Spring clean-ups, bees, and blooms

Well, I spent all day out in the garden yesterday and got a sunburn… I really should know better by now… really, I should…

Guess I’m cancelling this week’s IPL face-zapping.

And while I’m whining, I think I have a cracked filling. Guess I know what phone calls I have to make tomorrow morning.


Well, with that out of the way, onto the rest of the week’s blog.

I rearranged my bedroom and got some pics hung up, including three monotypes:

Noah Thorsen; monotype done last year at MISSA
Nick, caught in a K hole or whatever. Also done last year.
Ricky B Rat, think I posted a closer view of this (unframed) last week.

I won’t post pics of the whole bedroom, but here’s a view of the area under the skylight:

So… “clean up your room, bucko…” as Jordan Peterson would say. It’s a microcosm of your life in chaos or order or whatever.

Funko Bono has no idea what any of that means, but if it makes him sound cool while riding his Lego tiger, he’ll be sure to spew it all the way to Vegas, baby.

Of course, that’s just the beginning. I gotta tame the chaos in the rest of my house and life… and garden.

To that end, now that the warm weather has arrived and my neighbor who hates dandelions is back from wintering in America, it’s time to do the annual spring clean-up and once again tell myself that next year (well, later this year) I’m doing a fall clean-up in order to make things easier in the spring (when I have to dodge precious bulb shoots and emerging perennials that don’t yet look like what they’re supposed to be that I paid good money for, etc.)

I think it was Monday that I put in a couple hours of pulling dandelions and other weeds in the front flower beds by the sidewalk, and then slapping in 24 violas I had kicking around that I hadn’t planted yet, along with some English daisies and alyssum.

I barely made a dent, lol… so over this weekend my dad came and helped… and when I say helped, he did the lion’s share of the dandelion removal over two days.

I did do some weeding, though, and planting things like cosmos, dill, larkspur, and a replacement clematis armandii to replace the one that was fine until March when we had that week where it suddenly got really warm them dropped to a hard frost a couple nights in a row.

We also planted a new dwarf cherry, which hopefully will remain healthy and avoid the fate of its predecessor, which I had to kill and remove last year when it suddenly fell ill with oozing canker wounds all over it in July.

‘Sweetheart’ cherry

Not planted yet is the columnar dwarf(-ish) magnolia I got for over in the back fence area. I’ve wanted a new magnolia since we had to have the old one removed when its roots found their way into the sewer pipe under the sidewalk… which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the tree was starting to rot from the inside out… but damn, I love magnolias and wanted one.

This fella is a Genie magnolia and supposedly will only get to 15′ tall and 6′ wide… we’ll see about that, lol… but also I love the deep magenta/purple color, which is quite different than most magnolias around here.

In other garden news, I managed to somewhat improve the sound of my cheap new fountain but adding some rocks inside where the water drips, but I still think it’s going to find a new home at the back end of the yard close to the shed, as the sound is much more pleasant at a distance than up close.

And it was finally warm enough to release my mason bees (I bought a box of 10 cocoons weeks ago and kept them in my fridge). After putting the first 10 cocoons out in an old butterfly house to keep them safe from any birds, I put up a new “house” with tubes since I don’t trust my old mason bee house and I think it will need to be taken apart and cleaned this winter.

The old house, which has been in use for at least 4 seasons and is still a hub of activity.

After a bit of thought, I decided to call my local nursery and ask if they still had boxes of cocoons, which they did, and at 25%, so I went down there and bought 4 more 10-packs along with 2 more new houses. When I opened the boxes, each had at least 1 bee that had already hatched and a couple were looking weak and just sitting down on my hands. I carefully made my rounds to the new houses and got the bees to wander off and warm up in the sun.

One of the new bees checking out the new digs.

Within an hour there were plenty of little black mason bees buzzing around (the dandelions were still there for easy snacks).

Well, they weren’t all buzzing around:

Zoom in to watch how mason bees are made…

We’ll leave other garden pics til the end.

So, what else was I up to? Well, the ongoing quest to fix my clarinet playing issues had me thinking about how I didn’t seem to have as many problems on a bass clarinet… and I prefer the sound… so I debated renting one again, and I looked up prices on eBay, and I browsed Long & McQuade and saw a used student Selmer model on clearance for less than half the cost of a new one in Vancouver.

I called them up to see if it was possible to pay debit at one of the Island locations for the one in Vancouver (since they will ship instruments; I just didn’t want to put that amount on my credit card) and it was. Deal done, and now I wait for it to arrive via courier some time next week.

Even if I have to spend a few hundred to get adjustments made, I’m still ahead of the game and now I have my very own bass clarinet to play with. So that’s fun.

Also fun:

Noah’s now past 800 followers on Facebook, and now on towards 1000.

The bees fucking thing led to a couple Noahs this week:


I didn’t get much done with Ricky B this week, but I did get this one done:

Shoulda asked more questions, Ricky.

And for my ridiculous Bono Mouse sketchbook project, well, here’s the pick of the week:


The pic that was based on was a hilarious capture from the stupid Kennedy Center Circle Jerk Awards last year. Bono looked so damn excited, even though I always heard the way to get a Kennedy Center award is to pay the Kennedy Center a shitload of money, which would mean he was excited to be getting something he bought for himself, lol. (According to rumors and vicious gossip, of course.)

Anyway, obviously there’s only one thing that would get a mouse-man so excited and it ain’t a Kennedy Center ribbon.

Well, let’s wrap up with a few other garden pics:

Muscari amongst the weeds, plus a viola.
‘Rainbow Parrot’ tulip
Some daffodils that ended up in a pot when they didn’t get planted in the ground quickly enough.
First of the clematises to bloom.
Bleeding hearts from before the dandelions got yanked.
Pear blossoms.
‘Quebec’ tulips, wide open.
Picked this guy up a couple weeks ago but only got him placed in the garden yesterday.

Also, happy Walpurgisnacht/Beltane!