Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nothing To Say?

I have been feeling that a post is due, yet I don't know what to say, really.  Maybe it's time to just start thinking and typing the see what spills out all over the page.

The weather, despite a cool and damp holiday weekend, seems to be catching up to 'normal'.  The planet's movements will not be denied, Summer will happen eventually.  Rain is forecast off and on for the next several days, ending sometime this weekend.  Hopefully it will be done by Saturday afternoon, when we will be hosting an outdoor gathering for all of our friends and neighbors.  We did this a few times with mixed success due to weather, then missed a couple years due to my various injuries and surgeries, etc.  Now, with good weather, I am hoping for a large turnout and a fun evening for all.

The kitties and I were alone last week.  My wife was sent by her work to Michigan for a week long seminar.  She left Monday morning and arrived home very late Thursday evening, foregoing an extra night, along with her work companion, to get home sooner.  The cats and I managed to survive the ordeal.  We didn't starve to death yet or even mess up the house too much by the time she got back, but we all missed her and loved having her back early.

Kate added 4 strawberry plants to the 4 or so we had left after the squirrels marauded the early planted plants.  I took a lot of pictures of the yard and garden that day, but none after the planting.  I have to remember to note it over at the garden blog.  I do try to make that place look nice and all, but really it is kind of our 'garden diary'.  Several times we have referred back to earlier posts to check how things were last year or before.  Mostly interesting to only us.

I have been complimented on our lawn a few times by friends, and I am thankful.  Now that I own a house the outdoors and lawn are a focus of mine.  I do want a nice lawn, but I do really, really hate dandelions (and other weeds, but I really hate dandelions) and I am learning how to seed and fertilize as we go.  We inherited a pretty good lawn when we got the house, thankfully, and I think I'm getting better at maintaining and improving upon that.  I'd like to say that I never thought I'd be that way, but, yeah, I am and always have been kind of that way.

That's all I can think of that I can talk about right now.  If you're still reading, thanks for showing interest.  Until next time - PTFO

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scoakat's Blog - GIZOOGLED ! ! !


This is just toooo funny - you have to click it.  Especially with my wordy posts recently....
Seriously, you may want to follow this link rather than my actual one....Sooo Funny...

Caution: some translations may be nsfw.

Click here to go to Gizoogle Home.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Raccoon Anniversary

This last week I took some time off here and there to get away from work for a bit and spent much of that time off working on the garage path project - see last post.  But because I had that time off and spent a lot of time out in the back yard I was a part in retired nice neighbor Dave's nuisance - that became ours as well.  It seems a raccoon had taken up residence in the attic of the back part of his house, through an odd corner in his roof that I can see plainly from my back yard.  He talked to me about it over the weekend, 8 days ago.  It seems there was no or little access to the attic from inside, and later told me he called a service to remove it.  In fact, we saw the raccoon that Sunday evening sitting outside the hole on the roof.  The cats were probably why we noticed.

The critter guy showed up on Monday, probably early afternoon, I was planting plants in the pot out front.  After the critter guy and neighbor Dave walked back to look and discuss, they approached me to ask if I had any problem with it being killed.  I told them no, I know it had to go, I was hoping that would be the end of it, but it was just the beginning.  The critter guy rigged up some plywood and wire mesh contraption to steer the animal out and into the trap.  Asphyxiation, he said, is how it would die.

Yes, the next morning, Tuesday, I saw it hanging there off the roof, having gotten strangled by the trap.  I warned my wife that may happen and closed the blinds on that side of the porch.  I know it bothered my wife, but she did her best to block it out the next morning.  My wife doesn't know this, but that did bother me a quite a bit then, it was still twitching when I left for work so I know it had to be a very slow, painful death.  Yet, I was hoping that was the end of it and all would be forgotten and the hole patched up.  I was very wrong.

On Thursday morning I was out working and saw 3 different raccoon babies making noises and venturing only just outside the hole the critter guy left so he could catch their mother.  I alerted neighbor Dave to this and he gave the critter guy a call.  He arrived shortly and was able to get two of the baby raccoons, leaving one of my confirmed sighting of three.  Wrong again.

On Saturday morning we were outside working and saw 3 baby raccoons crying for their mom and venturing outside the hole.  Again I alerted Dave, this time I had to call him, he's hard of hearing so I didn't know if he just couldn't hear me knock on his door or not.  Turns out, he was down by the lake fishing.  After riding his bike back, the 3 little ones were still up there making a fuss so he called the critter guy again.  Again the critter guy showed up in short order and managed to wrangle two more of the baby raccoons.  The fifth, and last, baby raccoon baby got back inside the hole.  This is Saturday, 5 days without its mother.

That evening we were hosting a party for some close friends for our 12th wedding anniversary.  We were all outside and couldn't help but watch the little raccoon up on the neighbors roof, but what could we do?  Neighbor Dave was out for the evening and I didn't want to have to call him again.  Eventually the little raccoon fell off the roof.  Nearby was an empty garbage can so I used my grabber to pick up the baby raccoon and place him in it.  Over the night some gave him grapes and popcorn, but we're not sure if it ate any.  When the party ended I gave neighbor Dave a knock and he had just arrived home so I filled him in.  I'm sure he called the critter guy first thing in the morning but he just got their answering service.  This was Sunday, I guess critter guys don't work on Sunday.

All day Sunday we would hear the baby raccoon in the trash can, when it napped we thought it may be dead, but no, it still seemed amazingly well at times for being over 5 days without its mother and, presumably, any source of food or water.  Meanwhile, this was really eating at my wife, Kate.  I tried to take the stance that it's not our problem but she had to do something.  And, yes, rightfully so.  After consulting her sister she eventually found where she could take it immediately.  After I asked Dave to call the critter guy once more to no avail, we boxed up the baby raccoon and she took it to a shelter for that type of animal.  This was late Sunday evening by now.

The baby raccoon now hopefully has a new life, my wife's conscious is clear, and I love her for making a stand and saving the little one.  Alone, I would have blocked it out as much as I could for one more day, and probably felt terrible about it.  I'm not sure what that means, macho man stuff maybe?  I don't know.

I love you, Kate.  Happy 12th anniversary.

(This story is a bit simplified from the full details, but I'm no novelist)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Garage Path Project

20130512 032I know blogging has been light lately but it has been a busy May around here and will be for a couple more weeks.  This past week I spent much of my free time tending to the narrow path alongside our garage.  Since we moved in I have done nothing with it other than knock back all the weeds and ferns that had taken up residence.  Now that they were eliminated you could see how ugly it looked over there.

I spent much time on my hands and knees scooping up the lava rock that covered most of the area.  The top layer was easy, the bottom 2 to 3 inches was rock that was embedded in mud above the plastic weed barrier that was put in place about 300 years ago or so.  The rock is needed because the garage has no gutters and the rain needs to fall somewhere without eroding into the ground.  On the other side of the garage the water drips onto the wood that edges the lily of the valley we have in that flower bed.  After scooping up a bucketful I then rinsed the rock in the wheelbarrow with the hose a couple times before dumping it on a tarp in the driveway for further rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing eventually deeming it clean enough for reuse.

20130518 002
Once I got all the usable rock out and had it to bare earth, I leveled it as much as I could before putting in the landscape fabric.  I used 10 year standard fabric, doubled up.  Now, many people don't like the fabric and prefer to use plastic as a better weed barrier, but I really wanted the water to absorb into the ground more easily.  Sure, we may still get some weeds eventually, but not many and I can just spray dead what does move in.  Since the area the rock covered before was not quite the width of the space, I bought stepping stones to put in the area.  All in all, the stepping stones worked well to take up space and the reused rock was just the right amount to fill in the area around them.

It was a big job that I chipped away at all week, but I'm glad it's done and I do think it looks much nicer than before.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

I took just a little time off this week starting with today and I managed to be pretty productive.  First, our refrigerator wasn't refrigerating very well so I had to call a repair man first thing this morning.  He was here this afternoon and fixed it rather quickly and easily.

20130513 005I also made a trip to the hardware store to get supplies for the garage side project, and to get some flowers to plant in our pot our front.  Kate didn't want red or purple so I got white petunias and a couple other plants that looked kind of neat.  I messed up, though, the orange leafy thing is supposed to be for shadier areas.  Oh well, I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.  Overall the house front looks very nice this spring with the plants we buy and the tulips and little white things that Kate planted last fall.  The evergreen bushes are still looking a bit rough from being pounded down by snow all winter.  That's another project, tying them all up and making them look nice.  Before next winter I'll have to try something to prevent that happening again.

The bulk of the day was spent digging up and cleaning rocks along the side of the garage and I'm only about a third done.  The rock has been there so long there is much dirt along with the rock on the plastic that was used as a weed barrier, so I have been rinsing each bucketful in the wheelbarrow a couple times then dumping it on a tarp in the driveway for more rinsing.  I'm glad that I'm reusing this rock but getting it out and cleaned is a pain.  It will be a couple days before I can get back at it, but I hope to have it done by Saturday night.  That may be a pipe dream, but it would be nice to have it done already.   How's your yard shaping up this spring?  Anybody?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day 2013

To me, well, everything can remind me of a song - any odd and old song.  I drive my wife nuts with that because I can - and do - play that song within seconds sometimes, otherwise I may sing it, and unfortunately for her I can't sing to save my life.  So, naturally, for a Mother's Day post I was looking at some of the 'mother' songs off the top of my head and , oh, they're all out there - good and bad- including:
I'm sure if I thought about it I would find tons more songs about moms.  We all have one, we love them, and we try to do them proud.  Well, Mom, knowing me and you may or may not agree that we're all a bit crazy so this seemed more apt to me*:

Slade - Mama  I'm  Weer all Crazee Now

I love you, Mom.  I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day and even more wonderful retirement with Dan.

*Okay maybe that sentence does or doesn't make sense, but it was fun to say out loud to myself last night when I drafted this post!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Spring Update

It has been a week since I've posted so earlier today I just started drafting some things and have added as I've had a mind to all day.  There is nothing big going on, so these are just recent thoughts and happenings:

We just missed having a snowstorm in May.  100 miles or more due west was a north/south line of snow that just moved north upon itself giving many places a foot or more.  Thankfully, we just got some rain and temps in the 40's and no snow - kind of odd to be thankful for that in May.

Our yard and plants are progressing, at about the same rate as this Spring, slowly.  We've had some blooms but the best is yet to come.  We went out today to look at plants and price some items for other projects.  We did purchase our usual hanging plant medley for the front of the house, though we did not find the type of petunia that we want to plant in the big pot out front, but more plants will be in the shops soon and there is plenty of time for that.  There has been no new action in the garden since the last update at that site.

Kittens are now cats, over a year old and big, well, Basil is pretty big, Hamish is adult size but smaller.  For brothers they are two totally different cat types, physically.  They still love the cat tree and spend much of their time on it, sleeping, scratching and playing.  They are more at our level and love being pet while they squirm around in the top area.  Being able to look out two windows from it also keeps them occupied.

We had a party last weekend for our friend Terry (and her sister Becky), who was going to the Kentucky Derby this weekend.  It was fun with friends, but I stayed up late and sent out an email to a few of those friends with links to the few videos I had posted here that they are in.  In the process of trying to upgrade an old video on a post a few years ago I lost the original post.  A bad mistake, but it wasn't much I lost, maybe 100 words of drivel just to post the video - which is reposted bigger now.  Lesson learned that I should already know:  Don't edit or post when drunk.

I got in touch with an old, good friend recently.  He seems to be okay, even though I hear the tales of woe every time we do talk, but he seems to actually have his life in as much order as any of us.  But he does have kids, while we don't, so I know he has a lot more going on every day than I do.  To him I might be livin' the life, but really it's just a different kind of life.  Anyway, contacting him is weird sometimes because I feel like I'm interrupting - remember that I don't digitally connect (facebook, twitter, text), I'm still old-fashioned that way.

I'm sure there is more that I am forgetting but there is a lot on our radar this Spring, things like getting a new dining table, planning our next two parties coming up soon, yard and garden projects and more.  Everything in due time (and dollars).  Highlights, as always, will be posted.  Have a great weekend, all!