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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So I was shoveling the mulch out of the trailer.  Here are pictures...
First step. shoveling the mulch away from the back so I can remove the back of the trailer...
Half done...
 The pile off the trailer...
The mosquitos got too fierce.  I had to stop. The only good thing about the skeeters this time of year is that they are slow.  Still, I got 8 bites.  It was that they were around my face that made it hard.
Really, it was harder than it looks...  It was close to like chopping ice off the driveway...

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Neat Trick

My most immediate outdoors project is emptying the trailerload of mulch.  And I made good progress at it today (about 2/3 emptied - pictures another time).  Unfortunately, the mulch is packed down by rain and weight and it has to be broken loose in chunks even using a mulching fork.  That was a bit of work.

So I took a breather every 15 minutes and walked around the yard a bit, which is semi-forest and lots of field weeds.  Guess what, those triangular sticky-seed plants are in full seed!  I can never remember the name of the plant and I never remember what it looks like, but if they grow where you live, you know the seeds.  By the time I was done with the mulch for the day, my pants were coated with 100s of them.  I HATE picking those stupid seeds off.  I even considered just trashing the pants (they ARE old).

But I had a thought.  I have a hand vac with a rotating brush head.  Spreading the pants out flat on the floor, I tried the vac.  It worked beautifully.  In about 3 minutes, they were completely cleaned of sticky-seeds!!!

Give it a try.  Just remember not to empty the collection bag outside where the seeds will sprout...  LOL!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sometimes I am REALLY Dense

Recently, I posted about my frustrations in trying to repair the drip irrigation hoses.  I had 4 of them mounted to a 4 gang valve on a 12" post.  Two winters ago, the heavy snow broke the drip hoses off the couplings at the gang valve.  I became obsessed trying to find an internal connection (like a stent, I suppose) to reattach the hoses to the couplings.  I wasn't having any luck, because I needed 7/16" tubing and couldn't find that size anywhere.

One person, seybernetx, suggested standard garden hose repair kits.  I dismissed the idea because, well, it wasn't a standard garden hose.  Have you ever dismissed an idea because it didn't fit the way you were thinking of a problem?  Yeah, me too!

Well, I was walking past the broken drip hoses today, and the old LIGHT BULB OVER THE HEAD lit up!  A hose is a hose is a hose...  WHY was I caring about the existing brass hose couplings?  A standard hose repair kit would work just fine.  I had simply assumed the drip hoses were some odd size that wouldn't work with standard hose repair kits!

Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb!!!

The hard part is that I am usually quite resourceful about fixing things, using odd unrelated objects to make repairs... I guess this is one of the top 10 list of THINGS I FLUBBED!  I even had one of the right size repair kits sitting around.  It worked just fine.  I just need 3 more from the hardware store tomorrow.

Thank you, seybernetx.  And my cats say "hello" to your cats...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Outdoor Fall Projects

Well, it is raining again today.  It must be the rainiest Sept/Oct I have experienced.  And that has exploded the mosquito population.  Even with deet on my arms and neck, they swarm around my face.  They are pretty desperate.  Probably because there are so many of them and so few victims outside in suburbia.  Really, when I was young, all kids were outside from dawn to dusk except during school.  Now, hardly a kid is outside.

And with more pets being cats, and kept indoors, less pets for the skeeters to feed on.  I am considering getting my hunting garb mosquito netting headgear out...  That may seem extreme, but when the skeeters are biting your face, its not!

I haven't been doing too much outside the past week.  The inside of the house needed a lot of cleaning and organizing.  And I have that trail-load of mulch to empty...

Project 1 - Empty the trailer of mulch.
Project 2 - Deadhead all the perennial flowers of flowerstems and hang them up for the finches to eat the seeds.
Project 3 - Deepen the drainage ditch from the patio and install real perforated drainage pipe to the downslope area.
Project 4 - Clean the patio of silt and debris.
Project 5 - Protect the patio from rain from the deck above.  My idea is to put plastic on the deck and then cover it with outdoor carpet.  I plan to rebuild the 20 year old deck in a year or two, so it is a temporary measure.  The deck has given its expected lifetime.
Project 6 - Kill the ivy that has taken over the ridge in the backyard.  Too awkward to mow, but I cant till it down and spread the soil until the ivy is all dead.  The vines wrap around the tiller tines.

THAT should keep me busy for awhile!  And I'll try for pictures...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crazy Neighbors

Well, I stayed up all night playing Risk and Hearts online, and I heard a familiar scream out the window.  The neighbors across the street were at it again.  Usually the Fat Idiot Guy (FIG) is ranting and screaming at the woman. 

Ofentimes, this results in him peeling the car backwards out of the driveway, then peeling rubber down the street out of the neigborhood.  She sometimes runs in front of the car.  He USED to STOP.

Its gotten worse lately and I have been very worried about her safety.  And recently, there has been a child involved in the fight.  FIG suddenly likes to take the infant with him in the car.  Driving away recklessly.

This morning, FIG took off again. with infant, and the woman stood there screaming.  I have intervened before with threats of "calling the cops".  I have spoken to the renters there (there are at least 2 couples, I think).  Its hard to tell. 

But this time I asked the woman (18? 21?) if she needed help.  She asked my to call the police.  I did.

They were there in 5 minutes.  Two County and two State cars.  I explained that I had called on her behalf, and backed off so they could talk to her.  One cop stayed aside , and I gave him a brief background on the problems of the past year.

He talked to the woman for about 20 minutes, giving her advice and explaining the limitations (FIG IS the child's father, so it isn't kidnapping).  I lent her my cordless phone to call friends for a safe haven.  I was amazed the phone worked outside like that, but it did. 

After overhearing that she needed to file legal papers at the County Courthouse10 miles away (and knowing she had no car), I offerred to drive her there if her friends/family couldn't.  I'll bring a book if asked to drive.  Paperwork takes time.

But I just couldn't continue to hear her screaming in mental agony every week.  Yes, maybe I should have acted more forcibly before.  But it is difficult to know the dynamics of bad relationships.  I have acted before in other places and been told  (rather forcibly) to "BUTT OUT".  But I guess I judged this one correctly.

I did not know before this that there was physical violence involved.  It was all yelling and screaming before.  But she had blood on her nose (interestingly, she was not aware of that).  That shows how bad things can get behind closed doors. 

I'm glad I called the police, I think she is going to get some legal help and it is now "on the record".

On the other hand, this FIG is a real looney tunes type.  If someone bangs on my door, I will answer through the computer room window.  That's safe.  If it's the woman, I will drive her to a safe house or legal place of her choice.  If its the FIG, well, I have a real Gladius propped by the front door and another at the top of the stairs for self-protection.  He IS the kind of person who would beat down a door and attack. 

Sorry to bother you all with this, but I have to write sometimes to get things straight and put disturbing events in print.  Some good news.  A car pulled into the driveway a few minutes ago.  It wasn't FIG.  It was her dad. (Well, I went out and asked)  He came by to help her pack some things and bring her home for some shelter for a while.  I offerred any help I could give.


BTW, the cats didn't know the earthquake was coming, but they DID know the neighbor screams were going to start before I did.  They went all poofed and UTB about 3 seconds before I heard the first yells.  Good for them.

(Very Tired) Mark