Maintenance & Privacy

Other than planting 21 new plants, lately my efforts in the garden have focused on maintenance, which isn’t always a glamorous activity.

My area of Texas hasn’t had any significant rainfall since August 26th, and the ground is parched, so watering has become most important.

I’m also working on a variety of projects as is my neighbor, John.


John’s recently built deck above.

John just added a deck to his cute train depot-like house located beside mine.  While he doesn’t live in this house, he has slowly worked to upgrade the home’s mechanical systems.  The house has a relatively new roof, new wiring, and new plumbing, so although it still needs other work, the mechanical systems are in prime shape.

John tells me he will eventually sell or rent the house. Wish I could buy it!

While I think the deck is a lovely addition, it comes with a price for me.  Have a guess?

Now with the deck in place, it’s much easier to see into my backyard.  Below are a few photos taken of my backyard from John’s new deck.




With privacy in mind, one of my next projects will be to add privacy flags around the inside of the fence where privacy matters most.

I don’t have a photo to share of privacy flags, but basically, they are rectangular in shape and will hang 2 feet above and parallel with the top of the fence to provide screening.

I’ve also ordered four sections of lattice to install above another portion of my fence.

Finally, Build-A-Sign (which I can’t get to link) was running a 40% off special on their custom signs. I’m a fool for signs so I made two.  See below.



Here’s wishing you the best for your garden!






Garden Signs

Do you have a garden sign or two in your garden?  Do tell…

My neighbors across the street are gardeners, and I’d like to think, although I could be wrong, that I influenced them to add a sign or two to their yard when they saw mine.   (No, they didn’t see ALL of my signs.  Some are a bit strange and not meant for the viewing public.  I’ll let YOU see them.  You don’t live next-door to me.) Anyway, my neighbors paint their signs by hand and take their wording–I think–from signs they’ve seen at a local craft store.

I am currently too lazy to paint signs by hand.  I have before, and if I do say so myself, the three signs I created turned out well, BUT because they were hand-painted and placed outdoors, they weren’t as durable as I’d hoped they would be.  I now use the services of Build-A-Sign to create what I want.  It’s true, signs from Build-A-Sign aren’t as home-y as a hand-painted sign or look as good as a porcelain enamel sign, but it’s a small price to pay for an easily-made sign.

If you ever decide to use Build-A-Sign, get an account and then wait for them to email you their discounts, and no, I don’t have stock in Build-a-Sign nor do I have relatives who work there.

Before showing you my signs, I want to point out that garden signs and décor are supposed to complement a garden not overpower it.  At this point in my current garden, I probably won’t have more signs made.  I have plenty.  I want the garden to be about the garden and not about signs.  My signs are pretty, weird, funny, thought-provoking or HONESTLY down-right kinda’ mean.

In about 2003, I purchased two enamel signs I thought were cute. One is the butterfly sign you see below.  The other “Trespassers will be Composted” I had made by a company that no longer exists. (I was lazy and copied the preview I had of the sign before I bought it below because it was already in my computer.)




A few years later, living in Austin, Texas I was all in favor of “Going Native.”  I also wanted to support the birds, butterflies, lizards, toads, etc. and I did.  I followed the National Wildlife Federation guidelines and created a wildlife habitat in my backyard, but for all of this plus $15.00, they wanted to send me a dinky paper sign.  Blah!

Their beautiful metal signs (two styles back then) were $180+ dollars.  I loved those signs, but couldn’t afford them.  So, instead of certifying my yard, I didn’t.  Certainly, the birds and insects didn’t know the difference. I crafted my own less expensive signs with the help of Build-A-Sign. Plus, I decided to have fun doing it.  The “Certified Wildlife” sign pointed to my neighbor Carol’s yard.  Carol, thankfully, saw the humor in it.


Here in the new yard, the Certified Wildlife sign actually points to a house outside the fence that was recently occupied by “interesting” people who entertained a few Ladies of the Evening from time to time.

Although I didn’t consult with the National Wildlife Federation, I think those folks qualified as certified wildlife or at least most of the other neighbors here thought so.  The “Wildlife People” have since moved. You might be surprised to know they were actually very NICE people, at least to me, and they truly tried to be neighborly by offering to share their lovely female companions with one of the other neighbors.


The “Think Outside (No Box Required)” sign is relatively new.  I needed something for that spot on the fence, and it just felt so right to place that sign in the spot it’s in.  The wording is not original to me.

I’m embarrassed to show you my Hairy Toe Gardener sign, but here it is.  I have it on the veggie fence. It’s not visible when you enter the yard.  I don’t actually want people to see it because without an explanation, it seems pretty weird even to me.  img_0181

In case you didn’t read this in my blog’s “About,” I named my blog the Hairy Toe Gardener after I read a children’s book with a similar title to my kids 30 years ago.  This particular book is no longer in print although several books like it have come out since.  The short version of this story is a little old lady digs in her garden, finds a hairy toe, and takes it inside her house.  Unlike other versions of this story, she does NOT make soup out of it. Who in their right mind would do that?!   Yuk!

The owner of the toe comes looking for it in the middle of the night, gets his toe, and leaves. Nothing is eaten, and the little old lady isn’t harmed. Anyway, I am always finding funky things in my soil when I dig so I thought this blog title was appropriate.

I hope you’ll still believe I’m normal after I show you the next garden sign. Alright, no, I’m not normal, but I’m also NOT a dirty old lady either.

In 2011, Austin held its twice-a-year Bulky Recycling Day.  I travelled daily on several neighborhood streets to get to work, and on one particular streets by the curb was this clay “thing.”  I know that’s a very detailed description, but there is no other way to describe it.  I was clueless as to what it was or had been.

I enjoy recycling stuff for the garden, and this “thing” intrigued me.  It sat there for an entire week when I finally decided to pick it up when nobody was looking of course.  (Other folks were probably smarter than me because it’s pretty obvious no one else wanted it.)

Surely, I could do SOMETHING with it, right?  Well, that “thing” sat under a tree in my yard for 4 months. Every time I saw it, it reminded me of something, but I resisted the urge to make it into what my imagination saw it as.  No.  There was no way I could make it into THAT because it just wasn’t appropriate.  After 4 months, I finally gave in.  I mean look at Michelangelo’s David. David is nude, and the statue is considered art for goodness sake.  Think of this garden fountain as merely a more modern and intimate close-up of David.


My single friends think the fountain is hilarious, but not everyone was on board.  Full disclosure:  My former boyfriend thought it was stupid.

When I finally put the fountain together with the sign, I hid it behind my potting shed.  When my house was on the market, I covered it with a tarp.  My former nosy neighbor across the street, as well as one of my devoutly religious friends who visited often, never suspected a thing.  However, I would always steer my friend clear of that particular area, just in case.   At this house, the fountain sits behind a tree. Sadly, Elly (dog) pulled out one of the two Juncus effusus f. spiralis so it’s bare on one side now.

Next, there’s the Julia sign.  Sigh.

I met Julia just one time in her home. It reeked of cat urine.  However, I’m not the kind of person who would say anything about that kind of thing most of the time.  I realize people love their pets, and sometimes cats spray. Spraying isn’t always easy to control.  There are times (very rarely of course) that my house smells like a dog, probably only 6 out of 7 days a week.

No last names of course. Julia was/is a strong woman.  Certainly, there is nothing wrong in saying that.  In fact, I think Julia would take that as a compliment.  In short, Julia and I were involved in an acrimonious business deal.  I’ve since moved on, but when that sign was made, I was still stewing in my juices.


Someday, long after I’m dead, someone will read the Julia sign—perhaps at a garage sale where it’s priced at 50 cents–and wonder.

The Karma here is that shortly after I put this sign up, I began volunteering at the humane society.  They placed me in the cat room cleaning 14 cat pens with litter boxes a day that ALL smelled like cat pee. Julia would be pleased, I think.

The moral of the story is:  Be nice to me, and your name won’t end up on a sign in my garden.

Finally, (thank goodness) here’s a pic. of my shovel sign.  It is hand-painted.  Yes, it’s religious, but that doesn’t mean I’m a religious zealot.  I’m not.


So let me end this post with a song that fits.  Have a great day!