Monday, April 26, 2010

Sun, Rain, and a Surprising Lack of Rainbows

We are finally getting our April rain, which should in turn produce May flowers. I'm hoping that it will produce a May vegetable garden as well, but the rainy weekend and JP's call schedule have not gotten us any closer to plant-able ground. I did spend over an hour yesterday tugging out roots up to 6 feet in length. My muscles are complaining today.

The weather was very quickly alternating between rain and sun over the weekend. We were disappointed that we couldn't see any rainbows! Typically, this is the time of year when they are abundant. I shot this one off our deck in town last Spring.

This double one was at our other house the Spring before last.

No rainbows on Poplar Ridge yet. No fungus either. JP went morel hunting yesterday in the drizzle, and came home empty handed. Perhaps the rain will bring them out.

Dad has managed to get the deck on his house, despite the weather. Now that the doorway to the 10 foot drop is safe, he is cutting a hole in the floor of the house to put the stairway in.

Dad and I planted another 15 boxwoods this weekend, making a total of 25. Now you can see the hedge row that we are intending. The winds blew snow across the lawn last winter, and buried the driveway in several feet of snow within an hour of plowing. I doubt that they will grow enough to be a great snow fence by this winter, but maybe by next...

Meanwhile, I continue to slog through the boring parts of Spring: school work, my one-afternoon-a-week job, the endless cooking and laundry...knowing that some of those chores are coming to an end for a few sweet summer months. Then I can dig in the dirt for hours a day. The end is in sight, and perhaps a rainbow or two will light the way!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peeps at Midnight

It has been a long day. I'm eating marshmallow Peeps at midnight to keep going. The coffee cake I baked has to cool enough to take out of the cake pan, and it is taking a very long time.

Tonight I simply wanted to post some artwork by the girls. They have been playing in a large box/play house for the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately the rain last Friday got it wet, and it is now starting to mold. While breaking it down for the recycling bin tonight, I discovered these lovely pictures on the walls inside:

These 2 are by J.

These are by L. She didn't label them, but I think this one is she, the dog and I. Can you see the resemblance?

And finally, a shot of J's skinny hippo sculpture, which was a school assignment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Crazy is the new normal. At least here it is. We have learned to go with the flow, and deal with the stuff that's going on. There are times, however, that it really gets to be too much. Then, I have a good cry, talk to my friends, and move on.

I've mentioned the roof raising planned for this week. All is going well, and the work is actually ahead of schedule.

We have had quite a crew this week, 4 of whom are staying here at the house. Mom and I, and my aunt have been quite busy just keeping up with meals, dishes and laundry. Last night I spent 4 hours cleaning up the mess in the girls' bathroom that was the result of the "grey water" (waste water from the sinks and washer) backing up into the tub. It was over flowing with dark brown water, and left a ring of coffee grounds and alphabet noodle when all was said and done. The good news was that 2 bathrooms, and the laundry room were not affected by the blockage, the bad news was that the kitchen was.

Today the poopsmith was out with his video snake. He was able to determine that the blockage was WAY out in the yard, not too far from where the whole thing empties out over the hill. Apparently something heavy drove over it and pulled a section apart, so it took the next 9 months for the dirt between the two ends to pack down enough to completely block it. So now there is a hole in the yard, but the water goes down the drain again.

In the meantime, I've managed to develop a wound infection where I had a thorn from one of those nasty multiflora rose bushes. JP has me on antibiotic horse pills 4 times a day for forever.

The best thing about yesterday was the half off Peeps, of which I bought a rainbow of colors!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


There is never a dull moment up here on Poplar Ridge.

On Thursday, this 80 foot semi came up our hill to deliver my parents' metal roofing material in the middle of a rain storm.

The following day, my brother arrived in Pittsburgh from Austin, TX to help with the roof raising this coming week. Here he is in the Hidey Hole with the girls, reading letters that some fairies left there for the girls.

Saturday the bulldozer dude arrived and flattened the area for our barn. The gravel for the floor of the barn and for the driveway will come later this week.

JP and I marked out the area for our veggie garden, and he started digging it up.

The whole thing will be 100' x 50'.

This weekend, I've been collecting things:

These rocks are for the raised shade bed that I plan to build on the North side of the house (are you proud, Martin?)

This is what is left of the sticks, small trees, rose bushes and grape vines that I've been grubbing out from around the trees in the yard. I managed to clean out around 4 more trees this weekend.

There are only 2 bushes left to plant from the small nursery worth that I have brought home lately. The girls and I made up a song, which can be sung to the tune of "12 Days of Christmas".

10 baby boxwoods
8 Cleveland pear trees
3 Forsythia
1 cotoneaster
2 maple trees
2 andromeda
and a Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree

There are some other things I've collected which are too disturbing to photograph, such as the scratches on my arms, the ticks, and the garbage JP and I picked up from down by the creek.

Kali also has an impressive collection of stitches on her belly from her spay surgery on Monday. She is back to acting nearly normal, although she still isn't eating much.

Starting tomorrow we will begin collecting volunteers for the roof raising, most of whom will stay here at the house.

Lest I repeat myself, there is never a dull moment up here on Poplar Ridge!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Out with the new, in with the old..., that is. Our builder was back today to tear out the propane powered on-demand, tankless water heater. He replaced it with a propane powered tank-style water heater. Tonight, I had HOT water shortly after turning it on in the kitchen, for the first time since we moved in. We also paid our last bill, making the house building project on Poplar Ridge officially completed.

The fun never stops up here though. Tomorrow we are expecting the excavators for our barn building project. Next week, my parents start their roof raising with a bunch of family volunteers.

In the meantime, I have to 'fess up that I completely lost my cool tonight.

I don't remember whether I have mentioned the third world type hovel that exists down the road, at the bottom of the hill. We call it "F-ville" (where the "F" is a name, NOT a bad word). It is not unusual to have to slow or stop when driving through on this road for assorted animals, children, toys or cars that don't run. It is disturbing, to say the least, and definitely unsafe. I never drive faster than 25 or 30 mph through F-ville, even though the posted speed limit is 40.

This evening, when returning from a refreshing dinner out with my girlfriends, I had to stop abruptly for a puppy that ran into the road in F-ville. Several children were hanging out in the road just a few yards further on, and one of the girls appeared shocked, then started shaking her fists and yelling at me as I drove by. In one of those split second decisions that didn't have much thought put into it, I slammed on my brakes and backed up the truck. The kids took off running. I yelled after them "Don't you yell at me when you can't keep your dog off this road. I didn't have to stop for it, but I did!" It wasn't the most mature thing I've ever done, but it actually made me feel better.

So now you know my dirty little secret: I have issues with my temper!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Before and After

J donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love today.

Little sis had to get in on the action, and got about 2 inches trimmed off and a french braid!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

The gusts last night blew the hot weather out. Easter dawned clear and cooler. For the first time in several years, the girls found all of the eggs I hid. (That is probably because JP told me to draw a map.)

We finally have teeny little leaves on the trees. The tractor tire man is coming tomorrow to put a new tires on the tractor, so my trees and shrubs should soon be in the ground.'s a good time of the year!

Friday, April 2, 2010

house cleaning avoidance

It's a hot one today, at least 84* outside, and only the beginning of April! We spent most of the day outside already, at the greenhouse/nursery and at the playground with friends. This is my way of avoiding the house cleaning that I usually try to get done on Friday afternoons. The house is relatively cool, 74*, with all the shades drawn all day.

Today was shrub purchasing day! I bought:

2 Japanese Andromedas and a Cotoneaster

7 little Boxwoods all in a row

and a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (which hasn't made it out to the house yet as it got lost in my friends' forsythia.)

We bought this yesterday for digging holes.

But today the tractor looks like this.

Bad luck!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Cleaning

A quick post today to show what I've been doing for the past couple of days. I waged the war of the roses again yesterday to clean up around a Hickory and Maple (?) tree in the side yard. Being me, I forgot to take a "before" picture, but I found this one from a little over a year ago. Even though there is snow, I think you can make out the multiflora and grape vine going half-way up the (?) tree.

This is what it looks like now. My hands are full of holes!

Speaking of holes, I staked out where I want to put the pears. I underestimated how many I needed by 2. Big Lots is out already, so I'll have to wait until next year. Dad bought a post-hole digger and 12" auger for the tractor today, so I won't have to dig all those holes manually...whew!

The hex house is unwrapped this week, so I took a picture of the hex lookout room.

This is the view towards our house and the North...

...and this is the view South towards our neighbor's field. Pretty nice, wouldn't you say?

I need to get ready for my last Landscaping class. We are going on a field trip today, to look at a garden that our instructor did recently. He keeps hinting about wine and cheese being involved...sounds good to me!