April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sprucing Up the Deck - Finished!

Hot hot hot here yesterday and today!  Today is windier but hotter than yesterday.  I turned the AC on about 1 p.m.  Yesterday I didn't have to do it until about 8 p.m. and was able to sleep with it off and my bedroom windows open last night.  This morning it was cool enough in the house to feel a definite difference when walking in from the outside, but that vanished as the sun got higher and higher in the sky.  Whew!  If it's like this now, what is it going to be like in July and August?

It's been dry, too.  We're way below normal precipitation wise.  Cha ching!  I can see my water bills now.  I cannot stand a browned out lawn, I must have green grass.  That's one of the reasons I get so hacked off about the sod web worm infestation.

Back to the deck!  We had our investment club meeting out there after we met at the restaurant for breakfast.  I am planning on painting the white chairs, but probably not until the end of the season because I gave them, the green chairs and the green table a coating of Armor-All yesterday after giving them a good scrubbing down with soap and bleach water.  I recently read online about spray paint formulated specially for plastic lawn furniture so I will give it a try!

As you can see, it's not large, but it works for me!  You can see the size of the "original" deck that BIL Fred built -- it's the center section that is lighter grey than the two end sections that he added the next day!  Excuse the hose - I'm watering particularly parched areas that didn't get enough water when I had the sprinkler going Friday evening after work.

Before I "spruced things up" the only "decoration was the yellow bird house on the shepherd's hook on the left.  That's the same bird house that earlier this season anchored my first-ever attempt at a decorated Spring Mantle this year. 

The rest of the "decorations" were already in the garage, I just hadn't pulled any of them out.  Nope, my deck was a very bare bones affair, with just the table, umbrella and two green chairs.  Hose reel on the left was there and former hose reel on the right that now serves as a sometimes table, sometimes footrest, were both out.  Floral decoration was the three in-the-nursery-ugly-green-pots that somehow survived the winter in my garage and started burgeoning forth earlier this season -- two of the three are now blooming! They were lined up over on the right side of the deck waiting patiently (again) for me to plant them, something I failed to do when I purchased them LAST MEMORIAL DAY -- that is -- Memorial Day 2011! 

Blue pots were pulled out of the garage, cleaned up, filled with cedar park and two of the green-potted survivor perennials were stashed in them.  The stand is part of a bird bath that is missing it's bath -- I didn't get it inside before a hard freeze last year and it cracked, so I need to get a new one.  I am fond of the large but shallower pasta bowls that I can get for cheap at TJ Maxx.  Just have to make the trip one of these days.  Meanwhile, I dug through a cabinet and found an old tray that fit the top and is sturdy enough to set something on.  It's a little hard to make out on this photo, but you can see some of the blue-purple blooms on the plant at the top.  The planter resting on the base of the stand was a gift years ago, and it was planted with lovely pansies.  It's been residing in the garage ever since.  I pulled out a really old stash of silk flowersw and thought, what the heck.  Cheesy, but effective :)  I selected colors that are in the mosaic tile of the planter (peaches and yellows).  They had a splash of color.  The peonies are already spent, I just did not get around to dead-heading them yesterday.

The old hose reel gets used as a side table.  I clipped some branches from one of my Newport plum trees and filled an old vase.  The bunny on the deck is an old garden ornament I've owned for years.  I forgot - he was also on the deck "before" the spruce up.  I had planned to get into that planting bed and clear out the volunteer trees but I ran out of juice about 2 p.m. yesterday in the heat, and it's just too darn hot today for me to be doing anything other than sitting with my feet up (or blogging inside air-conditioned comfort).

There's the yellow birdhouse on its shepherd hook, and just behind it is a bird-on-a-spring pulled out of the garage.  The shrub behind is a mini-hydrangea -- I don't get the big beautiful mop-head type blooms on it but it's very happy in this location.  You can see some old fashioned German Iris to the right; behind it is a seedling from one of the trees in my neighbor's yard; it gets white flowers on it and some kind of green things that look like olives but it isn't an olive tree; the flowers are overwhelmingly sweet smelling to the nearly "gag me" point.  I know I should remove it; right now I've got it clipped into more or less a shrub.  Other than some more Iris that you can't see in this picture and some old-fashioned Sedum with the light purple flower heads, everything else you see in the this photo just grows there all by itself; from year to year I never know what may appear (like the tree, for instance).  The grapevines were on the lot when I bought it in 1987, and despite being severely hacked back many times over the years, they just keep coming back and coming back :)

And the final corner.  The old ornamental bird house was bought years ago, and it gets more weather-beaten each year.  It's starting to fall apart a little bit now.  It's probably 10 years old.  The metal plant stand was a gift from one of my sisters in 2001.  She says it's a cat, but if it is, it sure is a funny looking cat.  I think it's a bunny.  The faux-verdigris finish has fallen off of the feet and they're just rust-colored now.  I stablized them with clear acrylic spray paint.  The rest of it has held up well over the years to the beating it takes on the deck, exposed to all the weather and sun before the Sun dips below the tree line. The planter holds the third miracle perennial that survived the winter still in its nursery pot in my garage.  Yeah, me bad!  The thingy behind it with the two butterflies, not sure what it is; it's never moved in the wind like I thought it would (you know, sort of like a mobile).  I bought it at Menard's probably in 2001.  It is made out of some kind of metal and has a little rust on it -- you know -- "patina."  LOL! 

So, that's it!  Nothing fancy, but it serves its purpose well.  And now, despite, the heat, the deck is calling my name...

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