Yard, Themes

This weekend, I was working in the yard. The garden beds, they are ready for plants:

Garden Bed Prep - 2015

Garden Bed Prep – 2015

That, along with mowing the lawns, twice, and cleaning out all of the front flower beds, took up most of Friday and Saturday. Sunday was rest (or its best friend, immobility).

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Theme update: The theme, it is currently a bit hideous, but now mobile friendly, due to changes in how Google search results will be ranked. Here’s a useful link on the topic from Digital Trends. Expect more work on this over the coming days.

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Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, 40, of Hermosa Beach, California, died April 13, at an air base in southwest Asia in a non-combat related incident. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Tiger Lilies

The tiger lilies are in full bloom right now. There’s the sad, short ones around the perimeter, however … those were cropped by deer roaming the neighborhood. Still, tiger lilies:

Tiger Lilies - 2014

Tiger Lilies – 2014

Cool July

We’ve had several days of unseasonably cool weather. I’m not complaining, mind you. But all the same, it’s weird. Temps in the early mornings in the high 50’s, and barely breaking into the low 80’s. Who’d a thunk? But they let me take Lexi on a two mile walk this afternoon without arriving back home as a sweatball holding a dead dog.

The garden, it fares poorly. I gave it virtually no attention in the days leading up to Marcia’s surgery, nor in the weeks that followed that event. Bugs have killed my zucchini plants, the tomato plants are small-ish with yellowing leaves and low production, and my herbs have all bolted. But I was paying attention to the important tasks in life, so that’s okay.

I’m otherwise tired. I had a couple of rounds of system work today: an hour early, and a couple of hours following the shopping run. In the coming week, I’ve got to spend a fair bit of time working with RHEL7, in advance of a Rapid Track training course the week following, with an RHCE certification exam at the end of that.

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Another week, another span of time during which DoD announced no casualties. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of unpleasantness in the Middle East and in the Ukraine … but I sincerely hope we stay the hell out of those conflicts.

Improbably So

A relatively lazy day for me today: just shopping, laundry, and coffee roasting. Yard stuff consumed the Saturday. Hot and muggy, still tonight, but storms are coming, and cooler weather is (unusually) due by mid-week (yay!) The garden is starting to produce some tomatoes and more peppers to join the zucchini and cucumbers. Maybe first salsa next week!

Marcia’s doing great. Up and down the stairs like a champ … a hobbling champ, but much progress every day. She may be done with the cane by the end of this week, too, which is stellar.

In my tiny elective time, for work I’m starting to bone up on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, which was released a couple of weeks ago. There are some big changes at the system level in RHEL7, worth learning more about before I go into a rapid track course and certification exams at the end of the month. For myself, I’m getting into Harvard’s Statistics 101, via iTunes U. Statistics seem like they should be intuitively “easy”, which is usually, well, wrong. So learning more fundamentals will do me good.

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For a second consecutive week, no casualties have been announced by DoD.

Summer Arrives in Force

Yeah, we’re making mid-90’s and up this time of year (both temp and humidity), although that storm gave us a couple of nice days in the mid-80’s, Friday and Saturday.

Marcia news: She’s mostly tapered off her pain meds, with a plan to be fully off by week’s end (or earlier), and driving, too! She got fed up with the walker by Friday, and put it to the side. Now she’s using the cane everywhere, which is much better for her in several ways. Her gait is better, and she leans less on the cane than she did on the walker. More mobility, the faster the recovery will go. Yay!

The week in pictures:

From the garden

From the garden – first of the summer.

So, those were yummy. But then there was the Fourth of July, and the day after that …

Lexi disagrees with bangs

Lexi disagrees with bangs

The noise was still going on the day following the Fourth, so she walked into one of my cabinets and looked like she’d prefer it if I closed the door. Then today (Sunday), the heat came back … in more ways than one:

Spicy grilled chicken

Spicy grilled chicken

We had spicy grilled chicken. The prep was in a habañero/pineapple marinade, then I grilled all of the chicken. I dressed mine with lots of happy, happy jalapeño.

 

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No new casualties were announced by DoD in the last week. So that’s good.

Five Down, Seven To Go

Months, that is. The year, it flies by too quickly. We’re approaching the heat and humidity of the year, sadly. The upside of the unpleasant months is fresh veggies out of the garden. Soon, soon:

Garden - Late May 2014

Garden – Late May 2014

Things are going well … I cleaned house yesterday. No, really. With a car wash mitt and a few buckets of soapy water, I cleaned everything I could reach on the front of the house. Doing it that way was a pain in the ass, and frankly exhausting, but the method did a much more consistent job of cleaning than using a pressure washer to draw pictures in the dirt and oxidized paint. Originally I was just after the trim and gutters (off-white and white) to spruce things up. But it became quickly clear that everything needed attention. I’m very happy with the results. After I finished that up, I weeded out the garden beds.

Today, shopping, laundry, restructuring the garage entrance to the shed, and mowing. Of the four tasks, only the third is mildly interesting. The shed floor is about 14″ up from the level of the garage, and when we moved in, it was configured as one 14″ step. I move assorted wheeled equipment in and out of there, and it made sense to me early on to construct a short, steep ramp there. It was bolted to the ledger, and I used tapcon screws to attach the ramp to the concrete floor. Sturdy. In addition, at the shed back door, leading to the back yard, there is a concrete step.)

The problem with the ramp is that it is (errr, was) adjacent to Marcia’s driver-side door, which means the ramp has been rarely, but painfully in the way for her. A few years ago, I built a portable ramp, and started moving some gear in and out through the back as well. Eventually (this year), I figured that I could use that ramp when needed on the garage side as well. So today I deconstructed the 11 year old ramp, and re-used the materials to make a single step there, splitting the 14″ difference. That step will support the portable ramp as necessary, and Marcia now has more/better maneuvering room when entering and exiting her car.

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Our condolences to the family and friends of Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, of Thornton, Colorado, who died on May 28, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained as a result of an aircraft accident.

0x35

Another birthday done. Whew. I “celebrated” by taking the day off, aka working in the garden: planting and fettling.

2014 garden 3/4 planted

2014 garden 3/4 planted

It was a good day for working in the yard, about 15°C. Three quarters of the plants are in. Lots of tomatoes, some cucumber and zucchini, and habañero peppers. More peppers are needed, and potatoes need starting. The herbs are still pending in the small bed near the house. I got the watering system setup and running, and finished up by getting some bird discouragement netting over the snow peas and young cherry tomato plants. The birds have been slaughtering my snow peas, and they’d have done the same to the cherry tomatoes, too.

This is my belly …

Would you scratch it for me? Lexi is *such* an attention hound.

Would you scratch it for me?

I’d trade her in on a working dog, especially one that does house-cleaning. But Lexi is so darned cute.

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Today, shopping, and more yardwork. I finished dismantling and bagging the junk on the concrete pad. I’ll arrange for a “large item” pickup from the trash provider sometime later this week. Very happy to have that done. I also dressed all of the garden beds with manure and leaf compost… and turned over three of them. I’ll knock out the rest later this week. Overall, I managed about 12 hours of yardwork, and that pleases me.

Preparing for veggies

Preparing for veggies

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In the last week, DoD reported no casualties.

Spring Chores

Spring cleaning extends to the outside of the house, too. I had a pile of stuff from the dismantling and rebuilding of the front fence last fall.

Front Fence Demo Pile

Front Fence Demo Pile

Y’see, by the time the fence had been rebuilt and the stain on the front-facing portions of the fence … well, ice and rain were falling out of the sky. So I left the pile for Spring. Now, it’s the time, so I took that pile, and amended my mulching/composting box. Now it looks like this:

 

Mulching/Composting box

Mulching/Composting box

I constructed that atop the old, low (10″) box I’d previously used for the purpose. Now it looks like it has been here all along, since the fencing material used … has been. I’m pleased with the re-use of the material. However, all that was left has to go. So I broke it down and bagged it, leaving the space empty:

Concrete pad much cleaner

Concrete pad much cleaner

At which point, broken but still dragging myself around, I remembered that I’d had a thousand or so pounds of bagged goods delivered into the driveway, and that needed moving in and stacking until I get around to working the garden beds and dressing the front beds. So I got out the wheelbarrow, and moved all the stuff in. Um, yay?

Bagged red mulch, leaf compost, manure compost.

Bagged red mulch, leaf compost, manure compost.

I’m rather tired now. I think I’ll take the evening off … except for remote work: system patching tonight at 10. Ciao!

Sprung

At least I think Spring has sprung. Of course, there was frost on the grass and rooftops this morning, and we have two more of those mornings in the forecast. But I did do some significant yardwork yesterday, clearing the winter debris and die-off from the front yard. I also did the early Spring fertilizing on the lawns.

Also accomplished: not too damn much. I finished playing Bioshock Infinite, which was fun, even though I saw the ending coming from about a million miles away. Fun game, good story. Nice drive by on Rapture, right near the end, too.

In celebration of TableTop Day yesterday, we played Scrabble ™ in the evening. Herself came very close to beating me both times. Lexi helped, too:

Lexi helps with Scrabble

Lexi helps with Scrabble

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After  a wonderful month and a day without a casualty, DoD reported on April 4 that Capt. James E. Chaffin III, 27, of West Columbia, S.C., died April 1, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of a non-combat related incident. Our condolences to his family and friends.