email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:  I had planned to go to the post office to mail the Cat's cards and my own on Wednesday.  But I got up too late.  Don't laugh, I keep REALLY weird hours sometimes.  But then I realized it was going to rain all day Thursday and I figured that would keep the customer line short in the morning.  I was right, "maybe".

I walked in and there was NO line.  But before I got my turn at the counter, there there 10 people behind me!  So it was just REALLY lucky timing.  It took me less time to BUY the 52 domestic mail stamps and arrange for the 9 international envelopes than it took to APPLY the 52 stamps to the domestic mail envelopes than it did to arrange for the 9 international.

But thank you USPS for inventing peel&stick stamps!

More Good:  With the time I saved not standing in line at the Post Office, I was able to get to the meat&liquor store (a really neat place) before the lunch crowd rolled in to crowd up the deli counter.  I was in and out in 15 minutes.  If I get there with the lunch crowd or when the high school next door lets out at 2:30 it can take an hour!

The Bad:  I've been going a little nuts trying to mow the lawn.  Yeah, so that doesn't seem a big deal...  But I haven't since early September when I had the soil level raised and sowed new grass there.  The grass was too new and the soil was too soft until November.  I wanted the new grass to develop deep roots and deep roots come from high grass (they each power the other).  And then it has rained just some every few days since.  You don't want to cut wet grass (fungal diseases).  So I finally got 3 dry days and went to mow.

More Bad:  Dead riding mower battery since it hadn't been used for 3 full months!  Even the boat battery I keep in the toolshed was dead.  Fortunately, I had just bought and charged a portable power pack and jump-started it.  Started right up, so it wasn't old gas, fouled spark plugs etc.  Mowed the lawn and mowed it double.  Thats because I don't rake leaves, I shred them in place.  It's good for the grass and the trees to keep the nutrients in place.  The leave shreds disappear into the ground after enough cuts.  But the next day, the mower battery was just as dead as before.

I have to keep the power pack on the mower between my legs as I mow now.  &*@#  Everytime I stop the mower, I have to jump-start it again.  When batteries get too low, the charger won't detect the "too low" battery.   A glimmer of hope though:  I've just read that if you put a charger on a good battery and connect THAT one to a "too low" battery, the charger detects the good battery and the good battery transfers the charge to the Too Low battery.  I haven't tried that yet.

The Ugly:  The planting of tulip and hyacinth bulbs in vole&squirrel proof cages is WAY behind schedule.  The soil is what was below the ridge I had removed in September, and it is a lot harder to dig in than I expected.  My cages are 12'x14'x4".  They have to be buried  at least 8" deep.  It is taking 30 minutes per hole.  I acted like a crazed lunatic on one just to see how fast I could possible dig one.  and plant the cages with the bulbs and compost/topsoil mix and 2-6-3 fertilizer AND put a labeled styrofoam plate pinned with a metal tent peg.

20 minutes, and I was exhausted...  Best I could do all out fanatic crazy was 3 cages in 75 minutes!

Its the stones, tree roots, and clay.  And all the other details (sprinkling fertilizer, scooping the compost/topsoil mix into a bucket to pour over it all, and then covering it with existing soil takes a lot more time than I realized.  10 days of that (in non-rain days) and I have 11 of 20 cages planted.  And I have 150 daffodils to plant (which at least don't need cages, being toxic to mammals, and I can use an small auger for those.

But the worrisome thing is that tulips, etc, need chilling time, and the ground here is usually frozen by December 1st.  So it is possible that none of all these bulbs I am killing myself planting will bloom at all next year (they would grow foliage and bloom next year if there is enough chill-time), but climate-warming may make all my work futile!

More Ugly:  Winter is coming, and even though my 11 year Toyota Highlander is kept in a built-in garage, the battery routinely dies.  The experts say I just don't drive enough.  So I might be looking at 3 months of having to jump-start the car in the garage everytime I want to go anywhere (everything I need is within a mile usually and once every couple weeks I drive 10 miles to the meat/wine store).  I have to keep a fully charged boat battery in the car for jump starts.  It isn't the battery, new ones die too.

Hey, some people love to drive, I don't.

It begins with the first hard freeze and ends with the last hard freeze.  Yet the garage temperature never falls below 45F.  Drives me nuts.  I KNOW there has to be some car component that is drawing on the battery in cold weather, but I can't image what.  One of the many things Dad didn't teach me about was cars.  The experts at dealership and online just say drive it 30 minutes every few days.  ARGH! 

1 comment:

Megan said...

Oh no - those bulb cages are turning into a major undertaking Mark. You'll never be able to move now - well, not once they're in the ground as it will be too much work to dig 'em all up. If you find that you absolutely have to move, add a few thousand $$$ to the selling price and list 'em as assets included in the contract. LOL

Batteries: can you not buy a battery charger and just keep it plugged in whenever the car is in the garage over winter?

Sydney, Australia