Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Yesterday was a glorious day. The birds were tweeting, the air was warm and moist, and just to be outside working in the yard was a joy. I know that soon enough the warm and moist air will become hot and humid so I definitely enjoyed it as much as I could. The afternoon clouded up and a few sprinkles came down but the thunder didn't produce any worth while rain. It was just all wind and no rain. I raking all the debris off the front yard from winter. I had 6 big wheel barrow loads to go into the compost and garden beds.

As you can see the tulips and daffodils are well on their way to blooming. They started coming up in the middle of February which I thought was a little early but they seem to have weathered the freezing night time temperatures just fine. They are close to the house in a protected area so maybe that has something to do with it. I will be glad to see their bright colorful blooms again this year. They bloomed so well last year. I hope they can do it again this year.

I was concerned about the Crocus planted out by the curb. They were planted in the grass and did quite well last year but I didn't see any action this year until yesterday. Now I see many are coming up and a few are blooming. I like Crocus because they are the first to bloom in the spring and mark the true beginning of spring. Spring flowers just have a way of lifting my spirit.

This is just one fourth of the yard cleanup that I raked off the yard. The yard just looked like it really was grateful to have been cleaned for the start of the year. I liken it to getting a good scrubbing in the shower. I'm going to experiment on my front yard this year. There's a writer/gardener named Jerry Baker that has written a book on having a lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood. He uses very unorthodox methods with common household products and a hose end sprayer. I will be testing his methods to see if they really work or it's just a bunch of words to promote a book. I'll be writing about the whole experience so you can follow along and see how it all turns out. Today I will hunt down the 20 gallon hose end sprayer that he talks about in his book and spray the yard with wake up tonic. It should be a good summer adventure.

All that good yard waste doesn't go to waste. It gets put on the garden beds and in the compost pile. During the summer I usually don't keep the green grass clippings. I let them go to the city yard waste pickup so it can be composted and I can buy it back. Fresh green grass just seems to turn into slime in my compost pile. I just don't have enough other stuff to mix with it so I let the city do it for me. In the spring and fall my yard has a good mix of dried out grass and leaf mixture which works in my compost pile. You can see the automatic gravity feed watering system barrels are somewhat in place. Now that I've expanded my garden I'll have to expand the watering system as well.
And so the spring/summer adventure begins.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winter Project and helping in Las Vegas

If you really need to caulk
And don't want a talk
Who you gona call
Dangerous caulk gun Dave

If you really need to saw
And don't want to jaw
Who ya gona call
Lightning skill saw Steve

Now ya all know
Who ya gona call
And ya really should know
That I ain't a poet.

There's a moral to the story
And it ain't about glory.
It's more about helpin'
And less about gettin'

One of the things we (sister's brother-in-law and brother-in-law's son and me) did while visiting family in Las Vegas was prep my sister's house to be painted. The metal screw heads on her house siding needed to be covered with oil based primer to keep them from rusting. Although we didn't get to the actual priming because of the complete bathroom remodel, it is ready for her to recruit folks to help her paint. We had to scrub a chalky white substance off the siding to enable the paint to stick to it. We used a sponge mop and a 1 to 4 vinegar water mix to wash the siding panels clean.

Back at home Grandpa is showing Bradley just how to staple up the insulation. It was just a simulation and not the real thing. Had it been the real thing Bradley would have had eye protection, head protection, and gloves. I believe in protecting all parts of the body as much as possible when doing construction.

The insulating goes up with little issues. The ceiling was the hardest as there were heating pipes, airconditioning lines, phone lines, and TV cables to insulate around. This area will not be taped and finished off in case it needs to be opened up to work on the utilities that run through the ceiling. The traditional way of drywall on the ceiling first will be changed and go up last to allow easy removal should that need to happen. A couple framing modifications have to be made before the final drywall goes onto the wall.

Yes that is a home made bottle of wine sitting on the foreground shelf. It's from my wine making days of middle 70s. That would make it about 37 years old. Perhaps I'll pop the lid when I'm finished with the food storage area. What do you think?

Have a safe remodel construction day. Leae a comment about what's been happening in your life. See ya next time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Some Assembly Required

This post will stray a little bit away from the garden oriented theme. With the ground still frozen and patches of snow still hiding in the shadows, gardening will have to remain just a yearning for now. My seed starting station will not be up and working until next spring. The food storage area has been put on hold this week due to being nurse for a six year old with the flu. For running an unmedicated temperature of 101 he sure doesn't act like he is sick. So much energy in such a little package. Anyway let's get started with what's been happening around the urban ranch.

Do you remember the late night days of yester year when some assembly was required on Christmas Eve? I have been a fan of some assembly required all through the years. Even now it still haunts me through my daughter and grandson. This time it raised it's head in the form of a twin captain's bed. These three flat boxes contain the parts for the bed, trundle bed, and drawers. Upon opening the boxes and finding the directions, I find that there are only five steps of assembly. Is this a bad joke or what? Two of the steps are nothing more than pictures. Oh, well, it's a good thing I've had much experience with flat box furniture.

Two days later the bed assembly has been completed with only one trip the hardware store for longer bolts to hold on the drawer pulls, two more longer screws for the final assembly of the bottom drawer assembly. The two short screws left over go where? The two final dowels for the drawer assembly are two long but a little grinding get them down to size. Just things a person needs to know how to do with some assembly required. It's a great bed and should last the energetic super hero warrior that sleeps there with his transformer friends many years. After a final glance I have to wonder just how and if this warrior's bed will ever fit through the bedroom door when it comes time to trade up for an older warrior's bed. Oh, well, I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Next up was a little appliance repair. Well, it started as repair. The tray inside the microwave stopped turning and I thought that the motor used to turn the tray was most likely the problem but it turned out the plastic sleeve that slips down over the motor shaft has crystallized and broken. How to fix? I'm still thinking about that one as the part is surrounded by spot welded metal and probably not meant to be replaced. The microwave is 16 years old and should be replaced but that's just not in the budget right now. In the mean time a manual spin of the tray every 30 seconds of use will suffice. Other than the tray turning the microwave works just fine.

While sitting out on the front yard patio enjoying one of the February 50 degree days I noticed my tulips were pushing through the dirt. Should this really be happening as the last frost day here is May the 15th. I asked them if they really knew how long it was before the last day of frost and if they really should be waking up now but they just gave me the silent treatment. Maybe they know something that I don't about the coming weather. I certainly hope so. Even though last winter was far worse than this winter I am still much more anxious to get out and start digging in the dirt. Maybe it's because I have more summer projects than last year.

While cleaning out the food storage area I ran across these scrap books my mother had put together during my high school days. I was a mediocre athlete in high school but was good enough to go with the traveling team in football and track. My mother cut out and put in the scrapbook every single newspaper article that pertained to the teams during those years. It was like going down memory lane for high school. I didn't even remember that I had put those down there 20 some years ago. I had to stop and wonder about what ever happened to those ambitious bound for college with a life time ahead of them guys and gals. I have not been to a class reunion since I left town to find my fame and fortune in life over 45 years ago.

Here's another treasure found in the basement storage area. It's the original Silivertone guitar that my parents gave to me as a Christmas present back when I was about 12 years old. It started my trek through the Rock 'N Roll years. I progressed through several electric guitars and spent many garage practice hours with my buddies and even had a band together for a short time. Mostly I played just for fun. I would really like to get back to that guitar picking fun stage again however instead of Rock 'N Roll I would now play Bluegrass flat pickin'. I would have liked to have gotten back to practice this last winter but six year olds take up more time than I thought, and well there are the winter projects.

That's all for now but I'm sure there will be more before too long.

Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what's been going on in your neck of the woods.