Monday, May 23, 2011

Yard and garden journal entry 5/23/2011

.

Today we had the first iris bloom of the season. For the life of me, I cannot remember how long our irises bloom so I want to make a note this year. If I recall correctly, they will bloom for maybe three weeks max. (NOTE added 6/10/2011: The irises are now pretty much gone for this season.)

Aside from the late season stragglers in the back yard, our tulips are done, leaving only the ugly stems and leaves which I am trying to hide with petunias and marigolds.

Today we sighted our first Junebug of the year, and I received my first mosquito bite of the season.

The photo below is from a couple of days ago and it shows our three flowering crab trees in rare form. Usually the blooms are sparse. Regardless, the flowers only last a couple of days before the petals drift to the ground. Yesterday’s wind and rain made short work of them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yard and garden journal entry 5/18/2011

The ever-short tulip season is fast winding down. Those pink tulips clustered in the center of the photo are on the property line between my backyard and a neighbor’s backyard and are among the few tulips that survive in my yard from year to year (a good size rock keeps my neighbor’s mower from these). They traditionally are the last of my tulips to bloom and should drop their petals around June 1.

I will move my potted tulips into the garage just before winter in an attempt to keep them viable for next season; the tulips and daffodils in the pots that I left out all winter long failed.

NOTE:  Top photo taken 5/18/2011, bottom photo taken 5/7/2011; the trees sure greened up in the short period of a couple of weeks.
.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Is Jon Huntsman a 2012 GOP top contender?

.

He is worth a look, and may be the “best of breed,” especially considering the slurry of other GOP detritus oozing their way toward primary season.

.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

That sick sinking feeling…

.

It is a tough world. One of my next-door neighbors is losing his house. He does not know that I know and I don’t believe he has yet told his ailing wife.

We have been neighbors for about 11-years now, never close friends, just good neighbors. I remember when he first bought the house; he and his 6-year-old daughter were just beaming. He was newly retired back then, looking for a home in the suburban area of our city to raise his only child. I met his wife shortly thereafter. Now their daughter is gone, their youth is gone, their good health is gone, and apparently, all of their money is gone. Since I often loaned or gave them money during the lean times before the wife’s accident, I had long suspected they lived on the edge of solvency and likely would someday lose the house. The love of home ownership went out of him years ago; the house and yard are in very bad shape; some of the neighborhood snobs will be happy to see them go. Personally, I hate to see anyone lose a home. His wife will be devastated when she hears the news; I can expect her teary-eyed knock on my door any day now. I feel bad for her and bad for her husband. My guess is that the soaring property taxes, sending money to their wayward daughter, and paying the out-of-pocket portion of the wife’s medical bills must have been too dear of a burden for the husband’s pension to bear.

There have been some folks taking photos of the houses on our cul de sac, primarily the afore-mentioned neighbor’s house. Being the type of person who dislikes suspicious behavior, I decided to investigate. After doing some online searching, I found that my neighbor’s house was foreclosed on in January so I surmised that these photo-taking vultures represent real estate firms working for the mortgage company. I kind of resent that my neighbor has been perfectly happy to have me mow and fertilize his lawn all the while knowing that he has a pending eviction, but on the other hand, I know that his plate of hardships is overflowing and that my help at least made his life a little easier. Anyway, since the house is now REO, it is up to the mortgage company and their realty company to provide maintenance from here on out. I will still find it in my heart to help my neighbors move out when the time comes and maybe give them a few bucks to see them down the road.

.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yard and garden journal entry 5/5/2011


Well, things did not turn out near as good as I had planned, but I guess I’m happy all the same. Despite the cool weather, the butterflies and bumblebees have been visiting what few flowers I have. The grass did not green up as well as it has in the past; maybe the new fangled phosphorous-free fertilizer isn’t up to the job. The tulips now are as good as they are going to be for this year; I lost almost every daffodil and tulip that had I planted in the fall. Most of what you see was planted on one of the rare warm days in January or February. The bulk of the tulips bloomed on May 1, although there are a few stragglers here and there that will provide some random color for a while yet; the forsythias are still in bloom thank goodness. I forget when my iris will bloom, maybe in late May or early June. Anyway, from here on out the bulk of daffodils and tulips will soon shed their petals leaving us to count on the beauty of the annuals, so I have been working hard to get them set; we had a frost the night before last and I had to cover them with plastic. I have gardens on the three other sides of the house that I have been prepping for planting. Today I bruised or broke a rib when I took a fall onto the garden edging. I’ve had broken ribs before and know that they hurt for a good long time and that there is little the doctors can do, so I may need to slow my pace a bit. By June 1, my flower planting will be done for the season; if I do a good job and Mother Nature is kind the place should not look too bad.

The two new steel chairs on the front stoop are from China; for the past three years I searched in vain at all of the local retailers for some made in the USA and the stores just don’t carry them. My neighbor’s brother-in-law is staying over there while recovering from cancer surgery so he and I give the new chairs quite a workout as we jawbone the problems of the world. My neighbor’s wife is still recovering from the second and third degree burns she suffered last September when she accidentally set herself ablaze. Since my neighbor is preoccupied with the family health matters, I have tried to help him with his lawn; I used my leftover weed killer and fertilizer on the worst areas of his lawn and then mow it for him. I had to help my daughter get through some rough areas on her lawn too, so between my yard and theirs I have kept busy.

.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The weight of the world is sitting heavy on my midsection

.

The winter doldrums took a bit more than a slim toll on my diet; I’m back to weighing 200 lbs. The bright side is that I only gained 5 lbs. since last fall. The dark side is that it is going to be a tougher row to hoe for me to get down to this year’s goal of weighing 185 lbs. The local weather so far this year has been lousy, but good enough during the past couple of weeks for me to spend between 2 and 6 hours a day working outside. By the end of each day, I am usually as beaten up as a borrowed mule with little energy left for writing blog entries.

.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead and the United States has his body

.

CBS News confirms the news.  Official announcement from the White House is pending.  Turn on your TV or radio.

EDIT:  President Obama is currently speaking.  Mass murderer Osama Bin Laden was killed today in Pakistan by U.S. Special Forces.

Thank you, USA troops!  Way to go, CIA!

The USA did not martyr a holy warrior; they killed a rabid pig.  Not since WWII ended the scourge of Hitler has there been such good news.

.