Home > Archive: August, 2023

Archive for August, 2023

Late summer activities

August 25th, 2023 at 12:31 am

Each day, each week, is a bit different than the that! Variety is the spice of life and all that.

Today I totally procrastinated about getting started on my next story assignment.

Earlier this summer, I acquired a pair of old garden urns from my Buy Nothing group.

I imagined I might not get around to rejuvenating them til next spring, but somehow I found some spare time and wound up having a great experience repainting them using some very inexpensive acrylic paint from Michael's craft store. The paint had little smell, went on smoothly without dripping, cleaned up easily with water and was just all around easy to work with. It only came in 5 colors, and I took a chance and chose the blue, not sure if it was just a bit too strong, but I'm really happy with how well it contrasts with the red flowers. I think it would also pair well with lime green or yellow. The color makes me think of the Mediterranean.

I was less enthralled  with the clear top coat spray I used to seal it and give it a nice, high gloss finish. It stunk to high heaven, and I imagine it killed billions of my brain cells, despite my wearing a mask (not a KN95 but a real mask with filters). I chose to take a deep breath and not breathe while I quickly sprayed one side of the urn inside a large cardboard box, then sprayed upside down for a few seconds more so as not to clog the nozzle. Then I'd run out, gulp some air, and wait 30 minutes for it to dry so I could rotate the urn and do the next side.

I just have to finish the top coat on the 2nd urn now, and I have so much leftover paint (I bought a quart), I'm looking for other things to paint. Smile

Talking about procrastination, I finally stopped doing that and mailed off an application for VA benefits for my father. Now he could have done this 30 years ago but only now feels like he must do this. Anyway, that's done.

I have plans to meet a new-to-me cousin and her husband, along with my father, for dinner in about two-and-a-half weeks, in the town my father lives in. They are traveling east from Ohio to meet us, and also an old high school friend of hers whose son just happens to live quite close to where my father lives. I only discovered the existence of this cousin sometime in the last 8 years, when I was doing ancestry research. She's the granddaughter of my grandfather's brother. It will be quite exciting to explore common memories despite the years that have passed. I only met her father once that I remember, but even as a kid he struck me as very funny and upbeat. He was a taxi driver in the Bronx and collected piles of foreign coins from his cab fares, which he doled out to my mother, sister and I. It's not worth anything, but it's interesting to look at from time to time. I may have given them to another cousin for her grandkids, I'm really not sure at this point.

My father has a large rain barrel near the stair sleading to his apartment, and we discovered many tadpoles in there, at least 35. No idea how they got there, but someone told me a tree frog could climb the barrel. After lunch a few days ago, we stopped at the pet store and I bought some goldfish flakes; don't think there's much else to eat in there.


Stuff going on....

August 10th, 2023 at 07:00 pm

I got a lot accomplished today and still have a good part of the day left. This morning, I:

1. Worked out at the gym.
2. Stopped at the dollar store for 2 items which I refuse to overpay for at Big Y.
3. Went to Home Depot and purchased a window well cover for a basement window (found a toad stuck in there once already) and a small bag of grass seed.
4. Stopped at Big Y for just a few groceries.
5. Filled up the gas tank at BJs.
6. When I got home, since I'd spent several days digging out an ugly, overgrown and invasive shrub (spirea), I decided I wanted to plant it now with grass seed, because we have rain in the forecast every other day for the next 5 days or so, and the area, an oval shape about 15' across, is too far from the house for my garden hose to reach.

The shrub had become an eyesore because there was invasive trumpet vine growing up the middle of it. Trumpet vine is all over my front yard; the only way to control is to mow over it, and I'll never be able to dig it up because it has these thick underground roots going all over the place.

I not only seeded it, but threw hay on top to keep the birds from eating all of it, then fenced it with temporary plastic fencing to keep the deer from walking around on it and also let the lawnmower guy know not to ride over it. I wanted to get it all done before the rain began, and as I was returning to the garage with my assorted tools, it began to sprinkle. Perfect timing!!

All in all, I'm feeling pooped.

I am halfway through with my current story for the university. It's due early next week. I mentioned to my contact there that I noticed that only 3 or 4 stories of the 10 I've written so far  have been published on the site, and that I hoped there was nothing I was doing to prolong the review process unnecessarily. She told me no, the review process is truly arduous and that I'm doing "beautifully," so not to worry. She's very easy to work with. But anyway, this is my next priority for later today or tomorrow.

The native plant garden I started last year is doing very well. The only plants I spent money on were the native dwarf honeysuckle and the buttonbush. A friend of mine gave me a bunch of hyssop (bee magnets), a snakeroot (?), mountain mint and some black eyed susies while someone else gave me pussy willow. I had cosmos seeds and others, so threw them in there, too. I also planted Joe Pye Weed, so now I have 3 stands of it in the yard. I garden whenever the weather cooperates, and I let it go for many weeks during our hot weather spell. Everything needs attention.

I had a really  nice time of 4 consecutive days celebrating my birthday with family and friends. Breakfast at my favorite local spot, lunch at another in-town spot, dinner at a friend's and a special birthday cake I took home and had another friend over my place for lunch. My cousin's birthday present for me was guess what? Plants! A dwarf butterfly bush (ok, not native) and 2 nodding onions with very pretty pale pink round blooms.

Shown above is Joe Pye Weed, hyssop and purple coneflower.

In the veggie garden, the star this year would have to be my squashes, particularly the delicata squash which is growing gangbusters. The tomatoes, while producing, have been a disappointment due to a mildew disease and just aren't producting that much compared to prior years. I had some snow peas and lettuce early on (a lot, actually), as well as stringbeans. The kale was kind of a bust and my 2 cuke plants died. The asparagus bean (aka, yardlong bean) is also doing QUITE well and growing over my arbor. The beans do indeed approach a yard long, believe it or not. This is my 3rd time growing it but the prior 2 years got next to nothing (or nothing) because they require a very early start indoors using a heat mat or they won't germinate.