Cider Press Hill

The strangest thing

Saturday, 9:18 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

This afternoon, I noticed my across the street neighbor out doing yard work in the rain. And it struck me as kind of a good idea. I decided to go out, too, with my brand new heavy duty steel rake. I raked and raked and raked...all those dead grass areas in the yard. I roughed up the soil and got it all nice and ready for some grass seed. I was warm enough and it didn’t rain on me too much. In fact, it pretty much stopped raining while I was out there. I should have guessed.

In any case, I got out my big bag of grass seed. It’s the kind of seed that’s incapsulated by fertilizer and some other green gunk that does something useful. I took handsful and broadcast it across the bare spots. I ended up using the entire bag (about 5 pounds) and got what looks like pretty good coverage along both sides of the driveway. I can hope that this time the grass might grow. I can hope really, really hard.

And, of course, a little bit of rain would help a lot, too. Now, I’ve been the one moaning about all the rain in the forecast. And complaining about rainy days, one after the other. Where was I with my grass seed while all that was going on? Huh? I don’t know.

Now that my grass seed is planted, the forecast is barren of rain for the next 10 days. Does it not just figure?

There was the most beautiful red and pink sunset tonight. It was absolutely gorgeous and it said, “ha, ha, ha, ha...sailor’s delight tomorrow, kiddo. You snooze you lose. Shoulda planted that grass seed two weeks ago. That’ll teach you to put things off.”

Nah, the sunset didn’t really speak to me. But if it could have, that’s what it would have said.


Lovely spring day.

Thursday, 5:56 pm

By Kate





Today was just about as perfect a spring day as a day can possibly get. All blue skies, warm sunshine, mild temperatures in the mid-60s, and no sea breeze. Perfection. I spent the entire afternoon outside raking and cleaning up flower beds and picking up twigs and sticks...and stomping mole holes full of dirt. I don’t know why I bothered with that. They’ll just dig themselves out by morning.

I have quite the mole infestation. I found holes dug in the yard all over the place. They are mole holes. No doubt about it. And I’m not too thrilled. I must have an entire family of them including grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, along with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins. They have made a mess and I am more than happy to bring my rake and pitchfork crashing into their world.

It’s really a sign, though, isn’t it? This yard needs a dog. I might, too.

There are green shoots poking up all over the place today. And the lilacs are very close to bursting into bloom—which, I think, is a bit early. My redbud trees also show signs of life and they, too, are close to bursting out into something. I have no idea whether they’ll give me flowers for the first time this year or just leaves, but they’re about to pop out with something. I’ll take anything they want to give me. They haven’t died on me yet. That’s a big bonus right there.

As hard is it is for me to get two trees growing in the front of my house, I noticed this afternoon that there about 100 or so volunteer maple seedlings that have just sprouted. If I didn’t do another thing out there, I’d have the beginnings of a hardwood forest in my front yard. It’s so tempting. I suppose I’ll let one or two grow and try to transplant them later.


In other news....I think that I’m losing my mind.

I’ve lost 3 Netflix movies. I know that they were in their red envelopes and I know that I had them ready to return (finally), but when I went out a little while ago, I couldn’t find them. I turned the house upside down looking for them and they simply are not in a place where I can find them. Which is to say, I could have put them someplace while I was putting something else away during my cleaning frenzy this week. Things like that have happened before. On the other hand, I was thinking I’d already left them in the car to drop off at the mailbox the next time I was near one...but they weren’t in the car either.

So, either I’ve put them away really, really well and won’t run across them for a couple of months until I open just the right drawer or I did leave them in the car and someone took ‘em. I wouldn’t discount either option so I’m about ready to admit defeat and tell Netflix I lost the darned things and pay for them. If they turn up, well, I guess I get to add three movies to my library.

Where in the world would have I have tucked three bright red envelopes? I even checked in the fridge. My house is really not that large. It’s so baffling.


Signs of spring

Monday, 3:12 pm

By Kate




light rain

It must be spring because what could say spring better than a spring head cold? Hmm? Scuse me while I sniffle and sneeze. I hope this will be of very short duration.

My snow has now mostly melted. There are still clumps of it hanging around, but the warmer temperatures and rain should take care of them shortly. My freshly cleaned windows have rain spots on them again. It looks as if our April showers have started early. The forecast for the rest of the week involves a lot of rain and mild temperatures.

And that, of course, means the weeds have taken off like little rockets. I see many green things poking up out of the garden beds. Nothing else is green yet, but those hardy weeds have an especial zest for life. There is much raking and digging to be done before the season gets fully launched. Winter is hard on things and now that the snow has mostly melted, I look around and think...oh my...there aren’t enough days in a week. So much to be done. Lots of little branches and odds and ends that litter my lawn...there is something to be said for snow. It hides all that stuff and then I forget it’s there waiting for me. The gardens need to be turned and the grass fed and whatnot. I’m not enthused about doing any of this in the pouring rain, but it the rain doesn’t give me a break this week, for a few hours, I’m not going to have much choice. At this point in the season, things will get away from me in a hurry. Like...overnight. Spring has sprung.

And there was a fat robin hopping around in the back yard this morning. She found a couple of juicy worms to yank out of the ground. I’m sure, from her point of view, they were delicious. She made them look like gourmet fare. Kind of made my nose wrinkle up, though.

She was the first robin I’ve seen this year, though I’m sure they’ve been around for a few weeks. Usually they show up in late February and feed voraciously on the sumac fruit, but last year I cut down most of the sumacs on the hill behind the house. They are a messy plant and their seeds sprout much too easily. Once they get a toehold, they’re hard to eradicate. Sorry ‘bout that, robins.

I love watching my robins. They always look so cheerful. I’m glad my yard offers something for them to feed on. I’ll soon have to put the bird bath back out. The robins love splashing around in it every afternoon. I could almost set my clock by their arrival. They take turns and have a heck of a good time. What entertainment!


Not as buggy as I thought

Saturday, 3:34 pm

By Kate





After turning the household upside down over cockroaches that the lad and I thought hitched a ride home with him from school, I now believe that we over reacted a bit. We’re not dealing with regular house roaches.

I haven’t seen too many over the last week, but the other night one FLEW at the light on my dining room table. And I saw one clinging to the outside screen near the light. Yesterday, I snagged one that was near the back door, crawling up by the ceiling. I took that one over to a bright light and examined it closely. It was a plain light tan. Definitely a roach, but not a house roach.

So back to the internet to find out what other kinds of roaches inhabit places in the northeast. I now discover that we also have outdoor roaches that don’t breed in or nor live in houses. They like to live in the mulch and places like that. They are very light tan color and they are small...usually in the 1/4-1/2 inch range. Like mine. They are attracted to light and will try to find ways to get to the light, even in the house. And they do fly. Once in the house, they don’t know how to get out, but they don’t take up residence in the house. They’ll tend to cling to screens and hang out by the windows or light sources instead. Until they curl up their toes, I guess. But, when disturbed, they’ll run really, really most roaches. Still kinda creepy.

Coincidentally, I had a big load of mulch delivered a few days before I noticed the first one.

I went out to dig around in the mulch this morning. Lo and behold. That’s where they’re coming from. A free gift from my mulch guys. What a bonus. I’d like them to be gone, but haven’t come up with an appropriate way to do that yet. I’m not at all in favor of spraying poison all over everything outside. And boric acid isn’t a good outdoor solution because it’ll kill my plants. This is a new one on me. Have never had to try killing outdoor roaches before. I could have happily lived without the experience. On the other hand, the skunks might make themselves especially useful in this case. They have been rooting around in the mulch the past week or so. One could hope that nature might actually take care of it for me.


It's that time of year

Wednesday, 8:56 pm

By Kate




Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. It’s that time of year where the green things grow faster than I can keep up with them. By the time I’ve finished mowing one end of the lawn, I swear that the other end has already grown two inches. And there are gardens to hoe and new beds to build and a lawn to seed and good golly, the list seems to be endless. About every spare second I have is devoted to it and I’m verging on overwhelmed at the moment. I was thinking today that I’d like to borrow someone’s husband for a couple of days. I’ve got holes to dig. I don’t especially like digging holes. Not tree sized holes, anyway.

It was a beautiful sunny day out today. Temps were up in the low 70s (for once!) and I accomplished a lot. Although it seems rather more like a small dent when I think about the entire list of things to do. But it was lovely being outside. The bumblebees were very busy and cordially allowed me passage when necessary. They aren’t aggressive little critters. I’m really glad to see them around. The yellow jackets, on the other hand, are beastly. They were out looking for nesting sites, investigating every nook and cranny on the property. And they expect the right of way wherever they go. If you don’t give it to them, they’ll just mow you down. I had a couple slam into me today. Fortunately, they didn’t get too hostile about it—a couple chased me around a little bit, but mostly they were more interested in continuing on with the mission at hand. They make me uneasy.

The next door landlord spread something on the side lawn today. Fertilizer, I think. I’ll have to chase him down to find out for sure. If it was fertilizer, that means my remaining grass has now been fertilized twice in two weeks. I don’t see any good results coming from that. I do hope there wasn’t any seed inhibitor in whatever he put down or I might have a devil of a time sprouting any grass seed. I’ve just about had it. Could it be any plainer that I am just NOT supposed to have grass? I wasn’t home when he blew through or I’d have asked him to attend to his side of the yard and leave mine be. It seems to me that it would be a good and neighborly propriety to consult with a lawn’s owner before dumping stuff on in. Well, by the time I’ve finished reconstructing things, there won’t much lawn left on my side, anyway (not that there’s much left now!). We’ll both be happy about that, I’m sure.


My poor dead tomatoes

Sunday, 1:38 pm

By Kate




light rain

Remember all those seeds I planted? That was about 6 weeks ago. The seeds all came up and everything looked fine. In fact, my peppers and onions and cabbages look quite robust and happy. My tomatoes, however, are dead. And that was totally my fault.

I’ve been in the habit of taking the tub of seedlings outside during the day to soak up the sunshine (such as it is) and then I bring them back inside at night. The first several days, I kept them shaded a bit, so they wouldn’t burn up. I gradually introduced them to more sun and they took off like weeds. However....

I forgot to bring them inside a couple of nights ago. And, wouldn’t you know it, that was the night we had an unexpected frost. Apparently the tomatoes are a lot more tender than the rest, because they all curled up their little leaves and keeled over while the rest still look all happy, healthy, and sturdy.

That’s disappointing. I’m so annoyed with myself. They were doing so well, too. Now, I’ll have to buy a flat of tomato plants instead of planting my home sprouted ones. I’m sure they’ll taste good, but probably not nearly as good as my home grown ones. Just because. 


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