Blogging to you from the Northeastern Badlands of Lake County, Illinois USA, WELCOME TO THE NEXT CHAPTER! WARNING! ALL FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ARE ADDICTIVE; EXCESSIVE USE MAY LEAD TO MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS, REDUCED JOB PRODUCTIVITY, LACK OF SLEEP, SOCIAL ALIENATION, BIRTH DEFECTS, BLINDNESS, SEXUAL IMPOTENCY, AND / OR DEVIANT FUNAMBULISM. NOTICE: NO GUNS OR AMMUNITION ARE FOR SALE VIA THIS BLOG. (No, I will not trade my Colt Python for some lubricious adventures with your trophy wife and a future first-round draft pick.) CAVEAT: This blog is not suitable for viewing while at work, while inside a public library, while inside any public or private school, or while inside any public or private restroom. Do not view this blog while driving a motor vehicle or while piloting an aircraft. Viewing this blog may be illegal inside the EU, Chicago, and other parts of the Third World. THIS BLOG CONTAINS (albeit often very childish) ADULT-CONTENT. DISCLAIMER: This blog is a hobby, it is not a livelihood. Even though much of what I blog about relates to firearms collecting and recreational shooting, I am not an expert (by any measure) on any facet of guns, shooting, hunting, or personal defense. Entries at this blog are akin to good old-fashioned campfire chats or post hunt bourbon-fueled barroom-bluster; I offer no opinion on what you should or should not purchase, or what you should be using or doing. What does or does not work for me could be rugged-country-miles away from your tastes and your needs. All products, places, and miscellany that I review for this blog are purchased / rented / leased at retail price by me. I do not accept payment, gifts, discounts, freebies, products on loan, distilled spirits, recreational pharmaceuticals, plea-bargains, probation, parole, Papal Blessings, Presidential Pardons, or sexual favors for doing any review or blog post. TRACKING COOKIES: Google et al stick tracking cookies on everybody. If you are online, you are being spied on via one method or another, for one reason or another; 'nuff said. You may be able to minimize your online DNA residue by using Tor and Duck Duck Go. Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all! Ante omnia armari. To each of you, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.