My costume is nearly done - just (she says) need to sew in the sleeves and the skirt. And then do buttonholes, but only two of them.

DB's is cut out, but I've got just over a week to do a vest and a long coat with capelet. And many pockets. You'd think that'd be plenty of time, but I moved wrong last week, and tweaked my back and it still hurts. Yesterday's election inspector training didn't help -- the folding chairs that the township uses are awful for me. Theoretically, they're nice chairs, but the angles are just wrong, and I couldn't relax in them at all -- just sitting was uncomfortable enough.

We got an inch of rain on Thursday, and Saturday we got over 3" of rain, so there was no working in the gardens over the weekend. I have gotten two gardens cut back and most of the cottonwood branches picked up. I really should go out there with a rake to get them all, but see previous note about a sore back. Once it warms up today, I plan to pick up willow branches and cut back the small garden next to the lilac. Somebody needs to thin the lilac, too, but J is too busy helping other people to do stuff at home.

I took down the hummingbird feeders, as I haven't seen a hummingbird in a few weeks. There is a pair of teenage sandhill cranes loafing about in the backyard - yesterday I looked out and one was standing in the pond and one was standing in the strawberry patch.
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.
...at the feeder, even. We've not seen him since, but that probably just means that we weren't looking at the right time.

I have finished weeding the prairie bed. On to the garden east of the house!

I wound up playing bari in the praise band. I started off on tenor sax (playing the trumpet part) but halfway through rehearsal one of the trumpet players showed up and wanted to play. So I swapped horns and played the bass line with DB. DB was helping J with setting up the sound and I was helping with re-seating people so there was somewhere for the performers to stand when we realised that the band was up next -- and our instruments and music were in the other building! a quick scramble to get those, and we were ready to go. J took his electric piano over, so we had all but two of the instruments in the house over at the church (SR's alto sax and DB's trombone stayed home), and we even borrowed one (the tuba).

The PT is unimpressed with the level of stability in my left shoulder, and has informed me that once we get the inflammation down I will get lots of strength work. Lovely. Right now, it's taped to relieve some of the stress on the biceps tendon. She says that the shoulder has never quite recovered from the damage I did to it three years ago, so we're working on that as well.

catching up.

May. 21st, 2016 09:13 am
jennlk: (white daff)
The funeral meal was last Saturday. It was not quite the wreck I thought it would be -- I got the crew to set the hall for 102 people, and we fed about 85, which gives nice spacing. (They had originally only set 80, so it was good thing I had them set more tables.) There were more people than that at the service, but there were some who never planned on staying, and some who left when it took over an hour for everyone to get over to the hall -- much chatting with the widow. There were enough leftovers to send some home with the family and still have a light lunch after church the next day. This weekend is the farewell potluck for the minister -- she's not leaving for a month, but there's no open Sunday between now and then. I still haven't decided what I'll bring. Nor do I know which instrument I'll be playing in the praise band -- it depends on how many trumpet players show up.

DB's Miraphone (tuba) is back in its second home -- the corner of the living room. :) It will go back to school on Monday, although probably not before the band director notices that it's gone -- he wasn't in school on Friday, but the associate director was, and he said it would be fine if we borrowed a good tuba.

I set out a hummingbird feeder on Tuesday. I still haven't seen any hummers, but the ladies on the lake say they have, so there are some in the area. Wednesday morning I looked out and there was a Baltimore Oriole on the hummingbird feeder. So I dug that feeder out and set it out. Thursday afternoon the Oriole was on the oriole feeder.

My left shoulder had been hurting since the concert (apparently, I really shouldn't unrack chairs); so I finally went to the ortho last Friday. She gave me a script for therapy and one for the NSAID-that-actually-works. After five days on the NSAID, the shoulder felt pretty good, but I still kept the PT appointment. The PT said that it was a good choice, as the joint is still not right, so we'll be working on the tendonitis which allowed the joint to shift a little out of position. So now I have exercises and icing to do. whee.
Last week's snow all melted (other than the piles where it'd been cleared, and in the areas which get no sun), and now it's snowing again. They tell us we'll get 5" or so by the time it's done. whee.

The grackles showed up about the same time the lady blackbirds did, and I saw some starlings this morning, so we now have our full complement of black birds. A squirrel just wandered across the ice on the pond -- late yesterday afternoon, there was almost no ice on the pond, but it got cold and windy, and that (plus the snow falling) was apparently enough to freeze a skin. It looks like it's a slushy skin, but the squirrel wasn't getting wet or leaving any tracks.

more birds

Feb. 28th, 2016 08:10 am
jennlk: (snow bird)
And now the lady red-winged blackbirds are back -- they generally trail the males by a few days.

We got about 11 inches of snow by the time it was all done by mid-Thursday. The base was heavy and wet, but then we got lighter stuff that drifted and it got windy, so there was a drift about 18" high across the garage doors when I got up on Thursday. It was 47F yesterday, and didn't drop below freezing overnight, but there's still a significant amount of snow left (not in the driveway though, as that got cleared).

I was able to make it in to the library on Wednesday, and back home again. DB was not so lucky -- he was coming home from a friend's house, and missed a turn. He wound up in the ditch about 15 feet from the road (much of it down, as he was 5 feet below the road surface). I had him call AAA, who showed up an hour later to winch him out. (60 minutes is good response time in decent weather, so I'm not complaining at all.)
I've been helping in the K-2 library for the last couple of weeks - a couple of hours on a Wednesday, and I get all the books back on the shelves so they can go out again. I have gotten some interesting reactions from the teachers and staff, as I stopped doing library stuff there 6 or 7 years ago. The librarian is happy to see me, and the kids are glad to have another adult to help them find books.

The next FCB concert is a Collage concert, with small ensembles as well as a short full-band set. A couple of the other sax players put together an ensemble and asked if I would join them, so I've been going in early to work on the piece. It's not hard, but there are some tricky bits in it. Something that I've been doing has been bothering my hand, so I've not been practicing as much as I probably should be. We've got a couple more weeks before auditions, so I should have it figured out by then.

For the last couple of weeks, we've had birds crashing into the dining room window, sometimes hard enough to break their necks. We were talking about it, and the kids pointed out that I'd washed the outside of the window in Mid-December. Yeah, that would do it. J put some blue tape bits on it, and I'll get some stickers later this week.
Designer called counter fabricator, who said "huh. musta' lost that order, 'cause we usually get estimates out in 2-3 days". Whatever. Anyway, quote came in on Saturday, and I stopped by (I was in town for groceries anyway) and ordered the cabinet. Delivery in 4-ish weeks.

We were supposed to at least have scheduled the new floor by now, but that's not happened. If I don't hear from her by the middle of the week, I'll call and see if she knows where my floor is (somewhere between northern Ontario and here, I'm sure, but I'd like a little more precision).

In other project news, I have the bits (blouse, jacket, skirt, overskirt) cut out, and now all I have to do is sew them together.

The counting of the froggies is 12, and I saw some toadlings up by the house -- they're about 3/4" long. I have eaten some tomatoes out of the garden. The milkweed is setting seeds now -- it looks like we're going to have a good crop of milkweed fluff this year.

The wasps have moved in on the hummingbird feeders, so I've had to take them down -- I'll put them back up again in mid-September. I need to plant more late summer flowers for the hummers.
Yesterday, SR and I went back to the lumberyard with actual measurements(!) and made some final choices (countertop, cabinet finish, doors). Now we wait for that quote to come back. Also yesterday, I got everything off the walls-that-will-be-grey and washed them down. Today, I tape and spackle -- there's a lot of that to be done, so I don't think I'll get to the actual painting until tomorrow.

We still need to get knobs/handles for the cabinet, but that will wait until we get it in the house, because we'll probably wind up replacing *all* of the hardware in the kitchen.

The layout job is "done" -- as in, I laid out all the content I had. It's sparse, but I don't write the content (it's reports from committee chairs...). (In a "reading is hard" moment, I sent out a reminder to the chairs that I needed their articles for the newsletter, and I got a note back from one of them "have you sent the newsletter yet? because I haven't gotten it." Oy)

The counting of the froggies is 11. There is a lady Baltimore Oriole hanging around the yard. There were at least two hawks screeing at each other yesterday. The bluejays were squawking back.

Natterish

May. 22nd, 2015 08:00 am
jennlk: (clefnotes)
DB's last high school band concert was Wednesday night. He played in both the full orchestra and in the wind symphony. The orchestra was working without their main director, who had been in SD for a funeral until Wednesday am; and the principal horn player, who wasn't able to play due to illness. So the middle school band director (who is a very good horn player) sat in and sight read the first horn parts. DB said that the winds had only rehearsed William Tell three or four times before the performance, but it really didn't sound too bad -- the trumpets got out of sync on the fanfare/hunting calls, but it wasn't horrible, and they got it together by the time they really needed to be. The Wind Symphony played a couple of pieces that I have, and I laughed a bit at one place -- the FCB had always mangled a transition, and the WS did the same thing we always did. SR says that there's a note in the music that says "mess up here". :) (It's a transitionless transition -- end a measure at one tempo and style, start the next measure in a different tempo and style.)

SR saw a female oriole in the backyard the other day, so I had her mix up some oriole food and put out the oriole feeder.

The gardens are getting overrun with weeds, but I had a funeral meal to host on Wednesday, and those put me out for a couple of days, between onsite and recovery. Maybe today, but DB has Senior Theater stuff this afternoon, and we need to go pick up a couple of people for that. (It's Moving Up Day (aka Practice-for-Next-Year), when seniors are told 'don't come in', because there isn't room for them.)
It started raining around midnight. Not raining very hard, but I don't think it's stopped for more than a few minutes since it started. And until yesterday, it was too cold for me to do much work in the garden, especially since my knee is still being annoyed (it's better though -- much as I dislike wearing the brace, it cannot be denied that it helps). Tomorrow, there is a gig scheduled, so I won't be able to work in the garden then, either -- and if there is no gig, it'll be raining.

I worked strike on Monday, and went straight from there to FCB rehearsal. When I got to rehearsal, I realised that I had a pocket full of screws that I had taken out of the set, and a square bit. Ooops. I don't realise how much work I do on a HS show is until it's over, and it takes me the better part of a week to catch up and recover.

The hummingbirds are back. I hadn't set out the feeder in the front yard, and SR said that they were looking for it one day last week. So I put it out, and within a few hours there were birds at it. Yesterday, she and I watched a goldfinch tear apart a dandelion head for the seeds.
I did. Which explains why DB only had two days of school last week (Monday was a scheduled off day for "Great Americans' Weekend") due to the cold (past a certain point, you start running into busses not starting, as well as student safety). At one point before last week, SR and I were contemplating going to see the Open Hood event at HFM on Friday, but with every school in the metro Detroit area closed Thursday and Friday (and the museum offering buy 1-get 1 admissions), we decided we could wait. Maybe this week. Although not Thursday, because that's MSBOA Band & Orchestra Festival, and DB and I will both be working.

(The thermometer in the backyard, which is reasonably accurate and fairly well located, indicated that it was -25F/-32C at 8am Friday. yeah, not so much with the busses starting.)

I have no idea what to expect from the bands and orchestras on Thursday. They all sounded pretty good at the concert last week, but I noticed a lot of things that could have been better. I fully expect that the directors noticed them as well, so it becomes a matter of how much time they can spend on fixing them.

There were doves standing in the (dry) birdbath this morning, keeping their feet warm.
Froggie count is four -- three visible and one streamlined frog shape underwater. Today when I went out to feed the birds, I heard a "blorp" and there was a frog shaped wet spot on one of the rocks.

In bird news, not much new -- a few bright goldfinches and some housefinches in full color, a pair or two of titmouses (titmice?), a few finches and sparrows teaching their offspring how to fly and where the bird feeders are, and even some red-winged blackbirds doing the same. The murder of crows shoes up every afternoon and takes advantage of the birdbath and the seeds spilled under the birdfeeders, chatting all the while. The young cardinals are getting their final feathers in, and are looking quite disheveled.

Last night SR and I went off to the Tigers game. Weather was gorgeous for a game, and we had quite decent seats -- high up, but right behind home plate. I still think the lower level seats we had a few years ago were the best we've had, for all that they were well along the foul line. Too bad the game wasn't as good -- sloppy on both sides, and the Tigers lost. We signed up late for the trip, and rather than getting a ballpark buffet in a dedicated picnic area, we got tickets for food elsewhere in the park. I think I like that better! We discovered that the Brushfire Grill by the ferris wheel has really good "nachos" in a big enough serving that SR and I were able to share one and not feel deprived.

Natter-ish

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:30 pm
jennlk: (reticulated iris)
More weeding. It never stops. The ground's been drying out, and in a couple of the flowerbeds that means that the weeds break off rather than come out. The rain we got yesterday should loosen the ground enough that I can actually pull weeds.

More birds. We saw a pair of Downy Woodpeckers at the feeders yesterday. There's also a pair of male indigo buntings, and probably a female or two (the females look quite a bit like female house finches, so they can be hard to ID). Not a lot of male goldfinches this year, although ours often fade as the summer goes on and the mating season is over. SR thinks she saw a female oriole -- wrong size & shape to be anything else, but didn't get a really good look at it.

And frogs! We've seen a couple of frogs in the pond in the last couple of weeks. Dunno why we don't have more, but I suspect the cooler than usual temperatures have something to do with it. We also have duckweed in the pond in addition to the algae that we usually have. I hope we'll get more frogs as the season goes on -- the usual peak is sometime in September.

Anna is being quite "helpful" in the workroom. Every time I go down, she comes over for attention, and so I lose 30-45 minutes to that. And then she falls asleep in my lap until I try to do handwork and then she wakes up. (If I actually try to do something, she gets between me and what I'm working on, or tries to headbutt the iron, or catch the scissors, or play with the pins, or get under my hand as I'm feeding fabric into the sewing machine.) So yeah, not a lot getting done.
(egads, that's annoying -- in order to be able to post, I have to allow a context-sensitive ad script, and in the course of reloading the page after I allow it, LJ loses the text, so I have to retype. booo. still better than FB, though. fsvo.)

SR and I ran away to DetCon last weekend, and a reasonable time was had by all. She had issues with the elevators (has never done well with high-rises, I expect partly due to lack of exposure to them, and doesn't have the routine balancing of pressures figured out), and the weekend airhandling at the RenCen could be better. The only panels I was interested in going to were either Friday am before we left for the con or Saturday during the ballgame. And the ballgame wasn't all that interesting -- I've been to worse, but it was damp and dreary too, which never helps. I was somewhat disappointed in the consuite after the Michigan focus of the bid parties -- there was no Faygo or TowneClub and only intermittent Vernor's; no Better Made or Germack's snacks; and Fri and Sat evenings it was taken over by WorldCon bid parties, leaving no place to get a soda other than the hotel vending machines or the foodcourt in the basement.

The gardens have been getting away from me again. It will only get worse before it gets better, as today was spent out with DB and a couple of his friends finding jeans for him, and tomorrow is Driver's Ed. OTOH, tomorrow is the last classroom session, and then he's got two more hours of driving and two more of observing before he's done with class.

SR found a monarch caterpillar on the milkweed yesterday. whee. Unfortunately, when she went out with the camera this morning he(?) was nowhere to be found. We hope he just moved to another plant.... She tells me that the baby cardinal has lost his floofy pants and now has a mohawk. :)
When I put the peony rings in on Thursday, they were just below the top level of leaves. By Monday morning, it looked like I might want to lift the rings up a bit....
peonies


There is so much weeding to do! And it rained hard this morning, so the gardens are too wet to walk in.

The indigo bunting was on the platform feeder this morning, before the rain came through. I tried to get a picture, but he flew off when I stepped away from the door to get the camera. :(

It's still cool in the basement, and now it's gotten damp. I plugged the dehumidifier in yesterday -- I really don't like running both the space heater and the dehumidifier at the same time, but if I'm going to get anything done down there, I don't think I have a choice.

(no subject)

Jan. 8th, 2014 12:21 am
jennlk: (crystal)
The snowdrifts in the backyard are over-the-knee deep, and that's not all the way to the ground. Mind, this is on DB, not me (his knees are about 4 inches farther off the ground than mine). SR goes in halfway up her thighs. The birdbath is nearly buried in a snowdrift. I should dig it out tomorrow, and put fresh water in it -- there was no point in doing that today, as it was still too cold for the little heater in it. It was full of slushed then refrozen snow when the kids tromped out to it today -- the wind blew the water out of it and filled it with snow, but heater in it was no match for the wind sucking heat out. I made two trips out to fill birdfeeders today. I figured they could use it.

DB has still not gone back to school, but we hope he'll be going back on Thursday. Our street is plowed to about 1.75 lanes, and there are lots of roads in the district that are plowed to less than that, so there's a distinct possibility of buses getting stuck.

I took advantage of the low temperatures and cleaned out/defrosted the upright freezer in the basement (dunno what the few passersby thought, with the front porch full of plastic boxes). It's nominally a frost-free freezer, but there's been ice building up in the bottom of it for a few months. Turns out that the defrost drain had frozen over at some point, so I fixed that. (J printed off a pair of shelf bracket inserts -- for some reason, the bottom shelf was not staying in place properly. Now it is.)

I played flute at church Sunday -- the pianist lives 25+ miles away and decided that she'd really rather not drive all the way out and back home again in the snow (especially since she'd been 8 hours late getting home Saturday), so I played for communion. She probably made the right choice, as it was pretty slidy getting home after church. I think I may have to get my right hand looked at, if only to make sure it's "only" tendinitis, because it hurt Sunday afternoon, despite not playing anything for 10 days and the hand angle being much better on flute.

(no subject)

Oct. 14th, 2013 04:01 pm
jennlk: (goldfinch columbine)
Apparently we've got a full-out wildlife habitat in the backyard. Early this afternoon, I heard a wild flurry of birds taking off from feeders/shrubberies/trees. I looked outside, but didn't see anything that could have caused it. About 10 minutes later, I glanced outside and there was a hawk bathing and drinking in the shallows of the pond. Well, yeah, that might make the mixed small birds (aka "lunch") scatter. I expect the froggies are all well-hidden as well.
Tags:
A flood of daffodils in the NW bed, a scattering of hyacinths in all the beds, blue-eyed grass in the sidebed. The 'wild' tulips in the warm bed bloomed last week and have faded, but there are lots more to come in other flowerbeds. The Crown Imperial in the East bed have recovered from their freeze last week and are standing up straight again. The deer have been nibbling on the stuff coming up in the far east bed, which is only a few feet from the untouched near east bed. weird. The standard tulips in the warmer beds have well-developed buds, while the ones in the cooler beds are just leaves. The bleeding hearts have sent up 2-3 inches of shoots over the last few days. The peonies have also poked stems through. Unfortunately, the weeds have also begun to sprout, and I need to start dealing with them. I think it will be dry enough to work somewhere outside today.

I saw the first of probably many goldfinches in summer colors.

Yesterday was a busy day -- church stuff in the morning, a quick lunch, then off to Farmington for a concert. After an afternoon of wrangling a large saxophone, chairs and stands, food and tables for a reception, and a set of chimes, I'm stiff today. (I had to return the chimes to the high school this morning, too.) Working in the garden will probably help.

brr.

Feb. 23rd, 2011 09:25 am
jennlk: (Default)
My fingers and toes are cold. I just went out to feed the birds. It's still very cold -- it was well below 0F when DB went out to the bus this morning, and it was still only one-hand single digits above zero at 0900. There's three-eighths of an inch of hoarfrost on everything right now -- it's very pretty. The cardinals are especially pretty, standing out against the white rime on everything. If the sun was out, it'd be even prettier, but I suppose that might be asking too much.

There's just enough of a hard surface on the snow to make it hard for the dog -- she puts her paw down and it feels firm so she puts her weight on it...and breaks through into the softer stuff underneath. She didn't have that problem with the last storm -- the drifts were packed hard enough that it wasn't really soft underneath....

The house finches are beginning to show their summer colors, so we're nearing the end of winter. In other bird news, there was a northern flicker at the birdfeeder Monday morning.

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