Saturday, May 30, 2015

Out and about the yard and garden

I'm enjoying the progress of things in the yard and garden.

Little green peas are forming.

Squash plants are emerging.
Tomato plants are growing.

Then there are the mysteries...
At the end of driveway, there is a puddle (which I'm sure would be a little smaller if everyone drove in as gently as I do).  When there is water in it, the birds use it for bathing or drinking, and the neighbor's dog gets a drink on occasion as well.  I kind of gauge how dry the weather is by whether or not there is any water or mud in the puddle.  (We did get a thundershower a few days ago.)
Today when I checked the mail, there was mud on the mailbox.  How in the world did that get there?  Nobody turns in the drive rambunctiously enough to splash mud from the puddle onto the mailbox.

Aha!  It must have been the puddle bathers.  They left their prints!
Meanwhile, "back at the ranch," Toad is guarding the tomato plants.  The tag says "Early Girl."  I guess the early girl gets the bugs.
That's what's happening here.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Siding job finally done

Nineteen days ago, the guys supposedly finished the siding job.  They missed a couple of boards and a piece of trim.  We let them know the job wasn't finished, but in the interim, darling husband paid them the final payment.*  They finally got by today to finish up.  It didn't take them very long at all--maybe 15 minutes to do the job.  What a relief to have closure and to not be constantly wondering when or if the crew would show up in my backyard unannounced.  I had asked darling son if he thought they would ever show up, and he said, "At an hour that ye think not..."  Ha ha, he was right. 

*I have noted how Naomi in the story of Ruth KNEW that Boaz would not let the day finish without taking care of business, and I think Boaz must have been a man like darling husband who will not let the sun go down without taking care of business (which can sometimes be a nerve wracking thing for a partner who wants to not rush things).  I thought the final payment should have waited until the job was COMPLETED, but dh wanted to get the paperwork finished.

I think I'm going to feel relieved when the reality sinks in that this job is done.  Then I guess I can worry about replacing the awning.  I had put that on the back burner while we were trying to do the other things.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Evening update

After prepping the bed, I went by the local supply store to get some seeds and plants (and by the grocery store to use my $3/3 Klondike Bar coupon).  I'm going to forgive the guy for being less than helpful with the surveyor's tape last month because he gave me a free flat of tomato plants that were getting too leggy to sell.  My neighbor was there, too, and we discussed the plants and seeds we wanted to get--partners in "grime."
The bed I prepped today was prime real estate as far as my garden is concerned, and I dearly wanted to plant the squash and cukes there.  However, I had planted squash there last year, so I put some banana peppers and bell pepper plants that I had bought this afternoon there.
I removed the lower leaves as well as the green tomatoes from the leggy tomato plants.  Then I buried most of the stem in a trench.  Tomato plants will root readily along the stem.
(the picture was taken just before I covered the stem all along the portion of soil that is wet)
I only got 3 of the tomatoes planted.  All totaled, there were 8 peppers.  I worked up enough sweat to really appreciate a mint chocolate chip Klondike Bar.

In the garden, FINALLY

We have been getting some asparagus (though it's not a favorite veggie in this household), and I did plant some garden peas the day before the hailstorm.  Other than that, things have been on hold because of the craziness of the repairs.  You wouldn't think it would be so crazy, but it managed to be.  The total number of days it would have taken the crew to do the work would have been four or five, but there were all kinds of obstacles.  One of the big things was trying to chase down a source for our discontinued siding.  We ended up ordering a couple of boxes from 90 miles away.  Then we were flummoxed when that ran short of being what we needed.  We found another half box about 150 miles away.  Each time, the boxes were shipped to a place a little over 30 miles from here.  Darling husband made 2 trips there for the two shipments of siding.  Darling son made 1 trip there to switch the color of the corner board.  I made 1 trip there to get the right color of J-channel.  I hated never knowing when the work crew would show up.  Once the guy appeared unannounced to bring the shingle samples.  Once he appeared unannounced to check the color of the fascia trim.  One Saturday morning the crew appeared to SUPPOSEDLY finish the work.  (They missed two boards and a piece of trim--so the work is STILL not complete.)  Then there were the days when I thought they were coming, but they did not show up.  There were a few of those.  So a five-day job has become a five-week headache, and it's still not finished.  The windshield was the same thing.  Only a day or so after my windshield was replaced, the little rubber piece (molding they called it) started flapping.  Finally, we arranged for the guy to come back out to redo what had not been done correctly the first time.  The window of time I was given for this 10-minute glue job was 5 hours.  So, I can expect the guy any time from noon to 5:00.  Of course, it turned out to be a few minutes before 6:00 before he was able to get here, LOL!
(Of course, I had a few days of what my mom refers to as gallivanting, which she averred would always interfere with getting the stuff done at home.)
But, FINALLY I was able to get out into the garden yesterday.  It was therapeutic.  The scent of the soil and the bolted cilantro, the sight of peas growing and the lady bugs that always seem attracted to them, the physical activity of clearing out the old turnip bed--it all seemed to relax me.  I worked some late this morning, too.  I began digging the bed with my broken, three-tined fork (and the wretched cow-itch vine that I broke the fork trying to remove last year is growing back).  Caleb helped me screen some compost.  I didn't work that long, but I might have gotten a little too hot.  I'm a few days outside the window of time to plant squash and cukes, but I'm going to try my best to get seeds in the ground today.  Here are some pics of the goings on.

the ladybug...

the peas...
the garden bed before...

and after...

I'm picking out the little twigs of dead Leyland cypress that were left in the bed from the hailstorm last month.
It's so good to be back in the garden.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Acts of kindness

You never know how long a window will be open for acts of kindness to an individual.  Caleb would sometimes give rides to fellow picker, Joe Martin.  We were shocked to hear Joe has passed away.  Our friend Brooks made a good tribute video.  You can see Caleb in the plaid shirt next to Joe.  I've been challenged by Caleb's generous heart.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Disc golf with ds

Friday, I had the privilege of spending some recreational time with darling son.  We played 9 "holes" of disc golf and then had a meal at Taco Bell before he had to go to the coffee shop to play with the band. 
I remember as a kid playing a game our older brother came up with.  When we were lucky enough to spend time at Camp John J. Barnhardt, we would play with a Frisbee and see how few times it would take to throw it across a field and hit a totem pole.  I thought it was a fun game.  Disc golf is played on the same principle except there are metal baskets instead of totem poles and the discs are more specialized.  There is a nice disc golf course not too far from us.  My only issue is when I do very much twisting motion like throwing a plastic disc, I end up with a lot of discomfort in my lower back the next day or so.  (My score was pretty wretched, but that didn't keep me from enjoying the afternoon.) 
It had been a while since I had played.  There have been a few changes to the course which have improved things (except for a few places where it has become mandatory to go to the left of a pole or tree--that just made it harder for the golfers, though probably a bit safer for the other park goers).  Here are some pics from the outing.

I remember when we used to go to this park when Caleb was young and we wondered what those metal baskets were for.  At some point, Caleb and I each found discs languishing in a mud puddle there at the park.  We played our first games with found discs.  Then I had the idea for us to give him a basic set of discs and a bag for Christmas one year.  It's been an enjoyable pastime.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bluegrass band competition at Fairgrounds

Today we went to the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds to watch a friendly bluegrass band competition.  I couldn't be in two places at once and would love to have taken in more of the festival, but I spent most of the time watching the bands.  The stage was right outside the Dorton Arena
next to the cascade.

The band Steady Drive won the competition.  Those guys are good and have a very smooth, consistent, traditional bluegrass sound.
Caleb was playing with Victoria Lee and New Ground (one of several bands he plays with).


They took the second place trophy!
Here is the band flanked by Jim Knight, manager of the Got to Be NC Festival (in the yellow shirt) and bluegrass DJ Buddy Michaels.  Way back even before Caleb was born, Roger and I used to listen to a bluegrass show on Sunday afternoons hosted by Buddy Michaels.  Good memories, there.
Congrats to Victoria Lee and New Ground!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May flowers

Darling husband brought me some Mother's Day flowers last Friday evening.  He had the idea of combining the 3 bouquets into one arrangement, but I preferred to have them in separate vases.

It turned out that rootstock Dr. Huey had not completely taken over the yellow rose, so I cut the first bud for darling husband.

Stop and smell the roses.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Prothonotary warblers, water snakes, trucker's hitches

My days of formal schooling are long past, but I still like to learn.  In fact, I enjoy learning more without the pressure of deadlines and grades.  In prepping for our canoe trip, I thought I might need to learn a better knot.  We had previously hauled the canoe to the lake with what was basically a taut line hitch, but this trip would entail hauling the canoe for 130 miles one way.  The internet is one of the most wonderful developments for self education.  We looked up several sites describing the trucker's hitch.  I even found a music video with the singer lamenting that he had conquered all the other knots but the trucker's hitch.  I finally went with the "animated knots" site.  My only quibble is that there are gaps in the transition between steps.  I prefer the diagrams that have the arrows that point to where the rope will go next.  For example, between steps 2 and 3, I'm not sure what's happening.  I can make it look like the diagram, but I'm not sure I'm doing it the most efficient way.
Well, we didn't lose the canoe, but we did get 2 gusts of wind that shifted it way more than was good for my cardiac system.
Once on the river, I thoroughly enjoyed observing the flora and fauna.  I actually missed the swallows that were under the bridge, but the photographer from the Pee Dee Post got a few shots (images 1, 118-120).  The very cool thing about being on the river is that you can slice quietly right through the habitat.

(Caleb's pic)
There were turtles, but mostly the kayakers ahead of us spooked them.  One guy was either collecting them or knocking them off the log with his paddle.  He must have collected a few because there were a few being raced in the grass at the barbecue after the river run. 
The sight that really enthused me was the prothonotary warbler.  (We needed a zoom lens; my son shot a pic with his phone, but you can't really see any detail.)  The prothonotary warbler is the bird that did in Alger Hiss or so I'm told.  It's a fascinating story of national security, spies, and little details.
We also saw a reddish-brown colored bat.  It must have been an eastern red bat.  It is a nocturnal animal; I assume all the river runners disturbed it.
I've had to consider whether or not to post the next pictures.  I don't want to prevent anyone from participating next year.  I think the ones we saw were nonvenomous water snakes, though, so here goes.  Just look at the water surface that is dappled with sunlight and tree shadows.

What a learning experience!  It whets my appetite to go canoeing again.
P.S. Oh, I almost forgot.  We saw a gar as well.  It was probably about 2 1/2' long, maybe 3', maybe 3 1/2'...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Running the river (and running aground)

Saturday, we remembered my nephew Zach by doing one of the activities he so much enjoyed.  Lots of Zach's friends and family participated.  Zach's leaving us left a big hole in our hearts.  It was good to be with family to honor his memory.
The Facebook page has a lot of photos added.
My canoe partner was my best paddling buddy.  (Yes, I did bear a child that tall.)
There was a lot of "traffic" congestion at the launch site, and when my younger brother shoved us out into the river, I thought, "If I can just get aright without taking out 3 or 4 kayaks, I'll get myself on down the river past these folks that are just going in circles like water bugs."  You can see our green Pelican canoe right smack dab amongst those folks who know what they are doing.  Some of the members of the Creek Runners Club from Rockingham, NC, are in the picture below.  The guy with the blue canopy had his kayak equipped with a stereo and Bluetooth technology.  The guy with the green Mohawk just beyond him was also a Creek Runner who was very gracious in helping load my brother-in-law's kayak afterward.  I think the guy with the umbrella was also a Creek Runner member.  He looks way too relaxed, doesn't he?  The guy in the lower right of the picture is sporting a Creek Runner Club T-shirt.     
"Down the river, oh, down the river, oh, down the river we go..."
My younger brother (Zach's dad) has our Mom's industriousness, and though there might have been 70 or 80 other crafts in the flotilla, he, like magic, managed to appear right beside us when it was time to unload the canoe on arrival, launch the canoe, and take the canoe out of the water.  Thanks!
(He's the one in the bandana.)
In the picture below, Zach's brother Austin (lower right of picture with blue and white cap) looks so much like his dad I can't get over it.
My other siblings were present to see us off and to help with the meal we all enjoyed afterward.  My older sister's handsome husband (the phrase "handsome husband" comes from a storybook that is part of our shared background; it fits, so I leave "handsome" as a permanent adjective in reference to him) and their outgoing younger son paddled along with us and provided us good company.  With them we saw a lot of interesting flora and fauna, which I may blog about in a separate post.  Our canoe ran aground in quite a few shallow places.  At the end of the run, someone said "It was a good run." 
I added, "It was a 'drag' in a few places."
When Mom received the report that the run was "rough" because there were rocks and a downed tree that the water craft had to be dragged over, she decided to start worrying about me.  She is the woman who let me roam the woods and climb trees as a child.  She was reminded that I was surrounded by strong and able-bodied nephews and brother, but maybe she got the idea that "rough" was a lot rougher than it actually was and wondered if I would find it too strenuous.  (I don't think she worried about me drowning.)  When I arrived at Indian Mound afterward, my siblings greeted me with, "Go show yourself to Mom--she's worried about you." 
I rejuvenated myself with a barbecue plate and about a quart of water.  A little cup of chock-full-of-strawberries strawberry ice-cream topped everything off nicely.
Six years ago, in an act of providential prescience, Zach wrote a letter to those he was leaving behind.  In it, he borrowed the old saying of not waiting your life waiting to live and said to "be happy now."  We had a happy day and I think Zach would have grinned at seeing my canoe stuck in the shallows.


Friday, May 8, 2015

From my son

Yesterday, when my son got home from work, he said, "Come here a minute.  (You don't need your shoes.)"  I had been doing yard work and had come in and taken off my shoes.  I stepped out on the porch to see these lovely arrangement on the rail.
"Happy Mother's Day!"
Well, what do I say? This is such a lovely arrangement.  This represents a few hours sanding cabinets in a cabinet shop.  This means my young man knows how to choose an appropriate and generous gift in a timely manner. 
I will certainly enjoy this container of flowers.

The plants weren't labeled by name, but I think they are as follows:
  • red verbena
  • blue lobelia
  • white petunia (not in bloom yet)
  • asparagus fern
The care instructions indicated they need to be shielded from harsh afternoon sun.  That means the ideal location would be on the deck rather than out front, but for now, I'm putting them out front where everyone can see them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting ready for the Zachary Goforth Memorial River Run

This Saturday, I plan to canoe in the 1st Annual Zachary Goforth Memorial River Run.  The proceeds will go to the Humane Society.  There was a great article about Zach in the Pee Dee Post.  Currently their webpage is under construction (but you can still find a cached page of the text of the article).
The rumor I've heard is that there will be Lacy Ray Thompson's renowned barbecue served afterward at Town Creek Indian Mound.  My parents are making slaw and baked beans.
Zach's motto:  "Be good to who you can, when you can."

Monday, May 4, 2015

The good 'Dr. Huey' in bloom

If you have a rose that once was a delicate pink or a sunny yellow and is now a dark red, you may be dealing with 'Dr. Huey.'  Many roses are grown on 'Dr. Huey' rootstock.  Then 'Dr. Huey' survives (or takes over) the other rose.  I have a 'Dr. Huey' where I once had a 'Therese Bugnet.'  I don't think there is anything left of Therese.  I'm not really sure why she declined so unless she was just shaded out by a growing crepe myrtle.  By the shed (which I call the barn, which now has a new layer of shingles which finally match the tan exterior after 18 years of dove gray shingles clashing with a light tan paint), there is a 'Dr. Huey' that is trying to take over a declining yellow rose.  I planted the yellow rose for my husband since that is his favorite color.  I see one stem in the center of the plant that looks a little different.  As long as there is any yellow rose left, I will try to tear out the 'Dr. Huey.'  'Dr. Huey' will probably get to stay where 'Therese Bugnet' was.  I miss her spicy fragrance.
'Dr. Huey' is very susceptible to black spot, especially later in the season, but right now, he's the star of the show.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Glider overhead

This afternoon, as I am wont to do on a Sunday, I was strolling around the yard.  I saw a little plane flying overhead with a glider in tow.  I ran and got my camera.  By that time, the plane had released the glider, and I shot a few pictures of the glider as it sailed away.


About a half hour later, I was inside when I heard a plane again.  I grabbed my camera and ran outside.  That time, I got pictures of the plane and the glider together.  It was an interesting sight.