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Archive for May, 2018

Spring has arrived on the heels of the storm

May 20th, 2018 at 04:53 pm

Some pix of the yard, now in bloom!


Allium


Azaela


View to the northeast...a forest in the making.


Hard to believe I planted this giant doublefile viburnum when it was just a wee stick seedling. Now I've planted some of its seedlings, too!


Closeup of the viburnum flowers.


North side


Ground phlox

And that's just the front yard!


Feeling the warmth

May 20th, 2018 at 03:53 pm

I'm "feeling the warmth" after 3 days of no heat. We had a scary storm here this past Tuesday, and when I got home from work, just after a macroburst had come through my town, I had no power. There were 2 tornados in my dad's town and an adjacent town, and the tree damage there was much worse; most of the town was without power.

My property and my immediate neighborhood was spared, but certainly not the town. Coming home that day was dicey, with a few detours around downed trees, or under trees that were held up only by the power lines.

I bought a few big bags of ice and continued eating food out of the fridge, but after that, I decided it was a losing battle. The only thing I threw out, actually, was a package of 2 salmon steaks, which had completely dethawed.

On Friday I helped my friend declutter by packing up about 6 boxes of mostly valueless knickknacks and glassware for Good Will and brought them to my car so I could drop them off on my way home. I also walked his dog for about a half hour. He has no energy with the chemo treatments. He was very appreciative. I will do the same thing this week if he wants me to.

I also found him an organization that networks with local housekeeping services and makes it possible for cancer patients to get free housekeeping. It was actually for women only, but when I called, she agreed to arrange it for him.

On the genealogy front, I found another new cousin! Actually, she found me as she was researching a specific family line. She's my grandmother's sister's great grand-daughter. She's in her 20s and very interested in textiles and researching the Slovakian line so she can make an authentic ethnic costume and wear it. She lives in NYC but grew up in the same little town my parents were from, a town known for its significant Slovak population.

She got me excited enough that I renewed my Ancestry membership for another 6 months. I'd been planning on doing it at some point soon, and although I was going to wait til Father's Day as they may have a promo going on, I just didn't want to wait. Smile

We exchanged a flurry of notes back and forth. I printed all of hers out and brought them to my usual dinner with dad. I read them all out loud while we were waiting for our dinner. Dad really enjoyed hearing the latest; when I first started getting into genealogy, he wasn't that interested, but as I began discovering all sorts of fascinating tidbits, he "got the bug" and looks forward to new finds as much as I do. I must say genealogy wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable if I didn't have a close family member to share it with.

I was going to do some yardwork today, but I found 2 small ticks on my boots and then felt way too squeamish putting them on, so I'll forgo the yardwork for now. We've gotten tons of rain, every day, since Tuesday, it seems, and they love this kind of damp environment. Will wait til things dry out a little.

To the Toshiba loser

May 19th, 2018 at 02:32 pm

Dear loser who keeps posting spam to my posts:

We are automatically notified when we get a reply on our blog, so it's very easy to go and delete yours!

Friday Doings

May 11th, 2018 at 05:44 pm

I'm posting more stuff for sale for my dad on Facebook Marketplace. I was over there today to take pix of a canoe, a kayak, a dozen old earthenware jugs, an old rocking chair, a steamer trunk and an old table.

He's gotten very strong interest in the kayak, some interest in the canoe and even some interest in the old jugs, which surprised me. (They're pretty beat up.) Evidently, Friday night is when everyone shops on Facebook Marketplace.

It's kind of a pain in the neck becus a lot of people ask if it's still available and when i say it is, would you like to see it, i never hear from them again. It's a lot of back and forth with people who may or may not be serious.

So far, I have two guys scheduled to come tomorrow afternoon, and one person coming for the smaller jugs. It's supposed to rain so I hope that doesn't cause some people to cancel out.

UPDATE: We sold the canoe, kayak and more than half the jugs.

Had a nice chat with my lawnmower guy, who surprised me by telling me this would probably be his last season mowing. He invented a deicer product so he wants to spend more time marketing it at trade shows. I have someone in mind to take his place next year, and I think this may be an opportunity for me to possibly reduce the cost from $45 per mowing to $40 per mowing. As it is, I only have it done every other week, to save money, and to give the many interesting wildflowers a chance to bloom.

My new 56 volt cordless battery blower was delivered today. I have a 20 volt blower now, but as much as I love using it to clear debris and leaves off my driveway, it lacks the power to use on grassy surfaces.

Hence the new 56 volt blower, which I plan to try out tomorrow. I was considering hiring the guy who cut up my fallen crabapple tree to do a spring cleanup, which is basically using blowers to blow leaves off the lawn and perennial beds. He never did tell me what he'd charge, but I'm pretty sure the blower I just bought will pay for itself in 1 or 2 seasons.

So I'm charging up the battery pack now. Compared to my 20 volt battery, this one is a monster! It looks capable of sending a small child into outer space.

I'm getting impatient waiting for a start date from my patio guy. He's running behind schedule. He promised a start day for me by tomorrow, and I'm hoping it will be sometime next week. I'm expecting an out-of-town visitor, hopefully this month, and I'd like the patio to be done before she gets here! And yes, she's an SA member. Smile

Here in Connecticut, plant sales abound this time of year. Usually, it's the local garden clubs that do this. There are 2 tomorrow I am thinking of checking out after my early morning yoga class. Then there is the Tractor Supply Market Day, where local craftspeople will be set up in the parking lot. Later that night, dinner with dad, and meeting a guy I sold a light stand to last year to give him a tiny lightbulb I found that I think goes with the light stand. It's an unusual bulb, and he said yes, he wanted it, so I'm meeting him in the parking lot of the restaurant I'll be going to with dad.

So..another busy day, for sure!!

The fuse it is!

May 10th, 2018 at 06:12 am

OK, I've had my share of embarrassing, not to mention needlessly costly, service calls when something stops working.

I scheduled a service call for today when I discovered first that my central air was not working, and then the heat.

Luckily, the HVAC guy who installed the central air suggested I check the fuse, and that's what it was. Saved me over $100 for a service call.

Always check fuses, circuit breakers and furnace on/off switches before making that call!

The guy who bought some plants for me was back again yesterday to dig up a few more shrubs and some blueberry plants. Kind of sorry to see them go, but they would never thrive here with browsing deer unless I fenced them in, which is not in the plans.

Just having him take 3 shrubs roughly 3-4 feet high running alongside the outer edge of existing patio really opened up the view from kitchen window or the patio, which always felt kind of closed in to me. Once the new patio is done, I want to just plant grass where those shrubs were to keep things open and to allow space for pergola posts to go in next year. Either that, or perhaps a row of small boxwood that wouldn't exceed 1 foot in height.

He also dug up a cherry tree stump that was still alive despite my trying to hack it down last year, so he took that, making it easier for my lawnmower guy to cut the grass.

Another guy was here to clean up the crabapple tree; he disposed of 90% of the all the tree branches as I wanted him to in a large brush pile, but inexplicably left a few large ones. I decided not to say anything since his price ($200) was dirt cheap compared to the other estimates I got, so I really can't complain.

Mower guy starts this Friday...so yardwork is well underway.

Also found my newly transplanted sedums, near road front, has been muched on. Deer don't usually do that, and I suspect it is the resident woodchuck, although I have yet to see him this year. Darn, I'll have to use some plastic fencing to protect them.

I need to do something about weed suppression at this new, and fairly large, planting site. Instead of buying a few yards of mulch, I will try Preen after using a hard rake to pull up the many garlic mustard weed seedlings.

The outbreak of hives I had Sunday night, turns out, is apparently due to the Doxycycline antibiotic I was taking for the tick bite. I have stopped taking all Doxy and both of the 2 herbs I'd been supplementing with. The hives subsided when I first stopped the herbs becus it was my assumption it was the herbs causing the hives. But when I took another dose of the Doxy, it only took a half hour for the hives to act up. So I've taken none of the 3 since Monday night and I notice the hives seem to subside but then reassert themselves, albeit much less severely, at night. That last dose of Doxy Mon night was good for 12 hours, and probably take at least another day or two beyond that to fully leave my system, so am hoping the hives go away soon.

I skipped 2 meetings last night that I wanted to go to, but I just didn't feel like cleaning up quickly after all my yardwork with the plant guy, and in fact it was so nice out I just felt like continuing with it, so I did. Truth be told, I'm not much of a "joiner," although I try.

On today's agenda: getting 2 nice hanging flower baskets for the front entry. I think I have a small gift card left I can use. Also returning some chewable aspirin to Walgreen's becus I see it has RED DYE in it, a known carcinogen. Also really want to vacuum and wash my car, and rake and Preen the new front perennial bed, fence the sedums and continue pulling out pachysandra roots from around where the plant guy took the shrubs so it doesn't grow back.

Also change the hummingbird water, get gas, go to BJs, and continue moving lungwort and phlox away from patio area.

In short, a busy day. I hope with all this yardwork I start feeling "in shape" soon.

Poison ivy AND hives

May 7th, 2018 at 06:20 am

I've been doing lots of yard work lately, and while the poison ivy wasn't even up, leaves-wise, even touching the roots will get you, and I think that's what happened.

So on Friday I found a big welt on my chinny-chin-chin, my finger, inside my wrist and my right side. I scrubbed everything well with Tec-Nu, and for the next few days, nothing spread from the 4 primary locations. It was mostly a pain in the butt as I tried not to rub it when sleeping.

UPDATE: Woke up last night around midnight to discover, to my horror, that I have red, itchy hives over most of my body. The only place I don't have welts is my lower legs and lower arms...my extremities, while my trunk, front and back, is most affected. It really seems systemic, not a spread of the rash.

I was up all night and couldn't sleep. Discovered I didn't have any aspirin or anti-inflammatories in the house, but I did make a paste of baking soda and water which helped quite a bit, but i couldn't apply that to my back, which was the worst of it.

So around 2 am I took a very, very hot shower (online research actually suggests this) and that also helped quite a bit, allowing me to at least lie in bed with much less itchiness. I popped some kind of pill that made me drowsy and probably got a few hours of sleep in.

I think the hives are hives, not worsening poison ivy as I first thought, and are an allergic reaction to 2 Chinese herbs I'm taking for the tick bite.

As you may remember, I'm taking antibiotics now but also decided to take 2 of the 3 herbs I've frequently taken in past years when I had a tick bite, because there were times the herbs seemed to alleviate my symptoms that were still ongoing when the antibiotics were done.

One of those 3 herbs, andrographis, caused me to get a much milder case of herbs once before, so I have not taken it since. Now, either the cats claw or astragalus is causing the hives, I'm pretty sure, even though I'm taking it at a much lower dose than I have before.

Even though my online research says both herbs are sometimes used to TREAT hives, it says hives could be an allergic reaction to anything.

My usual APRN isn't in today, but got an appointment with someone else, not til 10:30 am.

I emailed my boss telling him what the problem was and asking if I could come in late and work late. He wrote back expressing sympathy but saying it was going to be a slow day and I could take the day off. I wasn't planning on doing this as i work so few hours as it is, but I was also sort of relieved, wondering how bad the itchiness was going to be through the day.

So I'll see the doc today but otherwise stay home. It will also give me time to contact my plumber. I spoke with them briefly on Friday because my central air is not working. They had their answering machine on all day becus they were super busy and one gal in the front office had left the job, so they were shorthanded. I was supposed to get a callback to schedule an appointment.

I have since found out my heat is not working either, so whatever the problem is (I heard a loud noise when I turned the a/c on last week), it's likely something with the furnace, not the a/c specifically. I hope it's not a cracked heat exchanger.

I'm through with the plant sales but still have some plants I already dug up. So I joined 3 different local gardening swap and trade Facebook sites, but only one of them seems especially active, and I haven't really gotten any responses. I'd love to get a blue hosta with the jumbo sized leaves, for example.

Do you remember my friend with prostate cancer, who recently started chemo? He wound up on the hospital a few days ago because he got pneumonia, since the chemo knocks the heck out of your immune system. He'll likely be there a few more days as he is very weak.

He is totally distracted from his own problems, however, because he accidentally learned that his niece, the one who he's gifted so much $$ to over the past 5 years to in the form of a big house down payment and lots of home improvements, secretly took out a loan and refinanced her mortgage with an iffy mortgage outfit, adding $75K to her debt when she did so.

The Plant Stand

May 4th, 2018 at 12:36 pm

For the past few days, I've been browsing for plant stands on places like Houzz, Overstock and Amazon. I saw some metal ones priced at around $58, but they had to be assembled, and that is SO not my forte. I saw some others made out of renewable materials like bamboo and fir but they were higher priced at around $80.

This is not a stand for a single plant, but with 3 tiered shelves for multiple plants. I envisioned putting my growing collection of cacti and succulents on them.

Then today I did my grocery shopping at Aldi's, and what do I find? A metal plant stand for just $19.99! I grabbed it, and spent way too long putting it together this afternoon, but it's done!



It's just outside my front door. I'm hardening off all the plants for a few days until they acclimate to the stronger sunlight. This spot does get strong morning sun so I may have to move them in the morning, but I like them here because they are also protected from rain by the overhang. However, in a very strong thunderstorm, they would get wet.

Anyway, for $19.99, I'm very satisfied.

Dental visit and other things

May 4th, 2018 at 05:23 am

Visited the dentist yesterday. Paid $126 for a cleaning. The dentist's exam is, I think, an extra $90 or so, but he was busy with another patient and I didn't want to wait too long as I was expecting a callback from my neurologist sometime after 11 am.

So I decided to pay and leave, and the dentist then came over to tell me (again) that I really need to get on his dental plan ($264 a year, for those who don't have dental insurance). It's a good plan, covering 100% of 2 cleanings a year with his exam, plus x-rays (if you want them) and 25% off fillings and crowns.

He told me this last time I was there and I guess I didn't really focus in on it since it was 6 months ago. He can be a little pushy, just like the way he is with x-rays, which I resist getting annually.

I've made $318 in plant sales now (!!), and I think I'm just about done. I had one customer and a few no-shows yesterday. I have just a few remaining plants which I guess I'll hold for a few more days to see if anyone wants them, but otherwise, I plan to shut down the sales very soon.

The one customer I mentioned earlier is supposed to come today to dig up one rhodie and one mountain laurel (free for the digging). I decided to offer him 5 mature blueberry bushes for just $25, but he'll have to dig them out too. I hadn't considered selling them before because I didn't think anyone would want to dig them out, but he does.

They've been there about 20 years and some get lots of berries, but the picket fence that somewhat protected them is falling apart and i don't plan to replace it. So the deer browse the bushes mercilessly, and my lawnmower guy just sort of sideswipes that area due to the bushes being there, and bittersweet and poison ivy grow there too.

I feel bad losing the blueberry bushes but just want to tidy up yet another "maintenance issue" near the house, and knowing the bushes are being taken by a groundskeeper at an aroboretum makes me feel like they're going to a good home.

I'm really worried about my friend R. He called 911 2 nights ago and is still in the hospital,, with pneumonia, a side effect from taking chemo which lowers your immune system. He said it was really hard to call 911.

A nurse came in with breakfast so we didn't get to finish our phone conversation, but that will happen later today.

He told me the reaction he had from the chemo (shortness of breath) was so bad, he wanted his life to end right then. His doc had told him he could divide up the once-every-three-weeks chemo dose into 2 smaller doses, to hopefully lessen the reaction, but my friend R. says he reached a tipping point last night and just doesn't want to do it, says he needs to face the fact the cancer's terminal, help his niece with her credit card debt and make the best use of his remaining time.

Say what? Help his niece with her credit card debt?? He's already paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of home improvements, not to mention the down payment on the house itself, which she could never have afforded on a school teacher's salary.

But he says being a single mother (recently divorced) she feels guilty for shortshrifting her 2 kids, so she's leasing an expensive SUV and is flying down to South Carolina again so the kids can visit their grandparents (her ex's parents).

It kills me that he is so obsessed with helping her out. She's nice, but her 2 young girls are really spoiled. I remember bring over Easter baskets when I had dinner with them last year, and they spent about 10 minutes on them before losing interest and moving on to something else. I guess that's what kids do, but her kids really seem like they need to have limits set. JMHO.

So my friend said he's ready to take me up on my offer to help him dispose of more of his personal stuff so his heirs don't have to deal with it. His condo is kind of a mess.

Garden stuff

May 1st, 2018 at 05:30 pm

Well, the plant sales from this weekend continued into the work week with people coming over Monday night after work right before dark and Tuesday morning before work. People are still asking for more plants. You'd think this was the only game in town.

To date, I've sold $280 worth to 15 people, plus a 48-star flag I was also selling. I expect to wrap it all up by Friday (surpassing $300) because scheduling visits and digging up plants is taking up all my free time; plus, I'm nearly out of inventory. Wow.

Overall, I'm very pleased and sales greatly exceeded expectations, especially since at first I wasn't even sure I was going to bother. It will all go toward defraying the cost of the patio.

But wait! It's not over. There's a guy coming tomorrow to dig out BY HAND 2 large-sized shrubs about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide: a mountain laurel and a rhododendron. It will be back-breaking work but he seemed up for it, since I offered them free. He works at an area arboretum and knows his plants. If he takes them, it's one less thing the mason's crew has to deal with to just clear the area before laying the pavers.

In addition, 2 more plant buyers are coming tomorrow afternoon and that night i have another free dinner at an Italian restaurant.

I loaded some bricks into my car tonight so I can drop them at the transfer station when I bring the trash tomorrow before work. The mason said his crew would do it, but it's such a mess back there and it's easy enough for me to do since I'm going there anyway. I've pulled a lot of bricks up as I dug out plants because many of them found a way to grow up between the bricks. I don't know what the carrying weight is of my car, though, and they are pretty heavy.

I can drop another load of bricks off Thursday morning since I'll be passing right by the dump again on the way to the dentist.

After using my new 3-month BJs membership pass just once, I've managed to lose it. I've looked everywhere. Can't figure out where it went and I was there just last week. I guess I can get another card at the courtesy desk.

The bank just sent me a new ATM/Visa card after I told them I lost that!