Wednesday, June 27, 2007

By the time fall arrives, I hope to have completed my spring gardening projects. Unfortunately for me, a period of hot and humid weather has arrived. This slows me down...a lot. I want to enlarge the vegetable garden. This means, removing grass , putting down a layer of newspaper to keep weed seeds from sprouting, and covering it all up with red cedar mulch. The peach tree needs to be attached to the enlarged bed with a strip of mulch. In this way, I will have one large plot to mow around, instead of trying to get the lawn mower between the vegetable plot and the peach tree.

New for this summer and successfully planted: a viburnum , a comice pear tree and a Japanese fall blooming perennial. I put polymer into the planting soil . It expands, holding water. When the weather gets dry, it releases the water, making it available for the plant's use. So far, this technique is working well. None of the newly planted plants are wilting. I watch them closely in this rainless heat. This process is necessary, as the soil is sandy and drains too well. The pear tree needs another pear tree for cross pollination. My neighbor's bartlett pear tree should do it.

Three Hav-A-Hart traps are set under the peach tree for squirrels. As windfall peaches fall, I toss them into the traps. The squirrels haven't touched them...not even curious to see what's in there. I think they are all busy in the trees, raising young squirrels. Squirrel War will continue as the young babies grow up to forage, but not in my peach tree...I hope.

I think my garden is approaching its completed form. Now all that I have to do, is to maintain it, pull weeds and enrich the soil as nutrients are used up. Oh...I also have to put in fences and walks...the hard scape elements. In the back of my mind, I also see a wading pool and a railroad running through the miniature landscape. Some day.....

My tenant and I share a lawn mower. How did it get in such poor condition? The housing that encloses the cutting blades has holes in it. Bits of grass fly out the holes when the blade is in motion. This is the last season for my mower. Too bad, as the motor is in excellent shape.

Last fall, my favorite nursery put their stock on sale. Such bargains! I purchased three rose pink, one yellow, one white. An impulse purchase. Where to put them? There is no open dirt, except for the vegetable patch. They were planted in the vegetable patch. That is why I need to enlarge the bed, anticipating fall vegetables...or spring vegetables.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Ten things you didn't know about me...and who cares anyways.
1.. I once had a rabbit named Frank. One of my nursery school children brought it to school. It was named for her brother. They didn't want it anymore, so it stayed in school. During the summer, it came to live with me. Frank turned out to be a girl. She was wonderful, smart and patient with us humans.
2..A childhood memory: I must have been about 3 or 4. My sister and I hid on our father. We were laughing and giggling as our father tried to find us. We hid behind the living room drapes. Dad made a big show of looking for us. The drapes did not go to the floor. Our feet were showing. I was really happy playing that game.
3. My teeth slant the wrong way. I want to move my teeth to a more normal curve position.
4. I grew two apple trees from seed and cared for them until they both matured and had apples. I swear that they telepathically knew who I was and that I was their caretaker.
5. As a child, I answered an ad looking for drawing talent. I reproduced a cartoon in their ad and sent it in. A representative of the company came to our house. My mother sent him away.
6. The first time I was on a horse, I posted "English" in seconds. The riding instructor was amazed that I grasped the posture and rhythm so fast.
7. My Dad told me that memorization and reciting in front of the class was a standard part of the elementary school curriculum when He was a boy (born in 1907). The practice was stopped, as the kids became embarrassed to speak in public. In response to this, I decided to see if I could memorize something long. I chose "The Night Before Christmas". I can recite it perfectly to this day. Other bits of poems stick, like: The Little Willy poems. I tried the Rubaiyat of Omar Ki yam, but gave up on that one. I knew someone that succeeded in memorizing it. By the way, educators have found that IQ scores go up when memory is exercised, even just reviewing the sequence of what you did all day. Dad's teachers were right all along.
8. I dispise women who play helpless, weak and stupid, so someone else will do the task for them.
9. I am thankful I grew up before TV, credit cards and electronic games. I know that things that others feel are a necessity, aren't a necessity at all. It saves me a lot of money.
10. I count on my fingers to balance my check book, if my calculator isn't available.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Life was in the slow lane when I was a child. It was quieter then. Mowing the lawn required engine noise. If We trimmed around the trees, it was done on one's hands and knees with gardening shears. There were fewer cars on the road. Hearing a car's horn was an event. usually, someone was saying hello by honking. I don't remember any honking in anger. Dad would periodically visit his relatives and take his two daughters along with him. The relatives lived in the country at various places. My favorite was Aunt Jen. She was my grandmother figure. I adored Jen. For four months of the year, she lived with us, sharing a cot in my bedroom, along with my sister. Jen lived out of a suitcase. How did she do that? She must not have had many material possessions. For another four months, she lived in Arcade New York with some relatives I never met. That leaves the best four months for Jen to live in her own house....the good weather months. Jen's house was not insulated. She lived with relatives to escape the cold and to socialize. She was a retired teacher. Mom had the bell that sat on Jen's desk. What happened to that bell? Jen's maiden name was Mohr. My uncle Marty Mohr was her brother. Dad's mom was her sister. Jen was married, but her husband died before I came along. His name was Griffith...first name unknown.
Dad would put us in the car and travel from Buffalo New York to Sandusky New York. No. Not the one in Ohio. We drove up a narrow two lane road. All day would pass and there would be no other cars on that road. We never went into the house. Dad and Jen would visit out back. Looking past the backyard, was a farmer's field with cows in it. It was so quiet. The air was clean and healthy to breathe. We didn't play games. We didn't eat or drink. We just talked and the children looked around. I loved it there. I felt my roots in my great aunt Jen. It was all ways summer with a big expanse of pasture and cows, clouds in the sky and nothing to do except to be a kid. I think I got imprinted from that experience. It became my concept of peace or peaceful living. Once I went inside the house. Everything was in its place. It was simple and orderly. Such a tiny house! No wonder my aunt spent eight months out of it. I bet she couldn't wait to get back home when the good weather came.

Jen's health broke. She ended up in a poor house at Gawanda New York. It was like a nursing home for the poor. It was awful. I hated to see her there. The residents were told to stay in bed. We now know that encourages muscle wasting. I think they put drugs in the food so no one could complain. Jen died there. I was a teenager by that time. Her memory is dear to me.

A few summers ago, a lifetime away from when Jen was alive, I decided to see if I could find her house again. I took a weekend for myself and drove to Sandusky New York. It was the size of one traffic light. There was construction on the road, now a four lane highway. Traffic was backed up. I found the house. The pasture in the back was now a housing development, full of tract houses. The land that belonged to the tiny house, was just a tiny lot. Some one built a one room addition onto Jen's house. It was hot and dusty and noisy. I couldn't stop to take a good look and enjoy my memories. Jen's house is now assaulted by noise, dust and traffic. ...such a shocking contrast to the peaceful way it was.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Spence stopped the van when He saw me collecting ditris from the front of the house. It's crushed stone, not a lawn. I park there. Passing people think it is a continuation of public space. They drop their trash where ever they are. I've found strange cars parked on my lawn when neighbors have a big party. I could not get into my own place to park. Any one ever hear of manners? Anyways, Spence got out and We were talking, when a motorcycle came by. The exhaust noise was so loud, We had to stop talking. Oh yes. It is vacation season on Melba Street. It is time to enjoy the sound of waves and seagulls, the scent of salt water and beach roses...and the roar of motorcycles drag racing up and down our street.

In my imagination, I sat on the deck of my house with a rifle. As the motorcycles roared by, I shoot out the tires and watch them skitter in circles. Such fun. Can you gather that I am not a fan of motor cycles? My youngest daughter used to call them murdercycles. Hmmmmm.

I used to sit on my deck and watch the bikers come and go from the bar. I was laughing to myself as I looked at the drivers. I was looking at cases of arrested development. None of them looked like the Fonze. They were gray haired, or going bald. What hair they had, was held in a ponytail. Decades of drinking beer resulted in a beer belly. They thought they were so cool, driving a bike. I thought they looked ridiculous. They should have given up bike riding a long time ago, in my opinion.

I know that there are families dedicated to their biker group who drive responsibly. They raise money for charity. They save money on gas by driving a bike. They wear a helmet and don't have straight pipes. Those good bikers do not hang out two doors from my house. I got the other kind.

A sign appeared appeared on the front of the bar. It was a graphic love scene . Neighbors objected. Zoning made them take it down. At least We won that battle.

My family moved here about thirty years ago. My husband was very sick at the time. He didn't get a decent night's sleep at all, the last year of his life. It's because of the Beachcomber Bar.
Nightlife at a bikers bar is loud and crude. They don't give a rat's ass if anyone in the neighborhood has to get up to go to work the next morning. There were two empty lots between our house and the bar. In the summer, We could hear everything that came from the bar. It was hot. Our windows were open.

We heard Elvis impersonators singing off key and off meter . The amplifier attached to their guitar was turned up high. We called the Police. The bar had a police scanner. They heard that the Police were on their way. They turned down the amplifier. Police arrived. All is quiet. Police leave. Doors are flung open and amplifier is turned up again. Another complaint to the Police. Pattern repeats...all summer long.

We heard things in the parking lot. People throwing up. Someone died there. (Drug overdose?) The women had a big cat fight in the lot with pulling hair and screaming. It would have been better than WWW, only We had to go to work the next day. I heard conversations like,"Look out! You'll run over him!" We heard a lot of crash crash tinkle tinkle. Some drunk driver backed into the back end of another car.

We were desperate for sleep. I dreamt the bar was burnt to the ground. It was still there when I woke up. Darn.

Someone backed into the parking lot and unloaded a load of junk. Hey! You can't do that. I got the license number and called the Police. Some time later, the same truck came back and picked up all the junk. I wonder where they dumped it next.

Neighbors told us not to complain too loud, as the owner was "connected". Some other neighbor did complain. That neighbor was fire bombed.

Then the good news: The bar owner was arrested for extortion. He went away for some time. I think He sold the bar to a relative. It was somewhat of an improvement, but hardly peaceful on Melba Street. While the original owner was in jail, a builder bought the lot between us and the bar. A house went up on the lot.

Between the house acting like a sound buffer...and some sincere efforts by the new owner, I finally got a good night's sleep. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.