Friday, June 25, 2010

Second Book

My second book is out: The Right Sisters: Women Inventors Tell Their Stories. This was a collaborative project with my friend, inventor Julia Rhodes.

For me, it was tremendously satisfying to work on a project that celebrates women's ingenuity with a dear friend. Julia and I have a long history of supporting one another, helping each other to the next step . . . and the next. It also feels pretty wonderful to have in my hands two books that I authored.

If you'd like to buy the book, it is available online at Amazon or Barnes & Nobel or you can contact Julia through her KleenSlate Concepts website or give me a ring and I'll get you a copy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Side Yard

This year, my major yard improvment goal is to finish the side yard. That side of the house boasts 4 native white oaks, and the rule of thumb is that you are not supposed to water under oak trees, so I decided to make this my native plant space. Well, sort of!

It will feature primarily natives after I finish terracing it with railroad ties and building paths with crushed granite (designed for ease in leaf blowing). I also plan to have rock enclosed bulb beds with crocus, daffodils, and irises that bloom before the summer heat. In the open space at the eastern end, I'm going to plant a peach tree to replace the one we cut down in the front yard this year and maybe a grape or berry vine. On the other side of the fence, I have left vinca on the long stretch of road that accesses the park. It's attractive (though invasive) and doesn't need a lot of water.

Four summers ago, Cindy's nephew Rex helped kick off the project by extending the privacy lattice and building the first level of terracing. Then on my 60th birthday, a work party built steps down from the swing and at the western entrance to the yard. Last summer, I bought 10 more railroad ties that Cody helped me pick up and unload. He also built one more step. Then the project languished for a year, a huge pile of ties laying in the yard with weeds growing up around them.

With renewed vigor, I was determined to finish the yard this year. First Argos came and sprayed for weed control. Then we raked and weedwacked and racked more. Then Argos returned to start building the terrace for the peach tree and a section of steps as well as beds from the road up to the fire hydrant. Last Saturday, Becky and I finished those steps and beds and dug up the trumpet vine and put in one more railroad tie on the upper terrace.

There are more stairs to build, and I have to create and plant the bulb beds and do additional work on the hill below the fire hydrant, but I'm thrilled with the major progress in getting this project done. Thanks to all of my helpers. You make me so happy!