of the gazebo and the storage shed. First I laid out the back plastic, then placed the stones and some higher rocks around the edges, then I shovelled in the aggregate to fill the cracks, then I swept the aggregate off the main stones and tried to pack it better, then I gave it a gentle spray with the hose.

I’m pretty proud of it, and I did it all mostly by myself other than when Dad loaded a pile of flagstones from the other corner of the yard into the wheelbarrow and brought them over (he was yanking some weeds from that area).

You can see in the second picture the blue tarp with the pile of aggregate one it. There should be enough for 2 more paths that I had previously laid out flagstones for but hadn’t finished. One is by the palm tree by the patio and already has the black plastic underneath, needing only aggregate to pack in around the stones, the other is just on the other side of the gazebo where I’d laid out the flagstones but hadn’t thought to lay black plastic down first, so I’ll have to lift them all up and rearrange them once the plastic is down. Hopefully I get those both done this week and then the aggregate will be all used up.

I also yanked a bunch of false nettle (a weed that pops up in spring but I usually ignore it as the purple flowers are vital early food for the bees before the rest of the spring flowers bloom, and then it wilts and vanishes for another year) out from under the palm tree and planted two more daylilies, a white Spanish anouk lavender, three dianthus, and 10 tigridia bulbs in there.

I still have some planting to do (80 Siberian/Dutch irises! plus a few poppies and primulas and a couple random small things) but those will get spread out soon.

The next big job is mulch, and I expect I will be ordering 10 cubic yards to be dumped in my driveway in a week or two so I can mulch up this back corner and over by the palm tree. I’m sure I’ll need more for the other garden beds, and there’s more paths to be done but since I’m out of flagstones those will just be black plastic with 2-3″ of pea gravel on top and that semi-hard plastic edging, same as we started to do last summer in the veggie garden, which is half done.

It would be awesome to have all that done for the whole front and back yard before my brother gets back from Mexico in 3 weeks, but… lol…

What I do have to get done before then is clear the clutter that went into the spare room. I did take a carful of junk to the thrift store on Monday and most of what’s left there isn’t so much junk as it’s stuff that I need to organize and put away, but still. Gotta get that taken care of by June 3rd.

In other news, since I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz and swing lately, I’ve circled back to thinking of taking clarinet lessons as I have a few times over the last few years.

Only this time it’s different because I actually booked some.

They’ll be online, but hey, there’s no one who teaches them where I live anyway, and I found a solid teacher in the city an hour away from me who has a jazz background as well as classical. I was briefly tempted by looking up “online clarinet lessons Los Angeles” and finding out it would be possible to do Zoom lessons with a dude who’s played with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, unfortunately he only does hour-long lessons and when I calculated the exchange and all that shit, his hourly rate is 80% higher, but because of the only hour-long lessons thing, it’s actually almost 4x as expensive.

Maybe in a couple years if I get good enough to warrant that expense, lol…

Speaking of big band dance music, I’ve also gotten on a Latin dance kick this week, watching a ton of competition videos as well as trying to learn some of the moves through much more humble dance tutorial videos.

Can’t say I’ve run into this particular move in any of the tutorials, but it looks vaguely familiar from years ago when I took some exotic dance/pole classes

So far I’ve learned the basic steps of a salsa (though I struggle to get them up to the usual tempo danced at) and I’m also looking at flamenco videos and have learned one of the basic compas clapping patterns.

Not much, but it’s a start. I think I’ll hold off on making myself any skimpy sparkly dance dresses, though.

I did, however, order myself a cheap pair of suede-soled Latin dance shoes off of Amazon.

And that’s kinda been it this week, at least as far as things I can report on the blog.

Let’s wrap up with a couple garden flower pics. Bit of a lull right now where the daffodils are almost all done, the tulips are mostly done, the clematis hasn’t started yet and neither have the roses or poppies, but I do have my azaleas and lilacs and some other miscellaneous blooms: