Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stump Flower Repotting

Today we re-potted some of the flowers on the stump.  If it wasn't full before, it is now.  I think I picked out some pretty decent plants this year, and we will be able to keep some that are perennials.  The garden blog has been updated with some neat pictures, have a look!


Sunday, July 10, 2016

'Critters' Explained

Lately I've referred to  having trouble with 'critters.'  I haven't written much more because I didn't know enough about it for a full post.  Still don't know as much as I'd like, but the current situation seems to be resolved enough for reflection.

DSCF4845Several weeks ago I noticed holes dug in the strip of grass that I have between ours and neighbor Dave's house.  I knew Dave had issues with moles in the past so I asked him about it, and wound up borrowing his deterrent, a device that you put into the ground that emits a sound at intervals, every 30 seconds or so.  And you want it in tightly to better conduct the sound through the earth.

Now a little back story.  There have been news articles recently about a rat infestation near here, 6 or more blocks away in the dumpster at a fast food joint.  The house behind it found about 300 rats taking up residence under their garage, with tunnels to the dumpster area.  Steps have been taken in those situations by now but the articles mentioned things like putting your garbage away, how they like open compost and wood piles, and how chicken coops can attract them - and we have a few neighbors with chickens.

Then, that same evening that I borrowed neighbor Dave's sonic device, neighbor Jane on the other side told me about seeing a rat in her back yard the day before.  That changed my thinking a little bit.  And it made me think of how even when we had the netting over the strawberry plants the berries were disappearing before we knew they were there.  Thinking that maybe rats were stealing them creeped me out.  I was already going to buy some type of small animal repellent, now I was going to add rat poison to my list.  That night I ordered rat poison and small animal repellent online and it arrived by the time I got home from work the next day.  Very impressive, Amazon.

DSCF4846So I spent a few days putting out the poison chunks down every hole I found, about 4 by the side of the house and a couple in the back yard between the garden and the compost bin.  Neighbor Jane threw about a dozen on the other side of her fence near where she saw the rat.  We did not want any in Jane's yard because of her dogs.  After a few days of this, checking the chunks I put out and replacing many, I came home from work and put 5 out behind and around the compost bin.  Nothing had been getting into the bin but it was near the holes in back and pretty out of the way in the small spaces between the bin and the fences.  Less than a half hour later I went back to check and all 5 had disappeared.  It was then I decided that was enough, I wouldn't put out any more poison because I still was not sure what I was poisoning.  When Jane got home I even went over to make sure partial poison baits did not get dragged over there, where the dogs could get at them.  Thankfully I didn't find anything, but 5 gone that fast is pretty crazy.

DSCF4844The sonic device was seemingly having no effect, so the next day I removed it and filled the holes.  The following day all the holes had been reopened, even the hole that I had made just for that sonic device.  I sprinkled the repellent around the area again and left it for a few rainy days.  Eventually I went out to refill the holes again.  This time I sprinkled in the small animal repellent into the hole, refilled the hole, and sprinkled more repellent on the filled in holes and some in the whole area, and did the same to one area in back.

Now, several days later, the refilled holes have not been disturbed.  The 'critter' situation seems to be under control once again, even though I don't know exactly what it was.  Really, I never even saw anything, alive or dead, in these areas, only the evidence of activity.  Who knows what goes on in my yard when I'm not looking?  I'm sure the cats have a pretty good idea, but they don't seem interested in cluing me in at all.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

PAIN - Black Knight Satellite

PAIN - Black Knight Satellite lyric video.  New album 'Coming Home' out September 9!

Last album was 2011, other than Lindemann and Hypocrisy.  Killer HD graphics here, too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Holiday Fire Pit

We managed to get a decent (read: not overly hot and humid) weekend for the holiday.  On Sunday night we had some friends over for a few hours of food, fun, drinks and conversation around the fire.
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Much of the same cast of characters as usual, but we have not seen B&Z in a very long time, James (orange hat) just moved back to town after a year and a half or so, and he brought another Kate with him that we have known casually for a few years.  Terry and Becky also came, and Terry brought the only fireworks of the evening - extra large sparklers.  It never entered my mind to buy fireworks but, boy, it had occurred to many others in the neighborhood!  I certainly didn't mind, but there were fireworks going off all around us each night of the weekend.  I didn't see a lot of them, sometimes just the tops over trees and houses, but you could hear how much were set off nearby.

There's enough cut wood left for one more fire pit so I must get to the logs/branches that I have sitting out.  I also spent much of the day Sunday sealing the cracks between the slabs in the driveway.   I got all the easy ones, now I have the tougher, wider ones down by the garage to do yet.    I was standing over that torch much of the day and it was the backs of my upper arms and shoulders that got burned to a nice, bright red color.  And I'm a side sleeper so either side hurts now trying to sleep!  Anyway, two more chores for the list.  Maybe this weekend will be nice enough to get them done.   Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

On The Lake Today

This was a good way to start the holiday weekend.  Cruising the lake on a perfect day.
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It was not too hot, there was a good breeze, and the sky had a good cloud cover while still getting light and sun without getting baked and burned.  If I could be in the same place at the same time in the next two days as the picture above, we'd see the lake much busier with boat traffic.  I was a bit surprised how slow it was when we were out, it is a holiday weekend, after all.  But as we came in there were already many more boats coming out.  That was mid afternoon, maybe about 3, we had met Terry and Becky at the boat at noon.

They let me drive most of the way so I took us a different direction than towards the cove that we usually end up in (which was crowded with boats as we saw on the way back).  We dropped anchor for a bit by a beach in Middleton for drinks and snacks.  I considered trying to go all the way across the lake to Picnic Point but for the slow speed of the pontoon boat would have made this a considerably longer adventure to get there and back.  Basically shooting straight across the lake, too.  I tend to like viewing the shoreline - the nature of it all and, you know, rich people's houses!  We also saw the castle-like house today that has a turret and gargoyles.

It was a great time on the lake today and a beautiful day for it.  Life needs more moments like these!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June This-And-Thats

Before June gets away from me I suppose I should write about a few things.  I've taken enough time away from here already, but there has been nothing major to discuss other than what I have already posted this month, so it's once again time to start typing and see what happens!
  • I'm glad that I made it a policy not to discuss my work here.  Even though my name is not on the site, I would worry that some of my gripes over the years could make it back there.  Especially most recently.  Then again, I would probably be posting much more often!
  • We have decided on a contractor for our new roof project and decided to wait on the porch project as that will be pricier than we had hoped.  The papers are signed but the work isn't scheduled yet, though we were told about 50 days out.  The foreman has visited to get details and we are waiting to talk to the electrician about the exhaust vents.  I'm not worried about not having a date yet, I just want it finished by fall and I have no reason to believe it won't be.  I've also contacted them since to change the color of the drip edge on the gable ends of the house to black.  Since we have no eaves or overhangs, I thought it would give the upper edge more definition.  Also, it will match the nearly new black flashing around the windows we had installed in 2013 and the foundation that we repainted black last year.  Our house and garage will be fully white with black trim, foundation and shingles.  Not as exciting as some of the colorful houses of this eclectic, near east side of Madison, but I think it will look rather sharp, nonetheless.
  • For some reason we don't get many thunderstorms here.  I watch the radar; I watch them coming right at us; I watch them fall apart as they approach our lakes while continuing along the line to either side.  I do enjoy a good storm, but nothing too dangerous, of course.  I don't enjoy death or destruction in my nature but I do enjoy samples of its power.  It's exhilarating watching the lightning, jumping at the thunder and smelling the ionized air.  That being said, things must have gotten a little windy the other night.  No real storm, but we did have much rain and wind in the early hours.  On a related note...
  • I have more free firewood thanks to stormy winds on Saturday night.  When we got up we had a 12 foot craggy, leafy live branch hanging off the side fence and mostly in the lilac and purple-floppy-plant.  We waited until around midday for all to dry out some, then I went and trimmed all the little leafy branches and saved the main logs for firewood.  As I was trimming that I heard a crack and crash and watched a dead branch from one of the same black walnut trees fall feet away from me on old neighbor Dave's side of the fence.  Oh, I saw it coming just in time so didn't even freak out, but it did make a little bit of a racket.  It was at least half as big as the live one but less dense, being dead.  I finished the branch I was working on and, after an hour or so break, went over on my neighbor's side and did the same to the dead branch.  I talked to him last night.  He didn't see me doing it but he did notice them disappear at times when he looked out the window and thanked me.  Which leads me to how...
  • A couple years ago neighbor Dave had moles, but not last year.  Last year I didn't have moles, either, but not this year.   I've seen holes in the short space between ours and his houses and even more in the back yard between the garden and the back fence.  I asked him about the device he used a few years ago, a thing he stuck in the ground that made a sound at intervals, and he still had it.  So I put that in the ground between the houses, now I need to shop for some kind of critter repellent for the back yard.  A nice side effect would be keeping the damn bunny rabbits out, too.
Well again, just start typing and see what happens, that seems to be good for me.  Still, time to wrap it up.  I do need to get on Amazon and look for critter repellent, after all.  
*And one last thought - like last year, we have been wanting to have a fire pit and invite all we know.   though just like last year seemed to go, every Saturday has been the hottest, most humid day of the week for several weeks now.  This week should change, so I need to get on that.  
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Stump Flowers

I've been neglecting this space, sorry about that.  Not up for writing at the moment, either.  So here's an updated picture of the stump flowers I just took.  Compare to the picture I posted two posts (and almost a month!) ago and you can see the growth.  I think I'll dump the rest of the pictures on the garden blog.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Holy Cow!

This is what one-quarter of a cow looks like in our freezer.
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Some time ago a friend asked if we would be interested in going in on a cow.  We had talked about it previously but now it was time so we jumped at the chance.  Grass fed, corn finished, and from Door County, Wisconsin.  The cow had been picked a while ago but it took some time waiting for the cow to fatten up for slaughter, so we've been waiting for several weeks.  Then I got word earlier this week, it's time!  Our friend went up to get it from his dad (who lives up there and also had a share of the cow) after work yesterday and showed up here late last night to drop off our quarter of the cow.  It is a shared quarter, meaning we have front and back cuts of meat.  I was told over 200 pounds, though it appears lighter.  Still, we paid a good rate across the board for good beef that includes several kinds of roasts and steaks, stew meat and soup bones, and over 40 tubes of ground beef between one and one and a half pounds each (in a box at right under tenderized round steaks, among other cuts).  Kate took inventory this morning, but we still need to get it sorted better in the freezer.

Well, that's one less thing to think about now for quite a while.  And it makes grocery shopping easier, too.  We had this in mind when we bought the freezer and I'm glad it is now full of meat.  Should be a lot of fun grilling this summer.  Yum!