Whistles

Jul. 19th, 2017 06:36 pm
elizilla: (Default)
The library seems to be handing out whistles, this week. I keep hearing kids in the parking lot, tootling away.

It's not loud enough at this distance to bother me. I am more bemused than anything. But I can't imagine this is popular with parents.

Edited to add:
The whistling has continued, and finally I stopped by to ask: What's going on? Turns out the whistles are the prize for a summer reading program. The woman at the front desk thinks it's an odd choice too. I could tell it wasn't her program decision. :-)
elizilla: (Default)
Every Friday night, Dexter has live music in the gazebo. This gazebo is in a little triangular park, right in the center of town. It's a nice space with lots of big shady trees. Across the street from the park, there is a Dairy Queen, the old school kind with a walk up window, no inside seating. There is also a large restaurant (Aubrees) with sidewalk tables, and on the other side a tiny BBQ with patio seating. It's about two blocks from our house. So on a warm summer night it is fun to wander down there, get a sidewalk table, and enjoy the music and people watching.

Last Friday was a surf rock band. Intense guitar licks, no vocals. We eventually got our table and settled in. Just as we were seated, it started raining. The kind of rain where you get a few enormous raindrops but it stops before everything is even wet. We had an umbrella on our table and we were sure the rain would pass, so we didn't budge. There wasn't even any wind. The rain was intermittent while we ordered and our food arrived. I suppose there was thunder but with the surf band we couldn't hear it. We were entertained by the table next to us, which had a half dozen kids under ten, who were very excited. They pressed together under their umbrella and shrieked charmingly whenever the rain picked up enough for someone to feel drops hitting them.

The rain picked up, and then the wind did too. We still thought it would pass. But then the wind gusted so hard it started lifting the umbrellas and knocking over the tables, and the rain become a torrent. The kids ran for the building and the restaurant employees came and chivvied us all inside. It started hailing and the sidewalk turned into a rushing stream bed; my shoes filled with water on the way to the door. The kids were shrieking. The music stopped and we saw the audience was crowding into the gazebo with the band.

The restaurant had no empty tables inside to put all these people, so we sat with our plates of food on our laps, in chairs in the aisles and corridors. The waitstaff handed out piles of napkins for people to dry themselves. You could see the aftermath of the adrenalin, everyone looked a bit too animated for their own good. Our server kept apologizing. But I thought it was a fun adventure. :-) The hail was exciting but not large enough to hurt anything.

By the time we finished eating, the sun was out and the sidewalks were almost dry.

Our drought seems to have broken. It's raining hard right now.

Landscaping

Jul. 6th, 2017 06:05 pm
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After several extremely soggy weeks, it stopped raining long enough for us to get our topsoil delivered. And long enough for the grass to grow in the swales without washing away. But it has stayed dry ever since, so dry that all our new grass is drying up. I wouldn't care if it were established enough to survive going dormant, but we are still trying to establish it, so we are having to water it. I am dreading the water bill. And the city is starting up water restrictions. In our neighborhood of older houses, watering isn't as common as it is in the new subs with their golf course lawns. No one in our neighborhood has a sprinkler system. It seems weird to be doing this here. But the soil erosion inspector is due for their bi-monthly visit, very soon. I hope we can keep the grass from drying up and blowing away, until they sign off on us. If so I expect we will pass; we no longer have any bare dirt or eroding patches.

We are also having to water our new tree like mad. It is droopy and some leaves are turning brown.

The rest of the landscaping is turning out well. We have planted more lilacs, roses of sharon, hydrangeas, and a climbing rose. Also, wintergeen, astilbe, iris, primrose, and toad lily. A few areas that are getting more sun due to the trees we took out, are awash in orange day lilies, the kind that grow wild here. We discovered a couple honeysuckles overgrown in the jungle, cut back their competition, and they bloomed. The flowerbed areas are mostly shady and we have them heavily mulched, so they don't suffer like the front lawn and the poor new tree. For all it's been dry, we haven't had sustained hot days, so far, and that helps the shady areas too.

It's looking much less bare these days. I still want to put in some redbud trees but other than that I think we are over the biggest hurdles. From here on out we are fine tuning an existing garden, instead of starting from nothing.
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The new tree was installed this morning on the city owned land in front of the house. It's a maple. The tree guy says that it's bigger than what was ordered; the city got a bargain. The city ordered a three inch tree but he had this five inch one that was reaching its sell-by date so they upgraded us. It looks a little bit limp but we can only hope it will perk up now that its roots are in the ground. He wasn't terribly informative about how it should be cared for; he just said that if the temps are above 90, we should water it every week. I thought new trees needed more watering than just that?

We plan to get more trees but the others will be smaller.

Also this week we had a tree service come and take out the worst trees from the group along the border with the neighbor, and trim the rest. They took out the box elders and choke cherries, left the maples and locusts. We didn't lose very much shade, and it should reduce the amount of sticky stuff and limbs that are dropped, and allow those maples to grow into nicer shapes. They did the cutting/trimming on Tuesday and yesterday they ground the stumps. Within a couple hours of the stump crew leaving, the wind picked up, and a large branch, about 4" in diameter, fell out of one of the maples they just trimmed! The neighbor called us in a complete panic - she was outside and saw it happen. She says it came down with a huge crashing sound, and missed the car she parks underneath the tree on her side, by inches. Steve went over and soothed her, and dragged the debris to the curb. The city chipper truck comes on Wednesdays and will take it away. I suppose we should call the tree service and complain that they missed this weak branch.

The soil erosion permit inspector came by about an hour ago. We still don't have enough grass to close the permit. They want us to put down more straw. Also the muddy scar from when they planted the tree, two hours earlier, was sadly visible in the front lawn and had no straw on it yet. They'll be back to check us again in another 60 days.

Gardening

May. 14th, 2017 12:57 pm
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After two weeks of delay due to wet weather and equipment troubles, the topsoil we ordered finally arrived on Friday, and we could finish assembling flower beds. Yesterday, our friend Margaret came over and brought us a carload of plants, which we duly installed in the yard. Holy instant garden, batman! Lilac, forsythia, hostas, coral bells, ferns, etc. It looks great out there. Other friends have promised us even more plants, and I have ordered some additional plants from garden catalogs.

The city is due to bring us the new tree any day now, so we are holding off on doing anything in that part of the yard until we see where they end up putting it. But the rest of the place is coming together well.

Fall

May. 9th, 2017 12:26 pm
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Last Sunday I fell again. Not as bad as the fall I took last August; I don't feel crippled and I didn't have too much struggle getting up. But I hit the back of my head pretty hard and had quite a goose egg, and it's still sore. It feels like when you put your hair up and it makes your scalp hurt. I don't think I need to go to the doctor. But I am taking it easy. Yesterday in yoga I was not liking to change the orientation of my head so I stopped early.

In other news:

They ground our stump last week and they say the new tree will be installed next week. We are contributing to the cost, to upgrade to a nicer tree than what the city would normally pay for.

Steve has completed the "garage bypass". It is a woodchip walkway from the driveway, to the kitchen door, which allows people to come to that door even when the garage is closed, without having to walk through the mud and clamber up a too-high step onto the concrete of the breezeway.

Our grass is sprouting. So are some tulips - the deer must have found something else to eat this year and didn't munch them.
elizilla: (Default)
On Monday, after the accident, the tree crew left behind the three foot tall stump, and a log the size of a small car. Today they are back. The job that was being done by the young man who hurt himself on Monday, is now being done by the owner of the company. Who is wearing chaps. That stump was left halfway sliced off and now he is finishing it. The second chainsaw guy who was here on Monday, is here again doing his bit; he has started cutting off pieces of the enormous log. Just getting that log carved into pieces they can move with their equipment, is a big challenge. It is a section of the tree trunk about 15 feet long, that is the part where all the largest branches split out. So it's not just a cylinder - it is a lumpy mass of stumps. It is so heavy that with the rain this week it has been sinking into our barely sprouted lawn. We were just getting past the mud pit stage out there and these guys have churned it back up.

We also have carpenters here working on the house trim. One of them makes art furniture and was wishing he had a way to take that huge log. If he could just move it to his workshop, he could make so many cool things out of it. But you'd need a crane. A big crane. And a semi truck to haul it away. It will have to be cut up on site, just to be able to move it with their equipment. So it will go for firewood. Really challenging firewood.

Update 10:30am:
I don't think the owner is as good at this job, as the guy who was hurt. Even if he does wear his chaps. He is trying to take awkward shortcuts. He's tearing up the ground a LOT, circling around on his log moving machine, trying to pick up too-large logs, from different angles, instead of just getting his chainsaw and slicing again. He did finally cut one piece in half, and even then his machine could barely lift the halves. There is a small stump in his direct path to the trailer, from a smaller tree cut down last year, and he keeps trying to run over it and getting stuck. He looks frustrated and tired. And now the guy with the trailer looks like he's saying it's overloaded, and they are struggling to move the logs that are already loaded. I think they will need to make another trip.

The hurt guy was graceful and clever. I suspect they all miss him a lot.
elizilla: (Default)
We got word that the young man from the tree service is going to be OK. He had 14 stitches but they expect him to have no lasting effects besides a scar and a story.

Tree

Apr. 18th, 2017 12:36 pm
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Everyone in town seems to think we CHOSE to have this tree chopped down. People keep asking us why we did it. I am tempted to put up a sign saying "Sorry! Not our fault, not our choice!"

I suppose in time we'll all get used to the shorn look of the front yard. We'll plant other trees, and with more sun we can plant lilacs. But I wish we could have kept our tree.
elizilla: Gladys Kravitz (Gladys)
No tree crews here today, but they have a drain snaking truck in the library parking lot, going into the various manholes in the lot. One of those trucks with a giant pump and a snake a half mile long. I hope the sewer isn't backing up. I guess I should go down in the basement and check on things.
elizilla: (Default)
The crew took the tree almost all the way down. They had the stump down to about three feet tall, and were cutting it lower, when something happened. I wasn't looking when it happened, I only noticed when the cops arrived. Then the fire department. Then two ambulances. I scooted sideways in my chair to see what was up. One of the crew was on the ground and everyone else was doing first aid.

He had had a mishap with a chainsaw and sliced a gash about six inches long in his thigh. They took him away in the ambulance. The rest of the guys packed up and left without cutting any more and I can't blame them at all! I hope their buddy will be OK!

They will be back later to cut down the last bit, grind the stump, and install the new (small) tree.
elizilla: (Default)
BTW, importing my data from LJ took almost a week, but it has now completed and seems to have been successful. Even the comments came over.
elizilla: (Default)
The city's contract arborist has condemned the big tree in front of our house. It is an 80 year old maple and it is huge and beautiful in spite of the dead branches here and there. They told us it must come down, last fall, but then they didn't show up for one planned execution date after another. But the stay of execution has ended; the crew just pulled up out front.

This is the tree the city engineer planned the sidewalk around, and we had JUST poured that sidewalk when the city notified us that their arborist had decided it had to come out.

There are also painters here, working on the outside of the house and garage. The painters have three trucks and the arborists have a chipper truck, a bucket truck, and a pickup with trailer. So it's a hotbed of activity here this morning.

We are getting a whole parade of neighbors coming up to chat with Steve and get underfoot with their dogs.

The chainsaws just started. I can't bear to look. :(
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
With the latest updates to the ToS, and the disappearance of yet another group of my long time friends on LJ, I am contemplating joining the crowd over at DW.
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
Yesterday afternoon there was a sheriff's car at the library. I learned why, when it pulled out of the library and into my driveway. "Is this your dog?" The deputy had a dog (puppy, really) in the car. It had romped in through the automatic doors, into the library, alone.

It was not my dog and I didn't recognize it. The deputy meandered off down the street and out of sight around the corner, talking to whoever was around.

A half hour or so later, I saw a guy walking down the sidewalk, calling out and peering under bushes. I opened the window and hollered, "Are you looking for a dog?" He was.

I let him know the sheriffs had it. He immediately hurried off.

I hope he caught up with the deputy and dog before the dog got taken to the humane society - they are pretty far away.
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
So, I called the company that sent this cart here. Despite the fact it was delivered with a bill attached, they aren't waiting for me to pay them - they say it is already paid for. By [livejournal.com profile] pi3832. Thanks Mike! Steve put it together and we filled it with laundry. It works well in a household where things can be rolled to anywhere. :-)
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
The UPS guy just dropped off two boxes. Addressed to me, at the current address. One large and rectangular, one long and thin. I couldn't imagine what they might be. And now I can't imagine why they are here.

The large box is a rolling laundry cart, and the long thin box is a hanging rail to attach on top. Like what you find at the laundromat. They came with a bill; the company that sent them seems to think I'll pay for this thing I did not order.

WTF? Did someone I know order this for themselves, and have it delivered to me because they know I am at home in the daytime to receive it? If so I hope they plan to pay for it.

Trying to decide whether to call this company right away, or wait a little while to see if anyone comes forward to tell me they ordered this sent here and are going to pay for it. Trying to think who it might be.

Is it anyone here on LJ? Probably not - there's hardly anyone left here. Ten years ago maybe.
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
Every day, around this time, one or two stink beetles show up and start beating themselves against the inside of my office window. You don't want to squash them. Yuck. Sometimes I open the window and shoo them out, sometimes I catch them and flush them down the toilet, sometimes I just try to ignore them. I'm ignoring today's beetle right now. I know that when I get rid of it, another will take its place pretty quickly. In the evening when we turn on the lights in the living room, eventually one will start flying around the lights. Never a swarm; they appear in ones and twos. When the house was being painted, a couple of them managed to get stuck and die in our paint. The are just here, all the time.

I don't think this house is unusually infested with them. We had them in the old house too; they arrived in this area sometime last summer and they have never stopped appearing since. Somehow they are suddenly very prevalent here. According to that Wikipedia page they are a new invasive insect. At least they don't bite or sting, and they are mostly slow enough to make them easy to capture. Maybe eventually the population will wane again, the way the invasive ladybugs did.

I wish I could figure out where they are coming from and stop them popping up in my office.
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
There's a sign out front of the library:

LIVE REINDEER HERE!
DEC 23

I haven't seen any reindeer yet but the place is packed. Parking lot is full, cars lined up dropping off passengers, other cars circling the neighborhood. streams of families walking down the sidewalks. This could rival Big Truck Day.

I look forward to their arrival... ooh, a horse trailer has pulled up...

The reindeer arrived. There is just one. It (he?) has enormous antlers. They have him posed at the corner of the building where photos can be taken against a backdrop of trees. The crowd has been coaxed to line up, they don't all get to approach him at once. At the peak the line stretched the length of the building and wrapped into the parking lot. It's about half that now. Parking lot is still full. Lots of wired up kids over there.
elizilla: (s10 sidecar)
So a couple months ago I posted about ordering a lot of bulbs. A few tulips, a few more daffodils, and hundreds of blue squill.

Well, what with the project delays, Steve's achilles tendon injury, and the difficulty in hiring anyone who would make time for our project, they never got planted. (We couldn't even get people to finish seeding the grass; Steve ended up out there on his peg leg finishing the job, and got the last of the seed down just before the snow.) Obviously it is now too late.

So I am trying to decide what to do with these bulbs.

I don't know what the shelf life of bulbs is. Can I save them to plant next year?

I looked up what is involved in forcing bulbs and frankly it looks like more than I am prepared to do, not to mention that I didn't choose the right kinds.

My other idea is to just throw them out into the yard, on top of the snow. The deer and rabbits will eat the tulips. The daffodils are less tasty but I still doubt they'll grow. But perhaps some of the blue squill will make it; those bulbs are tiny and don't need to be planted very deep. My hope is that they'll drop down through the snow, into the bed of straw that covers the grass seed, and some will take root. And if any make it, they will spread. It's more hopeful than just pitching them would be.

Anyone have an opinion on this?
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