Monday, May 31, 2010

just another day in paradise

Happy (is that the right word? Maybe “reverential” would be a more appropriate word?) Memorial Day. I believe the nearest parade around here is in Wilmington – I knew for sure that neither Brattleboro nor Saxton’s River has a Memorial Day Parade. We’re saving all our juice for Strolling of the Heifers this upcoming weekend. At any rate, we celebrated in the usual fashion: a day at home. Joy!

And now, a science quiz. We’re going to test your knowledge of the concept of triangulation. Given the position of Charlie and Maggie in the picture below, where is The Chipmunk?



Not sure? Care to see it from a different angle?


I commented to Kevin that I was glad the cats are focused on the lawn and the woodland at the top of the picture, above, which is a hillside leading down to the driveway we share with our neighbors. Because otherwise, they’d be oriented up the hill, to the hundreds of acres of woods, which I can only imagine is populated with evil fisher cats. So Kevin pointed out that hey, we DID just build them a chipmunk house to play with, and I guess that’s about the most use anyone’s gotten out of the firepit so far this year.

Hummingbirds have spotted the feeder. We’ve seen a ruby-throated male, and a female. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the deck, and paying attention to bird song. What I don’t know about whose song is whose could fill an encyclopedia. Nevertheless, I am learning: I am learning that none of the birds, from here to the wetland a quarter mile away, like it when motorcycles go down the main road. Everyone shuts up for a good minute or two.

What else.



“Hmmmm” says Charlie.



“Uh oh” says the snake.



The infernal raspberry bushes, which I keep meaning to kill off, are in bloom. I need to remember that I like eating the raspberries, and to only get upset when I see them in, say, the middle of the lawn.

100_1785 A subsequent investigation of the flowers, with this camera that cannot deal with close-ups, shows that there is a very cool puff ball stage of flowering which is extremely fascinating. WAAGGHH!!! BZZZZZZZ!!!! The male hummingbird just swooped in for a swig.
HUL-lo! This is a lovely time of day – it’s when the wood thrush sings. Never heard one? Think of John Coltrane, “Love Supreme”, second movement – seemingly random, but coherent, sets of notes…very haunting. Here.

Oh, hey, Ma: be sure to scroll down to where you see this

press to play

to play the call.

Various things a-blooming that I haven’t keyed out yet. Some purple and white something-or-other.



Here’s the apple tree along the shared drive – that’s our local fire substation on the right, always handy to have those boys nearby. Our town’s trucks are glow-in-the-dark green – how cool is that?

100_1782And here’s my buddy, the baneberry – done flowering, and starting to grow little berries.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A new wave of things blooming.


Please to note the rhododendron blooming. And the magnolia tree finally got it together and put out some leaves. And, this is the key thing, this is a lawn that has been mowed. For the first time, finally. Not by me, no! Sweetpea, handled it.


Here’s a view of the back of the addition…see the bright green grass closer to the house? That’s what was seeded by the excavators on their way out. Isn’t the screened in porch cute?


This means the Buddha and his heart rock garden are a little more accessible.

100_1740 This was yesterday, by the way. After Kevin finished up on the lawn, we went to Walker Farm. And bought some melon and cantaloupe starts – see above – some magic fishhead solution to feed the container plants with, and (!): cow poop.


100_1741We didn’t get out on the kayaks today, but we will soon.


100_1744 At the back of the yard, under an enormous old maple tree, we have some blackberries just flowering.

100_1746Irises in the back of the house…

100_1749 Anemones in the driveway. Not shown: the little snake that slithered away.

100_1750And the irises along the driveway from the other day. They’ve all popped open. Someone’s eating the edges of the petals, though.

Friday, May 28, 2010



Irises just starting to bloom in the driveway.


Kevin’s moved the new furniture into the screened porch.


I installed a hummingbird feeder, since we’ve both heard and seen one buzzing around.


We’ll be able to see them from the dining room table, the screened porch, the couch, and our respective desks. So, a good location. For us, anyway. Maybe we’ll get some visits tomorrow.

In other news, I believe myself to be preparing for becoming a Reiki Master (which is happening in September) in an unexpected way: I’m having strong effect on various objects in my world that rely on measurement, calibration, magnetism, or all three.

First, it was the spedometer in the trusty Honda. It’s been fluttering wildly, ever since…the day I signed up for the class. At first I thought, well, the car’s practically vintage – 1993 – and apparently that happens after a while. I didn’t think much of it – I mean, the A/C’s crapped out, the LCD panel on the radio hasn’t worked since I got the car seven years ago, occasionally the dash lights flicker…whaddaya want, it’s old.

But then, the bathroom scales started acting up. We have a dial scale in the upstairs bathroom that I think has started to lie to me lately, telling me what I want to hear. So I brought one up from the basement that’s digital, and put it in the first floor bathroom. At first, the digital read four pounds heavier than the dial scale upstairs, for both me and Kevin. But now, a couple of days later, it reads 1.5 pounds heavier for me…and seven pounds heavier for Kevin.


And then a battery operated clock in the living room stopped the other morning --- still ticking, just no movement….I reset the time, and it started up fine…And then, just this evening, the Bose Wave Radio by the kitchen sink stopped and restarted, inexplicably, when nothing else in the house lost power…

Yes, I am attributing this all to my personal biomagnetic field. I’m sure there’s another reason. But that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

screened in porch installation, part 2

At about 10:40 pm last night, an unbelievably wicked thunderstorm swept through our area. Hail. Wind. Lightning. We lost power and cable, meaning we also lost internet and phone. The power came back over night, but cable took its sweet time. We were lucky: friends in Greenfield (MA) reported trees down on houses all around their neighborhood, and local news websites abound with pictures of downed trees, live wires, lions sleeping with lambs, and other signs of the apocalypse.

At about 1 in the morning, after the lightning had abated, we snuck a peek at the newly-erected outdoor porch…it was lying in a mangled heap. Ooops. We hoisted it more-or-less upright. Pity I don’t have pictures, as Kevin was wearing his birthday suit at the time.

Morning dawned all innocent and sunny, and Kevin got busy with straightening the fabric roof. 100_1723

I went into town to have lunch with a friend. I encountered a very Distinguished Person I used to work with, who told me in Strictest Confidence that as of this morning, he still had no power – and thus no water (because like us, he’s on well water.) And that he had consequently washed his hair with…lemon-lime spritzer. I pointed to the 20 gallons of water in my shopping cart and suggested he stock up!

While I was thus employed, Kevin was putting the mesh walls up. I got home, and we commenced to admiring the day.


We moved a coffee table out.


And enjoyed the views.




Hi Kevin!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

screened in porch installation, part 1

Exciting developments on the free-standing screened porch project. While I sat, slack-jawed and drooling from the heat at my desk, Kevin got busy stacking the corner pieces in the doorway:


He brought these pieces outside to the area of the deck where we want to put this thing. Please admire the table and chairs in the foreground – they’re new.


“Oh look!” says the blogger with attention deficit disorder. “The second tomato plant has flowered!”


And, since I’ve already hijacked my own post, let me show you the cilantro, which has been putting out its cilantro leaves, instead of just its two baby germination leaves (cotyledons, if you wanna get all technical). The narrow leaves are the cotyledons. The toothy ones are the real deal. Yum!


Oh jeez, look what he’s done just since I’ve been admiring the babies – he’s got the horizontal support rods up:



Now he’s assembling the roof pieces. Note the knee brace. He had his first appointment for PT (post-surgery) today with Amy. He worked with Amy after his shoulder surgery a couple of years ago, too.  We l-o-o-o-v-e Amy! She smiles delightfully as she Gets the Job Done.100_1718


Here’s the almost-completely assembled roof.…



At this point, I figured I’d start helping. We put the secondary roof struts on top of the main roof, and then got the fabric on…



And then we hoisted the whole thing up onto the frame…



…and then actually attached the roof to the frame, in each of the corners and midpoints…


OK, that’s enough for one day. Tomorrow, we’ll straighten out the fabric of the roof, and attach the mosquito netting walls.

In other news, it’s Wednesday, and you know what that means…the CSA pickup. No pictures for you today, but did you know that you can make a smoothie out of the most interesting things? I wouldn’t recommend red giant mustard in a smoothie, though. That’s more than a *ping!* of chlorophyll – that’s a kick in the pants. Live and learn, I guess.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

desperate times call for desperate measures

Blog devotees will recall that we recently joined a CSA that specializes in greens. And that this past week’s haul included a thirty-inch long pile of lettuce. And that pickup is on Wednesday. Which means we have a lot of lettuce to get through between now, and tomorrow night.

100_1711  That’s right: it’s the lettuce smoothie.

  • One 6-oz Chobani plain yogurt.
  • Two tablespoons wheat germ.
  • Half a banana.
  • About a half cup of Stonyfield Farm banilla yogurt.
  • OJ
  • As much lettuce as I could cram in.

You know what? It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t bad at all. It tasted like a regular smoothie, but with a little *ping!* of chorophyll.

Sigh. It’s dinner time. More smoothie, anyone?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you…the portable screened-in porch.


spinal tap Artist, Polly Deutsch (Angelica Huston) and Band Manager, Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) in ”This is Spinal Tap” (1984)

IAN: This looks absolutely perfect. I mean it’s, uh, the right proportions. It’ll be this color right?

ARTIST: Yeah. Yeah.

IAN: Yeah. That’s...that’s...that’s just terrific. It almost looks like the real thing.

ARTIST: You got it.

IAN: When we get the actual, uh, set, when we get the piece, it’’ll follow exactly these specifications. I mean even these contours and everything?

ARTIST: Um, I’m not understanding it. What do you mean “the actual piece?”

IAN: Well I mean...I mean when you build the actual piece.

ARTIST: But this is what you asked for, isn’t it?

IAN: What?

ARTIST: Well this is the piece.

IAN: This is the piece?


IAN: Are you telling me that this is it? This is scenery? Have you ever been to Stonehenge?


ARTIST: No, I haven’t been to Stonehenge.

IAN: The triptychs are...the triptychs are twenty feet high. You can stand four men up them!

ARTIST: Ian, I was...I was...I was supposed to build it eighteen inches high.

IAN: This is insane. This isn’t a piece of scenery.

ARTIST: Look, look. Look, this is what I was asked to build. Eighteen inches. Right here, it specifies eighteen inches. I was given this napkin, I mean...

IAN: Forget this! Fuck the napkin!!!

- “This is Spinal Tap” (1984)'

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you…
the portable screened-in porch.


Oh, please don’t tell me we spent two hundred dollars on a MODEL of a portable screened in porch…Geez, Kevin’s HEAD barely fits in that thing.


Oh. No. We’re OK. Here we are having just hoisted it onto the cart.


So briefly, the rationale behind this thing is, any second now, the mosquitos are going to make the deck pretty much uninhabitable. Long term, we would like to put a screened in porch on the part of the deck just outside the office. But that could take a while. So for now, we’re going with this. I’m sure I’ll have lots of exciting pictures tomorrow of the installation process.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In which the deck is populated with new toys

Kevin’s completely rocking the house today. Not only did he assemble the new Weber gas grill, which apparently was not an easy feat…but also, he is – even as I type this – assembling the chairs that go with this lovely table we got today at the hardware store.


It’s made of “plantation-grown eucalyptus”, which I believe is supposed to make us relax about the rainforests, only I can’t help but imagine that a rainforest was cleared out to make way for the plantation.

Perhaps I’m being cynical?

New grill notwithstanding, we won’t be using it tonight – we’re both too pooped to contemplate it. Instead, we’ll eat – surprise, surprise! – GREENS from the CSA. Mmmm, yum, nothing like multiple handfuls of leaves.

Oh, while Kevin was busy working on the grill, I went on a long run: my longest to date – nine miles. Naturally, I was cranky and nervous prior to setting out, but once I got going, I was fine. I had a water bottle in each hand. That was a pain. I may need to get some kind of water-bottle-oriented butt pack. And I scarfed down a pack of Cliff Shot Bloks Electrolyte Chews: “a semi-solid, easily chewable source of carbohydrates—your body's preferred source of fuel during activity—and electrolytes.” Kinda like extra-soft gummy bears.

Next week’s ‘long run’ is only three miles, and the week after that I’ll hit double digits!

My pace? Nice and slow. That’s OK, I tell myself…that’s OK.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

confessions of a poker widow

As implied by the title above, I was left to my own devices last night.

100_1700Is this too much garlic for one person?

We ran some important errands today. When we got home, we found both cats staring intently at the “who’s your daddy now” rock – a boulder that used to live in the middle of the parking area, that was moved during construction. I knew they were up to no good. By the time I got the camera, Charlie had already come over to greet me – he’s like that.


That left Maggie. I knew the score: a chipmunk has found refuge under the boulder. 


Looking up slightly from Maggie’s perch, we see the barren yard, still adrift in sawdust and gravel. Oh, lord, I’m going to have to landscape this. Ugh. My brain hurts. Well, there’s nothing a bunch of daylillies can’t fix.

So, back to the issue at hand: our errands today.

Spirit210_largeWe bought this grill – a Weber E-210, on sale, no less. 

 100_1705 Kevin – see Kevin? No-Crutch Kevin? – backed the truck up to the stairs of the deck, and somehow, while I went off to put shoes on to help, flipped that puppy out, onto the stairs, and end-over-end onto the deck, all by his lonesome, and all without having to actually lift it. Brilliant! And a far cry from the daunting moving-the-treadmill experience.

Tomorrow’s plan: a nine mile run, and the purchase of deck furniture.