Sunday, August 20, 2006

On this beautiful Sunday morning, I look out the kitchen window. There is my peach tree , green leafed and laden with peaches, almost ripe. The tree has made it through the immature stage. Last year, the peaches were small, but good tasting. This year, the peaches are large and round.
My wish is to lead my grandchildren to the tree during our reunion, to pick peaches, fully tree ripened. Won't that experience become a memory for the boys? I remember the fragrance of fully riped peaches, their fuzzy texture, the taste ...delightful.
Look again. There is a half eaten peach on the ground. I find one every morning, in spite of the have-a-hart trap under the tree. There He is! The squirrel bandit, brazenly eating my peaches...sitting right next to the trap.
I've baited the trap with the dropped peaches or with peanut butter on a cracker. This squirrel is savvy. He avoids the trap, preferring to climb the tree.
In the morning, I examine the trap. It is triggered closed. The peanut butter is gone...licked clean from the cracker. Apparently I attracted a mouse who ate the peanut butter, accidentally tripping the trap and walking nonchalantly out of the holes in the trap. At other times, a critter too large for the trap, has reached in and taken the bait. I find the trap upside down and empty. Best guess is a raccoon.
Nature is winning. I am losing. I bait the trap with a fresh peanut butter cracker...and pick all the half ripe peaches from the tree...taking them indoors to finish ripening.
Perhaps my family would enjoy a trip to the local "pick your own" farm. I wonder how the farmer addresses the squirrel problem.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The family reunion is right around the corner. This is the time that my mind turns to fuzz.
I can't think of a single recipe to feed my family. One grandson is a vegetarian. Another grandson is strictly vegan. Both sons-in-law are carnivores. They would like big chunks of bloody animal carcass.
Some would like wine or beer at the celebration. Two others are recovering alcoholics, so no wine or beer.
A wedding picnic requires a special cake, but several family members are diabetic. Maybe We should not serve sodas because of the sugar. The ladies are watching their weight,'s a celebration, so no calorie counting. I am madly cutting out recipes and checking the cookbooks on my shelf....there are lots of cookbooks, collected over time. None of them appeals to me.
Then, there is the matter of who pays. It is the custom at family gatherings, that each brings something to add to the party. In this way, no one person is stuck with all the work or all the costs.
Unfortunately, some members of my family are flat broke. One is relocating. Another lost his license and his job. He is saving madly to pay fines and buy a car, insurance, license...the usual. No one has money to spare.
My oldest daughter and her husband are spending a lot of money to fly up from Australia.
The other daughter and husband can barely put gas in the car and pay the tolls to drive down here. I think I know who will be paying the most.
We got the sleeping arrangements worked out. I have enough dishes. I'll serve buffet style, as my table can't accommodate a sit down dinner. The main entertainment will be getting reacquainted with each other, as providence has scattered us to the far corners of the world.
Family reunions take a lot of work. They don't happen often enough.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The hot weather is abating, thank goodness. Now I can attack all those chores that were put aside because it was too hot to work.

One of the big chores, is to clean up the landscaping at the house I'm selling. The Real Estate agent said I need to clear out the brush, so that the house has curb appeal. I am to make it look attractive. There is no problem with the inside of this house. I've been working on it for years. It is so pretty inside, I seriously considered moving in myself, when the last tenant left.

As for the outside: There was a lot of brush growth this summer, what with all the rain and heat we had. My! The stuff grew fast. Time to cut it all down and compost it. The job is really too big for me to handle alone.

Stephen helps with spreading crushed stone to renew the driveway and the walks to the doors. That was a crusher project...shoveling stone in high heat and humidity. Stephen can use the extra cash and I can use the help. Over three days, We spread the stone, leveling it...sort of.

I try to hire a landscaper to cut the brush, but all of them have all they can do to mow lawns for their regular customers. My neighbor said that his son might be interested in this project. Bob gets hired to cut down brush. Arrangements are made. I have to pick Bob up, as He has no car.
The truck is filled with an assortment of tools to attack the project...weed wacker, hand tools, rakes, clippers, pruning saw...

Bob doesn't have work gloves and mine won't fit his hands. I buy him work gloves. It is also my responsibility to keep Bob supplied with soda...and lunch. Wouldn't it be simpler to just hire a landscaper? Oh, I forgot. Can't get one.

It actually was a satisfying experience, working together to clean up the front yard. Bob did the muscle part. I did the weed wacking part. It is taking three sessions to bring order out of chaos, but We did it. Next step is to call the newspaper and place an ad for the open house. This will also give my muscles time to heal. Every thing aches.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

However did We live without air conditioning in the car? I don't think my parents ever had AC in their car...maybe they did in retirement, but not when I was living home. We never had AC in the house, either.
Today is a scorcher. We're setting records for heat and heat deaths all over the USA. First thing in the morning, my window AC unit is turned on.
In spite of the heat, there are errands. I turn on the AC in the Ranger, then pick up Stephen in Stratford. Stephen must vacate his apartment today. Actually, it should have been done yesterday.
He and Allison have removed most of his possessions, but my truck is necessary to move the furniture.
At 8AM, We're on our way. Chores always takes more time than you want to. Management has moved Stephen's possessions into storage. We have to find the man with the key to get my grandson's stuff back. I pay Stephen's back rent and put it on his bill. (He will pay me back because He knows that I will not forgive his debt. It has more to do with character building than money. )
Some of the furniture is driven to Allison's house. Some of the furniture goes into storage at my house. Stephen and I stop for an early lunch and then I drive him back home. He has to shower and be at his new job by 1PM.
In the afternoon, Andy has to be driven to the Police Department to be finger printed. This procedure is part of a background check for eligibility for subsidized housing.
At home, the AC is blasting away. I can feel levels of heat rise as I walk up the stairs to get Andy. The higher up the stairs I walk, the hotter it gets. My AC is on the first floor. The cool air does not reach the second floor where the bedrooms are located.
Andy and I drive to the Police Department and wait our turn. Finger printing doesn't take very long. Being finger printed is the last step in obtaining his own efficiency apartment. I hope We hear soon.
In the car, Andy has the option of returning home or going to the mall. He wants to spend the day at the mall. It's air conditioned. Good choice.
Change of plans: He wants to go to I-Hop for pancakes. Andy says He's walked there before, but today, the temperature is in the high 90s. That is one long walk and not a good idea in this heat. Andy is driven to I-Hop for a pancake celebration.
I hope this heat and humidity breaks soon, too. My plants are being scorched Some have died. I'm confined to the house to escape the heat. The electrical bill keeps going up. ..and I'm bored inside. Tomorrow, the heat index is projected to be between 105 and 115 degrees.