Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meanwhile, out in the yard

The deck is very nice. Love the sound it makes when you walk across it. We got the table moved onto it with the help of a friend, and have thus far used it for lunching on just twice. The weather has been poor, and dining out in the yard is just not happening very often. Once it warms up, we should be out there a lot.

In preparation for many fair-weather meals to come, The Card Player bought me an early birthday present – a raspberry-colored parasol. Now that the table is not in the shade of the cherry tree, we need to make shade for it. Fix one problem (chair legs sinking into the ground) and create another (sunburned head). Parasol is still in its box in the basement, waiting for a sunny weekend.

A walnut tree sprouted in the yard. I like walnuts and would be happy to have a tree of my own. It needs to be moved, though, having decided to come up in the middle of the veg patch. Where to put it is a good question. Walnuts make cold shade, so don’t count on many veg growing under it. They also get pretty big.

I have a big yard, but it’s fairly crowded with trees already. Cut down five so far and there’s still not room for a big old walnut.

For the moment I’m going with walnut-in-a-pot. Probably should have got a bigger pot. In digging up the sprout I realized it’s probably been there not just one year like I thought, but maybe three or four. I’m frequently chopping sprouts from the plum tree right on the edge of the veg patch, and the random apples that come up from the compost, and the wild roses that keep coming back again and again. When they’re really small, who knows what they are? I did not get an A in botany. The plums are the worst, since they come up from the root system and not from seeds. Every week I’m dealing with wannabe plum trees.

Anyway, I ripped it out of there and we potted it. There was a lot of damage to the roots, but so far it’s looking ok. Perhaps I’ll let JP torture it into a sort of bonsai. He might like that. At any rate, the pot matches the parasol.
Yes, I should get a better photo of it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sweetness and light

So very much to say about all the ridiculous politics going on. The impossibility of communicating with people, the dissemination of lies and how lies become truth to good-willed people who just haven’t looked any farther. So much to rail against, but who will be persuaded? The Others who need persuading don’t read this blog, and even if they did they would just persist in believing their lies, labelling me the poor misguided schnook.

Kittens with string!

I don’t have any kittens. My cats are old, though they do play with string. This really annoys me, because I knit, and because I have a considerable stash of yet-unknitted yarn that I would like to be able to keep in pretty baskets without having said baskets dumped out all over the floor, and said balls of yarn all knotted up and damaged.

Bad cats.

But I just have to say – nobody thinks that controlling guns will stop all gun violence and accidents. But not being able to eliminate all of that is not in any way a reason to not try to stop what you can. And really, people, you want somebody who proposes going against everything America is for, for president? Yes he does want to persecute according to religion. Yes he does want to persecute according to race. Yes he does want to appoint Supreme Court justices on the basis of their willingness to go after his personal peeves.

And you spineless Republicans, your party has been hijacked; it’s been perverted into something unrecognizable. You’re OK with that, out of “loyalty”? To whom? Not to this country! There used to be a time when I would look at the candidates, and I’d think, well, that’s a good idea on the Rep side, and this other one is good on the Dem side: if only all the good ideas could go together but I’ll have to vote for the one with the most good stuff and hope that bipartisanship will take care of the rest. These days the GOP just makes one cringe in horror.
Ah, time to go home and see what the felines have barfed on today.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Went with Mariette a couple of weeks ago for a walk in the woods. Actually, a walk in her woods: she wanted to check out the state of her pines and hickorys, and see if it was going to be a good blueberry season.
Pretty dark in the woods, and no interesting long shots, so here are some close-ups.
It is good to go look at the trees now and then.
Some of them were missing - two of the biggest pines, magnificent spécimens all straight and tall, had been stolen. Mariette has a map of the place, showing all the really valuable trees, but she didn't have it with her or we'd have done an inventory. That kind of theft is not uncommon, but it's pretty expensive to prevent unless you live close enough to be a real presence.
Those are pansies, not violets. Note the pointed leaves.
Yes, Ma'am. Duly noted.

The Island of Wild Geraniums.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Home Improvement

So it was decided that we should have a nice wooden terrace behind the house.
It's nice to eat at the table under the cherry tree, but 
1. the chair legs tend to sink into the lawn unexpectedly and dump you onto the ground
2. you can't get the mower really close around the legs

And also, the concrete pad is just an insightly mess. As a thin layer of concrete over dirt, patching the holes and cracks is useless - you have to destroy the whole thing and start over. I dump a lot of weedkiller on it when things really get growing, but it's a losing race. Bernard doesn't want to spend any money fixing it this year, but I'm welcome to do what I like (no deducting from the rent, alas).

JP figured a wooden platform about 4 meters by 2 1/2 would be pretty cheap and easy to build, and I'm out there a lot, so let's just do it. I don't plan on moving soon.
9 2x4's, 27 planks, 6 bags of mortar, a box of really huge screws, and a box of more regular screws. And a rental truck for an hour. A bit more than we'd calculated, but once the terrace bug is on you, you gotta have one.
The first day, he only laid down two of the cross-ties before it started to rain. Better off playing bridge when it rains. After that the weather was more cooperative. 
6 bags of mortar was barely enough to get all the ties fixed and level. In places he needed to fill a couple of inches, and even then on the highest ground the ties are laid flat, not on edge.
Time for the planking! 
Dang, didn't get nearly enough screws. Lucky that certain stores are allowed to open on Sundays. Get the bucket-full this time.
Getting close to the end... Oh, no! missing about a plank and a half. Off to BricoMan yet again.
When we were there Friday morning, there was nobody much in the store, and we could drive around the lot with ease. This time it seemed like Pentacost Monday is actually National DIY day. No matter having to wait around, but just our luck they had sold out of the 2.4m planks. Friday they had plenty plenty. Today, none. Fortunately, they still had 4m planks, so we took one of those.
And there you have it.
Now to find some strong arms to help with the table.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Can we hope for an end?

I'm not usually a political person at all. I really don't get it, and all. Politics is like a story somebody is telling in a language I usually know the words to, but it somehow doesn't make any sense for more than two or three words in a row.
But this season is just fascinating.
Like a slow-motion train wreck.
I've never been a big fan of the GOP, and since the Tea Party came around have been sincerely against the 'grand' old. Don't get me started on the reasons why.
The Reps are in danger of losing all credibility, what between the candidates for their presidential nomination, and the balls-up over the Supreme Court nomination. They can't stand for a candidate who doesn't stand for anything they stand for (what do they stand for, again?? pro-life, but not in favor of helping people live? oh, yes, I wasn't going to get started), but they can't just toss him out if he wins the nomination outright. Then, they're the party 'for' constititional purity, but the constitution is what they're trampling on in the court fight. Be jerks or be cowards, cowards or jerks. Cowardice is out of the question, but they've never been afraid to be jerks.

All of which has people wondering what the future of the GOP is.

Well, perhaps it should not have a future. Perhaps at last the USA can have some real multi-party politics. Not just black vs white, Us vs Them gridlock.
Go ahead, take your courage in hand and split up. If DT takes the GOP nomination, making the party into something unrecognisable, those who want the party they do recognise can go and make a new party.
The Dems could do that too.
And we could get rid of the Electoral College, have a real representational vote.
Just a thought.