I Lost the Race

No one knew I was running in a race until I announced it today. What kind of race was it? It is the race to finish building a house in a house(HIAH), and installing a new kind of floor, against planting a garden. Our spring weather has been cold and rainy thus spurring me to complete the indoor projects. But money, energy, and time ran out, and slowed the progress. In the meantime Spring has sprung, and suddenly we went from 50 degrees with rain to ninety degrees and sun. Things that grow love the hotter situation, unless we are speaking about tulips and daffodils.

The last frost free day is listed as 15 May in the Farmer’s Almanac, and today being Friday the thirteenth means there are still two days to fear planting. Since the temperature has hovered in the low nineties for the past three days I think it is safe to stop worrying about a killing frost. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I’ve hired a flooring contractor to assist me with the floor, and I shopped for materials this week. The construction will continue on the HIAH, but the race was lost, and I had to drop everything to help Lovely with the vegetable garden. When it comes to planting a garden she seems to suffer from ADD. Her focus is pointed only in one direction, “Get’ter Done!”

My job was to spade the freshly spread compost and mix it into the soil, hook up the hose, and attach the sprinkler head. Done!

Next on the bucket-list was a death cleaning project to disassemble Peggy’s wheel-chair ramp. Since she is floating in heaven and the ramp takes up 20% of the patio I took it down. Thank God for lithium batteries and portable drills.

The next challenge will be to complete the HIAH in time for the grandson to move in.

When Did Your Project Become My Project?

I’m not bragging but I have been married three times. In each case there is a single action that breaks me up. It hasn’t seemed to matter which wife it was but there is always something she has wanted to do which I totally agree she should do. Then, she sweet talks me into getting involved with her. Is this something in the DNA of a woman? It never seems to work tin the other direction. My projects almost always stay my projects and if they don’t it is because I have given it up.

This afternoon, I was on my project to find out which password I use to link my email to Google. Google has so many different divisions and they all require a password. Remembering them all is a problem and to complicate things more. When I finally give up and hit the “forgot my password” button I have to invent a new password. Usually, I record the new one. Lately, that record doesn’t do me any good. Why? It beats the heck out of me, I just can’t figure out which PW is used for a given user name for a given application. Calling for help doesn’t work because the helper always points at someone else.

Getting back to my original thought. Lovely interrupted me with a question, “where do I plant these seeds?” “You are the farmer” I reply, “find a suitable spot and plant them.” That was not a smart answer. I wound up leaving my desk and my project to assist with her project. The two of us went into the yard, seeds in hand, to spread the joy. She had three packages of flower seeds. One for full sun, (6 hours), two for medium sun, (4 hrs). None of the sun requirements matched the locations she desired. We toured the yard and and I pointed at a spot. Then I pulled the seed pack that would work in that location from her hand, “But, that’s not where I want to see these flowers.” She points to where she can visualize the plants in bloom.

“That is a the shadiest spot in the yard and doesn’t receive any sunlight until 4:30 each afternoon.”

“So where can we plant this flower?” I show her another spot and finally she relents, but it borders on minimum sun. “This plant will flower in 2.5 months in this spot.”

“Okay,” she says. By this time, I started to get agitated and take the spade from her hand and start digging. The spot is over-run with wild strawberry and has to be cleared, I dig and pull roots from China with my bare hand. She comments, “you are using your bare hand to dig up the dirt?”

“You are the only farmer I know who wears rubber gloves to plant seed,” I reply.

Going to seed pack-two we go through the same process, These seeds will take 200 days to bloom. I figure if we are lucky, I’ll see the flower on the same day I am cleaning the yard for winter. That happened last year when I planted morning glories in my favorite spot. The first flower bloomed three days before the first frost. That happened to be the third packet of seeds to plant, so I chopped up the ground and spread the seeds around the base of the trellis and prayed for success. I told her to sprinkle the three areas with some water, and went in for lunch.

It is funny, how her projects always take this route.

A Little Bitty Bird Made Me Lie

A few days ago I posted a bit about the coming of spring. In it, I mentioned that the Junco, a bird from up north, left to go home. This morning as I looked out on the yard I spotted a Junco hopping around under the feeder picking up sunflower seeds. Damn, I exclaimed to myself. He made me a liar.

What I suspect is that the Juncos are migrating south to north, and this guy is late. Probably because he winters further south. It doesn’t matter except I wrote a bald faced lie in my last post. I don’t like to lie, telling lies is reserved for politicians on the stump, or defending their shoddy records. Politi-speak has evolved into something that is widely accepted even though we all know it is wrong. So then, why do we continue to vote for the people that live to tell untruths? A great example of this type of talk was displayed during the last election cycle when then candidate Biden stood before the country and said he would eliminate COVID. We all knew that was BS, but the Trump haters were so anxious to get rid of someone who knew how to run the country that they accepted that lie and many more.

Just as we all know that state run elections are running over with fraud, but the chiefs in charge continue to accept the lies told by state attorney generals who certify results. As long as those who oversee the election run by the laws in their state they cannot see the real fraud going on because they followed the law to the letter.

Another common form of lying, that is publicized, is when a politician makes a statement based on his knowledge of the facts at hand, and newly uncovered facts come up. On the basis of the new facts the old statements are now false, therefore the subject is telling a lie.

I wonder if America will ever get any of this stuff straightened out to correct the system. Until then, I have to rely on my own judgement of what is, and what isn’t a lie. Reading opposing viewpoints makes things worse because because often a lie is challenged with another lie. I tend to believe the people I want to believe in, and anyone else is a liar. I don’t think I’m alone on that point. In the meantime, I’ll try to correct my own lies with fresh news based on new facts about the migratory habits of my bird residents. Or, are they residents if they only stay here for the winter? That poses another question, just where does a migratory bird call home? Since he commutes between places one or the other must take precedence. I guess I’ll just go sit on my rock and strike a Rodin pose whilst pondering the issue.

Robins, Daffodils, and Junco’s

A few days ago, my heart skipped a beat. I looked out the kitchen window and spotted a robin, the first sure sign of spring. Robins leave for the south-land during the winter months and return when it is warm enough to find food. A minute later, I spotted the green shoots of daffodils sprouting from the near frozen ground. Yessss! Spring is launched. Daffodils are one of the earliest flowers to bloom and they love cold weather. In fact, if the weather turns warm while they flower, the flower wilts and drops. As the day worn on, I began looking at the spots where I planted daffodils and yes, they were all poking their pointed green leaves though the surface.

Robin, worm eater
Daffodils waking from winter sleep

Two days later, as I sat reading at the morning table, it occurred to me that I have not seen a Junco in a long time. Junco’s are tiny birds who nest in Canada and migrate south in the winter. They consider Illinois south, not a very smart bird. The fact that I had not seen one lately means they are headed north for the summer.

Junco, butI call them Snowbirds

Three very positive signs that the long cold winter is coming to an end in the heartland. They can only be a harbinger of the work that is coming, cleaning dead leaves, digging beds, planting vegetable seeds. Then watering to watch nature explode into green goodness.

Halloween Left-overs

This year I was optimistic about the number of kids that would come trick or treating. After all, COVID has quieted down in our area and everybody is anxious to get out. A month before the event my grocery store ran a sale of Halloween candy. I bit and bought a bag of 250 pieces of Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, and M&Ms. Guess what? The crowd was minimal. I don’t think we had fifty kids come to the door. Of course it helped when my neighbor two doors down set up a giant air slide that he uses for his grand kids and I saw several kids pass by my house and make a b-line to the slide. Thank you Sue, but next time give me a warning. Now I’m stuck with all my favorite candies tempting me to kiss KETO goodbye. The system doesn’t work if I eat KETO breakfast, lunch, and supper, but snack on candies in between.

I worked a couple of hours this afternoon troubleshooting my pond pump which mysteriously stopped pushing water to my water fall. I pulled it out a couple of days ago when the temperature was in the low sixties, today it is in the thirties and a few hours ago it was snowing. Not very good weather to be playing outside in water, but it was a great day to play inside with water. I disassembled the pump and found nothing that would stop the impeller. I plugged it in on the bench and the impeller spun. After putting it back together I had two bolts left over and no nuts. I searched for a few minutes and thought maybe I have some of these nuts in my cache. I have hundreds of nuts, but not the kind I needed. I moved every tool, and part I had on the bench but found nothing. I scanned the floor around my bench with a spot light, nothing. Then the brain kicked in and started retracing my steps, I did walk the parts to the slop sink to clean them, so I scanned the sink, nothing. Then the light went on above my mind, look in the drain. Yep that’s where they were.

A second assembly later I declared the pump ready for a test, indoors that is. I left off the 90 degree elbow with the check valve, and put the pump in a five gallon bucket with water to test in my basement slop sink. The water shot up and gushed forth. Next, I thought why not see if the valve is the problem. I reassembled the elbow with the valve, and then thought long and hard about plugging it in. Do I venture ahead and test with the possibility of having to clean up four gallons of water, or do I drag the thing up the stairs to test it on the patio. I chose the patio. It took a few minutes to get it in place, but that was easier than mopping the basement from a man-made flood. I plugged it in, and water gushed out of the elbow, Great, I thought then it turned off. What? Why did that happen? My mind raced through a checklist of possibilities and then it dawned on me the bucket was empty. In that instant of turning the pump on it emptied the bucket. Whew! Problem solved.

I carried the bucket and the pump back to the basement and refilled the bucket with water. The manufacturer recommends storing the unit submerged in water to keep the seals from drying out and causing the oil to leak. Even though I am satisfied that the pump is healthy I still have a problem. The water fall no longer works, The next step will be to look for things that may be plugging the plumbing. If I live until April and I remember where I left off I’ll tackle it then. Right now I’m dreaming about wintering in Arizona where the only way I know if it snows is when the mountain tops above 7000 feet turn white.

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