Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guess what? It's raining! duh

This is so getting old- we had 2 days of sun, sort of, and now it's pouring rain again, with the next 5, FIVE, days projected to be the same. When did Maine become the Amazon jungle? This isn't what I signed up for. I endure November to April in order to enjoy the other 6 months. Where is my heeeeat?

Whew, that felt good. Okay, what's been going on? Wednesday was a quick trip down to MA to look at houses with Sectaurs- nothing good found yet. I drove down to RI and spent the night with my folks, who are doing well. Grandma's coumadin levels are behaving now, and Grandpa's getting procrit shots for his anemia. I also visited with Re, who is starting chemotherapy soon. 20 weeks of that, then radiation. She is taking suggestions for wig looks. Red seems to be popular with the family, so far.

J and I worked on our timeout place for the dogs- all done except the gate, which admittedly is a key ingredient. This will be a place to shut them in when we have to open the gates to mow, etc. Boomer gets a little frantic if they are in the house and we are out in 'their' yard. It's about 12 feet by 8 feet, so plenty of room for the two of them for short-term stays.

Oh, yes, I have a free quart of paint coming courtesy of Glidden. June 25 - July 2 they are giving away a quart of paint at Ameranth let me know about it. I chose Softest Juniper which I think will be great for the bookcase in my computer room.

Finally, I had my ears pierced yesterday- took me 55 years to make up my mind. Well, I guess really only about 40, since I didn't even consider it before high school. My two girls had their ears pierced, as well as Shoeshine- his lasted only a little while. Ameranth doesn't wear them any more, and Ms.M has added several more holes to the original two. Anyways, this time when it popped into my head, the little voice that always firmly said "No", was a little ambivalent. I went to the mall, checked out the earring kiosk, and listened: no voice saying "what are you, crazy?"

So, after warning the nice young woman that I would be upset if they were not even, I signed the release and paid my money. She understood the OCD issues, and admitted to having similar tendencies herself, which I assured her was a good thing in this case.
Excellent job done- much less pain then expected, but oh, that sound! Ugh. J was very surprised to see them, but thinks they look "cute". I got little sparkly flowers, instead of the plain silver balls, or the tiny birthstone ones. December is not my favorite stone, and since I won't be able to change them before my niece's wedding, I went with the white fake diamond look. They don't bother me at all, in fact I forget I have them until my hand brushes them and I think it's a fly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Out of order

I'm not very good at timing generally, either I'm late(usually) or early, so it's not surprising that I missed posting on Father's Day. Not that J even knows that I write this down. I did give him gifts- some on Saturday, because they were plants and hard to wrap. He got some little gargoyle heads and a pizza pan on Sunday though, so that was a surprise,to get more goodies.

We have lupines which we planted in the back of our wildflower space, and they are slowly spreading forward to where we can see them. Since we didn't have any yellow/white ones yet, I looked for one at our usual greenhouse. Not only did they only have the purple ones(called blue- why ?) but they were dwarf ones. We need taller plants, not shorter. On my way out, I saw an orange poppy waving at me. J's mom had poppies in her garden and this made me think of her, so I got it. I also picked up a fancy # 5 house number, with a scrolly bottom.

On my way home, I pass another nursery, so I checked there and found just what I wanted- tall, white and a dollar cheaper. Yay! So John got two plants for the front of the space. The rain has gotten to the poppy, but there's another bud coming- it is to the right of the lupine in this photo:

I know, not a good picture, but it does show the area, which is over our septic field. This area used to be the top of the cow pasture, where a huge feeding trough was, next to the barn. When the new septic system was installed, the good rich topsoil was piled up to the side. I questioned that and was told that they would take it away to dispose of, since sand had to be installed for drainage. I told them I would like to keep it and have it spread out. Well, they did. At the side of the mound, not on top. So now we can't keep up with mowing the grass on the side, and it's piss-poor growing conditions on top.

We decided to grow wildflowers there, and we mow the whole thing down each fall. The look has changed every year, it used to be covered with marguerite daisies, which I would have sworn nothing could crowd out. Now we have the lupines coming from the back, and Gaillarda daisies(blanket flower) in the front, which are just starting to bloom- the little orange color to the right. In the middle are thistles. John hates them and they were the bane of our barefooted kids in the past. But, they look pretty with the purple flowers, and the goldfinches love the seeds. So they stay and a few get removed every year just to show them who's boss.

We also have Stinging Nettles trying to take over from the road bank. After several years of cutting them down, we planted apple mint at the top of the slope, and they are winning the possession battle. Yay for mint. Brushing against the nettles causes a reaction that feels like a bee sting. The only way we've found to counteract the reaction to the little hairs on the stalks is to immediately wash with soap and water. The rash stays around for an hour or so, but it doesn't burn or sting anymore.

Well, this has strayed far from Father's Day, hasn't it? J had to work, but the kids all called later in the day and he always enjoys talking to them. Sectaurs reassured him that he had renewed his NetFlix gift subscription, so his movies can continue.

I forget what we had for dinner. Hamburgers maybe. Nice day anyway.

Monday, June 22, 2009

weddings are fun

My brother (2) got married on Saturday, for the first time, at the ripe old age of 54. He and his wife have lived happily together for the past 28 years, may they have many more. As he explained, they had always planned on marrying when they got to an age where legal controls and privileges might become important. Since 2 is self-employed, CS's insurance covered them both, and was going to become more stringent in eligibility requirements as of June 30. It was time.

They planned to go to a Justice of the Peace, but the people at their local feed store made other plans when they heard about it. Their friends helped them celebrate their marriage among the feed bags and had a very good time. One sister, 3, and one of her daughters flew down to Texas as a surprise as well.

CS tap danced in to "Going to the Chapel" and they walked out to "Happy Together". Sounds perfect.

(I took the liberty of posting a picture- I hope I don't get in trouble- ;p- but then again, no one else sees this)

PS- when I checked the post, I noticed the striking similarity of 2's and my hairstyle. I must admit he had it first.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sumac a go go

J's 2nd day off and he wanted to get rid of our sumac patch out back. We do this every 7-10 years- they grow like weeds and get just too big. We don't worry about getting rid of all of them- the small ones look pretty in the fall when the leaves turn bright red.

We stacked the brush at the edge of the woods where it will provide shelter for mice and such. Too bad the sumac wood isn't much good for anything. But it is one fine brush pile! J thinks I am too anal about brush neatness, but it just makes it so much easier in the long run. And I don't say anything about him restacking his wood piles to look better.

The big chain saw didn't cooperate so J had to use my electric one and some of the trunks were at the top end of it's size range. That and the brush underfoot caused the decision to cut them higher than we normally do. Now it looks like a swarm of sea serpents rising through the weeds. At least to us it does.

Can't see them?

Try squinting.

Wait until we add permanent heads when we have free time on our hands! Bwa ha ha. I think we horrify our kids sometimes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beautiful day in our neighborhood

We had a nice sunny, warm day and J was off. Lots of little tasks accomplished, and the yard is looking good. Our hay field was cut yesterday, and they baled it tonight, finishing just before sundown.

We own about 8 acres, with roughly six being originally a cow pasture. There were still cows in it when we bought the place- a local farmer used it for his pregnant cows. We continued to let him keep them there each summer, in return for free milk.

After he stopped farming, another neighbor asked if he could mow it for us, in exchange for the hay. This worked very nicely, since we didn't want it to be overgrown with weeds. Later still, another neighbor asked if he could summer pasture his horses there. We saved the top portion as a hayfield, and have had horses to look at each summer since. He mows it, gets the hay, and gives us a dozen or so bales each fall. Win/win.

Now there's a lovely scent of freshly mown hay in the air, and a clear vista down the pasture. When the wild turkeys come out with their broods we'll be able to see them, instead of just seeing the waving grass as they move along.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend update

So, another weekend is past, one day was sunny and one rainy- guess which one J had to work on? Right.

The good news is that the b-i-l came home after a day in the hospital, with no lasting ill effects, and Re's surgery had no surprises.

Saturday I got out early (for me) and hit a couple of yard sales, with no major finds. I did get one goodie for J, which I knew he would love. And he did.

I dodged a bullet at the first yard sale- After pulling off the road unto a mowed portion of the field, I heard a horrible metal-scraping-the-the-bottom-of-car sound. Stopped and looked underneath, and I had bent a metal rod, about as thick as my thumb, and two feet high. How I didn't see it I don't know, it must have been right at the corner of the hood, and hidden.

Anyway, I tried backing up- only moved a few inches, and when I checked again underneath, it was wedged between the muffler and a clamp. There was a small tree and about 20 feet between me and people, and no one seemed to be staring at me, so I figured I would act casual and shop a bit, pretending that I was not stuck on a metal pole. In case I haven't mentioned my social anxiety/phobia, I hate making mistakes or actually, doing anything in public. "Nothing to see here, move along" is my motto.

So, I bought hangers for a quarter, and then mentioned to the lady that I had run over a rod, I'm very sorry. And she said Yeah, you did, which blew my theory about nobody noticing right out of the water. She yelled for a man to come over, and we went to my car. I must say, they were both very nice about it. He confirmed it was just a stick, nothing attached- a surveying post, in fact, and told me I could probably drive forward and off it. So, of course I put the car in reverse first! I did make my escape, with no damage other than long groove running down the side of the muffler. Whew!

On Sunday we drove into Lewiston and shopped a bit. Outside the Dollar Tree was a couple getting signatures for a petition to overturn the gay marriage bill. The lady was pretty aggressively approaching people, walking toward everyone as they got out of their cars, not waiting until they came to her table. I was waiting for J to catch up to me, and she got through with the man who had been loudly agreeing with her about court decisions, unfair votes, etc, and called after us "Will you sign this to allow the people to define the meaning of 'marriage'?" Normally I shake my head and keep walking, but in this case I told her, No, I think it's fine the way it is. Which was extremely bold for me.

Then, to top that off, when we came out of the store(circling around the other exit- no need to provoke anyone) we saw a third person had joined their group. I thought at first that he must be arguing with them, since he had long hair, a beaded choker and a large earring. But that is why you don't judge a book by it's cover. He and the lady went over to a parked car, that we had noticed before. It was a station wagon, completely painted in Grateful Dead style- yellow, with skeletons on the body and red flowers on top, with a California license plate. Did they really drive from CA to protest a Maine law? That doesn't seem legal, or ethical, or something. Why don't they mind their own business?

That was our weekend. Today it rained, and J has to work at 4 am this week. He has Wednesday and Thursday off, and has to work both weekend days. Darn inventory anyway.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ameranth visits

Another quickie post today, with pictures of our dogs with a guest, Anna, who came up for a visit with Ameranth. Anna is Rosie's big sister, in a non-related, but brought up together way, and she reasserts her dominance whenever she comes up. Boomer and she went a few rounds of barking and aggression, but no biting, just a lot of sound and fury.

All friends now, as shown in these pictures. They sat patiently waiting for a treat while we tried to get them lined up.

We will be taking care of Anna in July, when Ameranth and Sectaurs go off to Comic-Con in San Diego, so this was an introductory trip. Ameranth doesn't want to feel guilty about leaving her baby!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Positive Power

Just a quickie post today to send out positive thoughts and energy through the ether to two in-laws, both in R.I.

Our brother-in-law has diabetes and is on dialysis, and has had some ups and downs, in and out of hospital lately. He went in again last night, all we know so far is that he had 'stroke-like' symptoms. Hope you feel better and get home soon.

And J's sister, Re, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will have surgery on Friday. Good news is that it was detected early and has not spread. I will not imagine this not going smoothly, and that is the cosmic energy I am sending out!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

This was another productive, if tiring, weekend. J insisted we plant Indian corn, and the rest of his pumpkin seeds, plus more sunflowers. Done.

J also brought out our garden decorations, and placed them hither and yon. This is his favorite, the weathervane that was on top of our barn when we moved here. There were other spikes with the blue glass balls, all connected as part of a lightning rod system.

Trimmed some limbs off the devil tree, otherwise known as a Norway maple, a very invasive plant. There were no trees in our backyard when we moved here in 1987, since it was mostly cow pasture, so we planted some maples trees from my grandfather's yard. We should have wondered why he had so many young trees available!

Norway maples grow quickly, and are wonderful shade trees, but the dense shade quickly kills off any plants beneath them, and their little helicopter seeds number in the thousands. We did not know all of this, honestly, we didn't.

So, we cut one down that was killing the lilac bushes, and another three just because they were there. We have one left in the yard, and each year we trim the bottom branches so we can see down the field. You'd think the tree would respond by holding up it's limbs, and keeping out of our way. No, this perverse thing keeps drooping more new shoots down and we keep trimming.

A few years ago, Sectaurs took a bow saw up in one tree, and cut off every branch he could get to. This left a Serengeti plain looking thing, and we figured it would die, and we would get it taken down easier. Of course, it bushed out at the top as if it welcomed the pruning. The strange appearance did prolong it's life, until the amusement wore off.

The rhododendron that was ravaged by deer last winter has a flower or two. I really thought it was a goner when I saw it, but by golly, it is a fighter.

Ironically, all the hens are dead, and the plant lives on.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's getting warmer!

Yay! It is finally feeling like spring here, especially since we have our garden planted- mostly. We still have to get some peppers and a cucumber in. We have some corn, potatoes and tomatoes(in pots this year, due to pillaging) but the bulk of the space goes to pumpkins. Have I mentioned J goes all out for Halloween?

He loves growing the giant pumpkins, with varying degrees of success each year. We also grow the white 'ghost' pumpkins- full size this year, last year the minis. I stuck some gourds in the mix and we'll see what we end up with, since it was a packet of mixed types.

I am feeling very satisfied, since yesterday I got the border covered with newspapers and mulch hay, to prevent the weeds from sneaking in, and today it was fenced in. Two foot high wire will hopefully allow us to let the hens out of their yard and keep them out of the garden, which is on their doorstep.

The front garden is weeded now, just in time for my old fashioned yellow irises to bloom. I still have two on the side to go, that face the other road we front. One of those may be tackled this afternoon, when the sun moves around the other side of the house. By weeds, I mean the grass that invades every garden I plant. Grass, and violets.

Years ago a violet or two showed up in my garden. How nice, I thought and left it there. Big mistake- violets qualify as an invasive plant in my book, if no one else's. Pretty little purple or white flowers in the spring, then massive leaf growth and knotted, stubborn root masses that crowd out every other plant they encounter. I no longer feel any compunction about ripping them out, although I do mutter 'collateral damage' to other flowers taken by accident.

Two hollyhocks are still in their pots. I want them to go in front of the porch posts, but need to protect them from the dogs, who will be attracted to the turned over dirt. Still pondering that.

Break time is over.