jennlk: (snapdragon)
2017-09-18 09:04 am
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Yesterday (Sunday) was the Cemetery Walk at church -- the cemetery associated with the church has graves in it from the 1830s, and the church historical society writes skits involving some of the people there (it's somewhat interesting to get comments on an early 1900's character from people who actually knew her...). In conjunction with that, the service was "Old Fashion". I was song leader, and the first note I got asked only if I could wear old-fashioned cloths(sic), I was soooo tempted to wear the grey plaid 1953 dress (Mum bought it off the rack), but then I realised that I didn't have the proper undergarments for it. The last time I wore it (25 years ago!) it was still a bit big for me, and the lack of a girdle wasn't a problem. Now, I need something under it. Instead, I added some trim to last year's 1900s jacket, "de-steampunked" the skirt, and found the straw boater. There are now notes on the jacket and blouse for things I need to fix before next year.

I fixed the leaks in the rill -- no holes in the liner, just water finding 'down' where J hadn't expected it. I also planted strawberries, including the pair of runners that were 'doing a runner' and escaping from the old strawberry bed. That was Friday, and yesterday there were deer tracks through the new bed -- they hadn't stopped to nibble anything, but there were hoof prints!

There are many birds bathing in the birdbath and the pools in the rill -- I refill the birdbath twice a day, and the rocks next to the bathing pools in the rill are usually splashed. Crows and jays fling a lot of water around. :)

Anna-cat was parading around with a mouse in her mouth late Saturday evening, and Sunday we found where she had left it -- under the kitchen table, where it would be safe. (Ji doesn't eat stuff that he doesn't catch). DB took it out to the pyre, aka the brush pile. The pyre already has a bunch of dead bird & mice in it, so what's one more?
jennlk: (Default)
2017-09-06 09:01 am

BridgeWalk 2017

Back from the Bridgewalk. We had a good time, other than striking camp in the pouring rain. I need to get BC to help me put the tent up so it can dry out (would have done that yesterday, but it kept 'fixin to rain' all day, and then it actually did). It sounds like we're getting a lodge next year, so there will be no striking the tent in the rain. Also no campground puppies to visit, but....

We did not get rained on while walking, but there was enough of a breeze that I kept my jacket on. The bridge was moving a lot more this year -- don't know if it was because there was more wind, or because there was no vehicular traffic. The line for buses was really long this year -- when we left Mackinaw City, the line ran all the way out to US23, over a mile from the furble lines. There was no way all those people would be able to walk across the bridge by 12:30. Heck, I don't think there was any way all those people could cross the bridge to StIgnace by then, even if they had continuous buses.

Tomorrow I go retrieve Esme from the shop -- first rehearsal is next Monday, with a performance on October 1.
jennlk: (stompety)
2017-08-30 07:31 pm
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So Western "misplaced" BC's application -- they were changing the admissions procedure, and his (and a handful of other) applications got lost in the shuffle. He'd been emailing them every week (once they got his transcript from WCC), and had been getting generic "your application is under consideration" responses until the last one, where he got an extremely apologetic 'unfortunately, your application was misplaced. we have now found it and will be processing it quickly'. A week before classes start. Um, yeah. He replied and said "No point in rushing now. I won't be attending until January anyway." So he's off to WCC for another term -- Calc, Physics, Geology this time around.

I've still got residual itchy spots from the allergic reaction that went systemic. No new patches in the last day or so, so I think it's on the way down. Probably doesn't help that I keep going out and pulling weeds. There is one stem on the rose bush that has blooms on it, and another that's already turning for fall colors. Gotta love all-season roses. :) The hibiscus in the E flower garden had smaller flowers than usual this year -- I suspect because it got overrun with milkweed and Queen Anne's lace. I'll have to weed those out sooner next year.

We're off to the Bridge Walk(s) on Saturday. Mackinaw should be amusing -- they're closing the bridge entirely other than shuttle buses and emergency vehicles, and closing I75 for a dozen miles in each direction from the bridge. It's the 60th annual Bridge Walk, and they're expecting more people than usual. Whee?
jennlk: (sunflower)
2017-08-22 08:31 am
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Eclipse viewing thwarted by clouds,

for the most part. We reached 90% cloud cover just as the moon started to block the sun, and got a thunderstorm just about the same time as we got to max coverage. It got dark there for a while --much darker than the usual August storm -- but there wasn't anything to see.

DB's friends explained that the reason you shouldn't look at the sun during an eclipse is that the Sun gets a +10 Backstabbing multiplier. kids these days. They're not wrong, though.
jennlk: (sax)
2017-08-15 12:32 pm
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Band camp was fun. Lotsa work, and lotsa sight reading, which is *not* my forte at all. OTOH, in theory the more you do it the better you get, but it's a long slog to get decent at it.

The sax section did two pieces at the participant chamber recital, and I got picked to be in the quartet (rather than the septet). The quartet (also here) we did (we discovered *after* we selected it) is the first saxophone quartet ever published. It was actually published before Adolph Sax patented the instrument! The composer was a friend of his, and told Msr Sax that he should develop a family of his new instrument and voice them Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Baritone -- "I'll write music for them!" -- so Msr Sax did and Msr Singelée did. And yes, we learned it in four days; presenting it on Day 4. Whee. :) (OK, we did the second part a bit slower than is usually done, but still....)

It was sticky (but not horribly hot) at camp this year, so that was good. It rained hard a couple of nights, but we didn't get more than a light drizzle when we actually were outside. The uniform shirts were horrible (cheap poly polo shirts), but we only have to wear them once or twice.

And now I'm back, and catching up on chores and laundry. And coming down with a cold, I think. And skipping the funeral that's today. I got accused of trying to shirk my duties as a Bereavement Committee member by "only working funerals when it's convenient", and she tried to tell me that being out of town for a week was the same as her working full time. Um; no. I don't particularly *want* to be on the committee, but it's a thing that needs to be done and I can do it. Maybe now I won't have to. One can hope (I keep telling them that I'd really like it if they could find someone else to do it, but they haven't yet).
jennlk: (sunflower)
2017-08-01 11:43 am
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Three (no! four) things make a post

  • FCB is now done for the season. Last concert for the season was last night. There was a reasonable turnout, especially considering that the city had the concert listed as being at the other Riley Park. It wasn't too hot, although I hear that the people in the front of the band were pretty roast-y -- they were in the sun, as the back few rows were not. I contributed an extra bin to make the collecting of all the folders easier. DB was going to come to the concert (he'd been out of town for the other public concerts we did), but they got new lights for the auditorium and he had to go help install them.

  • DB got some really nice pictures (through the screen door) of the hawk that's been "skreel"ing in the backyard for the last week or so.

    And a shot of a squirrel being very flat and still while the hawk was on the other side of the rosebush.

    Theoretically, he's going off to Western in the fall, but due to procrastination of various types, he didn't get his application in until July and then WCC dragged out sending his transcript over, so he still hasn't heard whether he's starting classes in September or not. And he's barely started to figure out housing. sigh.

  • I did some heavy duty weeding and such on Friday and Saturday, and by Sunday I had some lovely contact dermatitis welts from the milkweed and sea holly and Queen Anne's lace I brushed up against (despite long sleeves and gloves, and scrubbing off with abrasive cleanser). Prednisone and Claritin for the win. blargh. Still don't want to do much, though, and certainly not going back out to weed in those flowerbeds for a while. Fortunately, I was pretty much done anyway.

  • We've had no appreciable rain for three weeks or so, and many plants are showing that. I've been watering the new roses and the stuff I moved in the spring, but I need to water the strawberry beds -- they're pretty much just dry compost dust at the moment, and I really should move new starts from the old bed into the new one this week. Fortunately, not a lot of tall weeds in or near the strawberry beds.
    jennlk: (Default)
    2017-07-21 07:37 pm
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    Home alone...

    it's weird.

    J is at the annual picnic, which I have skipped, yet again. The seats in his car and my back do not get along -- a Chicago trip (especially coming home after a con) is about as much time in the front seats as is comfortable, and annual picnic is about twice that. Driving would be worse, I think, as the headrests force my head into an uncomfortable position (he replaced the passenger side headrest with one from an earlier model, and it's much better)*. I'd like to go to the UP and see people, both those who live there and those who are visiting, but....

    DB has run off to Chicagoland with a friend and her aunt to see a concert. Don't know which one, or where; some K-pop band, iirc.

    The birdbath was knocked over this morning when I went out. I suspect one of the raccoons missed a jump. :)

    Frog count is 8 in the pond plus at least two tree frogs.

    I had intended to get some work done in the sewing room this week, but have been thwarted by cats. Either Ji is outside or Belle wants to "help". sigh. Belle will only get worse when DB goes off to Western in September, I suspect.

    (* let's just say that when I replace my car, it will not be with an Escape. The seats don't fit me, and Esme doesn't fit in the back....)
    jennlk: (notes)
    2017-07-11 10:18 am
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    Again with the music.

    You'd think I was in a band or something.

    Four gigs in 12 days, the last three in the space of 5 days, with no additional rehearsals. I've seen jebra almost as much as I've seen J. :) (J is working overtime, trying to get up to speed on new things that need to be done RSN at work.) The gigs went pretty well, in general. No major trainwrecks, although there were a couple of places where the track got a little squirrelly, and both J and Nana said that everything seemed a little laid-back at Heritage Park. (Not surprising, as we hadn't played for a week, and Damien is likely to take things a click down in that situation. We were down three percussionists, it was hot, and the FCB has a comfortable 'groove' that we settle into unless prodded out of it.) One more gig at the end of the month, then we get August off. (A bunch of us are going up to Interlochen for Adult Band Camp, though. More music!)

    Friday saw me off-line all day -- the power went out early in the morning, and by the time we got power back I was into the rest of my day and never even turned the computer on. Then the power went out three more times between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening. The back yard is much quieter without the rill running.
    jennlk: (notes)
    2017-06-20 01:09 pm
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    Wooo! the rill is done.

    It's very pretty! Although not right now, because it's gloomy out there -- it looks like it might rain. We got some rain yesterday (the rain gauge said <.1 inches, but it's a rather fussy 'raindrops going through the sensor' gauge, and the 'bucket on the ground' gauge said we got more like a third of an inch), and there are 'looks like rain' clouds today.

    The FCB gig got rain-shortened yesterday - GM says we'll go back next year, with hopes of giving them a full concert (it's a reasonabe venue, as senior outreach venues go - decent parking for the band and most of the residents were either in the courtyard or on their patios). In other band news, Farmington Public Schools is not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing -- the staff at Harrison didn't know that we were going to be rehearsing there this summer, even though FPS told us that three months ago. This is a problem because they're deep-cleaning the music wing. Next week. And we have rehearsal on Monday and a gig on Thursday. There is some dismay among the board about Thursday's gig -- the 'stage' we're on is tiny (esp for 70 people), the acoustics are iffy (it's a riverfront park with the river behind the stage, and no bandshell), they want 2 hours of "patriotic music", and parking will be annoying at best. (people who live in that town say the best approach may be to show up about 4 pm and just hang out until the gig starts at 7.) We probably won't do that gig again. Then we have the nice park gig, at Heritage Park in Farmington - bandshell, the river's on the other side of the park, reasonable parking.

    My back has been creaky for the last few days -- I moved wrong on Saturday while tearing down after the church rummage sale. :(
    jennlk: (cardinal columbine)
    2017-06-14 02:51 pm
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    The rill progresses, slowly.

    The fill is mostly in, the framing is in (12x12 pavers to provide chipmunk proof drops and pools; edging bricks for pool edges) and is surrounded by rocks and peagravel. We ran the pump for about 45 seconds to make sure that the pump could deal with the height (it's about 24" taller than the old rill) *before* putting the felt and liner down. There will be flagstone on drop edges as well, so that the water isn't just sheeting down the uprights.

    I picked up a small water feature pump, and it may stay in the pond once we get the rill finished -- DB says we should set it up next to a shallow paver so that the birds can 'shower'. We'll see.

    We hadn't gotten any measurable rain since Memorial Day, so early this week I watered the strawberries and the east garden. I needed to water the east garden because the ground was so hard that I couldn't pull weeds out -- they'd just break off at ground level. I've been going out in the morning (before it gets hot) to weed, as I need to wear long sleeves to weed in that bed (there's a couple of things in that bed that give me welts if I don't!). This morning I went out and filled the garden cart with weeds, then came in because the clouds were getting really dark. But that cloud didn't rain on us. The next one, that wasn't nearly as dark, did. And did it rain! No thunder, but over 3/4 inch of rain with high winds. The willow tree lost a lot of leaves and a branch, there's a few other branches down in the yard, and the rose bush was very bedraggled for a few hours, but it's bouncing back nicely.

    Speaking of plants bouncing back, the bleeding hearts have done quite well at that. I really need to find somewhere else in the yard to plant them. Maybe along the hill down to the box elder, where there's a lot of shade in the summer (bleeding hearts are shade plants, and melt in the summer sun).
    jennlk: (cardinal columbine)
    2017-06-05 10:13 am
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    Again with moving rocks.

    This time, probably 2 tons, based on the trailer tires. They were really flattened out, and the wheels were tilting a bit. They didn't have to go far, so there's that. J took out the rock 'wall' he'd laid along the north-south road (the kids who used to cut across the easement while racing have at least stopped trying to cut the corner), and we moved the rock to a pile. We figure it'll make good habitat. DB came out to help. I really don't want to have to put in a proper fence, but if we start getting people cutting the corner again, we may have to put in a few panels of short rail fence, which will at least be something easy to mow/trim around.

    There has been no progress on the rill, and we really need to find a small pump so we can aerate the pond. I may just see what the hardware store has for small pond pumps. There are at least four species of frogs and toads in the pond -- there are four distinct calls, and a couple that could be either be variants within a species or a different species altogether.

    Some of the oriental poppies in the side garden became food. I saw one blooming (a pretty variegated coral & white), and then the next day it was gone and the stem nibbled off to about 8inches high. :( But I did find a lot more when I was weeding out there on Friday. Maybe they'll bloom before the deer/bunnies find them.

    The peonies and irises are blooming madly, and the shasta daisies we got from the neighbor a decade ago have diversified into a gradient from white to bright pink. The blue columbine in the front flowerbed has a few buds on it, so it survived getting whacked by a few shingles. There's an entire collection of Sweet William in the wildflower bed - ranging from magenta & white to pale purple & white. I need to weed and thin that section. And move some irises this summer.

    There are a few strawberries in the strawberry bed, which I find pretty impressive, because this variety of strawberry stops reliably producing after 2 or 3 years, and this bed is older than that.
    jennlk: (planting)
    2017-05-30 09:59 am
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    Roof! (part 2)

    Now they're on to the south side of the roof. (Thursday saw no roofing done, as it rained just enough to make and keep everything slippery.) The south side is easier (no dormers or porch roof), but there's a lot of vent stacks to work around, and a bunch of roof/attic vents that are being removed so there are holes to be patched. Still, they should finish today. Sunday when they were telling us that we were going to get storms, J and I pulled the ladders down. Then the storms were somewhat less severe than originally predicted (to be fair, the Weather Service downgraded the predictions as the day went on). However, we got a lovely out-of-nowhere storm with 30mph winds on Monday afternoon, so it was not wasted effort.

    Saturday, J put in gable vents. Those things let a lot of air move through, and just doing that should cool the upstairs quite a bit. Then the ridge vents go on, and those should help even more. Putting the gable vents in included bonus 'can you climb this 30' ladder and pound on this for me' action -- J was creeping around in the attic (120F, dust & fiberglass everywhere), so I can't complain too much. Still, not my favorite thing to do.

    Monday, we packed up the car with two saxophones, three music stands, two instrument stands and three people, and wandered off to Franklin (MI) to play in the Brigadoon band. The Franklin Community Band officially disbanded about 8-10 years ago due to dwindling numbers, but a friend from the Farmington band recruits a small group to play for Franklin's Memorial Day celebration. I took both the tenor and the bari because I didn't know which they'd need more. DB came along with a tuba mouthpiece -- it was surprisingly easy to get him to do so "hey, d'you wanna come play an old sousaphone? It'll only be an hour or so." "sure.". J came along to take pictures. (I saw him chatting with a reporter, so DB and I may wind up in the local paper.) I played tenor sax, and played TSax, baritone (treble clef), and 2nd Cornet parts, depending on what I had music for and what was needed more. In retrospect, I should have played bari on one of the marches -- it has a tricky tuba part, and DB was flailing, and it's one that I transcribed the bari part from the tuba part a few years ago. It's been two years since DB's played sousaphone, and other than that piece he did really really well. He said the hardest part was getting used to the weight -- the Franklin sousaphone is probably 80 years old, and is tightly wound plated brass. He said that he wouldn't want to march with it. :) (I suspect it's more tightly wound than current fiberglass sousaphones so that it's easier to wear.)

    This year's recipient of "I don't remember planting this" is five oriental poppies in the side garden. They haven't bloomed yet, so I don't know what color they are.
    jennlk: (mink frog)
    2017-05-24 05:32 pm
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    So the roof is coming down and going up. The old shingles are being removed and hauled off to the skip (by me, mostly); and there are new shingles going up. All while dodging rain, as one does in late May.

    Also yesterday, I dashed off to town to say goodbye and good luck to the Theatre Guild advisor/director, who is moving to Hawai'i with her partner. I missed saying farewell to the middle school band director because it was at the same time. I'll have to track him down some other time. OTOH, I got to put my farewell note in the newsletter. :) It was somewhat distressing how difficult it was to get someone in the Music Boosters to write a farewell note -- he's been in the district for over 15 years, and every band kid has played for him; but getting anything other than a generic 'goodbye and good luck' out of anyone was a struggle (then again, that's why there was space for my comments). DB missed the Theatre Guild banquet because he was working the middle school concert; I had him convey my best wishes. :/

    I planted the pansy I got on Mother's Day yesterday. It took me 20 minutes to clear out the ground cover in the bed where I wanted it to go. While doing that, I found that the sedum that I'd planted there was not gone, just overwhelmed.

    The multifloral columbine in the front flowerbed has so far avoided being squished by shingles, and is looking quite nice -- lots of small dark red with creamy white center flowers. The coral bells haven't been quite so lucky, but they're just a little flattened. The bleeding hearts in the other front bed are quite battered, but they often look like that at this time of the year -- a hard rainstorm will often flatten them. I'm not too worried about them.
    jennlk: (Default)
    2017-05-22 10:35 am
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    Rill status - wall built

    Saturday and Sunday, J and I moved that ton and a half of block. This time, it's in a wall. It got pretty squishy at the base of the wall, where it's just tamped dirt -- we got 2.5 inches of rain between when we laid the first course on Saturday evening and when we got outside Sunday afternoon. Now we get to figure out what goes inside the wall, other than "no chipmunks". I am creaky today.

    The weeds are getting ahead of me again -- I can either move block or weed, and moving block has been winning or the weather's been unsuitable for weeding. Last week, when DB and I unloaded the block, it was 80+F; two days later it got up to 59F with drizzle.

    The van is visiting the church parking lot, as there's a skip in the driveway -- the roofer starts tomorrow, weather permitting. He's expecting materials (shingles, OSB, ridge vent) to show up later today. (We've been in the house for over 20 years; can you tell? New floors, new appliances (and we're semi-looking at new fridges), new roof.)
    jennlk: (Default)
    2017-05-17 09:06 am
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    Rill Status : block acquired

    Work progresses on rebuilding the rill. Yesterday, DB and I moved nearly two tons of concrete, 30 pounds at a time. (the blocks for the back of the rill had to be moved out of the trailer. each block weighs 17 pounds. and then there were the 14 pavers at 40 pounds each.)

    J yanked out one of the volunteer junipers that was too close to the rill -- it was crowding the old rill, and the new rill will probably wind up being a bit wider, and shifted a bit -- so the rill looks even weirder now. The pump is currently running, despite the leak (I just water the pond every morning when I go out to feed the birds), but the rill is just naked liner on a stepped bed of sand.

    We made a detour into appliances in the course of getting the block, and came home with a new washer and dryer. People tell us that we probably won't get 20+ years out of the new ones, but they told us that about the old ones too, and they're still going strong (we got them when we moved to Ypsi in 1993). The washer lid should probably be replaced, but other than that I think they'd run for another 5-10 years. (They might stop working tomorrow, too. One can rarely tell with these things. J's debating whether to pass them on through FiA or Stockbridge Outreach (they're better than no washer/dryer), or just disassemble them for the motors and recycle the metal.)
    jennlk: (sax)
    2017-05-08 09:39 am
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    There was a weekend in there somewhere.

    Saturday morning I went out to feed the birds, and noticed that the water level in the pond had dropped by 5-6 inches overnight. This most likely indicates a leak in the rill or in the hose from the pump to the top of the rill. So I unplugged the rill, and filled the pond back up. I then spent about six hours moving rock. 1500 pounds of it, an armload at a time. (I would have preferred to be weeding the gardens, but after nearly 2 inches of rain, they were too wet and mushy to work in.) The water level in the pond has not dropped significantly since I unplugged the rill, so that narrows down the location of the leak. We then wandered off to a home improvement store to see what they had in the way of retaining block and caps. Rebuilding the rill has been on the 'want to do sometime' list for a while, and it just moved much farther up the list.

    J found a frog lurk while tearing the flagstones out of the front of the rill - there were three frogs under the top level rock. One of them scampered off while J was getting me, and the other two got relocated into the pond. I found a toad hole (with a toad in it!) when I was moving rocks. I picked up a rock, and the sand underneath blinked at me. Erm. So I left that area alone for a few hours and moved other rocks. Eventually, the toad warmed up enough that he wandered off a little ways (although still in the way), and then J relocated him to under one of the shrubberies by the pond.

    Sunday, I left the house at 0930 and didn't return for more than a change of clothes until nearly 1900. I had a concert in Novi, and had to leave for that by 1300 or so, and between church and leaving for the concert I had to take DB some food. DB was in the middle of an 18+ hour day, and due to staffing, he couldn't leave. (it's an easy enough gig - unlock the doors and turn on everything at 6am, turn off everything and lock back up at midnight or so, the rest of the time just be in the booth in case something goes wrong - but he had to be there all day.)

    The concert (at St James Catholic Church) went pretty well, I thought. People seemed to like it - I got lots of positive comments as I was working teardown - and it's always nice to play for an appreciative audience. The space is very very "live" so it was hard for us to not be too loud, and the setup was odd, so it was more difficult than usual to hear across the band. We did one piece that was mostly woodwind choir, and I just locked in on Damien and didn't worry about what I could/could not hear -- by the time any sound got back to me it was late anyway.... Teardown and loadout took longer than usual - there was more percussion than we usually haul to summer gigs, and they actually rented a trailer for the stand racks. By the time we got back to Harrison for loadout, we were down to a handful of people. I got to show J how to get Al into his cabinet (Al is the big bass drum that the FCB bought a few years ago, and he lives in a locked cabinet where he can't be damaged by careless high school drummers).
    jennlk: (stompety)
    2017-04-21 12:35 pm
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    Annoying raccoon.

    So, we've known for a while that we have at least one raccoon who climbs the post to the "house" birdfeeder and flips the top open so he can get the birdseed inside it. I don't know if it was a different one last night, or if it was pissed off, but last night it ripped the plexiglass side out of the feeder. There are grooves cut in the wood of the feeder for the plexi to slide into, and the wood on the outside was split right off.

    We've had that feeder up for 15 years at least, repainted the roof of it at least once, replaced a roof panel once, and it was finally done in by a brat of a raccoon. I was able to wedge the side in, but I'll have to replace the feeder, probably today.

    In other news, Wednesday afternoon I went out to weed, and was almost thwarted by dry ground. The east bed dries out quickly, and the weeds I was trying to pull have lots of very fine roots that don't like coming out of dry ground. I had to work each plant out, rather than just pulling like I can when the ground is soft. And then it rained Wednesday evening and Thursday, so it should be easy to work. It's also not even 50F, and that's too cold for me to weed.

    Wednesday evening I went off to Saline HS to this year's collaboration concert, even though I had no kid on stage. Damien was directing, and I thought that Saline's bands were very good at Festival this year. (It's really odd, going to a concert that I don't stack-and-rack afterwards.) It was a pretty good concert -- SHS had invited Livonia Churchill HS out for this year's concert. I don't like LCHS' director (bad experiences at Festival), but I can't deny that she's a good director and good with her kids. Damien did HR Reynolds' O Magnum Mysterium with Saline's band, and it was gorgeous. (Ok, I'm biased because I really like that piece anyway, and any chance I have to revel in those glorious chords I'll take.) He then did Saint-Saen's Pas Redouble with the combined bands. The FCB had just done this piece with a guest conductor, and he had added in an accelerando at the end. Damien apparently liked it, because he had the mass band do it that way. :)
    jennlk: (Default)
    2017-04-17 10:17 am
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    Garden report N-2017

    The state of the garden:
    • the sea of daffodils in the NW bed is fully in bloom, even the doubles are blooming. It has become evident that one of the things I need to do in that garden this year is divide the daffodils. I'll just spread them out in that garden. The next time I do it, I'll have to find a new garden to put some of them in. Maybe over by the forsythia, where the only early things are a few hyacinths and species tulips.

    • the strawberries are not happy, but I think we've got enough healthy plants that we won't lose them all. I should probably keep an eye on them, and go trim off the flowers so that they'll put their energy into growing rather than fruiting.

    • the garden by the side door is now in its "blue" stage -- the purple and white crocuses and the white snowdrops are done, and now it's grape hyacinths (which are a very blue purple), bluebells, squill, and chionodoxa.

    • the fritillaria in the east garden is actually blooming this year. Last year the flower buds got caught in the late freeze, and they never opened. There are a few species tulips blooming out there, but I expect more by the end of the week. I need to divide the reticulated irises this year because the clumps are getting awfully cramped.

    • there is a leak in the pond. quelle surprise. It's not too bad - I only need to top it off every couple of days.

    • we have a new crabapple tree in the backyard. It's replacing the rowan that never actually rooted, and came down in the windstorm last month.

    • we can actually see the daffodils by the wellpoint from the house! With the big lilac and the tallgrass by the wellpoint cut back, we've got a view. The early bulb bed by the lilac has been extracted from the grass that had overgrown it while J wasn't mowing under the lilac, and I expect tulips later this year.
    jennlk: (snow bird)
    2017-04-07 11:09 am
    Entry tags:

    Winter's last gasp?

    Gosh, I hope so.

    We got over two inches of wet sloppy "snow" yesterday, and then it dropped below freezing, so there's a lovely crust of ice on top. Paved areas were pretty much too warm for the snow to accumulate, but not so the grass/flowerbeds/decks. It's melting quickly in the sun, but the side deck is in the shade of the house and the sunlight won't get to it until afternoon. And they're telling us to expect temps near 50F today, upper 50s tomorrow, and upper 60s on Sunday. Yeah, it's April.

    The cranes were picking birdseed out of the hanging birdfeeders this morning. Unfortunately, they're still very aware of movement inside the house, so I was unable to get pictures. :(

    J put the pump in the pond over the weekend, which is good. What was not good was that he unplugged the heated birdbath to do so. I had to go out with a pitcher of hot water (to melt the snow/ice mess) and then one of tap temperature to fill the birdbath.

    Last Saturday, while J was off at Robotics competition, DB and I went out with pruning shears & a pruning saw and cut back the lilac. The idea is to cut the whole thing back to 6"-8" and let it grow again -- it'd been ignored for 15 years, and was way overgrown, to the point that it wasn't flowering very much, and had a bad case of powdery mildew and the lichen that old lilacs get. We left the big trunks for J and the chainsaw (because I didn't know where it was). J went out on Sunday afternoon to deal with it, and the chainsaw wouldn't start. Maybe this weekend.
    jennlk: (Default)
    2017-04-01 09:59 am
    Entry tags:

    catching up & natter

    - The concert went well. The guest conductor was impressed with the band and its musicality. He is, however, hopelessly immured in academia, or simply mis-spoke, when during his comments to the audience he said something about there being nine community bands in Michigan. Nine in Oakland County, maybe. I can rattle off at least nine without looking anything up! All new music for the next gig, including (as usual) a piece that's missing the BariSax part. Hooray for MuseScore. ;/

    - DB was unable to attend the concert, as they had a spring cleaning day for the scene shop -- after the four months of OneAct (including hosting a round) and the two months of Robotics, it was a bit disorganised in there.

    - the weather has mostly settled out. Today is clear and will be warmish, tomorrow is supposed to be warmer. And then we start the April Showers portion of the year.

    - the cranes have been getting noisier about "their" territory. I don't think they'll ever charge, but they sure do make a lot of noise, and one of them mantled at me the other day when I surprised it. The finches are getting their summer color.

    - I did get into the garden last week. Only once, but that's better than I've been doing. The milkweed and daisy stems are now cut back and a lot of grass has been pulled. The giant crocuses in the side garden bloomed last week. The bunnies ate the small irises in the east bed, as they do.