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).
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.
- rehearsals for a concert on Sunday. The pieces we did at Red Cedar, a guest conductor, a couple of new pieces, and a few that we've done before. DB may or may not come to the concert -- he's said that he wants to hear us play Sheltering Sky, but I don't know if that outweighs whatever plans he has with friends. Monday we start rehearsals for the next concert, which is the start of the 'summer season', so the band will probably be smaller. Which is good, because we won't fit onto the stages for the summer concerts with 90 members.

- waiting for the weather to decide what it's doing, so I can go pull weeds. Or even pick up the willow branches that have come down. There's only been a couple of days since they came down when it wasn't cold or raining or both, and I had scheduled errands and appointments. Maybe sometime next week.

- library was on hiatus for a couple of weeks. End of term meant half-days of school so no books being checked out or returned, then it was Book Fair and the library was full of Book Fair cabinets so no books circulating. There were a lot on Thursday.

Wednesday morning, the wind started. The weather service had been telling us that it would be windy, posting High Wind Warnings for all day Wednesday, so it wasn't a real surprise. Nor was it a surprise when the power went out. (I think my response was "and there it goes"). But then it stayed out. J went to work, because with no power he couldn't work from home (the cable goes out shortly after the power does). Friday night, the landline went out (ATT's battery backups are apparently only 2.5 days), so all we had was patchy somewhat unreliable cell phone coverage. And no phone for DTE to call us on.

But J went to work, and DB went to work, and I stayed home to babysit the generator. Got a lot of reading done, and sorted knitting patterns. Thursday I went out to survey the damage. A few shingles off the west edge of the roof, at eave level (the roof needs to be reshingled this year anyway, but at least not *now*!), a couple of shrubberies broken off, the rowan toppled (it never settled in well anyway). And the diverter from the gutter in the neighbor's yard.

And then J went off to Robotics competition in Ann Arbor Fri/Sat while I stayed home and babysat the generator. Saturday AM, J came home from Robotics and took the small (quiet) generator over to church so that the sanctuary would have heat and light for Sunday service. Late Saturday afternoon, J got a message from the pastor asking how to disconnect the sanctuary from the generator and reconnect to the mains. Whee! that meant that we probably had power too, so he texted me and I checked (flipped various breakers), and then went out to the garage and turned off the generator.

DTE tells us that it was the largest weather related power outage in their service area (the Northeast Blackout in 2003 doesn't count, because there was nothing they could do about it).

And now (10 am Monday) we've got 3/4 of an inch of snow, and more coming. They say we'll get 3-5 by the end of the storm.
- we got new music on Monday. Four pieces, of the 'old warhorse'/standard of the repertoire variety (thus, not easy) and my kids played three of them in high school (iirc, SR read the other a few times but never performed it). Other people were talking about how this is the kind of music they didn't see until college.

- we got four inches of snow on Monday night. Then it all melted by Wednesday morning, because of rain and wind and 40+F temperatures. The power went out for six hours or so, due to wind damage (branch on a line somewhere). whee -- we lost a couple of fish because of it. And then it got cold again -- it was 24F when I went out to feed the birds this morning.

- I got the holiday cards done on Epiphany, but didn't get them in the mail until Saturday. Ooops. The tree got decorated sometime before Christmas (I even got the ornament boxes out of the living room!), and we took the ornaments off on Saturday. The tree itself is still looming in the living room. The bag is there, too. But Robotics season has started, and J is getting home at 9pm....
Another Christmas done. Christmas Eve service was candles and congregational carols with just an anthem (One Small Child) by the choir. The church was almost entirely full for both services, but we didn't need the overflow space. Which was good, because it wasn't really set up. There were a surprising number of people at service on Christmas Day.

Tuesday we went to lunch with Nana, and did Xmas with her. She has a favorite restaurant in Saline, so we went there -- J is back to work because release is approaching quickly, and the new building is practically in Saline.

The snow is just about all melted -- there are still piles where it got shoveled/plowed to, and the field where the woods shade it is still snowcovered.

A number of DB's friends got inexpensive drones for Xmas, and he seemed a little bummed that he didn't, until I said "we don't buy you toys anymore. If we're going to buy a drone, it's going to be a decent one." And, tbh, given a choice between good boots (leather wellington/harness style) and a drone, the boots win every time.

(huh. another weirdity with LJ today - can't change the userpic. ah well.)


Dec. 14th, 2016 08:23 pm
jennlk: (snow bird)
Stunning development, I know. It's Michigan, it's mid-December. Snow happens. However, this fall/winter has been fairly warm and almost entirely snowfree until Sunday; and then J & I shoveled 9" at 6pm and we got another 3" overnight. Snow days all around on Monday. So the FCB concert next Sunday will be even less rehearsed than usual. OTOH, it's not supposed to snow very much between now and then, so we may have a decent audience.

Saturday was busy -- a funeral meal to host in the late afternoon and a keyboard dedication concert in the evening. I had time to come home and change in between!

DB is done with working The Nutcracker at the HS auditorium, but now he's working a church Christmas pageant at the old HS auditorium -- they have crew that does most of the sound work, but they need someone (with keys) to open the building and turn on the house and run the stage lights.

I had been vaguely contemplating going to the Chippewas bowl game, and then they got invited to the Miami Beach Bowl. That would be a fun game to go to, but the timing is horrid. The game is Monday afternoon, and I have a concert Sunday afternoon & rehearsal Monday evening. While I could skip rehearsal (although that's kind of a bad idea, as we'll be getting new music), getting in at 2am for a 2:30pm game is not my idea of fun.

There is at least one hawk hunting the backyard. There may be two, as J saw one this afternoon that seemed smaller than the one we'd seen in the morning. This probably explains why the birdseed in the feeders isn't going down as fast as it often does.

natter, etc.

Jul. 9th, 2016 07:52 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
FCB Stars in the Park concert on Thursday night. Hot and miserable on stage, and between the heat and lack of rehearsal time, we were quite ragged in places. The baritone soloist on the Holst rushed worse than he ever has -- I wish they'd stop letting him solo, because he always rushes.

There's a gig tomorrow evening, and one on Monday. I'm really unimpressed with the new FCB information team -- we still don't have a map or a performance order for either upcoming gig, nor a reminder/notice to bring a chair to Monday's gig.

I have decided to go to Band Camp at Interlochen and Musecon. There's only one day (Monday) between them, but reg for camp is 2pm Tuesday, so it shouldn't be too bad. It's been at least 3 years since I've been to camp... RS says that we should do a chamber ensemble made up of FCB members as there'll be three sax players from the FCB, plus a few others. :)

We got over 3" of rain on Thursday night, and then it stormed on Friday -- no measurement on that one as the bucket I'm using as a gauge got blown up against the deck.
We got more snow in February and March than we have all winter. :) By the time Tuesday's snowfall ended, we had at least six inches on the ground -- and it had cooled off so that the last couple of inches was fluffy drifty stuff. SR and I went out about 8pm and shoveled the driveway, just so J and DB could find the thing -- it was a flat expanse of white from the middle of the road to the house. J was at Robotics, and got home about 9:30. DB was in Ypsi, where they got much more ice than we did, and didn't come home until Wednesday morning. There was no school on Wednesday because the back roads were icy. I hear that they were still slippy in spots on Thursday morning.

Thursday was Band & Orchestra Festival at CHS. DB was working it, and the signup sheet had openings a week before the event, so I signed up to work in the auditorium the whole day. When SR found out that they were scheduled to run well after school, she said "tell C I'll be in about 3", knowing (from experience) that a lot of the casual helpers go home. This year, a few of the scheduled guides bugged out (a first for a CHS event!), so it was really nice to have SR show up. She came in during a group's performance, and I didn't see their guide, so I said to her "if X doesn't show, can you take this group to sight reading?". X didn't, so SR did. The schedule had four pairs of guides for the after-school session, but due to people bugging out, there were three singles guiding. I wound up guiding one group from the auditorium to sight reading because all of the guides were busy with other groups. I announced the after school section as well, because a scheduled MSBOA official assumed the event was on Friday and didn't show up. The music was good, as it usually is -- also as usual, I had a few flashbacks to pieces I've played. Two of the orchestras did Finlandia (yes, [ profile] jebra, DB and I both thought " Finlandia!"), and I found my hand playing the bass riff about halfway through. One band did Russian Christmas Music, which the FCB played in December, and I was following along on the music (they're halfway down page 1, nasty page turn there, that's a string bass!, missed the frilly bits at the top of page 4, etc). Another band did Africa: Ceremony, Song, and Ritual, which we've played a few times.

The weather people had been saying "scattered flurries, up to 1 inch accumulation" for Thursday, but when we left the HS at 8pm we had to brush over 2 inches of snow off the cars, and after my stop at the grocer I brushed another half-inch off. We got over 3 inches by Friday morning. The sun came out and it got to 45 in the sun, so a lot of it melted, but it started snowing again last night. DB brushed another couple of inches off the car when he left for work this AM, and there's probably 6 inches of snow in the yard.
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.)

Garden natter

Jul. 1st, 2015 07:15 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
The state of the habitat in the yard:
  • two tree frogs, one toad (at least -- that's the different calls we hear);
  • indigo bunting, cardinal, oriole, blue jay, gold- and house- finch, barn swallow, three or four species of sparrows, hummingbird, red-winged blackbird, cowbird, crows, downy woodpecker, northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, mourning doves;
  • the milkweed and the sea holly and the penstemon are attracting lots of bees and butterflies;
  • the short orange lilies bloomed last week, the taller red ones bloomed earlier this week, the pink and white ones in the front flowerbed bloomed about a week before the ones I moved last fall, the second wave of alliums (smaller flowers) is just now starting to open, the blanketflower and sedum are blooming as well.

When it's too wet to work in the garden (which has been most of the last couple of weeks), I've been sorting out the workroom, and culling fabric and yarn. My goal is to get everything onto the shelves I have, so that the only boxes down there are the ones for the rummage sale.

The weird weather (for June -- it's not bad for April) has been wreaking havoc with FCB performances and grad parties. Last Monday's outreach gig was cancelled due to storms, and then Saturday's gig was washed out entirely. I probably wouldn't have played it anyway -- too chilly and damp for the various creaky parts of me. I rather *like* moving, yanno. There were three grad parties on the schedule anyway. Monday's gig has been rescheduled (afaik) for July 6, so there's that.

DB and SR have both received their diplomas and transcripts. DB is off to community college in the fall, SR is doing the job hunt thing, with possible grad school if nothing shows up by December or so.
Almost four hours of near-continuous lightning does not make for restful sleep. Add in 'torrential' rain and occasional wind gusts to 70mph, and it gets even less restful.

Nothing down in the yard, although a lot of stuff in the flower gardens is listing, and I hear a couple of chainsaws going in the area. The corn in the field behind the house is listing. The pond is overflowing The debris field in the easement is about 50ft out from the culverts -- last week's storm left a 25ft field. We have had years when there's been no water in the easement, so that was a lot of water. The power did not go out for any appreciable amount of time, so there's that. (yay for underground lines.)

Last night's FCB concert was cancelled. While it would have happened between storms, it was probably a good idea to cancel it -- the performance area is a lawn, and it would have been wet and squishy, and setting up 80+ chairs on it and having people walk back and forth would have done some damage to it.
DB returned from NYC on Sunday. They were a couple of hours behind schedule, so I wound up missing church entirely. Oh well. And now he has a nasty cold (the sore throat one).

The weather has been thwarting my attempts to get into the garden -- when I'm home, it's either cold or raining (or both), and when I must be somewhere else, it's warm and sunny. The crocuses in the side garden are just about done, but the tulips and daffs are beginning to show buds. The little irises in the E garden bloomed a week ago, and on Wednesday I was able to get out there and cut back the seaholly and the milkweed so that the irises could be seen. It's supposed to get warm enough to work in the garden today, so I hope to get something done. The pond rill is leaking again, but it's too cold to do anything about it -- once it warms up we'll have to figure out something -- we'll probably wind up rebuilding the rill, and using a rubber liner or a layer of concrete under sand (or both) to keep the varmints from digging through.

The blackbirds and grackles and starlings are back, so I've stopped putting out suet cakes & seed bells because the birds they're intended for never get any seed. I don't mind the black birds picking at the birdseed that's spilled on the ground, but they're greedy and there are a lot of them, and they finish a suet cake in a day.

AJ's memorial service is next Sunday, so I will be at North Congregational Church for that. I went up on Wednesday to help Mum organise things. The minister there says that she's been getting notes and stories about Judy since her death was announced. (With that service on Sunday, I will be driving to Farmington four days out of eight, as there's a FCB concert on the 19th, with a stage rehearsal on the 17th. yay.)


Mar. 24th, 2015 01:46 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
There's a nice scattering of early crocuses in the side garden, and a couple of snowdrops. There's a lot of tulips and daffs coming up in that bed as well, but the rest of the gardens are still pretty quiet.

The snow is all gone. In a last gasp of winter, it was 7F/-14C in the backyard this morning. Brrr. J put the pump in the pond on Saturday, but sometime yesterday we lost power out to the pond, and so the pump stopped working, so there's a nice layer of ice on the pond. The birdbath froze solid. I didn't notice that the pond had stopped running until I was in the middle of making dinner, and while I mentioned it to J before I left for rehearsal, he didn't do anything about it yesterday. The GFCI breaker isn't tripped, but there's no power at the outlet -- I took a desk lamp out to check it.

DB leaves on a music department trip to NYC tomorrow after school, so today I'm doing laundry (he needs his dress blacks for the performance, and something not-black for the theater).

We've been reading a lot of music on Monday nights. The newish tuba player was commenting on the sheer quantity of stuff that the Maestro was saying "is for April", but we play for 90 minutes or so, and some of it will no doubt show up in the summer repertoire as well.
will there be school tomorrow? The predicted low is -12F, with a wind chill advisory (wind chill between -15F and -25F) posted. Assuming that all the buses will start, there's the problem of student safety, as there are quite a few kids who have a 1/4 mile (or more) walk to the bus stop, and then they have to wait for the bus. And if the bus is running late (as they often do in the winter)?

DB is assuming school tomorrow, because it's easy to roll over and go back to sleep if that changes. We shall see.

A related but different question is will I have rehearsal tomorrow? A different school district and slightly different forecast. We have a concert in two weeks, so we could use the rehearsal time.
State One Act Finals was Friday and Saturday. There were 13 teams competing, with Chelsea hosting. Eight shows on Friday, six (counting the Black Box demo) on Saturday and the awards ceremony. Two very long days, with "strike the school" on tap for the Chelsea team afterwards.

Chelsea did their show as the entertainment between the last show and the awards ceremony (while the judges were tabulating all the scores and ranking the teams and making decisions on individual awards). They were On. They got a standing ovation from a full house. (hah! so much for that III at Regionals!) The tournament director did a bit of a spiel before they started, about how MIFA was contemplating changing their categories to make it easier for new programs to be competitive, and doing Mainstage (traditional theater, with elaborate costumes and props and sets and sound) and Black Box (no scenery, minimal costuming and props and sound) tracks. He went on to say that it was a difference much easier to see than to explain, and here's a fine example of a Black Box show from this year's competition.

[There were, of course, complications, mostly due to CHS not actually running the entire show at any time last week because they were setting up for hosting the festival. The weapons had gone back to whichever of the props rooms (there are at least six in town, between CHS, CAP, & the Purple Rose all having multiple spaces) they'd been borrowed from, and nobody realised it until CHS went to warmup. Fortunately, somebody knew which space they were in and who had access to it, so it was a matter of 20 minutes to get them to the HS. DB's jacket was hanging in the front closet, so he borrowed a leather jacket from somebody (it may have been from the costume room). One of the girls spaced on the warmup time and had to be tracked down.]

I ran the volunteer room and fed 35-40 kids and adults second breakfast-lunch-dinner for two days. We had a kettle, a toaster, and multiple stoves and refrigerators (we were in the Home Ec room). I was very nearly the last person out of the building.

In other news, we did not quite get drifted in -- I did plow a little snow with the van on my way out Saturday morning, and the driveway will probably need to be shoveled before J gets home in my lower car, but the wind changed Saturday evening so it's blowing down the driveway, not across. It is, however, currently -12F in the backyard before the windchill, so I will wait for it to warm up a bit before shoveling.

No snow. Yet.

Nov. 18th, 2014 08:01 am
jennlk: (snowman)
But it's a very good thing that I put the heated birdbath out yesterday (and took the timer off the outdoor circuit it's plugged into, which also has the pond pump). It was 10F when I got home from rehearsal last night, and was 5F when I got up this morning.

I worked three hours of strike yesterday, and DB did another hour after that. I would have stayed, but I had FCB rehearsal 45 minutes away, and I needed to stop by home and swap the props in the trunk for a bari sax. There's still some work to be done today, mostly sorting of flats and random bits of wood and corralling of tools and screws.

I think I'll stay inside today, where it's warm (other than a trip in to pick up DB & some milk). And put away all the stuff that's accumulated in the last couple of weeks, as well as the paper goods left over from the musical (I'm hanging on to them until January, when they will be used at OneAct).
I have no real idea of how much snow fell -- it's fine drifty stuff, and there was a lot of wind last night, so snow cover ranges from none to 4 inches. (There were very few cars out last night while I was coming home from rehearsal. One side effect of light traffic is more deer on/near the road, and I came around one corner to find a pair of deer standing in the middle of the road.)

daffs 2

Those snow clouds you see in the background (yes, they really were that dark, although they've lightened up quite a bit) are now dropping more snow. whee.
Chionodoxo (aka squill) in the side garden; daffodils in the front bed (when we left Sunday morning at 9:20 there was one bud just beginning to turn up, when we got home at noon it was almost fully open, as we worked in the yard I could see more buds turning up, and this morning when I took DB to school (the tuba doesn't ride the bus) there were at least two dozen flowering); one brave species tulip blooming (the rest are just now budding); regular and giant crocuses in various gardens, all quite windblown by Sunday's winds; peony stems just peeping through the ground; pump back in the pond;; leaves raked out of some of the flowerbeds; etc.

And it's supposed to snow tonight. whee.


jennlk: (Default)

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