Friday, June 30, 2006

Thursday

Thursday night was absolutely unremarkable, so I won't remark on it...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wednesday

Rain started just after I went outside to take some photos and do more weeding. Got the photos, but weeding will have to wait.

I made the best dinner last night out of leftovers! I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this, but some time ago, Jake and Carla started serving steak after slicing it as opposed to allotting one steak per person. Not sure why, but this makes steak go further (maybe if you give a person a whole steak they feel duty-bound to eat it all, but if it is served sliced on a platter, they only take what they want).

Anyway, I had frozen some left over steak slices from one of our meals a while back. Then on Father's Day, Carla had some leftover roasted red peppers that I also froze. And, Jake had some leftover blue cheese from his compound blue cheese and shallot butter in my fridge. (The scene is now set!)

In looking for something else, I found a recipe that called for steak and canned roasted red peppers (both julienne cut) put on flour tortillas with thin cut romaine lettuce, then sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese and then wrapped up.

So, I thawed the steak and roasted red peppers and julienne sliced them, then warmed them in the micro-wave. I didn't have romaine lettuce, but I did have a bag of baby greens, so sliced some of them up. Added all three to a flour tortilla and topped with the blue cheese, then rolled it up.

Fantastic! If by chance (or choice) you have these simple ingredients, I really recommend you try this one!

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One of the daylilies in the back garden starting to bloom

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If you look closely, you can see the garden orchids (Acidanthera) just starting to grow.

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Daylily by the reflecting pool begins to flower

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Quote

"Life would be funny if it wasn't such a serious joke!"

John Goerlich, 2 AM porch thought

Tuesday evening

After work last night, I spent a frustrating hour or so trying to find the slow leak in one of my tires. Jacked up the car washed the tire, laid down on a blanket and sprayed the tire, rim and valve stem with soapy water, looking for bubbles. Nothing... Put a can of "fix-a-flat" in, anyway.

Rained two or three times in the afternoon, so the ground was nice and moist. So, I easily weeded the garden around the reflecting pool and the other patio garden.

Ate the last of the left-over fried chicken and sweet corn for dinner. Woke up around midnight and couldn't get back to sleep, so I read until about two o'clock, then sat on the porch for a while. Finally got sleepy and went back to bed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Can you...

... develop allergies when you're old? With the warm days, but cool night, I have taken to opening my bedroom and the kitchen window at night (after it cools down) and closing them in the morning, before the air conditioner kicks on. Feels great and I seem to sleep better, but I noticed I'm all stuffy every morning now.

Strange...

Monday Night

It rained here for about 20 minutes Monday afternoon. Just enough to make the air thick and steamy. So, when I got home, I watered all the new transplants (hostas in the back, Gerbera daisies in the front). I watered the whole garden the daisies are in (next to the garage) as I noticed in the pictures I posted, you could see some grass in the mulch.

Since I had the ground softened up, I weeded the entire garden. I now use a little seat, as kneeling is no longer an option and doing gardening on your stomach (which I have done this Spring) looks foolish from the road. I DO have my dignity (oh, wait a minute, no, I don't, LOL!)

Then moved into the house and changed the filters in my furnace (for the air conditioner). I called and talked with my Mom out at the cottage. She's doing fine, she says.

Dinner was two leftover hamburgers (from Friday night's debacle) but this time topped with sauteed onions and steak sauce (with NO chinzy white bread bun!)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sunday or...

...workday?

Started out the day making scrambled eggs with chives and bacon. I will need the fuel, as it will be a workday around here. Then off to run errands. Went and got Gerbera daisies at Meijer and two bags of top soil (all out of mulch), bird seed and suet cakes at Home Depot. My friend Cathy from Canada sent me pictures of her Gerbera daisies and I liked them so much, I decided to put some in where the big hosta is (next to the clematis) and transplant the hosta (divided into four) in the back.

Got home and started transplanting. Almost broke my shovel handle digging out the old hosta. Planted the daisies (see photos) then took the hosta in the back. Used my newspaper and dirt trick again to compensate for settling. Then took two wheelbarrow loads of mulch and finished it up.

Then I finished trimming all the bushes in front.

When we were working on the swing set last week, I noticed how springy the boards on top were and told Jake I should put in two more joists. When I went to measure for them, I found they were already there, just the top boards were never attached. So, I dragged out the extension cords and my drill and put a 3 inch deck screw in every board. Now its nice and firm.

Since I had power cords out, I got the blower and blew off the patio, under the picnic table and under the sailboat.

Back inside, I undertook the worse job of the day: cleaning off the drip pans on the stove. This took Softscrub, brillo pads and an enormous amount of elbow grease!

Now it was around 5:00 PM, so I watched the end of the Nascar race while the coals in the grill heated up. Jake missed the sweetcorn I had soaking in water yesterday, so I made that, along with hot dogs. I served them New York style, with minced onions and sauerkraut. Excellent!

I cleaned up all the mess, cleaned myself up and watched TV for the rest of the night.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

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One more shot of the new Gerbera Daisies (you can see where I need to weed, Lol!)

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Trimmed bush #1

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Trimmed bush #2 Click on image to see how nice the tree box looks! (Use your broswer's back button to get back here).

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Left side of front garden

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More of the front garden

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Front garden (as long as I am out here with the camera, lol!)

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Trimmed bush (and front garden) #3

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Trimmed bush, #4

Catching up - Saturday...

Started the morning cleaning house and doing laundry. Carla called and asked if I would like company for some grilling at 3:00 PM, so I said sure!

Ran some errands and then got back home. Weeded one of the mulched beds (they all need it). Watered all the container plants with Miracle Grow and dead-headed them. Then got out the hedge trimmers (bushes in front are getting a might shaggy). Just finished up the first bush when Jake and Carla came in.

Fired up the grill. Jake grilled three beautifully marbled rib eye steaks (we all decided that marinade on these beauties would just be superfluous) that he served with a blue cheese and shallot compound butter. A hashbrown and cheese casserole and some onion and bacon baked beans were the sides. And Carla made snow crab legs with clarified butter and marinated shrimp that Jake also grilled. A store-bought apple pie was dessert.

We feasted like kings!!!

They took pity on me and left without beating me in cards...

Catching up... Friday night

Friday night was a very frustrating night, food-wise. I had thawed hamburger to make tacos, but at the last minute, changed the menu to hamburgers and chips, with homemade chip dip.
Because of the change, I went to the party store for hamburger buns (I know better than to go to Farmer Jacks on a Friday night!) Picked some buns up, but they were so white-bread BLAH!

Spent almost an hour making the French onion chip dip, and it ended up tasting like crap. Made a mushroom topping for the burgers (topped with Lorraine Swiss cheese) and that was just so-so.

I was SO bummed...

Middle of the night, I woke up hungry, so I turned the rest of my hard-boiled eggs into egg salad on sourdough bread. Now THAT tasted good!

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Not a good picture, but to the extreme right is the huge hosta I divided into four and moved to the back

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Two new Gerbera Daisies, where the big hosta was...

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The two new Gerbera Daisies, from another angle

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Four more additions to the hosta garden

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Another view of the hosta garden

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dinner and more...

I stopped at Farmer Jacks on the way home from the dentist and picked up another pack of chicken drumsticks. I deep fried these, both for last night's dinner and for snacks over the weekend. I have found that fried chicken is easier to eat cold than, say, the barbecued chicken I made a while ago (too messy).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Note to Mark...

I Wikied "Gide"

The guy was a perv, man...

Pick a better quote...

Uncle John

Dentist visit

I just recently got back from a dentist visit. Now, this is the second time I have been to this dentist. I choose him after he was recommended by both Carla and Jake, and then Luanne (who went to him when she was up here, based on Carla and Jake's recommendation).

Why did I go to the dentist? Yearly checkup? A cleaning, perhaps? No, it's because the two fillings he gave me the first time BOTH fell out!!!

Now, one I could see, but two's a stretch, okay?

Frosting on the cake? Got there at 3:50 PM, got called into the room at 4:45 PM, the dentist finally came in at 5:15 PM, apologizing because his 3:15 "ran over," and I got home at 6:10 PM!!!

This is my second visit and the second time I did not get into see the dentist anywhere CLOSE to the time I had scheduled WEEKS in advance.

I am SO not impressed!

Quote, found

After "Googling" the word "Goerlich" on a site that listed Mark Goerlich (my brother Peter's son - who is on a LOT of websites, BTW):

"Better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not."
- Gide

the web site is: http://www.trails-edge.com/team/bios/team-bios.htm

P.S. Mark, who the hell is Gide???

Rainfall, revisited

I checked the rain gauge this morning and we got just over 1 inch of rain from last night's storms. On the news, they said the storms did a lot of damage South of where I live, but all's well here on San Jose.

Forgot to mention, but when I got home last night, I changed clothes and raced outside to plant the last of the Impatiens before the rain started again. So, now they are in the ground AND well-watered!

Late Night Update...

It's 11:30 PM, and the lightning and thunder has stopped. But, it's raining much harder!

Since I was awake anyway, I just finished washing the floors (downstairs, kitchen and main bathroom). They obviously didn't get done last weekend, and my walking in and out in the rain had turned them a bit ugly.

I am going to bed and letting them dry, now...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Observations

1. It's about 10:30 PM and I have just come in from the porch. I have been watching an absolutely awesome display of lightning!

2. I like the word "unruly" but, unless you have small children or join a mob, its not often you get to use it.

Rainfall amounts...

Well, our drought seems to have abated. As I said before, we got 1/2 inch of rain on Father's Day. We then got almost a 1/2 inch of rain on Monday. Tuesday was dry, but it started raining in the middle of the night. Just checked the rain gauge and we got over 1/2 inch of rain so far today, and severe thunderstorms are predicted for tonight.

Makes that "watering the grass Sunday morning" look a little foolish, now...

Monday

After work I cut down a few more branches (mostly around the play structure) that I noticed were hanging a bit low. Talked with Luanne and Sadie regarding beams in their kitchen addition. I made a simple shrimp and mushrooms in a butter, wine and garlic sauce I put over linguine for dinner (just felt like cooking), watched some TV and then went to bed.

Was woken up by thunder, so I went on the porch and watched it rain for a while.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Acenter's best wishes...

I checked my voice-mail when I got home today and Carla's Mom, Acenter, had called at 9:45 PM last night (I was already fast asleep) to wish me a blessed Happy Father's Day!

Thanks, Acenter! I wish I could have answered your call...

Monday night (with some spill-over from Sunday)

Two things I should have mentioned about this past Father's Day weekend:

1. Remember me saying I had to water the lawn Sunday morning? Well, it did "sprinkle" off and on during the afternoon, so I was secretly gloating that I had NOT upped my water bill in vain. Except, just after Jake and Carla left, we got the mother of all rain storms. I checked the rain gauge this (Monday) morning and we got over 1/2 inch, in probably less than 1/2 an hour...

2. I think it was Saturday, but the end of my new hose (in the back) blew off! Okay, so I admit it, I bought a dirt cheap hose (which is why I had so many problems with it kinking, etc.) I'm rounding up (and over and out) but a rubber (primo) hose cost like $20 US for 25 feet. I bought these 150 feet vinyl hoses for like $25 a piece.

So, today at lunch, I went to a hardware store and bought some hose clamps. After work, I cut off about six inches, then crammed the hose end back in, added the clamp and tightened the p*ss out of it. We will see if that works...

Also, in Luanne's vine package were two bags of bulbs she never got around to planting. So, I did tonight. I moved some ferns and lilies of the valley away from St. Francis and to my woodland garden. Then I planted 15 bulbs of Borodiaeas (Queen Gabiola) which are purple cut flowers, Then I planted 10 garden orchids (Acidanthera) which have to be dug up in the Fall (I am very bad at that, BTW) in the garden under the tree box in front.

I'll let you know (and post pictures) if they grow...

Father's Day...

Got up around 6:00 AM. Tiptoed around (Jake and Carla are still sleeping) and made some coffee and some pancake batter. Drank my coffee out on the front porch. There is a 60% chance of rain today, but looking at my grass, decided I couldn't take that chance, so dragged the hose around and started watering the front lawn (its burning up!)

When Jake and Carla got up, Jake made link pork sausage and pancakes for my Father's Day breakfast (I wasn't allowed to help). Carla still needed some more ingredients so they left for a short shopping trip and I shaved and showered.

After they returned, Jake helped me put up the new swing chains. Fairly simple, right? Not if you don't have anything that can cut through them! But we improvised and finally got it done. Carla was our test pilot. They worked, but made a creaking sound (I'll put some grease on them, one of these days).

Jake had to wait for his pants to wash and dry (they were light colored and got a bit dirty during the Frisbee game yesterday) so he started to spead woodchips under the play structure while Carla got cleaned up. He eventually got that done, but no pants yet, so he started using the wheel barrow to fill in spots in the back garden that had settled, or been disturbed when they built the wall. He finished all that, and I still have a good size pile in case of more settling! Thanks, tree guy! and thanks, Jake!

Melissa called and wished me Happy Father's Day around noon.

Jeremy, Jyl and the kids came around 1:30 PM. We all visited for a while (I had a vegetable tray with a blue cheese dip and some tortillia chips and salsa, and Jyl brought a watermelon, carved into a basket, filled with strawberries, blue berries, cantaloupe and, of course, watermelon. So we had plenty to munch on.

Then Carla started prepping for the sandwiches. Oh, forgot to mention, Carla needed Greek yogurt, but couldn't find it. Jake said it was like regular yogurt, only drier (how he knew that, I don't know). So, he put regular yogurt in a coffee filter, in a sieve, over a bowl. You would have been surprised at how much liquid drained off!

All three different kinds of sandwiches were made on the grill. We had Tandoori spiced chicken breast with grilled tomato jam and herbed yogurt sauce, served open face on pita bread. We had grilled vegetable sandwiches (Japanese eggplant, red bell peppers, tomatoes and onions, brushed with olive oil and grilled) served with a sherry vinaigrette and Manchego (Spanish) cheese on Ciabatta bread. But the hit of the day was the black pepper crusted steak sandwiches, with aged cheddar, horseradish mayonnaise and watercress, served on big croissants.

I think we all ate too much!

Jake and Carla refused all help cleaning up (I think it was so Jeremy and his family could visit, since they don't often get a chance to come here) and left shortly afterwards. Jeremy stayed until around 6:30 and then departed.

I watched a little TV and then went to bed, a contented Dad!

Saturday

Saturday morning, I slept in until 6:00 AM. Got up, shaved and then jumped in the shower. I had called Clyde Smith and Sons to find a flowering plum tree, but they were all out. Called Randazzo's, a local fruit and vegetable store that also sells plants and trees, and they still had a few left. Asked what time the opened and they said 6:00 AM!

So, got over to Westland and first went to Lowe's. I wanted some chain to replace the old ones on the swings, so on Sunday, Riese could swing if she wanted (Jeremy and his family are coming over, along with Jake and Carla, for Father's Day). Found the ones like the old ones (chain is covered with a sleeve of plastic) but I needed about 50 feet and that chain was $3.49 US a foot!!! Found the same sized chain, but it is sprayed with plastic for $0.49 US a foot, so bought that. Also got some tree fertilizer spikes made by Miracle Grow (my tree guy said the spots on the evergreens that grew into the neighbor's cottonwood will grow back if I fertilized them). Then off to Randazzo's.

At Randazzo's, there were five flowering plums left (all "Thunderclouds"). I carefully selected the one I thought was the best and bought it (along with a now-discounted flat of Impients). I gladly gave them $55.00 US, but, then came the problem! How to fit it in my car!?! Tried everything, but it was just too damn big (now that it's planted, I'd guess it's just over 8 feet tall). Finally, with the help of an elderly Italian gentlemen who parked next to me, I opened the passenger side window, lowered the 7 gallon bucket through it to the floor and left the trunk, branches and leaves sticking up and outside. He (the Italian) was worried that the wind would rub away the bark, so we each searched our cars for a rag or "something." I had nothing, but he had some heavy vinyl, which I bungee-corded around the trunk. I then slowly (to the annoyance of other drivers) drove home, trying to keep my speed under 30 MPH.

Got it home without a problem (other than other drivers honking and cursing at me) and got it out of the car (this was easier with the Italian guy, BTW), put it on the patio and left for Farmer Jack's. Did my two week grocery shopping and went back home to unpack. BTW, Carla's supposed to be over around 11:00 AM with balloons and the cake - she had already dropped a TON of stuff off on Friday for both Saturday's meal and Sunday's cookout - my fridge was BULGING at the seams!). Got the groceries put away, (forgot the trash bags, dammit) and planted the tree. Watered everything in back and had just moved to the front when Carla pulled in. Neat cake! Had a picture of the two of them on it (see photos). While I finished watering, she set up her "tablescape," a paper tablecloth (so she could sprinkle confetti, but not trash the house) matching plates and napkins, and a galvanized wash tub with three kinds of German beer on ice. She left and then returned with the balloons - four each of silver, gold and burgundy. Then she left to go and kidnap Jake (he, like myself, is not big on "surprise" anything).

When they got here, we began the "Jake's birthday, all-day, all-German" celebration. We played cards (I lost again... I hate that card game!) then Carla made bratwurst, first boiled in 6 bottles of German dark beer with onions, mustard seeds, caraway seeds, fresh ginger and coriander seeds, then grilled, served with German mustard, hot German potato salad, red cabbage sauerkraut (fresh red cabbage, boiled in water, oil, red wine vinegar garlic and mustard seeds) and even German pickles. (The bratwurst were the best I have ever tasted, the potato salad was excellent, the sauerkraut was fresh and crisp, but the pickles were sweet, so a bit odd).

At one point while she was bustling about, she said, "You Dad would say, 'I like that little black chick. She's good!'" I told her he was probably up in heaven, smiling right now!

Later in the day and into the German beer, we decided to play Frisbee (my arms are still sore) out in the 90 degree F temperatures, then they went and rented a movie. I went to bed in the office around 9:00 PM and they watched the movie in my room. A nice ending to a really nice day...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

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Play structure, with wood chips underneath, thanks to Jake on Sunday morning.

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Carla, testing the new swings chains, while Jacob (unseen) moves wood chips

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Jake's Cake
(and, you didn't think I was a poet, LMAO!)

You will have to click on this to see Carla - she kinda blends in in the photo, then use the "back button" on your browser.

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Carla's "tablescape" for Jake's All-German birthday party

Friday Night

Friday night I told Jake I had errands to run, so they couldn't come over after work. And, I did, but the real reason is that Carla was planning a surprise birthday party for Jake at my house on Saturday (that, with Sunday's Father's Day, seemed like a bit much!)

So, ran my few errands, got home and quit for the night (knowing it would be a l-o-n-g weekend ahead.

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Last addition to the rear garden this year: my new flowering plum tree

Friday, June 16, 2006

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My tree guy leaves me a few more wood chips...

Oh, by the Way

I was talking with the tree guy last night and mentioned that it was too bad I put the fence back together as I could have used a few more woodchips (his truck was full). This morning when I looked out my kitchen window, there was a pile of them back by the play structure he must have hand-shoveled over the fence.

Also, I wrote a new poem that my webmaster posted. It's called "Old Memories, Dead Faces" if you want to take a look.

Last Night

I had a busy night last night, but not doing anything I'd planned! When I got home, there was a big box on my porch. In it were the vines I'd asked Luanne to send me: a trumpet vine (they call it Virginia creeper down there) and a honeysuckle vine. Oddly enough, they are considered nuisance plants in Virginia and farmers hate them.

BTW, nice job of packing them, Lu! I thought she'd send me a couple of roots, but she sent several roots with stems and leaves of both varieties, all carefully packed in shredded, dampened newspaper.

So, I'm planting tonight!

Looked out the kitchen window and got a shock! Large tree limbs covered my lawn! Realized the guy next door finally got that damn cottonwood cut down. The tree guy (same one I used) assured me he'd clean everything up. Check out the photos and you can see that he did.

Got the shovel and my vines and headed out back. Put the honeysuckle next to the fence in back as that corner's a little ugly. Put the trumpet vine where I had planted the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories (none came up - out of two seed packets! And, only three of the other Morning Glories came up!)

While I was at it, I moved the one hosta that was in front of St. Francis. It looked okay when it was smaller, but it was getting a bit big for the spot.

Then, since I had the water hooked up for planting, I gave everything in back a good soaking (its already June 16 and we have had only four days of rain this month in Michigan).

Then, I watered the front grass where the old pine was. Speaking of the old pine, I moved the Old Pine Memorial Squirrel Feeder from the Black Walnut in front to a pine tree in back. Why? Because I never got to see the squirrels eating the peanuts.

Anyway, finished up at 8:30 and went into the house to investigate dinner...

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Virginia creeper (or trumpet vine) planted where the Heavenly Blue Morning Glories failed to grow.

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Honeysuckle vine from Virginia now in back garden next to North fence

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Thursday, 5:15 PM What the heck is going on???

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Thursday, 8:00 PM - All gone!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

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Saint Francis' hosta moved to the back...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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"You rang?"

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Let's 'em know where I am coming from!

Got my order today...

I ordered two things a while ago. One was a ceramic tile with a saying from the Wizard of Oz. For those readers who have never been to my humble abode, my door mat simply says, "Go Away!" (except at Christmas, when it says, "Bah, Humbug!") This seemed to fit my profile, and is now hanging just outside my front door (see photos).

The other was a reproduction of a Victorian hotel desk bell, made in Italy. Not sure why, but it appealed to me, and, after opening the package, I am quite pleased with it. And, it rings! (Also see photos). So, if you ever stay the night at my place, you can summon me...

Oh, by the way...

I emailed my brother Joe and his wife Kathy yesterday, asking if they had taken Mom out to Lake Orion (she's been known to change her mind if it turns cold, and it was a bit cool on Monday).

Joe wrote back, saying, "Yes, she went out yesterday in time for the sunset."

Nice!

My Mom LOVES the sunset at Lake Orion...

Quote

"We are the old and young of the nation. And war has left us with many scars: But love and freedom we cherished not medals or battle scars. The bullets and shrapnel dug deep and every wound was hard-gotten but the deepest wounds of all would be to come home and be forgotten."

Author Unknown
Veteran's Memorial Park
Bay City, Michigan

Transplants

I have been trying to figure out how to plant some hostas on the wood chip mound in the back. Up until now, everything I put back there was at ground level (after moving the 6-8 inches of wood chips). But the mound is still settling (it has gone down about a foot so far).

I thought of peat pots (to keep the soil in place and then let the roots grow through the peat) but they don't make them that big. Then I thought of paper mache (but that seemed like a LOT of work!)

Finally settled on digging the holes (well, pushing aside wood chips) then lining the holes with six layers of newspaper and then putting in dirt. My plan is that by the time the newspaper rots, the mound will be stable and settled (we'll see!)

So, I split the biggest hosta in front (leaving half in place) and the other half, I split into three. I also moved two other, more decorative hostas that were along side the garage. Now, I'm on a roll!

So, remember the iris in front (I posted a picture when they were in bloom), well, they covered the front garden from the front to the back. So, I cut them in half and planted three clumps in the back.

For the dirt I mixed 1/3 of last years compost with 2/3 store-bought top soil. I can't believe after living on farms that I actually have to "buy" dirt, but live and learn, I guess.

Watered everything I transplanted, then started watering everything else, Finished up at 8:30 PM, heated up the left over roast beef and trimmings for dinner, got cleaned up and called it good for the day.

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Before picture - where I'm going to transplant some hostas (this was taken so "before," it was before I picked up the trash, lol!)

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After picture - new hosta garden

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Front garden's iris, transplanted

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Scruffy, enjoying some fresh catnip

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Forgot to mention...

I talked with my Mother over the weekend. She said she was going out to Lake Orion either yesterday or today to stay for the summer.

Have a GREAT summer, Mom!

Monday Night

Took the time to sit on the front porch again just after work. I am beginning to enjoy just people-watching (guess its true! I AM getting old!)

Since Tuesday is garbage pick-up day, I thought it best to resume trash duty along fence line. Got all the rest of the easy stuff picked up (another 1 and 1/2 garbage bags of junk!)

Went inside and used my exercise machine (all right, I confess, I've been slacking off in this area! Time to get back to it!)

Made a salad of baby greens, feta cheese and crumbled bacon, topped with raspberry vinegarette. Then had two of the non-barbecued sauced chicken drumsticks for my main course.

Cleaned up and quit for the night.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

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My Father's Day present from Jake and Carla - an iron bird bath

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Schooner Jake and Carla sailed on in the Saginaw Bay.

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Yet more trash... sigh...

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Another trash picture (this was all intermixed with grapevines and raspberries)

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Trash next door (Jeremy, now you can see the hose arrangement!)

Sunday...

Never made any breakfast today. Just started working. Deep cleaned the bathroom (took almost three hours!) Put the beef roast in the crock pot around 9:00 AM. Layered carrots, cut on the bias, chunks of peeled russet potatoes (they seem to hold up better in slow cooking), an onion, quartered, the beef chuck roast, with Montreal Steak Seasoning pressed in on all sides, sliced Portobello mushrooms and a handful of thyme sprigs (also added water and a splash of Worcestershire sauce).

When it was a bit warmer, got the trimmer and headed back next door. This time I got it all done. Jake was right! All the grape vines and raspberry bushes were just traps for the Farmer Jack garbage. Cleaned all vegetation out from front to back. (Will still need to pick up all the trash, but my back was hurting from all the weedwacking). See the photos for the mess I have to deal with!

Came in, took a shower (was literally covered with dirt and grass) and changed clothes. Just after that, Jake and Carla came in, returning from their weekend in Bay City (and returning my car!)

They told me tales of their adventures, including their day trip on the Appledore IV, an 85 foot topsail schooner (I stole the picture of it from the website, so my Mom could see it). Sounded like they had a LOT of fun and good food! Jake rigged the TV so I could see the pictures on his camera - nice!

We exchanged presents. I gave Jake his birthday present - a short branding iron with the initials JEG on the end, for branding steaks, etc., after he grills them (or, as he pointed out, he could also brand Carla or Scruffy. Neither Carla nor Scruffy were amused). They gave me my Father's Day present, an iron birdbath, with a little fairy sitting on the edge. She's got one foot out of the water, and a little bird is perched on it. Put it in a temporary spot (have to give the final resting spot some serious thought) and took a picture to post.

I invited them for dinner and they accepted. All I had to do was make some biscuits, and then serve the roast beef, carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms. I made the left over pan juice into gravy. Not bad... not bad at all!

Jake insisted on cleaning up, so Carla and I visited in the living room. When he was done, they left. I turned on the NASCAR race and laid down to give my back a rest. After the race, went back outside with a trash bag and my trusty stick-with-a-nail-in-it and started picking up the next door trash. Was nowhere near being done when the bag was filled, and my back was screaming in protest, so quit for the night. Came in to update this, and call it good.

Nice weekend!

Sunday morning, over easy...

(No, this time I mean the radio show, "Sunday morning, over easy" LOL!) Anyway, they just played American Tune by Paul Simon and I was reminded just how much I identify with that song! So, here it is:

American Tune
words and music by Paul Simon

Many's the time I've been mistaken, and many times confused
Yes and I've often felt forsaken, and certainly misused
Ah but I'm alright, I'm alright, I'm just weary thru my bones
Still you don't expect to be bright and bon-vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered or driven to its knees
But it's alright, it's alright, for we live so well, so long
Still, when I think of the road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong, I can't help it I wonder what's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying, I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me, smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying, and high up above my eyes could clearly see
The statue of liberty, sailing away to sea, and I dreamed I was flying

But we come on a ship they called Mayflower
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages' most uncertain hours and sing an American tune
And it's alright, oh it's alright, it's alright, you can be forever blessed
Still tomorrow's gonna be another working day and I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying, to get some rest

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday...

Woke up and washed all the laundry. Morning was a bit chilly and high today is supposed to be only 69 degrees F. So, I opened windows in every room to air the house out. Made an omelet with the remaining ham lunchmeat. Weeded the garden on Jake's patio, then went to get my hair cut (appointment at 10:00 AM). Stopped off at CVS afterwards, to pick up Jake's birthday card, then Farmer Jacks for a beef roast.

Pounded the cutting edge flat on my tree trimmer, then sharpened it with my dremmel tool. I have been concerned about my poor lawn cutting guy, as he has to duck under branches in the back. So trimmed any branch that I could touch. Cleaned that mess up. It's funny... if you walk from the front to the back, trimming branches, it doesn't seem like much until you turn around and then have to go and pick them all up!

Then put string on trimmer and once again started down the outside of my fenceline. Stopped when the string ran out. Came inside (was surprised to see it was after 3:00 PM!) and ate some barbecued chicken for lunch, then took the nap I've been planning on all week!

Refreshed, I went back to housecleaning. Did that until I got bored, gave up and watched TV for the rest of the night.

What ever happened to...

... German Shepherds? I don't mean the little, thin, scrawny things they call German Shepherds today. I mean the broad chested, 100+ pound, lean, mean, fighting machines they were when I was a kid. Watch any old World War II movie with prisoners, or better yet watch any 1950 -60's civil rights documentaries (where they turn the dogs loose on the militants) and you will see what I mean.

My dad loved German Shepherds...

I miss them...

Steely Dan Lyrics

Deacon Blues Chorus:

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Books

Finished reading "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad last night. Bizarre tale. Its supposed to be the basis for the movie "Apocalypse Now" and I can see why...

Friday Night

Did some calculations with rainfall amounts and decided I needed to water last night. Started at 5:20 PM, watering EVERYTHING, and finished at 7:45.

Then started the charcoal in the grill. Grilled 14 chicken drumsticks that had been in a balsamic vinegar marinade (put barbecue sauce on half of them), four boneless pork chops (put a strip of bacon on the outside of each just to add a different flavor), three skewers of large shrimp and five ears of corn. Finished up just at dark. Plenty of leftovers to last all weekend!

Friday, June 9, 2006

Quote

"At my age and weight, I don't skinny dip, I chunky dunk!"

"Ryan" and "Alter Egos"

Watched two fascinating shows last night. First was "Ryan" which won the Sundance award for animated short. It was about Ryan _____ (I forgot) who was an animator back in the '60's and won an Academy Award for his animated short "Walking." Then the show "Alter Egos" which was about the past and current life of Ryan _____ who went from a Wonderkid animator to being a panhandler in Toronto.

Yes, it was a bit depressing, but what was fascinating was the difference between Ryan's work (original animation - drawing literally thousands of pictures to achieve motion) and the animation in "Ryan" which is Rotoscope (computer animation - you know, Lord of the Rings, wait, best example on TV now are the Charles Schwab commercials).

Anyway, it is on both Comcast and Brighthouse under free movies in On Demand if you're interested. Or ask me, I recorded it.

Last Night

A rain shower shortened the chores I had planned. All I got done was to spread some top soil where the old pine tree was cut down. The grass seed I planted there grew, but isn't doing so well. I think its because of all the wood chips left from grinding the stump. So, I thought a little dirt might help.

Jake and Carla are off on a weekend vacation to Bay City, so we switched vehicles last night. Which means (since I don't trust that car) other than a short trip to get my hair cut, I'm grounded. That's okay, since I have a LOT of little chores to accomplish.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Bumper Sticker

Scruffy's been bugging me to get a bumper sticker he likes. It's a picture of a cat and says: "Don't like my attitude? Call 1-800-GET-A-DOG"

Wednesday

Wednesday was more or less a repeat of Tuesday. I finished weeding the front garden, worked up the soil, added the Preen, but didn't water. It had rained a bit during the afternoon, you see (just a trace in the rain gauge, but enough to spare me lugging the hose around!)

Cleaned up the mess and me. For dinner I made fried eggplant along with the last chicken Parmesan patty.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Tuesday night

Came home from work, changed clothes and, for a change, sat in my rocker on the porch for a spell. It was very pleasant, both humidity and temperature-wise.

Finally decided I was being a bit lazy, so started weeding the front garden (it's the only garden I have that doesn't get mulched). There were a lot of weeds as I hadn't put down any Preen when I planted. But, I got the section in front done. Then worked up the soil, applied the Preen and watered. Finished up around 7:00 PM and then cleaned up (the yard and myself).

Made some comfort food for dinner - kielbasa, sauerkraut and boiled potatoes.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Summer time, and the livin's is easy...

Called Lu and filled her in on Riese's debut after work. Then, I watered all the containers in front, and the strawberry plants in back (they still aren't doing anything yet). I had to deadhead all the ivy geraniums again (the ones in the hanging baskets). I will tell you, these are nice and showy, but high maintenance!

Got out the blower to clean up the mess I'd made deadheading. Filled the birdfeeder and threw out some stale bread for the squirrels. Now it's about 7:00 PM, and I have to make a decision: Eat dinner or weed the front garden?

My tummy won, and I quit for the night. Had some left over chicken Parmesan and watched a movie.

photo

New sand cherry. If you click on picture to enlarge, you can see the chicken wire that the morning glories will climb (use your browser's back button to return).

photo

New dogwood, next to a daylily, in back garden

photo

The old clematis, in bloom again

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Sunday draws to a close...

Woke up Sunday morning, to a nice, slow, gentle rain. The kind of rain beloved by those who had planted shrubs the day before. Since working outside is denied me for now, it's time for...

Housecleaning! (Well, I did have a onion bagel with cream cheese and coffee first, you understand). Started at one end of the house and worked to the other. Somewhere in there Carla called and asked about playing cards later. I mentioned I was planning on chicken Parmesan for dinner and would she like to help me make it? She agreed and we settled on late afternoon to get together.

The rain stopped mid-morning. Went outside to fill the bird feeder and checked the rain gauge. Between yesterday and today, I got about 1/4 of an inch of rain. Good for the grass. Now, back to cleaning. Last thing I did was to wash all the floors and while they were drying, I went grocery shopping at Westborn and Farmer Jacks. Oh, I washed the car as well. Got back home, put everything away, changed clothes and headed out back...

Until yesterday, everything I had planted way in back was low to the ground and was very visible. But, after planting the 6 foot dogwood, I noticed that several tree branches between the kitchen window and the back wall obscured the view of the top of the dogwood. Is that important? Well, since I still want to put a flowering tree back there, yes!

So, got my trusty ladder and the Sawzall and went from tree to tree. Cut off about 6 small branches and two major ones. Then cut up the limbs for chiminea firewood. Jake and Carla came over near the end of this effort.

Put everything away and settled in to get my butt kicked at cards (I mean it!) After a couple of games, we started dinner. Carla worked on the sauce while I flattened and then fried the chicken. We combined our efforts, topped the chicken patties with the sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil and popped them into the oven. Served it with pasta and more sauce and crusty Italian bread.

The recipe called it the "ultimate" chicken Parmesan. We all decided it while it might not be the "ultimate" it was pretty damn good! After cleaning up, they left and I settled in to watch some TV. Dozed off, then woke up and decided to enter all this to the Blog. All in all, its been a very full and interesting weekend.

I'm going back to bed, now...

Occurred to me...

... about 6 months too late, that everyone might not know this, but when you are in the Photo section , you can "click" on a photo and it will enlarge. Then just use the "back" button to get back to normal viewing.

Just helpful hints...

photo

Again, flash is washing out the colors, but here's the new vase with fake flowers for the new table.

Catching up: Last night...

[Sorry... third time I've written this... Problems with Blogger and I've lost everything twice already! Also note: it was much better written the first time!]

As I mentioned, tonight was the debut ballet performance of my granddaughter, Riese. She is the daughter of Jyl and Jeremy, who is (as he so succinctly put it tonight) the son who NEVER GETS MENTIONED in this Blog. Geesh... Sorry... But it does take some interaction, ya know! After all, how often do you see the names "Amy" or "?Melissa," who also are the fruit of my loins? (I could have said my daughters, but at this time of the night, if I can use the word "?loins"? I try to go for it!)

Anyway, I got to the Port Huron High School (where the recital was being held) around 5:30 PM. It was put on by the Mainstreet Dance Connection, where Riese takes ballet lessons. I spotted Jeremy in the hall and he said Jyl was backstage with Riese. She finally came out, with an odd tale. It seems that none of the kids can be seen in the audience in their costumes. Why is that important? Because Riese was in the third number of the first act. So that meant that, after her performance, she had to hang out, either backstage or off-site, until the finale, THREE HOURS LATER!

Anyway, we took our seats, the lights dimmed and the show was on. Riese'?s number was called "?Baby Mine."? First thing that struck me was the sight of Luanne's old cradle (which I had repaired some 29+ years ago, so Jeremy could sleep in it) along with three other cribs, up on the stage. Then four ballerinas, one of whom was Riese, came out, holding baby dolls. They danced and cuddled their "?babies"? to the music, then Riese put her baby in the cradle and struck a pose.

Here'?s where things went wrong... The second ballerina seemed confused and upset. You could tell by her face there was a lot of encouragement and instructions coming from behind the curtain. At first she seemed to be frozen, then she seemed to be arguing. Finally the Director came out on stage, took her doll and put it in the third crib, took the third girl'?s doll and put it in the second crib, and retreated back behind the curtain.

It may have been a simple mixup in crib location, but it definitely threw the second girl. However, Riese (God bless) held her pose throughout the incident. The number ended, to loud applause, and we trooped downstairs to find Riese.

When she came out, I gave her the bouquet from Grandma Lu and Sadie (deep red carnations with baby'?s breath) that Lu asked me to pick up. I took her picture (see photos). I would have zoomed in on her face, but wanted you to see her costume.

Somebody (Jyl? Jeremy?) suggested dinner, so Jeremy dropped us off at the Rum Runner, while he went and picked up Riese's brother Joe, who was unable to attend the recital. Good food! I had a Mediterranean pasta dish (penne pasta with veggies in an olive oil/butter sauce).

We left, dropped Joe back off and went back to the school. Jyl suggested I might not want to stay for the finale (it was already 8:00 PM) and I accepted (not wanting to drive all that way in the dark). Made my farewells to Riese, Jyl and Jeremy, then headed home. Got here just after 9:00 and just before dark...

Congratulations again, Riese! You were GREAT!!!

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Catching up: This afternoon...

I had called earlier in the week and gave my regrets because I didn't think I could attend my (Oh God! What would she be??? She's my niece, Caroline Constantine's, daughter Kara... Second niece? Doesn't sound right...) because my granddaughter Riese was having her first ballet recital today. (See, granddaughter is a nice, easy, line of succession... Anybody know what I should be calling Kara?)

However, it worked out that the ballet program started at 6:00 PM in Port Huron, and the graduation party at 3:00 PM in New Baltimore (for non-Michigan readers, from my house, New Baltimore is probably 50 miles away, on the way to Port Huron, which is maybe 20 miles further still).

So, I dropped into the party around 4:00 PM. It was nice to see everyone, especially Carl (of course). BTW, I would have NEVER recognized Chelsea (Linda and Bruce's daughter). She looks like a model! I saw pictures of Christa's new baby and Carl's flooded back yard, etc., etc., etc. Family stuff... familiar stuff... nice stuff...

My only regret? I had to leave at 5:00 PM, just as they started grilling the food (and Caroline's pasta salad looked to die for!)

Catching up: This morning...

Went to both World Market and Joanne Fabrics, trying to find something for my new entryway table. Everything that was dramatic enough was WAY too expensive. Finally settled (and I do mean "settled") on a glass vase with white/yellow flowers in that acrylic (or whatever) that looks like water. I'll keep my eyes open for something I REALLY want.

I also picked up a Spring wreath, made up of imitation forsythia branches, on sale. This completes the wreaths. I had one for Fall, one for Winter, then the old lighted Christmas wreath, and finally one for Christmas to Spring. Now I have Spring! Don't need a Summer, as the hanging plants make it look too crowded.

Then I went to Randazzo's. I had called and they said they still had some Sand Cherries. Picked out a nice one, about 3 1/2-4 foot tall. Also bought a Dogwood. It was finished blooming, so I don't know what color it is (do they come in colors?) That was at least 6 feet tall, and called for a lot of creative thinking to get it in the car. But I got them both home without breaking any branches!

Wheeled them out back, and after much deliberation, decided what went where and planted them both.

Now all I need is a flowering plum or crab apple and this year's rear garden planting is complete.

Catching up: Last night...

Jake and Carla stopped in after work last night. Hmmm... this has been a nice tradition. I wonder if it will change when they break up Spacely Sprockets IT and move us all hither and yon. I'm supposed to go to Building 47 and Jake's slated for Building 3. Does this mean no more Friday nights? I hope not, but if it does, it sure was fun while it lasted, guys!

Anyhow, we has the usual discussion about dinner. This time, Jake took charge, declaring he was making perogies. Sounded good, but I had very little sour cream left (grocery shopping is tomorrow). Undaunted, he scrounged through my fridge and found ingredients to make a sauce for them. Since we were all talking, I didn't check out the herbs or spices he used, but I know he sauteed a valadia onion, sliced Portobello mushrooms and added vermouth, then reduced it.

Might sound a little weird, but it tasted great!

photo

My granddaughter, Riese, at her debut ballet performance.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Taxi, by Harry Chapin

This is the one part of the much longer song, "Taxi" by Harry Chapin, that I can really relate to right now...

Oh, I've got something inside me,
to drive a princess blind.
There's a wild man, wizard,
he's hiding in me, illuminating my mind.
Oh, I've got something inside me,
not what my life's about,
cause I've been letting my outside tide me,
over 'till my time, runs out.

Harry Chapin - Taxi

The Fried Potato Salad Recipe

Okay, okay, stop bugging me! Here is the recipe for what Carla made last Friday:

Boil 2 pounds of baby red potatoes until almost fork tender. Remove and chill well, the cut into 1/4 inch slices.

Fry 6 slices of bacon, drain and crumble.

Transfer 1 tablespoon of bacon fat to large bowl, reserve 3 tablespoons of bacon fat in pan.

Place potatoes in span in single layer. Fry until crispy (about 2 minutes per side). Remove and repeat until all potatoes are fried.

Whisk in 1 tablespoon of brown mustard, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, salt and pepper in bowl with bacon fat.

Add potatoes, bacon, 1/3 cup chopped parsley, 1/3 cup sliced green onions, salt and pepper.

Serves 6

Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Last Night's Rainfall

I checked the rain gauge this morning after we had several thunderstorm rumble through last night. I had 5/8 inch of rain fall, so the plants and grass should be okay for a while.

My naked rain dance worked!

(now there's a picture, eh?)