And the road goes on forever...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Going to the Birds

Making my way to the “water store” the other day, I was again greeted by the welcoming party. On a previous occasion, I was surrounded by six wild turkeys clucking and cooing asking for a hand out. This day there was only the one and this time I had my phone camera with me to take her picture! Knowing how normally guarded and elusive wild turkeys are it surprised me greatly to see these tame ones. 
Our well may date from the original farmhouse which used to occupy this property but burned a few years ago, well before we purchased. We know it’s shallow and it’s filled with metals like rusty iron and manganese which we don’t care to drink, so we visit the artesian spring down the road which sports an old, permanently-affixed-in-open position hand pump. It burbles out of the ground like this year round regardless of how cold it gets. We still use a good ceramic filtration system even on this good water. After all, Wisconsin is a farm state so who knows what goes in the water and the water table is relatively shallow to the surface. Eventually, we’ll need a new, deeper well but that’s down the line so meantime I’ll get to be good friends with the turkeys I guess.
Marc has come and gone again and again changed his mind as to what he wants to do with the front deck. I thought we were in line to just screen it in but he is back to wanting to build a sunroom out of it, which requires much more work and expense. The winds get hellacious here and the bugs can be a problem so a sunroom will prove to be much more comfortable and usable. The first order of business was to get rid of our spa since we haven’t been able to use it due to the poor water quality of the well. I couldn’t sell it for $175 so we ended up advertising it for free and this past Saturday I saw it go bye down the road to a cabin on Spencer Lake. That made the deck suddenly seem huge!
During his visit, we got a bunch of small items attended to including servicing the lawnmower and removing the fencing which had surrounded our birch trees. He also got the pallet wood inserted into the old iron table base I had previously purchased and I’m loving the rustic look in my living room!
This week I am working on my marathon bread making stint for the shelter’s bake sale in September. Keep in mind my bread making is a two-day process since it must sit 24 hours after being mixed. I bake four loaves the following day. I usually aim for a total of twenty loaves so it’s no quick task to get prepared for the sale. I start early as I don’t like to be tied to this every single day, especially on the hot days! Other than that, things are just the summer normal—weeding, watering, mowing—repeat. Oh, I did transplant around 12 lilacs yesterday from our mother plant to an area adjacent to the side of the house. It was easy digging with our recent rains.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


It was with a huge sigh of relief that I tugged and pulled the big warehouse tin door shut at noon after pack up and cleanup on Sunday and put the shelter’s 2017 rummage sale to bed. We set a record for earnings, so that was fantastic, but it came at a cost of nearly exhausting me. It’s hard for us to remember what it was like to do a ten-hour day of hard, physical work once we’re retired; add day after day of that and it was indeed, all I could do to keep functioning. Even my kitties got to the point of seeming to say “Not again--you’re leaving us ALL day!”

We opened to a long line of probably 75 people and for the first two hours it was such a feeding frenzy I couldn’t even really get any good photos. I was too busy. So, these three are it! 
We had a warehouse full of contributions, some good things, some novel things, and some outright junk. I myself scored a lovely handmade log birdhouse and an old bird feeder with a darling shingle top. I plan to repurpose this into a pallet bird house as Marc bought me my own skill saw last time he was home. It’s battery operated so light enough for me to use.
Monday morning was wonderful not having to roll out of my yard and I was able to catch up on desperately neglected things around home. The weeds took over of course, cheering my absence; and unfortunately, due to neglect and increasing heat, the garden mostly bolted to seed. 

I’m ready to settle in and just nest for awhile. I look forward to doing some of my crafting things like more glass flowers; I have quite a bit of painting to do and I desperately need to get back to my treadmill. I was also able to score some great looking novels cheaply at the sale and they too, are calling my name. May be time to settle in and read on my new porch bed in case a nap is due as well.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Naps on the Porch

Marc's just left after a crazy, busy visit that seemed way too short. As the honey-do list expands, he seems to slow down--he loses two days to travel coming and going and takes at least a day here to recover from the trip since the flight arrives at midnight, so that's essentially another mostly wasted day. This lifestyle of always working with only short breaks, and not seeing each other is not for sissies.

I'm moving into my time tomorrow running the Humane Society rummage, which will keep me hopping for the next ten days solid. I'll be pulling some long hours, wondering how I will get time to keep up with the yard work, watering, and giving the cats supervised time outside.

I did get my arbor done while he was here and I absolutely am head over heels with it. I did the design and painting and Marc did the engineering. Given the footings he secured it with, this thing won't be going anywhere in our high wind storms. We had one that tore through here not long ago which did lots of damage to trees and buildings as it was straight line winds clocked at 70 mph. We're topping the arbor with bird houses and I've planted two climbing roses at its base. It makes a great focal entryway over our stepping stone pathway to the house.

While he was here the weather mostly cooperated which allowed him to get up and fly the drone for some neighborhood shots. I'm always amazed how green this area is and how beautiful in its bucolic way. He sure wishes he no longer had to be in the desert! Speaking of which, I'll include a couple drone shots of his humble abode (our Grand Villa) parked next to his trailer job office. Since I left he lives on site as that gives him additional income operating as a theft deterrent. The project is coming along nicely as you can note from the photos. Back after the rummage!

Monday, June 12, 2017

One Thing Leads to Another

Essentially, I have turned into a gardening, landscaping fool. Yeah, that’s it. It’s a joy, a challenge, and totally eats up my days but things are looking so much better around here, I don’t even care. What else would I be doing?
Wisconsin can grow weeds like no other so between watering and the weed pulling I spend at least two hours a day on that. Throw in the weekly mowing, another two hours, and my having dug more holes for planting this season than I care to count, and it is mounting up. Then there have been the nursery trips for plants, or looking at plants or other landscaping supplies, and my pocketbook is screaming for mercy. That doesn’t even count the trips to the antique malls as I zero in on every little rustic item that could possibly be used in the garden. 

I left you at the rusty gate last time and with the help of my neighbor and her son we got it installed along the side of the house. My hope is to eventually block the awful looking unfinished window well for the basement with a Virginia Creeper, which although tiny, has already started its trajectory along the gate, curling its little leaf arms in myriad hugs around anything it clasps. It’s hard to believe this little plant is going to turn aggressive and start to devour everything in its path so it will need eventual taming. Neighbor’s son Bryce had originally come with his tractor at my behest to straighten out our three gravel piles which had been sitting for the past three years just growing weeds. I’m sure the neighborhood agrees it looks much better now.
While we’re on the subject about antique yard art, I have long wanted an arbor with climbing rose bushes gushing up and over, looking gorgeous and smelling even sweeter. Providence struck when I found two old porch posts of the same height (not the same design) and the most artful, handmade filigree wood decoration (all from different stores) and I had a light bulb moment that I could draw them together into an arbor. Well, not me per se, but Marc! That is awaiting his next trip back. I spent two days trying to remove the multiple layers of 100-year-old (no doubt) lead, oil based enamel and gave up. We’ll do our best to sand it and repaint and not fret that it isn’t perfect. I am still deciding upon a spot.
More along the planting lines, I bought and got two small spruce planted and painted a yard bench lime green and planted two climbing clematis. Eventually both should take off and spread along the split rail fencing.
On May 31st as I was working in my garden with Munchkin by my side I heard a distressed kitty call from the lilac bushes which are right along the road. I figured I’d better check it out fearing a feral cat had been hit by a car but instead a little pint-sized kitten emerged so ready to be scooped up into my arms. She was around 6-7 weeks old and the best I can figure is that someone wanted her gone and threw her out their car seeing me there with my other cat. She appeared to be slightly hurt around the mouth but I wouldn’t see how badly until later. Knowing we can’t possibly adopt any other cats, I set my brain to trying to figure out what to do with her.
Thank God for good neighbors—mine came to the rescue. They have an older terrier dog so weren’t sure how she would do with a cat but agreed to take the little kitten in for a few days. The kitten is strikingly beautiful, playful, smart and adorable, so of course within three days they said there would be no way they could give her up! We both took her into my vet where she received an antibiotic for her mouth wound which looked like a bad case of road rash. It tore loose her lower lip which will always now hang slightly open but that only makes her more adorable in our eyes. Bindi is home to stay and being spoiled rotten. So, thank you, heartless bastard who dumped her right at the highway to get run over, she has a far better home!
I’m getting into gear this week with some preliminary details involved in my job of coordinating the big rummage sale for the shelter. Advertising, arranging for all the volunteer help and scheduling, accepting the donations for three days, unpacking and placing everything in the warehouse and then finally, the three-day sale (when we’ll have upwards of 60+ customers at any given time); another day of disposing of leftover items and a final morning to clean and pack away the tables translates into right around a full and busy ten days for me. This doesn’t start until the 6th of July however and meanwhile I may make it up camping with some friends to Lake Superior’s shore next week and will welcome Marc back for a visit starting the 30th. It’s great to be home!

Friday, May 26, 2017

I'm Cooking!

It’s been particularly cool and rainy lately in Wisconsin but despite that I have gotten some major accomplishments either done or started! And actually, with how bad my circulation has become in older age where I overheat so easily, having the cool temps has been a Godsend for working in the outdoors.

The stepping stone pathway is completed! Thank God for that; it was a lot of digging and then hauling the dirt to the back lot and I must have moved each of those 32 pound blocks at least four times each over the course of building. I have noticed my arm muscles have sure improved though, ha.  
In looking at the pictures of the walkway you no doubt noticed a new wood structure near to the house. That is one of my research projects where I determined our home needed more curb appeal to help out the fact it is not finished in front so I decided to build a split rail accent fence by myself. Viola and holy cow—wow do I love the results!!!! For one thing, it perfectly accentuates the flower bed and was just what that needed.
Obviously, I still need to complete the opposite side in the same fashion, which I hope to get done this weekend if weather allows. My hands are so full of arthritic pain at this point that it has become hard for me to hold onto anything but I will try my best. 

I’ve been harvesting our wild asparagus and I’ve had several pickings. Now I am letting them grow to seed to make some for next year. Something new to us is letting a part of our mowing go. Our neighbor started a “meadow” a couple of years ago, and I really liked the looks of it so we decided to forego mowing on about half our other lot and I’m loving the effect. I think it adds interest and is probably better for the grass as well. Now if I could only annihilate all those dandelions.
I picked up this old rusty gate recently. Hum, wonder what I am going to do with that?