The News on Sunday

Yessenia had her baby on Sunday, April 30th at 2:47 pm. The baby was 7 pounds, 8 oz. Her name is Klaudia Svia Russman. Mom and baby are doing beautifully. Vicki took some great photos but we didn’t have the right adaptor to put them on this computer so for now, no photos. One of the “only in this millenium” shots was one of Yessenia holding a cell phone up to baby Svia’s ear so sister Kyra could say hello from home. Later Kyra came in and checked out the baby in person.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, May May oversaw mulching in the back yard.

Riley is a more mellow supervisor. He mostly lies down in the sun. That’s him at May May’s feet.

I am an extremely fanatical fan of mulch. I know many people like the look of exposed soil in their gardens, but I don’t think the soil likes it at all. Sometimes it is all I can do to keep myself from stopping at a stranger’s garden and telling them to put some skin on their earth! I think every garden deserves and wants a skin. It upsets me to see naked earth. It damages the soil to leave the earth exposed to the elements. For one thing, it makes everything so much drier for the plants. And the soil erosion! It’s so unnecessary! Plus, it is so much more work not to use mulch. If you use enough mulch, there are so many fewer weeds! It is not necessary to spend your summer hoeing unless you prefer that to the other jobs you might have to do if you left your garden.

In the perennial gardens, I use native bark mulch. I don’t lay it on too thickly, because by the end of summer I want to have the seeds from plants like the columbines growing new babies in new places. So, I get some weeds by the end of the summer, but also some new baby plants from the self sowers. However I NEVER get the weed volume I would get without mulch. This time of year, after I have weeded each bed of those late summer weeds from last year, I then put on organic amendments and compost. When this is done, I mulch the beds with this bark mulch. The mulch keeps down the weeds, keeps in the moisture, and eventually adds more nutrition to the beds.

Experts People writing gardening books say wildly conflicting and confusing things about the use of bark mulch. They say it leaches lime out of our already acidic soil. My feeling is this, acid rain is a lot bigger problem than bark mulch. I mean, we have rain falling here that is more acidic than vinegar and we are worrying about bark mulch? I just add as much lime as the Elementals ask me to each spring and fall and then I mulch like crazy. My life would be one long vicious battle with crab grass weeding session without mulch.


I have only just begun with this year’s mulching. Pretty much any run to town this month, I will ask whomever is going to get a scoop of bark mulch for one garden or another.

In the vegetable gardens, I use mulch hay. I need to call Taylor farm soon and ask them to bring up 100 bales. They hay our field and in return, deliver about 200 bales of hay to the farm for a modest fee, 100 in the spring and 100 in the fall when we lay all the gardens to bed.


A dog’s work is never done and for May May, Sunday brought another project that needed her focus. Ben and I decided that we needed to drain the fishpond of the vast quantities of weirdly gray, dead algae water. Here you can see the strange colored water mid draining process. Ben also rebuilt the wall to hide the UV filter that will theoretically keep the algae under control from now on.

As the sun fell on Sunday, Yessenia was with her babe, the fish had a sparkling clean pond of fresh water, one perennial bed had the mulch it deserved. Emily had found a prom dress, Will had a sunburn from an all day track meet on Saturday, his first ever, and Jim? He was still urethaning the shelf units you see in the background of this shot. Viva his office laundry room!


I would like to say that we were paid for product endorsement with this placement of flip flops in the middle of the action scene by the fishpond. But that would be a lie.

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