Sunday, July 7, 2013


I woke up at 6:30 AM on Saturday, after a restless, dream-haunted night. I got a cup of coffee, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and posted the Blog entry.

I skipped breakfast, thinking that I would grab some at Leda’s Coney Island when I went to Westborn. I shaved, showered and got dressed. Then I headed out for the weekend errands.

First stop was Home Depot (of course). Since I have all the rest of the downspouts taken care of, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and fix the one on Jake’s patio. The gutters are there, but there hasn’t been a downspout since a year or so after I moved here. So I bought a 10-foot downspout and an elbow.

Then I went shopping for perennials for the English garden. It’s the wrong time to plant, but a great time to buy as everything is on sale. I am using a list my Brother Carl gave me for “typical” English garden plants. I settled on a “Pink Double Delight” coneflower and a “Bombshell” Hydrangea.

Then I drove up Middlebelt to 5 Mile, with the downspout sticking out the passenger window. When I pulled into the strip mall where Lydia’s is, it was closed for the Holiday! Crap. So, I went to Westborn and got a few things for my Sunday supper. I was going to thank my Hispanic friend for her Adobo recipe, but didn’t see her. I guess she doesn’t work weekends.

On the way home, I stopped in to McDonalds and bought a sausage and egg McMuffin. It was a poor substitute for the eggs over-easy, sausage links and hash browns with rye toast I had envisioned for my breakfast! But I ate it anyway.

First things first. It was almost 11:00 AM and supposed to get hot this afternoon, so I planted my two new flowers. That was not without its difficulties, however.

Any time I try to dig near the old maple I had removed, I run into tree roots. This time, I hit a doozy! It was at least a three-inch oval one, right where the cone flowers needed to go. No problem! I got the 100-foot extension cord and my Sawzall with the wood blade (I’ve taken down trees with that sucker). So, I knelt down next to the hole, positioned the blade and pulled the trigger. NOTHING HAPPENED!

I checked the power (it was on), plugged it into another outlet (nothing) and so on. WTF? It worked fine the last time I used it. Finally, I resigned myself to finding a repair place next week and got out the bow saw. After a lengthy (and exhausting) battle, I got the root cut out.  I suppose I could have used my axe, but I was afraid of hurting my shoulder. 

Tree Root

 Then I finished digging the hole and planted the cone flowers. Next, I planted the much larger Hydrangea. Since I was carrying 2-gallon buckets out there anyway, I decided to dump a bucket of water on everything I had planted this year. I had noticed while digging that the ground was surprisingly dry after about three inches down. I added Miracle-Gro Rose fertilizer to the buckets for the four roses (three transplants and one store-bought). I bought the fertilizer last year but never used it. I am hoping that, since I never even opened it, it will still be effective.

Cone Flower
Cone Flower in Context
Hydrangea in Context

I finished that just before 1:00 PM. Then I jumped onto the downspout project. Well, first, I wandered out to the raised bed vegetable garden, because it looked like the tomatoes grew a foot since last week. Sure enough, I needed to attach them to the next highest rung on the trellis. Also, the green beans and peas have started to come in. So, I ate all the ones big enough for a quick, raw lunch. Both were excellent, BTW, although I’m partial to fresh raw peas. Then I went and got the scissors and the Velcro roll and secured the new growth of the tomatoes.

Then I measured the downspout, using Rick’s installation on the shed as my guide. I cut the downspout with the jigsaw, swapping out the wood blade I have been using for a metal-cutting one. I secured it with self-tapping metal screws. I should have bought brown ones, but I had a whole box of silver ones – if it bothers me too much, I’ll spray paint them. I secured the new drain spout to the wall in two places, screwed on the elbow and then cut the short piece. I secured that and I was done!

It was so simple that I decided to try to secure the downspout on the north side of the entryway. This has never been fastened to the wall, probably because the wall is fieldstone (or something). But, I still had a box of those “Tapcon” bolts used in concrete (that I put up the kitchen window box with). So, I figured out where it should go to be level, drilled a hole for the Tapcon with a concrete drill bit and bolted the hanger (or strap or whatever it’s called) with the Tapcon to the rock wall. Then I secured the hanger to the downspout and added a new piece to the elbow at the bottom.

I rock at downspouts!!!

But, I was sweaty and tired. The heat and humidity were brutal today. I went inside and checked and it was already 80 degrees F. at 3:00 PM. So, I decided to rest up in the air conditioning for a while before going back outside.  Naturally, I fell asleep and napped until 5:00 PM or so.

I got up and went out to the garage. I worked out there until about 7:15, when I noticed it has started to sprinkle. So, I shut everything up and went out to blow off the patio before it got too wet. I had a lot of those maple seed “helicopters” that had been too damp the last few times I tried blowing them off.

I made it just in time! This was not one of the “pop-up” thunderstorms, but a slow, steady rain. Which was good, as I had already decided I would have to water the vegetable garden Sunday morning if I didn’t get rain today.

I put everything away and took a rinse-off shower. It was after 8:00 PM when I finally warmed up a hamburger and made a side of Kraft mac & cheese. I ate dinner watching Key Largo, one of my all-time favorite movies. It got over about 10:30 and I messed around on the computer, filling in the Blog post and processing pictures.

Before I went to bed, I checked and it was still raining (yes!) so I can sleep in Sunday morning.


  1. Another flashy plant for the front is Coral bells. 2nd year they really take off. (peony's too)