I Love a Parade – encore

From a few years ago – we go to the Memorial Day parade every year. This year, Amigo has a gig with the Barbershop Quartet Chorus. They’ll be singing all patriotic songs, of course, and he’s loving it.

Every year we start Memorial Day by throwing our lawn chairs in Amigo’s bike basket and hitting the road for half a block to stake our claim on a good place to watch the parade. Seriously, it’s half a block from our home. We watch from the front yard, and when the police are putting the traffic barriers up, we head over and park ourselves in the road under our favorite shade tree. Here’s Amigo and MIL cheering on the municipal city band. Chuck? He was relaxing.

Amigo didn’t look excited to see my alma mater march past. Well, at least he applauded.
I tried to get my neighbor’s son in this shot with his baritone – instead, it looks like part of the seventy-six trombone section from Music Man.
And then we went home. Home, to help out our “real live veteran in our front yard,” as Amigo put it. FIL didn’t want to struggle all the way down the street with his walker, so he settled under our mock cherry tree and read a book. We gave him a little flag next to his lawn chair so he could be part of the festivities.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone. May your family members in the services stay safe and return to you soon.

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Attack of the Rhubarb

Or – the rhubarb that took over my kitchen

Or – the day the rhubarb swallowed the world

Or – oh, okay, you get the idea.

I brought up my big strainers with the idea that I’d fill one or both with rhubarb. Hahaha. What was I thinking?

Where's my big white strainer?

Where’s my big white strainer?

I brought the crop inside, and I had to move things off the counter to make room for the huge quantity of the red fruity stalks. This was scary. The rhubarb monster almost covered the coffee pot!

Where's the bread machine?

Where’s the bread machine?

About 40 minutes and two trips to the compost bin later, I had won. I earned this!

I tamed the red menace.

Bwahahahahaha!

Bwahahahahaha!

For my next task: cook it!

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Could be worse.

  • I’m in a nasty standoff with a manipulative, um, client at work.
  • It’s windy enough and cold enough that my plants could die overnight.
  • I didn’t turn the bread machine on before we left to run errands, so I now have to stay up later than usual to get the pizza crust made for tomorrow night’s supper.

Ugh. Let’s see if I can turn this around.

  • The, ahem, client has just been forced to face reality. I’m just the unfortunate target.
  • We covered the seedlings with a clear plastic bag big enough to cover the shelves. I’m pretty sure it was the bag from the mattress we bought for the trundle bed. Why did we keep it? No matter, I’m glad we did.
  • We’re having homemade pizza tomorrow night!

How did that sound? Better? I thought so. Now I’ll grab a refreshing beverage and sit down with my laptop and read blogs until the bread machine beeps.

Could be worse. Could be raining!

 

 

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Squirrels – the wild guerrilla gardeners

Dear Squirrel;

It’s not an even trade. I’m sure you meant well, leaving something behind for me when you nibbled on my garlic scapes, but it wasn’t enough. The little token you left in the basket isn’t edible. I can’t plant it. It’s not even picturesque, but I took a picture anyway.

Ahem.

Ahem.

So hear me now, loud and clear. You, small furry creature, I’m talking to you.

Get out of my garlic, punk.

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Potential – encore

This area no longer exists. About two thirds of it is now garage (concrete slab, at the moment) and the rest is a huge pile of dirt, er, soil. I salvaged enough raspberry canes to start over, but there won’t be a lot of room. Fortunately, Chuck expanded the raised beds for me last year, and I’ve been playing around with container gardening on the deck and around the house. Enjoy the look back.

>A few weeks ago, my garden was just a deep brown color, waiting for seeds and seedlings. Now it has little hints of green here and there.

Peas and beans! The peas already look healthier than they did a year ago.

Cauliflower and (maybe) broccoli emerge, seeking sun and water.

But the bunny food section? I must get those maple tree seeds out of this area. It’s a lettuce bed, not a helicopter pad!

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And While the Garage Project goes on

You saw the garage falling down with a little help from a big machine.

You saw the concrete slab waiting for more.

Before the concrete came in, our neighbors loaned us a metal detector. We didn’t find anything valuable, but we did find a few fun artifacts.

fun finds

Let’s start with the little bottle. We think it might be an old medicine bottle. It’s thick glass, and it stands about two inches tall. It’s very cute. You also see *to the left and behind the bottle) part of a clay pipe. We’re not sure exactly why the pipe was there or what it did. Then there are two blocks of cement (from two different eras), and a few interesting rocks. That’s all.

Yellow Brick Road remains?

Yellow Brick Road remains?

We found shards of yellow brick, mostly fragile (limestone or sandstone based?), but not enough to indicate an outbuilding or driveway made of the stuff.

That’s Chuck’s feet and my shadow, by the way.

All the scraps and shards ended up in my rock garden. Whoever told me the rock garden wouldn’t grow? they were wrong. It grows every year.

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Another Project In Progress – the Garage

Here it is, or was, the day of the demo crew. They said it came down easily. We weren’t surprised.

Timber!!

Timber!!

That was the view from the kitchen during demolition. It was rather fascinating. The process is very methodical and planned.

garage slab

garage slab

Now you can get an idea of how big the garage will be. I know we will love it (I keep telling myself) because of the additional space. But do you see what’s behind the garage-to-be?

garage size

The slab

Behind The Slab

The firewood isn’t mine. Don’t worry about that. It’s the Big Pile of Dirt. I knew we’d have soil left over. In fact, I planned on it. But whoa, baby, that’s a lot of topsoil that needs to be moved to my raised bed. It’ll get done. I just hope I can get it done before planting time.

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A Project – Before

This is embarrassing. I took pictures of the “before” status and then…and then…I didn’t do anything to fix the problem. Not yet. I will! Hold me to it, folks. I will rearrange the shelves that hold my random containers.

This

Top Shelf

Top Shelf

This is one of three shelves that holds containers in random sizes and shapes. It’s overflowing now because it’s spring! In August, these containers would be full and in the freezer. Right now, the freezers have empty space (I sense a defrost project in my future), but the cupboard in the basement is a mess.

Shelf in the middle

Shelf in the middle

This one is so full I can’t put any more containers on it. I have a stack sitting on my planting table.

Lowest shelf

Lowest shelf

There must be a better home for these pieces. My food mill, an extra silverware holder, a few nice holiday plates…these don’t even belong together.

My goal: move what I can to better locations, find a bin or bucket for the oddest and smallest pieces, and then sort and stack those that work together. Eventually. I’ll get back to you, readers.

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Neighbors (encore)

First posted in August of 2013 just after tornadoes came through the area. 

The Living Room

The Living Room

They called it their temporary living room.

Chairs, table, phone

Chairs, table, phone

Really, what more did they need?

Ye Olde Rotary Phone

Ye Olde Rotary Phone

Someone discovered that a rotary phone worked while the up to date touch tones didn’t. Without Internet access, the old fashioned phone book came in handy.

Camp stove and tea kettle

Camp stove and tea kettle

Camp stove plus tea kettle for boiling water equals coffee and social time!

It wasn’t the most beautiful day in the neighborhood, though. At the other end of the driveway, the next door neighbors’ house looked like this. They were still gracious and friendly shared their hot water with me every morning. Thank heavens for good neighbors.

'Nuff said.

‘Nuff said.

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The Garage Replacement Drama

I haven’t decided if it’s a tragedy, comedy, or just straight up entertainment, but the replacement of our garage has not been uneventful.

I came home from school on Thursday, introduced myself to the worker who was carefully taking down the garage door to be reused later, and I am not making this up this conversation.

Worker Dude: Do you own the house?

Me: Yes.

Worker Dude: How long have you lived here?

Me: About 20 years (it’s really 19, but I rounded up).

Worker Dude: Really? ‘Cause I used to live in this house.

Whoa! He lived at this address about 30 years ago. My next door neighbors (the wife is the fourth generation of her family to live in that house) remember the guy.

The next day I watched the demolition crew destroying the remains of the garage sides and roof. One commented that it went down “easier than expected”. Um, yes, people. There’s a reason we’re having this done.

Then the contractor came to the door and told us he’d run into a snag. Any project in a house of this vintage (1890) is unlikely to run smoothly. They had encountered a second slab of concrete under the main one. Since this would increase the weight of the waste, which would increase the cost of dumping, this discovery required a signed change order. No problem, except we were climbing into the car to attend my stepfather’s funeral. Chuck took a minute, signed the change order, and we still made it to the church on time.

So on we go. Over the weekend, we dug up a few of what I call “fun rocks” – souvenirs that may not have value, but might have history. I might be able to guess at the history, or I might not, but these pieces make my rock garden more interesting. Pictures and stories to follow – sooner or later.

Our next door neighbors also loaned us their metal detector to search the area where the garage used to be. We found several nails, a few industrial staples, and a tiny glass bottle. I’ve gotten most of the dirt out of the bottle. Again, pictures to follow. 

How will the drama play out next? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of… wait, wrong script. Tragedy? Comedy? I know one thing for sure: it’s entertaining.

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