Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scrub A Dub Dub

Boy, is it murky out there! 
Hot and humid. 

Yick!

I went out to walk my miles this morning and came back in looking like this.





Well...Maybe not THAT bad but I sure felt all slimed up from sweating.

So, what to do today? 

Why don't we give the house a bath!

Since we've been finishing the deck with fresh new paint and stain, we've noticed that the house siding is looking a bit faded and tired.

Kinda like me @;)

Since one thing leads to another around here...{can you sense the sarcasm?}...We've decided to paint the house this Fall. 

Oh Joy! 

We have fiberboard siding that needs to be painted every ten years or so.  Paint usually goes on sale Labor Day Weekend.  It just makes sense to take care of it now.

And since it's too humid to stain the deck this weekend, we might as well prep the siding on the house.  SM got all motivated yesterday and started scrubbing the siding on the front of our house with bleach water. 

Talk about "Swamp Thing."

Bleaching the house is something you have to do at least once a year around here.  If you let it get away from you, you'll have a house that's coated with green slimy mold.  

Trust me, I've seen it! 

So that's what we'll be up to today.  What battles are you fighting this weekend?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last Hurrah?

I went out and wandered the garden today.  I wasn't expecting much but was curious as to what was happening.

Besides weeds that is.





We've smothered a good bit of the front section.  The sweet potatoes that I planted back in June have spread out a bit more but seriously!!! 





Is this all the growing Ya'll are going to do?  Bummer.

A word of warning to anyone silly enough to buy Matt's Wild Cherry seeds more than once.  I planted them ONE TIME and this is about my fourth year of volunteers. 

They are everywhere which I suppose isn't a bad thing since they are the only tomatoes that we're getting right now.  I even saw some growing in my neighbors yard.  The birds must've helped "distribute" them @;)

I picked a few peppers and wandered over to the winter squash/pumpkin patch which is a complete fail this year.  September is right around the corner and still no female blooms.  Very weird.

Speaking of September...Does anyone else get the feeling that we're in for an early Fall? 




Usually August is a killer around these parts but it hasn't been too bad this month.  This week we're heading back into the 90's but just last week we had the windows open at night.  Very pleasant.




At least the zinnias are still producing.  I planted more of the jumbo size this year and I'm really happy with the bouquets I'm cutting.  I have 4 jars of flowers in my house alone. 

We have another nice day today so SM and I will be working on the deck again.  We painted and stained a bit yesterday.  We're matching the fascia with the trim paint on the house.



The privacy wall is stained in cedar.  I'm not sure I like it.  Too red for my taste but SM says to wait and see how it looks when everything is finished.  I can always paint it later I suppose.




Today we made 2 runs to get the deck boards you see above. 

Back and Forth, Back and Forth.

These are pressure treated and need to "cure" by drying a bit before I stain them.  We ripped up the old boards and tossed them back by the shed and then laid these out, cup side down to dry. 

It seems like this deck project is dragging out forever.  I'm hopeful that we can wrap things up in the next few weeks.

I'd really like to use it now that Fall is right around the corner.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Get A Life

Just wanted to let you all know that everything is fine here.  I haven't been posting because there really hasn't been that much to talk about.

We're just living life right now. 

We took some time earlier in the month to visit with family in Ohio.  The week away from home allowed me to step completely away from TV, computers and phone calls (Sorry Mom...).

Gosh, it was nice. 

SM's family lives in an area that actually doesn't get cell service unless you drive up to the top of a hill.  TV?  Meh.  Who cares?  And SM told me to bring my ipad but I intentionally left it home.  

I realized after getting back into the daily routine of work and household tasks how nice it was to just disconnect for awhile. 

Just one on one face time with the people in my life who make me laugh. 

Life.

How nice is that?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Garden Selfie

It's another snoozefest weekend here. 
I mean really! 

I scrolled back through the blog and eyeballed all my recent posts. 

What a yawn!
Sorry it's SO boring.  I guess this is my life this Summer.

Pull weeds.
Plant seeds. 
Watch seeds sprout. 
Watch plants get eaten one by one by unknown critters. 
Crap!

Clean the house.
Do the laundry.
Cook the food.
Burn the food.
Crap!

Try and work on the deck. 
Try being the operative word.
Last weekend was high humidity and rain. 
This weekend, more of the same.
Crap!

I can't paint or stain in this weather although it is a nice to have a break in temperatures.

I actually have goosebumps right now it's so chilly if you can call 64 degrees chilly.

If you're as bored as I am, hop on over to Going Gently and submit a garden/flower entry.  Here's mine...




A self portrait perhaps?


 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fly By

After a busy work week, I woke up this morning and stood there bleary at the kitchen sink, filling up the coffee pot with water for SM's morning java when I noticed that I hadn't flipped the calendar that hangs on the side of our fridge.

It's August?  Already?

I mean, I know it's August.  I wrote 8-1-14 all day long at work yesterday.

But it's different when you stand there and actually flip a calendar and realize another month is gone.

Do any of you keep a calendar?

I suppose they're out dated and unnecessary for some folks.  All our electronic gear has the time and date plastered on it after all.

But I like having a calendar stuck to the fridge that I can write on.  I've used calendars for years to remind me of all our upcoming stuff. 

We get our calendar for free from our small family run pharmacy.  Every December they lay out a stack of free "Take One" calendars that have each month of the year on it with a Norman Rockwell painting and advice on how to live a healthier life. 





I write all our Dentist and Doctor and Vet appointments on it. 
Post-op Saturdays are noted 
Recycling trash can days get a big R written on them.
Migraine days get a big M
Odd notes like "heartworm pills" or "plant onions" go on it. 

I never really thought about it but I'd likely be a little lost without it.

It's also a tangible reminder of how fast time flies by.

It's August.

Already.

Holy Cow.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lethal Weapon

Sunday morning and I'm out at my usual time of 5ish to give the pups their sniffy walk. 

My back is turned away from the street as the pups sniff over a particularly delectable "mailbox" of messages left by the other dogs in the hood.

It's very dark. 
Just me, the dogs and the crickets.

Or so I thought.

We turn back to the street and freeze.

I tighten the leashes as I make out the shape of a tall man across the street, walking slowly towards us about 30 feet away.

He's weaving slowly down the road.

My adrenaline picks up as I asses the situation. 

The dogs are on full alert but not growling. 

Waiting.

I always wear a halogen flashlight strapped to my forearm when I'm walking so tilted my arm up and gave the guy a face full of my high-beam.




Startled, the guy looks up and says "Morning" as he passes. 

I can see the soft glow of a cell phone in his hand. 

"Really?"  I think to myself. 

He must've been reading something while he walked, weaving around. 

Geez, Dude...Put it away and enjoy your morning walk like a normal person!

As the dogs and I turned and moved away to continue our walk, I reflect on how close this guy came to danger.

You see, my friends,  I am a lethal weapon.

I have a bag of freshly deposited poo in my hand.
You don't want to mess with me.
Face first, baby.

Trust me...That'll make the bad guys run @;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quintessentially Summer

Quintessential: Pertaining to the most perfect embodiment of something.




It occurs to me that a Summer day at my house may be quite different than a Summer day where you are.  So I thought I'd take a moment to describe what a typical day here is like.

Most Summer mornings in the Piedmont of North Carolina start off with high humidity.  Fuzzy hair humidity!  Heavy, shoe soaking dews. 




Sometimes a heavy fog moves in like it did yesterday.




It might be clear overnight (and at sunrise) but usually the humidity creates a low overcast of clouds from 7am until around 10ish when the sun begins to break through.

Then things get intense.  Intense sun.  Intense blue sky.  Intense color.  Intense heat.


 

Some Summers are Cicada Summers.  This Summer is not, but you do hear the random few Cicadas, born out of sync, sing.  Softly at first.  Then they build up to their crescendo.  I always equate Summer with the sound of the Cicada. 

Often, towards evening, the clouds start to build and it's time for pop-up thunderstorms.  You hear the rumble first and the skies darken.




The garden is hopeful as the big "wilt" is on.  Everything is drooping from the heat.

A few sprinkles to tease us.  



Sometimes a deluge.  Frog-chokers SM calls them.

Nights are peaceful though as the skies clear and the fireflies and crickets take over. 

Peace.

Come to think of it, maybe our Summers are not all that different from yours after all.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Chores

We had a pretty rainy week as a weather system decided to sit on top of us and do it's late afternoon dump every day.

The garden appreciated all the rain as I haven't been watering.  SM points out that we're entering our mid-Summer slump.  "Everything's done."  He points out.

Except the flowers...Yeah me!

We seem to be entering a mid-Summer slump in our routines too.  Kinda like in Jan/Feb when it seems like Winter will never be over and you're just wishing for something different in your daily life. 

SM and I just can't get enough of Spring and Fall weather.  We love that time of year.  LOVE IT!  Winter and Summer, meh...

Good thing we have chores to do @;)

SM went out to mow the lawn while I was at work yesterday and said it practically killed him to push that mower through the high, thick, dense lawn. 

"Are you going to get the riding mower fixed now?"  I asked.
"Nah.  It's good exercise for me." 
Hm.  Better him than me!

When I got home I went out and raked the clumps of grass while Scooter decided to turn into a cow and eat some of the clumps.  Geez!

SM and I will be working on the deck this weekend as sunshine and heat (95!)are both predicted.  We're getting to the point where we can split off and do different tasks.  SM finishing the trim work and I can head into the cleaning, painting and staining department.  

I actually enjoy painting and staining.  We're planning on a mixture of both.  Paint around the roof and deck fascia so it will blend with the house.  Then clear stain on the ceiling with cedar stain on the floor.  We've used CWF by Flood on our deck boards for years. 




I checked out other brands like Sherwin Williams and Behr but the reviews are more on the negative side so we'll stick with what works.

Before all that can happen though, I need to clean off all the pencil marks, concrete splash, dirt and blood (? Yes...a few splats) off the wood.


Not blood, just dirt.


Inch by angonizing inch.  (sigh)

I have armed myself with pencil erasers, diluted beach and scrubby pads of various types.


Thank Goodness the T&G is clean!


It's gonna be a long weekend...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Veni, Vidi, Vici?

Sunday morning saw us with heavy overcast skies.  As nice as it would have been to continue working on the deck, I decided instead to attack the overgrown garden.

What a mess!

There are sweet potato slips in there somewhere!


Last weekend, I picked the last of the green beans and yoinked the plants out and threw them in the compost pile.  That bed was now open for business. 


Freakin grass!

What to plant now? 
Why more winter squash of course.  My first bed of winter squash that I planted back in May is doing NOTHING.  Male flowers only.  Where are the girl flowers?

It occurs to me that the same thing happened last year.  In fact, I didn't see any fruit set until August/September.  Hopefully time will correct this so I'm leaving that bed be.  Since I love squash so much, might as well plant another batch and see what happens.

But it obviously needed a good weeding before planting so I did about half of the bed before SM came out and asked what he could do to help. 

"Could you take over here?"  I asked.



He finished that bed while I wandered over to see if I could give the sweet potato's some breathing room.  I tell you what...It took me 2 1/2hrs to weed those few area's. 


Teenie, Tiny Sweets next to the ginormous weed pile.

Look at that weed pile!  I'll be honest here, I kinda got away from the cardboard smothering technique these past two years.  Now it shows.  Big time!  I told SM that we need to start saving cardboard again.  It seems to be the only way I can keep the weeds in check. 

In other news, the tomatoes that we do have are coming in fast and furious.  The plants themselves are pretty small this year but loaded with fruit.  Just a few BER and a few losses to squirrel bites. 




Our green peppers also did well.  We're fresh eating right now.  I've noticed that I get a summer crop and another in the fall.  They'll set out blossoms come September and we can usually squeeze in another harvest before the frost. 



Cucumbers are just now starting to get some size.  They're usually a June crop for me so they are way behind this year.

BTW, the dreaded SVB's have arrived and the summer squash will soon expire.  I didn't bother taking a picture of that.  We all know what a dying squash plant looks like.

I'm eyeballing the lettuce I let bolt closely to try and do a "seed save" with them this year. 







Have any of you done this?  Tips please!

So that was my effort in the garden yesterday. 
I'm bushed! 











Yeah, Right! 

When it comes to the garden, I'm the one who gets spanked!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Switching Gears

For the past few months we've been in a pattern of hot, sunny, dry days with the occasional pop-up thunderstorm here and there. 

On the weekends (because that's when we have time) we bust around like crazy people trying to get our outside work finished before 2pm when the heat of the day will really flatten you out. 

We've kept nibbling away on the deck project.

Solar Screen on top of the cedar privacy wall

Every weekend for the past month we've started our day with the "What are we doing to the deck today?" conversation. 
 


Not too bad for a couple of rookies...Eh?

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to wake up to a cloudy, rainy day.  

We had a misty, drizzly morning as I drove in to do post-ops at work while SM volunteered to go do the grocery shopping.  By the time I made it home around lunchtime, the clouds had parted and the sun was heating things up. 

I thought some grilled sausages might be nice for SM's lunch so I stuck them on low and went to do other things. 

Getting older is fun, have I mentioned that recently? 

Yes...I had a senior moment and forgot all about the sausages until I looked out the window and saw nothing but smoke.  To say that I'd turned those suckers into flaming charcoal briquettes is being kind. 

Thankfully it started raining again before I could get myself into further trouble. 

A nice soft gentle rain.




I sat down in my recliner.
Blink, blink...blink.
And passed out for a nice long nap.

Rainy days are nice sometimes aren't they?