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stubbed toes and mud pies

Discussion in 'About Me & My Garden' started by flowerbug, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Feb 5, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    a small one. :) i'm not trying to encourage more stuff out there. we have a glass garden and a rust garden and various other piles and arrangements of things. many Mom keeps saying she should get rid of them. i'll believe it when i see it.

    i really don't want old bottles to go outside anyways, some of them aren't worth much but a collector would like them. a few i'll keep. i remember digging almost all of these up. i'm afraid once i take them down from the shelves i won't want to get rid of them. then i'll dust them off, put them back in the boxes and put them back up on the shelves for another 10yrs. waste of space, i could be using that for beans... :)
     
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  2. Feb 8, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i'm free! i'm free! jury duty is now officially over. at least until the next time i'm summoned. but the two weeks of being a possible juror are now finito...

    yesterday i came one person away from having to sit on a domestic violence case as part of a small jury (the people in other groups were used for a murder trial, i'm glad i didn't see that one at all). the defendant was defending himself, i don't think it was too likely to go well for him... there were no other witnesses other than the two people so it would have been a really tough call and i'm not all that great on judging people (at least i don't think so). i am not sure of the details of the case but it struck me in passing odd that they were going for domestic abuse when it seemed like the two people were not a couple or living together. why not assault? that was really the only part of this that struck me as strange and i'd like to know more.

    so for the first time i was at the county court house, in the jury gathering room and inside a small court room and saw bailiff, judge, lawyer, defendants, prosecutor, police, etc.

    made a whopping $15.13

    it was quite a day as it started out with me heading in early with plenty of time, but then i had forgotten my wallet and was sure they'd check id so i turned around and came back to get it and then got stuck behind slow people half the way in the 2nd round. was a few minutes late, but nobody was there to complain at me about that (nor the others, one person was almost a half hour late).

    in the process of selecting the jury three people who were on the list were called but were not present. someone mentioned to me later that they'd shown up and signed their names and then left. wonder if they'll have a bench warrant out for them now... the judge was not happy.

    an interesting process for sure. i'm certainly not cut out for any of it. leave me alone in the gardens and with the wormies... more my speed. :)
     
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  3. Feb 8, 2018
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    Jury duty cannot be fun for 95% of humanity and it wasn't fun for me.

    I learned several things - how people generally do not want to be considered unfit for a jury. Those who complained about the imposition before selection, still seemed to want to give the impression of impartiality and having sound judgment.

    The 5% who get a kick outta the responsibility shouldn't be there and certainly shouldn't be given any leadership role. One jury saw the 12 individuals come together sharing and in understanding. The other jury was fragmented by the incompetent foreman, stupidly backing people into corners. At least, we could come together on one count. A very unpleasant experience ...

    By the next time I was called to jury duty my hearing loss had reached an official "severe" level. The audiologist wrote a letter and excusal was a lead pipe cinch. I was sorry that I was no longer suitable and absolutely convinced that it was for the common good that I would not be in that role again.

    Steve
     
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  4. Feb 20, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    we've luckily gotten a break in the rains. was very foggy and soggy last night and this morning. like right out of one of those old horror movies with the drifting fogs...

    two leaks in the roof. *sigh* one leak we've known about and it is now tarped waiting for better weather when they roofing people will try to fix it. not sure if the tarp moved or what.

    other leak has probably been there for years since the roof was redone, but i've thought it was just damage/stain from before. nope. dripping right by the sink. when i was walking through there this morning i just missed stepping in the puddle. Mom got a soaker. :( so now we'll need to get that figured out too. should be figured out easier as it is in the middle and down low where things aren't so complicated.

    21yrs here, never had a roof that didn't leak. reflashed chimney last year and hoped we'd got it taken care of. nope.

    two leaks is much better than where we were before the roof was replaced, it was getting pretty bad. after the roof was replaced the intermittent leak we've been trying to fix has not been that bad, but happens to be right above Mom's bed. waking up with a drip on your head isn't fun.

    the one today, with the puddle on the floor could have been dangerous/slippery so i'm glad neither of us found it the hard way.

    reading, baked some cookies, fiddling with computer stuff, chasing down box elder bugs and now even a few lady beetles.

    too warm. need cold and snow.
     
  5. Feb 25, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    continuing the cleaning up and getting rid of stuff. today finally got most things out from behind the computer table so i could get back there and dust under those bookshelves a little and under the table from that direction (dust bunnies at least have no poo). the towels the old computer stuff was sitting on got taken up and washed and then this morning put back down so i could re-arrange things and kinda make it neater looking (sort of, it won't ever really be something i look at much because i just have it sitting behind the flat screen monitor).

    this actually happened after i did some cleaning out of one of my closets and getting rid of old stuff (stanley thermos nearly 40yrs old Mom got for me for work to take with lunch). will give to some friends who can likely find a good use for it (she wanted to donate to goodwill, but it is way too nice for that and i hope friends can find someone to use it instead). also got rid of flatscreen monitor box (i think it works now (have had almost 2yrs now hahahaha) and other boxes and items i was keeping that i really don't need (old hot water heater for making instant coffee, tea, hot water) that i had from early college days. haven't used it in 8yrs i think i can get rid of it. that can go to goodwill, it still works and is very fast for heating water. a few times i even used it as a hot water heater to take a bath because the main hot water heater was broken and it was easy to set up a hose and run water through it slowly (kinda like the instant on hot water heaters, but much more primitive and dangerous). i think i almost melted the plastic in it doing that... ha... long time ago. it's about 30yrs old. old box for knife set. other few boxes "just in case" which hasn't happened in 5yrs. out they go.

    so that's several more cubic feet of room reclaimed from clutter, plus reorganized and looks neater in closet (now i won't be able to find anything, but at least i know what box to look in first for most of it). consolidated what is left of old computer parts that i would not give away. have a few items to go to county electronic recycler when they open (old fire/smoke alarm detectors must be recycled as they contain small amount of radioactive materials)).

    when i finished with all that cleaning and reorganizing. and it wasn't even 10am yet, but i've had enough of that for today.

    in spring related news. we walked yesterday and saw/heard the first redwing blackbirds, they are often in company of grackles when they come back so we have to be ready for the invasion. i am this season. will not go through what last year was like. wasted a lot of time.

    projects popping up to get done this spring sometime soon. ledge above patio door which birds keep wanting to nest on, needs to be covered and also same above smaller window. and Mom wants garden shed done (finish wall and then put wall tile on it). has to be warm enough for me to do that... it isn't a heated space.

    first set of new deer tracks seen in the back in several months. i hope it was just passing through and not going to come back on schedule like we had last season... once we'd put up the newer section of fence across the main access they were using it sure did cut down on the traffic. the deer have been munching on the outside edge of the cedar trees along the south side, but not many have been past that barrier. eventually i may take those trees out or thin them quite a bit and use the wood for fence posts... if i thin each stand to just one main branch and take off the lower greenery (if the deer haven't done it for me by then) it could be a sort of living fence post... dunno if this will actually ever happen, but thinks to think about... they did plant them right on the property line in that spot so i can't fence them from the other side to keep the deer away without consulting neighbors/landowners...
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  6. Mar 4, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    froggies! we heard froggies the other day. promptly followed by colder weather, but they'll be back. also heard killdeer, saw a few robins... spring is definitely getting closer... daffodils are starting to poke up more. no other early flowers up yet but they're going to be here soon. next week forecast is calling for snow/cold so maybe a few weeks yet, but the trend is good. :)

    my honeydo project for today was to go around and caulk some of the heating vents as there was enough gaps around them that bugs were crawling in from the crawlspace. we have been finding so many box elder bugs this season that we've probably picked a few thousand off the windows/walls/floors/ and US. they're attracted to moisture and will crawl right in your face if you are still enough... now add to that where we also have hornets, squash bugs, asian lady beetles and it was about time i just nosed around and within a few minutes of looking could see that putting some caulk to plug those gaps would help.

    as i was caulking came across some groups of the box elder bugs so those residuals are inside the house and will have to be caught, but we'll see if after a few more days if the numbers go down sharply or if there are some other gaps i need to find. i think i saw a few others, but i will need clear caulk for those as they would be more visible and white would show too badly... *crosses antennae...* we'll see...

    everything else going good for mid-to-late winter. being able to get out for some walks here or there, some sunshine and warmth, trying to keep the bunny/chipmunk populations down, waiting for the grackles to arrive (i'm ready this year)... need a little more warmth to get going on some things outside i can do when i get a chance.
     
  7. Mar 4, 2018
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    I remember the first time I saw grackles. It seems like it was in New Mexico. I'm not sure why they aren't here. How are you prepared for them this year, FlowerBug?

    The grackles might have too much competition to settle here. We have ravens, crows, magpies, Brewer black birds, red wing black birds, yellow head black birds, cowbirds ... there's probably more! I bet that the magpies and Brewers wouldn't like the grackles.

    Kinda interesting how we seem to be right on the border between red wings and yellow heads. The former are more in the valleys and closer to forests, sitting on their cattails. The yellow heads are a little more out in the arid places but on cattails there, too. I'm not sure how much they overlap but they're close.

    Tree frogs? The neighbor was commenting how they showed up in recent years in our backyard. I don't know if they are elsewhere, nearby. I think that they like the path dug between two of the three garden beds. That path allows me to stand almost upright, when the hoop house covers those beds.

    The frogs will move to other locations. There are upside down large pots holding an impromptu bench for random flats against one fence. A frog might be under one of those pots for awhile. Or, I have a "French drain" near the house and under a little wall of bricks bordering a narrow bed. They will be under those bricks ... good question is how do they get under the bricks!

    Steve
     
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  8. Mar 6, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    @digitS' air rifle with scope, new ammo, finally sighted in last fall.

    i hate to kill any creature, but some varmints get Mom so wound up that i am pretty much her bad guy at call. grackles, chipmunks, rabbits, groundhogs. can sometimes trap and move the groundhogs, but i am trying to track down their dens and discouraging them and that is improving. rabbits, pretty much have to hunt those to thin them out or we get overrun. chipmunks i can sometimes trap and the semi-feral kitty gets some of them and the small rabbits. the grackles are the worst because of both the mess they make and also because they can so easily dominate all the other birds and i do like the diversity we have here for bird life. cedar trees grew tall enough to be prime grackle nesting and are now too tall we can't remove nests easily any longer.

    me == bad guy... *sigh* still, gotta do it. mess from 50-100 grackles would be more than even i'd tolerate. i wasted a huge amount of time last year when i should have been gardening.

    in good news... today was already noticeably better from caulking up gaps bugs were using to get in the house.
     
  9. Mar 19, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    first day of being outside doing garden things and also got to clean the car out. there is nothing in it which requires such cleaning other than the fact that mice make their home in there and i can't find out where they are getting in. i have no lift and the mechanic didn't look very hard or doesn't care. yes, i'm finding a new mechanic... eventually...

    the fun stuff first, today started with some cleaning up the dried out bean vines that i didn't get off there in the late fall. i'm about half done and have a bucket full of things to bury already. :) nice sunny day, warm enough i didn't need a heavy coat, my hands didn't get cold, breeze was on my back so perfect conditions for the task at hand.

    as for the mousecapades, well... i vac'd up all the mouse poops i could find, took out the back seats to get under them and removed all the extra old shirts i'd stuffed around the back seat to keep them from getting under there. nope, they still found a way in. nasty mouse piss smell. it's horrible. aired car out all day, washed every place i could get to with bleach/water. several times to make sure. took everything out of the trunk too (not much in there, but removed all the padding/cover, got the spare tire out and washed that all down too. pulled the carpeting up from the edge of the rear seats to see if they'd gotten back in there. yep. they've shredded the carpet backing and used that as a nest material before. they did it again. pulled that nest out and am leaving that all open to the air, well washed out.

    i've never kept food in there. i don't keep anything in there now other than the absolute minimum. ice-scraper, spare tire, jack, tire iron, paperwork in safe place and the mats, that's it. i don't even drive it that often, that's the biggest reason why they find it a place to live. i've had to put a screen over the air intake to keep the mice from building a home in my air filter (luckily i caught that one before they chewed through and dropped crud into the engine through the carb). i also had to foam my hood metal parts to keep the mice out of there (yes, they were in there, one time i busted a gut laughing because i had opened the hood to check the engine and i heard something skittering in the hood and knew right away it was a mouse and it stuck it's head out and looked at me from about 8 inches away... li'l bugger...). i keep some traps handy, but i don't like to keep them set all the time because i think the bait actually can be smelled and attracts them more than if there's no food at all in the car. but once in a while when i see signs of mice then i get the traps out and try to get them all out. i can do that, but then keeping them out...

    i've tried all sorts of smells to discourage them, nothing drives them out once they are in there.

    i have yet to figure out how to get the cabin air filter open to check it and replace it if needed. that's a project for some other ...

    the mice are also in my wall here and i've been trapping them along the base of the house and i think i've gotten at least one or two of them, but usually there's more than one miscreant... i'm not sure where they are getting in either. this house wasn't quite built with critter control issues in mind so i have to plug along and find the gaps and then fill them in and keep at it. this is a far cry from the hundreds of mice that were in the walls when i first started staying here. this spring, one of the projects will be to get the garden shed taken care of to seal it up so the mice can't use that to get in the walls. not too much activity in there this past fall/winter because i did seal up what i could using spray foam, but that didn't get everything and the walls need a mouse-proof layer on them. we have ceramic tile to put up, not sure we have enough, but it should get us started. have to get the tile cutter from my brother or borrow one somehow. not critical quite yet. still too cold at night for a few more weeks.

    before and after pics if i can remember... ha!

    luckily, plenty to keep busy with no matter what... :)
     
  10. Mar 26, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i think Mom brought a mouse in the house. the past few nights i've heard noises that at first i just thought were "normal" but last night some noises were repeated so we'll get some traps set out tonight. it usually goes pretty quick once i know to put them out. we've only had mice in the house twice before which is a miracle considering how many mice are around outside. both times it was from mice brought in with old boxes.

    one time when i was at college Mom mailed me some boxes i had stored at my brother's place up in his garage attic. old model trains and supplies for making stuff. there was a mouse nest in there full of cat and dog food they had stashed. those mice took quite a long trip. i found out i had them in my college room because i'd left a coffee cup on the table with a few drops of hot chocolate on the bottom. the next day the cup was licked clean and there were a few mouse nerds in there as a parting gift. snap traps with peanut butter then were put into use and mice were removed.

    but this reminds me of another time when i was there over the summer and the summer youth programs propped the doors open so they could move things in easily. i was laying on the carpetting in my room reading a book and had my door open for a cross breeze. a chipmunk comes strutting into my room like she/he owned the place. we looked at each other. stood there shivering like they do. very cute. i had no food for them and wouldn't normally feed them anyways (even as cute as they are i just think wild creatures should be left alone to be wild), but it took off and i didn't see it again.

    ok, well back to more recent things, cleaned out the car, mice in there too, been trapping them for years and eventually they come back in. this time i removed the back seats again and all the contents of the trunk, the lining from the trunk, and got one nest out of the back seats along the floor where they were chewing the backing of the carpetting to make nesting materials. the whole car stinks. i'm not sure if there are more nests in there, i can't really tell where they are getting in.

    i washed all the poops/pees i could find with a few applications of bleach and water (changing the water/bleach a few times). the next day i trapped another mouse, but there haven't been any more in there since that one. five mice in a week and a half.

    i think in the end, i'll just sell it. someone i know wants to buy it and so cleaning it up and making it smell better will help. i don't drive it enough and i don't have a garage to keep it in. to fix it up would take a few thousand $, needs some rust spots fixed and the mouse situation finally taken care of and some other things fixed. i hate to keep putting $ into something i'm not really using. insurance renewal comes up towards the end of August so that is the goal to have it gone by then, but perhaps sooner as towards the end of April. we'll see. it may take me a bit longer to part with this friend, it's been a good car and almost 21yrs old now. if i had a garage to keep it in it would easily go another 200K miles but parking it outside all the time and the mice are taking their toll...

    in actual gardening news. some flowers are up! crocuses are often among the first here. rain forecast for tonight, warmer temperatures today. i sure hope so, i want to get out and get some things cleaned up and some brush cut back while i can get to it (before the beekeeper puts his hives back there or i get too busy with other projects). i have a large pile of wild grape vines to cut into smaller pieces so i can bury them. they've dried out and frozen since last fall so i think they're finally dead... i would like to leave them alone for another year before doing anything to them, but Mom is sick of looking at them. i understand... :)
     

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