Cider Press Hill

Remembering

Monday, 1:26 am

By Kate

May

30

2005

light rain


Remembering those who died while serving our country
and sharing the sorrow of those who loved them.



 

New toy

Sunday, 2:56 pm

By Kate

May

29

2005

light rain

It dawned on me yesterday that attacking weeds with a puny little weed whacker was a waste of time. I bought a rechargeable weed whacker a couple of years ago and I’ve been very disappointed with it. It handles grass, but anything with stalks thicker than grass takes a lot of time to cut. This year I have some woody herby type weeds poking through the back fence and the rechargeable weed whacker doesn’t even phase them.

So, off I went in search of a more powerful weed whacker. This time I got a heavy-duty gas powered one. It’s strong enough to take down small saplings. Probably a good idea since the woods behind the house have the idea that they should start moving into the yard.

I brought my new toy home and put it together sans benefit of an instruction manual. There wasn’t one. And then I realized there wasn’t a handle in the box. Nor was there the promised bottle of oil that I have to mix with the gas. Nuts.

Back I went to the store. After some hemming and hawing, they finally agreed to let me exchange that weed whacker for another one. I asked to open the box to make sure all the pieces and parts were in the box. They didn’t like that idea. But I insisted and they relented. This time everything that was supposed to be in the box was in the box.

Now my new weed whacker is all put together, oil mixed with the gas, and after a few false starts, I finally figured out how to start the thing. Never so simple as opening the choke and pulling the cord. No, this beast requires three different steps to get it going. But it works. Really well. There’s nothing that stands in my way of having a dutifully manicured lawn now. I’ve been maniacally slaughtering small plants and looking for more. New toys are fun.



 

Don't Build There

Saturday, 7:31 pm

By Kate

May

28

2005

partly cloudy

There is a story in my local newspaper, this evening, about really upset coastal residents who bought huge beach homes and now find, after this last nor’easter, that the footage between their foundations and the ocean just got a lot shorter. They are upset and want someone to do something about it.

Like what, for example? When the ocean gets riled up like it was in this storm, nothing much can hold it back. People build big expensive houses on the dunes with all sorts of romantic visions in their minds. And when the ocean suffers a violent storm, the dunes are progressively licked away until the houses sit on the very unromantic raw edge of nothing. That’s the way it works.

I am certainly sympathetic to their fears that, with another couple of storms like this one, they will be watching their houses fall into the ocean and sweep away. But I’m not sympathetic to their anger over nature just doing what nature does. Coastlines are not static. They change.

People need to stop building their homes at the edge of the ocean. That, I would suggest, is the bottom line. If they don’t, nature will eventually take care of it in a terrible and dramatic way.



 

Adjusting to the new season

Saturday, 2:04 pm

By Kate

May

28

2005

partly cloudy

The weather is decidedly screwy. There I was attacking weeds when a medium sized cloud decided to hover overhead and drop rain on me. To the north, east, south, and west of the cloud, there was blue sky and scattered clouds. But right overhead was a rain cloud. It took its own sweet time moving on, too. Now everything is wet again. The Arizona desert looks better and better.

But the lawn is mowed. During the week long deluge, the grass grew about a foot. Nothing like grass up to your knees. I had to borrow the neighbor’s mulching power mower. My push mower doesn’t do foot high grass. I had thought when I bought the push mower that I was finally finished with storing gas cans, but no. I have a push mower and a gas can so I can borrow the neighbor’s lawn mower and send it back with a full tummy.

I have mentioned to the lad, from time to time, that I’d like to turn the back yard into a brick courtyard. Get rid of the grass. It’s the most worthless plant on the planet. All it does is require constant feeding and attention. And then it has the bad grace to turn brown during the height of summer.

The brick courtyard idea probably wouldn’t fly in this neighborhood. For some reason, grass is valued as a landscape statement. We must have prettily manicured grass. I seriously pushed the limits when, in a fit of gleeful abandon, I tossed a fistful or two of white clover seed around my back yard. Not in the front yard, of course. That wouldn’t have gone over well. But my back yard is behind a fence, so I can get away with clover in my back yard. I like it. It’s aways green and it’s pretty. It doesn’t object to drought and it doesn’t object to week long rain storms. Clover is easy to get along with. It doesn’t grow a foot high, either.

On another front...looks like this is going to be a bad year for ticks. So far, I’ve found two of them on Terry and the other evening the lad leaped off the sofa with a blood curdling yell and held something pinched between his fingers. He’d found a tick crawling up his pant leg. Yay. That is only the second time in the eleven years we’ve lived here that I’ve had a loose tick in the house. After the first occurrence, my eye has been trained to be on the lookout. Constantly. So, it appears that this will be another year when the words “Tick check” become a standard part of daily life when we walk through the door. The lad is very fearful of ticks, having gone through Lyme disease a few years ago. It’s not something one forgets. Ever.



 

What flight?

Friday, 7:22 am

By Kate

May

27

2005

light cloud

There’s a rumor that the sun may make a cameo appearance sometime today. We’re all awaiting the grand event with enormous excitement. Sun has a busy schedule and won’t stay long, but promises to return for a longer visit. We’ll take what we can get.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch…

A couple of days ago, the lad handed me the phone and said it was Mrs. F. She’s the Mom of one of the lad’s close friends. She and her husband are almost like the lad’s second parents. They love him to pieces and always do the nicest things for him. Last week when he broke his personal best time in the mile race during the last spring track meet, they said that the titanium spork that he’s wanted for camping is now his. They were so proud of him. Naturally, he was thrilled.

So, Mrs. F and I have had many occasions to talk and we usually do New Year’s Eve together. Good folks all around, but sometimes a little spacey…

I picked up the phone and Mrs. F said, “Hey! I think it’s so great that you’re going to let him go with us. Did he give you the itinerary? We leave on the 25th and will come back home on July 10th. We’ll spend all our time camping and hiking...we’re going to the Grand Teton National Park, And I think we’re also going to try climbing Pike’s Peak again. We tried last year, but there was still too much snow. He doesn’t have to bring anything but his pack. We’ve got 3 tents and all the gear. Do you know what flight he’s going to be on?”

Uh...flight? Pike’s Peak?

“J, can I call you back in a couple of minutes? Just a couple of minutes, okay?”

When I hollered for the lad, I used his middle name.

“What flight? What camping trip? Pike’s Peak is in Colorado!”

He looked at me a little blankly and said, “Well, I talked it over with Dad and he thought it was a great idea. Mrs. F was supposed to tell you about it and give you the details and see what you thought. What did she say?”

“She asked me what flight you were booked on!”

“Oh.”

Why was I not surprised? I called the lad’s Dad and we talked about it. He said the lad had mentioned the trip on Tuesday evening and had wanted to run it by him. He thought it was a great opportunity for the lad. He’d assumed I had already heard about it. Well, no. I do eventually managed to find the page everyone else is on, but it takes a while in many instances.

I had no problems with the whole camping in Colorado/Wyoming concept. Mr and Mrs F are experienced packers and they’ve traveled the world hiking up mountains. The lad has gone with them a couple of times, more locally. They all love back packing and camping and climbing and they all have a great big mutual admiration society going for them. So, yeah, no problem. I just need to know these things a little in advance. Not much in advance, dontcha know—an hour or two before booking a flight is usually good.

I got back to J and we talked details. She gave me their flight numbers and schedules so I could attempt to get the lad on the same flights. She was still super excited that he’s going, not even realizing that just a few minutes prior, he wasn’t going by virtue of not having mentioned anything about it to me. But then again, in her excitement, I guess she forgot that she was supposed to talk it over with me first before she got all excited about him going.

After she gave me their itinerary, she wondered if I’d like to go, too, I quickly assured her that I think I’ll be fine right here. Before I try climbing Pike’s Peak, I probably ought to start out with something a little closer to the ground. It has been a long time since I’ve gone packing.

So, now we are all on the same page. The lad has his e-tickets confirmed. He’s on the same flights as everyone else and pretty much all I have to do is get him to the airport on time. A grand adventure awaits and I must say that the lad is a fortunate young man to have this opportunity and to have friends who think so much of him. Well, maybe also for having a Mom who adapts fairly quickly to new information. Not that I’ve haven’t had plenty of practice or anything.



 

More weather

Wednesday, 4:56 pm

By Kate

May

25

2005

heavy rain

I tried to go a whole day without complaining about the weather, but I Can’t Do It. The only good thing I can say about this mess is that it’s not snow.

The wind has been howling since yesterday morning. We’ve had power, then we haven’t had power. Then we have, then we haven’t. I have the candles already strategically placed for the next outage tonight, which seems likely. The house still creaks and groans and when the higher gusts hit, the whole house shudders. The sound of the wind is starting to make me a little crazy. It’s loud.

Along with the wind comes the driving rain that has found ways into the house where I didn’t know there were cracks. I could not believe my eyes when I saw water coming in around my sliding glass door. That has never happened before. It’s fairly new and it’s tightly sealed. But the wind and rain are fierce and relentless. My house is beginning to suffer from storm fatigue. I don’t remember a storm quite like this one—and I was here for the Halloween nor’easter (The Perfect Storm) several years ago. This one just goes on and on and on....and on. It’s been raining like this since Saturday!

I was astonished at the state of affairs outside this morning. The winds had stripped leaves off many trees in the night. The streets were covered with shredded leaves. Not just covered, they were literally papered with shredded leaves. And my poor lilac has maybe six leaves left. The flower buds are still there, but most of the leaves are gone. I’ve never seen that before. This wasn’t supposed to be a hurricane for cryin’ out loud.

Did I mention cold? Still in the 40s, but with wind chills in the mid-30s. It feels like December.

And let’s mention Terry. She had to go really badly last night. I just opened the door and she bolted out, neither of us thinking clearly, obviously. The wind literally picked her up and slammed her into deck railings. One very surprised and upset dog, let me tell you. I had to help her back in the house so the wind wouldn’t sweep her off the deck. Forget taking care of business. For the first time ever, I put papers down on the kitchen floor for her. Neither of us liked that idea, but one does what one has to do. I had to drag her out of the house this morning. She wasn’t going out that door under her own power. No way. There were no further mishaps, fortunately.

This is for the birds. Speaking of birds, I haven’t seen any in a while. They’ve probably all been blown clear to Ohio by now. It is just so interminably ugly and dark and windy and wet and dark and cold and dark. Make it stop. We desperately need sunshine and warmth, you know, like spring.



 

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