And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Easing into Fall

Fall is here in suddenly dropping temperatures (over 20 degrees in one fell swoop in the space of a day) but the trees haven’t yet caught up. We’re a good two-three weeks behind changing colors that we normally would experience at this time. This is a beautiful park in Waupaca featuring playgrounds, skate park, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas surrounded by the Waupaca River and even a sled hill for winter. It’s all free of course but lacks the fall colors I was looking for on this day.
The Indian summer allowed us to get more done in the yard although not all that we had hoped as yet. Maybe as the changing leaves, the snow will also be delayed this year. Marc hauled in about six loads of mulch which he rototilled in, but we still need around four more loads to really complete the area as we want. I repainted all the white posts so they are pristine and waiting for the wire fencing. We’re still also hoping to get that gravel completed around the house and the spa moved and cleaned out.
I dug three nice holes for some planned birch and aspen trees and we had a road worker move our big rocks into place over his lunch hour for beer money, but I was too late in the season to snag good trees to purchase so I am letting it pass until next spring. I dug up some plants and repotted them to move inside the house but I’m not sure they’ll survive long since the opportunities for direct sunlight are limited given my four cats and where they play.
Sunday we’re due at the patriarch of Blenker’s, the founder father (Marc works for the son) for a preview of their new home and a Packer party. Marc and I don’t really enjoy football nor do we specifically follow it but it’s hard to live 90 miles from the home team and their absolutely hard core rabid fans and not be involved somewhat. Packer fever doesn’t even begin to describe what goes on in the fall in Wisconsin! 

Sunday they take on the 49ers on their home turf. My son follows the 49ers as I was lucky enough in my work career back in the days of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, to obtain the entire team’s autographs all at one time (after their Super Bowl wins) which my son now has possession of. It’s such an incongruous story that it has to be true, right? I worked for Bank of Alex Brown in Sacramento and they had a branch in Rocklin which is where the 49er summer camp was held. When I heard that they would all be at the bank signing signature cards for their safety deposit boxes (where they kept their super bowl rings), I asked the bank secretary in charge if she would be kind enough to pass around a piece of paper they could all sign for my son. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Original signatures of all the 49ers in their glory days; hum, wonder what that could be worth? At the time I had no idea of the improbability of something like that being done; I’m only glad I thought to do it for my son, who now treasures it since he is such an ardent fan.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Closing Up an Active Summer

All good things must come to an end but as we move into autumn our summer seems to hang on. The trees here have barely begun to start changing colors given our warm temps of the past few weeks. We’ve been spending time trying to get the yard in order for its winter slumber. The recent main task for Marc is rewiring the control situation for the well from the shop to the house. Since this required a lot of trenching Marc rented a trencher Saturday and got most of the wiring completed and buried. Next will come the wiring and electrical boxes necessary in the basement to complete the job.
He recently purchased a rototiller and has started working the garden area soil and around the perimeter of the house. We are working the grade and will install black plastic and gravel to help mitigate weed growth and attempt to keep water flowing away from the basement. I found some perennials on sale and got a few more of those planted in an attempt to help cover up the basement window well; next up will be some trees if we can find large enough ones at a reasonable price but the bulk of our planting and ideas will wait until next spring to be completed.
I finally got the shed painting completed but the job will likely only last between two and three years given the snow that will sit against it for months at a time. We will need to ultimately replace the wood with vinyl siding if we hope to salvage it but Marc would really like to replace it with a much larger one.
Saturday dawned bright and cool and fall-like for the Waupaca Fall-o-rama, which showed off small town living to its best as families strolled and shopped the vendor booths. We had two booths representing the Waupaca Humane Society—the bake sale under one tent (with my 16 loaves of artesian bread) and our Pets Rock display of three puppies and a full grown dog drawing in folks like a petting zoo. Hopefully they will end up adopted as a result of their exposure because they sure are cute little guys!
The park itself is very well done; immaculately clean, quietly sitting lakeside and well equipped with picnic areas, a beach, restrooms, artwork and mature trees. It’s a real treasure to have right downtown. In winter, the lake supports ice fishing with little huts dotting its surface. This climate provides such a change in scene from summer to winter. It’s been a very good year!

Friday, September 4, 2015


Is apple time over? Nope, not yet. Marc even bought a dehydrator for us to try drying some as well as making apple butter and fruit leather. He’s taken bag after bag to the folks at work and I’ve taken bags to the shelter, where Monica, the director, is busy making pies for the Food Basket organization’s food for the poor. Our neighbors have helped themselves and I still wake up to have a pile like this every couple of days. However, my processing days this year are over; a couple of weeks ago I tripped and fell in the basement and hit the cement floor like a sack of potatoes. Besides gargantuan bruising and sore muscles I hurt my right wrist very badly and may have even broken one of the small bones. It sure feels like it and has limited what I’ve been able to do. A break didn’t show on x-rays but the entire hand was also very swollen at the time so was hard to read. Since they wouldn’t cast that type of break anyway, I’m just going about doing all I can with it.
With winding up all the details for the final loan on the house and signing all closing papers yesterday we finally put to bed the whole cantankerous process of building this beast. It took exactly a year of our lives almost to the day and will likely take at least another one to finalize all the finishing details, the basement, and the yard and garden as we want. Stressful, exhausting, trying, more expensive than we imagined—it still is all worth it when we stand here and marvel at what we accomplished physically at our ages. Marc doesn’t work nearly as quickly as he used to, but he still gets ‘er done! 

There are a few tasks left for me to accomplish before the weather turns too cool; my main project at this point is completing the repainting of the shed. I’m also set to start baking up to 15 loaves of my peasant bread for the shelter’s bake sale on Sept. 19th where I will also be working the booth. This bread doesn’t require kneading nor does it use much yeast so it’s a two day process—putting it together one day then allowing it to rise until baking the next day. I use only one Dutch oven to bake it in; hence it’s a slow process to knock out 15 loaves!
Today is our 27th wedding anniversary and although we planned to take a break and go out and find a good Wisconsin fish fry this evening, Marc has been working such a hectic schedule that he has come down with a nasty cold. He asked for a rain check while he tries to recuperate this holiday weekend. 

I think our sunroom is going to have to wait for the future as well; we are running out of a weather window this year and quite simply, Marc has pushed his body and his stamina just about as far as it can stretch this year. It’s time for him to slow down and enjoy what we do have for awhile. I try and rein my impatience at wanting everything done and instead concentrate on the fact of what we do have rather than what we don’t. My new home isn’t located in my ideal location (that would be the Oregon coast) but it’s where life has brought us and I’m eternally thankful we have what we do have, we have each other and as far as we know, we’re in relatively good health to enjoy it all. This chapter of our life may not have all the adventurous highs of yesteryear but it also is not so full of the angst that can go along with that constantly changing lifestyle. We’re coming into the contentment side of things.