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. :(
Tags:
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).
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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. :)

Snow!

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.

wildlife, etc

Jul. 24th, 2016 09:38 pm
jennlk: (white daff)
Lots more frogs! J went past the pond on the lawnmower and said he got about a dozen bloops, and when I went out shortly thereafter we got another 5 or 6.

SR is in the air as I type...a 13 hour flight from Detroit to Tokyo, and then another 4 hours to Taipei, where she will be met by a friend and his room-mate. The friend teaches at the school she will be teaching at. DB is being his bratly self, and making her cry at the airport -- he sent her a picture of the grey floofball.

By request, crane pictures!
walking cranes

resting cranes

There are two cranes in the bottom picture -- one is sitting on the ground. Not the best picture, but that was taken through the sliding door. I knew if I tried to open the door for a better picture the cranes would move (and at least one of the cats would have gotten out....)

natter, etc

Jul. 22nd, 2016 10:54 am
jennlk: (white daff)
There are bitty frogs in the pond -- at least half a dozen, all about an inch long.

The cranes seem to have moved in -- they're in the yard almost all day. Their poo is not as bad as goose or dog, but I still don't want to step in it. The frogs stay hidden when the cranes are near the pond, but otherwise they don't care much.

DB has been working in the theater spaces at the schools for the last couple of weeks, and worked sound for the first few days of VBS this week. Bad timing on someone's part -- he'd have been willing to work all of VBS if it hadn't been the same week he was sorting/building/cleaning at school. J filled in on the days DB wasn't there -- he'd have been there anyway on Wednesday, as a tree branch came down on the powerline that goes by the church and the entire corner (including us!) was without power. J went over with the generators so they'd have lights and sound.

I have more plants for the garden, and a plan for where to put them, but probably won't do that until next week, when it cools down a bit. Transplant shock plus heat shock is a good way to kill a plant.

SR leaves for Taiwan on Sunday -- she'll be there for at least a year, teaching English (vocabulary & conversational) at a 'cram school' in Taipei.

There is one more FCB performance this season (Monday, 7pm, Riley Park in downtown Farmington), then most of the band gets six weeks off -- a bunch of us are going up to Band Camp at Interlochen, though. I have music and bins to transport to the concert, and may have custody of some auxiliary percussion until September if we can't get in to Harrison after the concert.
This morning, Ji was annoyed with me because I wouldn't let him out. Sorry, cat, do *not* want to deal with this guy:
skunk


Yesterday I looked out and there were a pair of sandhill cranes wandering through the backyard and a deer out in the field. Earlier in the day, there was a single crane poking through the hulls under the birdfeeders:
crane

There's at least one deer wandering through the yard (saw it in the field yesterday), and the kids tell me there's a family of turkeys in the vicinity -- they saw mama and a few chicks crossing the street yesterday.

In other news, we did a quick dessert table for a funeral. In Milan [n.b.: Milan (pronounced "mile-an") is a town about 30 miles away]. The family had the funeral meal catered, but the caterer doesn't do desserts, so a family member asked B if she thought it was something the church could do. She asked me, I said "I don't see why not", and voila!, I was in Milan with two crates of baked goods. B picked up more baked goods that people had left at the church and brought plates and napkins.

After perusing various schedules, and observing the way the calendars are colliding, I think that I will not be at the annual picnic. I'd like to be there, but I'm scheduled to work the election on Tuesday, beginning at 6am. J's not planning on leaving the site until Monday, and it's a 10 hour drive home. With Musecon the next weekend and band camp right after that, I'd essentially be gone for over two weeks, with just enough time home to do laundry and repack.

Natter

Mar. 15th, 2015 09:15 am
jennlk: (red winged blackbird)
DB's Collage Concert was yesterday. They went to two performances this year, after the auditorium was SRO last year. So the kids played to two 60% full auditoriums. i went to both, just because. (well, and I'd have to go in and get DB after whichever show I didn't go to anyway.) In general, the vocal pieces were better in the first show, and the instrumentals were better the second time around. Both shows were very good, and really showed off the variety of musical experiences available. The acappella group was differently "off" the second performance -- at the first show, the kids had 'white man's disease' trouble and the altos were not completely warmed up and were straining for the low notes, at the second show the sopranos kept sliding out of tune with each other, and there was a lot of sliding and scooping into notes. The finale was much better at the second performance -- all the WS tubas were there, and some of the choir kids took their music to the juliets so they could sing the actual words, not just ooooh and aaaah the notes.

In the last few days, I've seen a redwinged blackbird, a couple of starlings, and a grackle. The goldfinches are getting slightly more yellow. The snow is mostly gone from the yard except where it drifted deep or was piled when we shoveled the driveway. DB has been coming in the front door since the snow melted off the sidewalk on Thursday. And there are crocuses budding in the garden by the side door, where they get lots of sun and the warm from the house and are protected from the wind. They'll probably bloom today, once the sun gets around to that side of the house. I think spring may be on the way! whee!
FCB stage rehearsal Friday evening, concert Sunday. The concert went pretty well, I thought. It was quick -- I think we would have been out of there in just over an hour if we hadn't had to do a complete stage reset at intermission. It was a collage concert, so the first half was small ensembles, and then the full band came on and did a mini-concert (fanfare, tricky piece, march, orchestral transcription). Then there was a whole band picture after, and then we struck the stage *and* organised the music folders. So I still didn't get home until 17:30. Tonight we get new music. For a concert in four rehearsals (no rehearsal on Easter Monday, because no rehearsal space).

DB's collage concert is this Saturday. The pictures J took at last year's concert are being used in the PR for this one (with permission, and credit in cases where the publication gives it). Mum was planning on coming to this one, but instead is in FL, dealing with AJ's estate. DB did get Benedick for Much Ado About Nothing-- while he menaces well, KA didn't have a lot of realistic choices for the lead. And there are other ways to do menacing than looming over people.

In yard/garden news, the snow is melting, and exposing a lot of birdseed hulls. A couple of days ago, there were fresh bloodstains on the snow. I don't know if a squirrel squabble got vicious or if it was a hawk strike -- there were no feathers, but the blood was still bright red.
(third try, as LJ is being really cranky about saving things today.)

...on the ridge along the storm drain easement:
a 15' tall American red mulberry with lots of berries;
a 6' x 8' serviceberry with berries;
(not new) two nicely sized viburnums with lots of blooms and thus berries in the fall.

Ideally, these will compensate for the scant crop of crab-apples. There were only a couple of branches on the tree that had flowers this spring.

In other garden news, the sand cherry by the side door and the Kwanzaan cherry in the front yard are looking rather the worse for the extended cold weather, and the holly by the house is getting really sprawly and unhappy looking. We may have to rip them all out in the next few years. Although that won't be as bad as moving the huge rosebush by the deck-- it's getting cramped where it is, and deserves to be out in the middle of a wide space so it can be better appreciated.
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There are snowdrops blooming in the garden by the side door. They were not blooming yesterday noon-ish when we got home from church.

We went to a really good HS concert on Saturday night. Intended to show off the best of CHS music, it did. Band, orchestra, choir, small ensembles, a couple of soloists, etc. The grand finale was all the instrumentalists on stage and the vocalists up in the "juliet" balconies, doing an arrangement of tunes from Phantom of the Opera. Even the lighting crew got into the show, popping spotlights on and off to show whichever group was performing.

There was a female red-bellied woodpecker at the birdfeeder this morning, completely ignoring the suet feeder five feet away. I tried to get a picture, but it's hard to get a decent picture through the rosebush -- that birdfeeder is placed for optimum bird usage, not visibility from the house.

There is a black cat sprawled on his back in the sunbeam. He's very restful to look at. :)

There is open water in the pond, melted down to the bottom. Only in the shallow areas, and not under the snowdrift, but still....

And it's opening day of the 2014 baseball season. Go get 'em, Tigers!

(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.

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