Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take this time to wish all the readers of my blog......Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

R and I have a lot of plans for our time off during the holidays. The day after Christmas we venture to Detroit to the Motor City Bowl. This year it matches up my Alma mater Central Michigan University against Purdue. Go Chips!!!!!! and I ain't talking about no cookie, either.

On New Year's Eve we will take in the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. They will play the St. Louis Blues. After the game we will hop on over to Greektown, hit the Greek bakery for some chocolate mousse and then lose some $$$ at the Greektown casino.

In between all that we are going to work on the house, eat at The Holly Hotel, and go to Grand Illusion Gallery to pick up some old window sashes and whatever else they have that is cool.

See you in 2008!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nails...twisty not broken

Sounds like a martini order....I like my nails twisty not broken, with extra olives.

R and I have been working on dismantling the railings on the older part of the deck. Those railings were too low and the spindles were spaced too far apart. They will be replaced and will match the newer portion of the deck. We have been pulling twisty nails out of the spindles and 2 X 6's so that we can reuse the lumber elsewhere. Some spindles have as many as 7, 4 inch twisty nails in them. Two correctly placed deck screws would have worked and looked better.

In between nail pulling, breaking a nail (folding clothes), going to work, and dodging snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice pellets...I baked a cake to take to work. I just realized why the Midwest has been hit so hard with ice and snow. It all makes sense now. I am so sorry to anyone that may have lost power or suffered any inconvenience do to the weather.

Jan used her stove/oven, hence "hell has frozen over".

Happy Birthday...Dad. Seventy four years young.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Roger and Red Green

A friend of mine......."Hi Carrie!!!".......who reads my blog, mentioned that Roger's methods resembles those of Red Green.

Red Green is the elected leader of Possum Lodge Chapter 13. You might be familiar with their motto........

"Quondo Omni Flunkus Mortati (when all else fails, play dead)"

Red Green is also an avid user of duct tape. At the racetrack we call it 200 mile an hour tape. He also uses unconventional items to complete tasks. I believe Red would have looked favorably upon the innovative use of a truck hood to move a large rock. Though he might have included the use of tape duct and dynamite.

The Possum Lodge also has a prayer, it goes something like this....

I'm a man

but I can change

if I have to

I guess.

I think Roger has said that very same prayer...once or twice.

The Possum Lodge has quite a distinguished membership. Winston Rothschild III of the Rothschild Sewage and Septic Sucking fame and Mike Hamer who comes from a long line of felons, jailbirds, scam artists, and biker chicks.

Red Green is chock full of wisdom, a Canadian Aristotle of sorts. Such as ....spare the duct tape....spoil the job. My favorite is this little tidbit of advice that he doles out to the men..........

If the women don't find you handsome,

They should at least find you handy.

I believe Roger adheres to that philosophy too.

So in honor of Red Green, I'll end my post in the same manner that Red ends his show........

Keep your stick on the ice.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Paving the way...

In an earlier post I mentioned that "The Gear" was going to have a yard (36") of bricks just like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am happy to announce the arrival of a 9 pound ORIGINAL paver brick from the speedway.Indy pavers do not have the same dimensions as today's modern day pavers (Home Depot type). This will pose a design problem. According to Plan A, I had originally intended to use modern concrete pavers for the entire 36 inches and just place this one special paver in the center. So on to Plan B. That plan would require obtaining enough old pavers to pave the entire 36 inches. Downtown Flint, Michigan was at one time paved entirely with bricks. Over the years they were either removed or asphalted over. This only left part of Saginaw Street still paved with the red bricks. I wonder what they did with all the old pavers?? If that doesn't pan out, there is always Plan C. I have already started acting on Plan C (I guess you can tell I am not too optimistic about A and B). Plan C requires obtaining enough old pavers (from anywhere) to do one row. That row will be the center row with all other rows paved with new concrete pavers of the Home Depot variety. I have already purchased several pavers off of eBay. One paver was from an old railroad roundhouse (that's where they turned the locomotive around).

My intention is to acquire the paver bricks over the winter, so that next summer we can install them. But you know what they say about good intentions, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I wonder if the road to hell is landscaped with unplanted hostas???

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The President is sitting on my chair

One lovely wrought iron chair found in the trash. Discarded. Tossed out. Given the old heave ho. Oh wait, saying ho isn't politically correct anymore. Ask Imus and Santa Claus. So let's just say it was heaved.

Roger was driving home from work the other day and this chair was out at the curb waiting to be picked up by the trash collector. He drove by and then turned around and retrieved it because he knows his wife LOVES wrought iron. AND.....he didn't have to drive to Wisconsin to pick it up, either.

Roger is rather lucky when it comes to finding stuff in the trash. He once found a round Woodard table and the four matching curved back chairs at the street with the trash. The owner was just walking up the driveway after placing it in the trash. All it needs is paint. Now if he could just find a million dollar oil painting in the trash.

I'm a sucker for wrought iron. I once made Roger drive all the way to Milwaukee and back in one day, just to pick up a Woodard wrought iron patio sofa and chair with pads. It was a steal on eBay for $95. I currently have a two car garage filled with Woodard patio furniture.

Back to the chair. Look at the details. I love how the bottom of the leg curls up. Also the scrolling on the back is very different. I didn't find a name on the chair so I will need to investigate a little to find who the manufacturer was.

Notice the chair that the Prez is sitting on? I have that entire set. Sofa, 2 armed chairs, cocktail table, end table, chaise lounge, table and three chairs. I am missing one chair and Dubya's sitting on it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My parents future home Part Deux

Doesn't this remind you of Little House on the Prairie???? Where's Laura Ingalls and Pa Ingalls??? I hope Pa isn't buried in a snow bank somewhere. How about Merlin Olsen???? Not the Olsons twins dad and not Nellie Oleson's dad, but the retired football player and original member of the Fearsome Foursome, Jonathan Garvey on Little House, and FTD huckster Olsen.

We removed the overhang that was severely rotted and that was a big improvement. My parents stopped by to look at the progress of their next little love nest. I think they are going to be difficult tenants. They were already making demands. My mother wants a canvas awning and my dad had the nerve to ask me if it had power. POWER!!! This is exactly way you don't rent to relatives!!!

Speaking of power, that reminded me of when we went to Jamaica. The electricity quits all the time. We were in town, not the touristy part of town, but the locals part of town. I asked a Jamaican fellow "when was the power coming back on?" He looked at me rather strange and then said, "Ooooh, you mean the current. No problem, Mon." He then walked away.

So I think I'll say to my parents when they begin making demands like "I want an awning." and "I want power."

"No problem, Mon."

Disclaimer....For those of you who don't know us, this is all in fun. I'm not going all Brooke Astor on my parents.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If a tree falls when the Detroit Lions are playing, will they still lose???

The Detroit Lions have broken more hearts than Carter has little pills. Some years they just plain suck from the very beginning. Then there are other years where they win their first game of the season and you have that fleeting thought..."could this be the year?" Then they win a second game and you think, "do I dare get my hopes up?"

But were optimists here in Michigan when it comes to our sports teams. We have the Red Wings that NEVER fail to deliver. They have spoiled us and anything less than a Division title and we're unhappy. We have the Pistons, who have consistently given us good teams since the late 80's and early 90's. The Detroit Tigers made us suffer for 2 decades before giving us that spectacular year last year. But the Lions are another story. They just keep on breaking our hearts. I can't imagine how Michigan would celebrate if they ever made it to the Super Bowl. We're not fair weather fans either. Week after week they sold out the Pontiac Silverdome (80,368). The Lions then moved to Ford Field (65,000) and continued to sell out every game. The fans are doing their part.

Last Sunday in between listening to the Lions on the radio, inching a hood riding boulder up a hill in our backyard, and periodically listening to the NASCAR race, we managed to cut down a leaning and half dead Box elder tree.

We have a very old, unused concrete swimming pool in our backyard. Our plan is to remove the pool and eventually replace it with a smaller fiberglass pool. But until that time comes, the pool is a perfect burning pit.

Fire in the hole!!!

After accessing the situation, we decided that the best plan was to drop the tree directly into the pool. That plan eliminated having to carry, drag, and haul the wood unsuitable for fireplace burning to the fire pit (swimming pool). The tree was leaning to the northwest. The pool was directly to the west and the majority of the tree limbs were on the south side of the tree. We talked about where we thought Roger should cut out the wedge and how far above the wedge cut should he make the back cut. Roger placed himself on the south side which we felt was the direction that the tree would least likely fall. I stood far enough back, that no matter which way it fell, I was safe. No need for both of us to get hurt, someone needs to call 911. I watched the very top of the tree for movement and yelled to Roger when it started to move. The tree slowly fell directly to the west and the Lions lost. Again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rock on.....

The rock (not Dwayne Johnson) is almost at it's final destination. Can ya smell what we're cooking?? Unless you are a wrestling fan, you won't understand that.

It was slow going and only moved a couple of inches with each ratcheting action of the 1 1/2 ton come along. In the end, we utilized a used car part and a car tool to complete the task.

Roger was able to get a Ford truck hood from the junk yard....I mean salvage yard. Truck hoods work best since they have a inner hood. Some of the small car hoods are just two hoods pressed together and are not as rigid as one with an inner hood. Two eye bolts were installed and our little skid was ready to haul. But first we needed to support one corner of the hood until it was free of the hole. We tried cement blocks and logs, but what worked the best was a floor jack. Unfortunately, we didn't have the all aluminum jack available (in the race car trailer) and had to lift the heavy jack to put it in the hole.
Once the rock was pulled onto the truck hood, Roger attached chains to the eye bolts and hooked everything to the trailer hitch of the cube van (race hauler truck). Slowly he pulled it up the hill. Thank God the cube van has a big block. As the saying goes....there's no replacement for displacement. Unless you are a gear head you won't understand that. When he couldn't get the rock any closer he disconnected the chain from the trailer hitch and moved the cube van out of the way.

Logs were placed around the trunk of a large pine tree to protect it from the chain that was attached to the come along. He then attached another length of chain to the eye bolts and slowly ratcheted the hood up the hill.

Inch by inch the hood riding rock made it's way up the hill. We called it quits for the day when Roger's arm and shoulder were completely exhausted.

The rock still needs to come off the hood. The way that it is resting right now is not how we (actually Roger) want it sitting. He thinks it would look better standing up. The plan to make that happen, involves the utility pole and another 1 1/2 ton come along. That should be interesting, I can't wait to see how he pulls that off.

All of this rock moving has made me realize that there is a strong possibility that the pyramids were not built by Egyptian slaves nor aided by aliens from a far away planet. They were built by little Hungarians with a come along and a truck hood. Archaeologists just haven't found the truck hood yet. "absence of evidence is not proof of absence" When they do.....they will have to rewrite all the history books. You can tell everybody you read it here first.

The Chase is over and Tony Stewart came in sixth overall for the season. The last several races were rather uneventful since the overall winner, Jimmy Johnson (Lowe's), essentially had a lock on the championship unless he broke or crashed. That was not to be. Maybe we will catch Tony at The Rumble in Fort
Wayne on December 28th and 29th.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let's rock!!!

This past weekend while moving this......

We found this....

I'm sure more pieces will show up after it rains. From what I can tell, it appears to be several broken milk bottles (1 round, 1 square), a small tonic bottle, and a lot of miscellaneous pieces ranging from white to dark green.

No, we did not get the hostas planted BUT we did a lot of dirt moving and moved another large rock out to the hosta garden. Roger informed me that the rock he is currently ratcheting out of the ground must be placed somewhere close by "because it is #$%@*&# heavy to move very far". So I decided to take pity on him and we are only moving it about 30 feet...........uphill. This rock is in the lowest part of the property, so even if we moved it 30 inches, it would still be 30 inches uphill. Notice how I say "we"? See I figure if I include him when I say "we" planted roses etc., then I can be included when he moves rocks. It's only fair...right????

The weather is really starting to turn cold here. Today was a rather mild day but misty. I think we will be lucky to get a couple more outdoor days before we move indoors for the winter. I have been slowing working on stripping the sashes, re glazing, priming and painting. I am looking into replacing the current wooden storms with new wooden storms. Adam Architectural have wooden storms but the bottom portion has the screen permanently installed. I really want storm windows where the bottom portion is changeable between a screen and glass. This month's issue of Old House Journal has a article about wooden storms and lists several other sources for wooden storms. When you own a 2 story house, changing out wooden storms twice a year is not practical or safe. I know you bungalow people would be aghast but from a practical standpoint it's a no go. When maintaining a nearly 4000 sq ft home, you have to decide between practical and being historically correct. Some things weren't practical and that's is why we are now repairing and replacing rotted, painted shut, and non functioning windows. I'm trying to break that cycle and find a happy median between the two. Plus, I live in an area of high end homes. Certain things are expected of a home in this area. I am always amused by people who are anal about being historically correct but their 1850's farm house has heat, central air, 2+ fully functional bathrooms, and a laundry room with washer and dryer. One can't have it both ways. You're either historically correct or you are remodeling your home in an historic style. These homes fell into disarray for a reason. They were hard to maintain. Historically, old homes had knob and tube wiring and lead paint, are we suppose to use these also? Of course not. In today's fast pace lifestyle there is little time to maintain your home, let alone change out your home's storm windows twice a year. I work 6 days a week, minimum 10 hours a day with an hour commute both ways and my husband has the same schedule just different times. Changing out storm windows twice a year is not going to happen, especially since it is a two person job and we are only in the same place 1 day a week. And on that day....we move rocks. LOL

When we move back inside for the winter the first project is a return to the kitchen ceiling. We are half way through removing 1 layer of drywall, 1 inch thick plaster and wire mesh, and in some places old insulation and just plain grossness. We have encountered some old knob and tube which we are keeping our fingers cross is nonfunctional and just remnants left over from the PO rewiring. Then we'll rewire and add extra lighting. Over the years I have purchased some vintage light fixtures to use in the kitchen. Currently there is only 1 ceiling light. I plan to add 2 more and if I can find the correct light maybe one over the sink. Just the thought of all that dust gives me a sinus headache.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Realization is a bite in the asterik **

Well, yesterday I came to the stark realization that it is far easier to BUY 184 varieties of hostas, than it is is PLANT 184 varieties of hostas.

Roger and I spent at least an hour taking hosta after hosta out to the new "as of yet unnamed" hosta garden. Blaire, didn't you have a suggestion for a name??? I can't remember what it was "cuz I was sick."

I said I wasn't going to make anymore predictions about time frames for completing tasks at "The Gear" but I feel a Gone with the Wind moment coming on.

Here is a photo of me saying "as God is my witness, I'll have those hostas planted by Monday." **

And here is another photo of me running out to the mailbox. I look like I am in a hurry. Hmmmm, I must be expecting a package from eBay or maybe my next issue of Old House Journal.

** notice I didn't say which Monday.

My parents future home......

Several weeks after purchasing "The Gear", my Aunt Rosie, Uncle Carl and my parents took a tour of the property. When we arrived at the former pool bath house they speculated that with a little paint, flower boxes, and curtains it would make a perfect retirement home for my parents once they decided to down size. They also suggested a intercom system so they could buzz the "big house" when they needed a glass of water......"Jan Marie can you bring me a glass of water???"

Here are some photos from 2006.

This has lead to many questions, such as "when are you going to start working on "our" house?" Which is usually answered with, "I might have to raise your rent because I found that "your" house has a stone terrace." or "You know it's a duplex (has two rooms and two entry doors) and that will cost you extra." But they have informed me that is a good thing because they can each have their own room. I wonder if that means separate intercoms?????? Egads...they could both be buzzing me at the same time!!!!! "Bring me a glass of water, I dropped the remote, I need my medication, when is dinner????" Dinner??????

Well....Mom and Dad....mark your calender. Work has begun on your retirement home. Roger started cutting all the large junipers that were surrounding your future home. I've decided, because I am the decider, that I am taking down the center wall and creating a more open floor plan. I feel that this will make the 10 ft by 10 ft space feel like at least 12 ft by 12 ft. Nothing but the best for you guys.

Here's a little sneak peek at what it looked like this afternoon.

Don't pack your bags just yet.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Catching up

The end of September and the beginning of October have been nothing less than hectic. Add to that the fact that I was sick and say the least I've gotten behind on a few things. So here I go on catching up.

First....the wedding was just beautiful, just like the bride. October weddings should be chilly, maybe a little nip in the air??? Oh no, it was sunny and 90. Yes, I tell you, 90 hot hot hot degrees and I was in black velvet with a fever from a viral infection. Try putting on pantie hose when it's 90, you have a fever, and you're so weak you can barely get them to your knees let alone all the way to your waist!!! Which brings me to ask this question...who in their right mind invented pantie hose????? Had to be a man...right???? Someone who has never had to put the damn things on. Didn't Joe Namath once wear pantie hose??? Well anyways.....I hate those things. Can't get them up and once you have to pee. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Here's a photo of the tables. Barbara did a great job on the centerpieces. You can't tell by the photo, but the vase had a little LED light that lit the vase and made it glow.
Let's all say "ahhhhh aren't they cute?"

Second....I can't work on the house when it is 90 outside. But don't's Michigan where one day it is 90 degrees and two days later 49 degrees. I also can't work on the house when it is raining. We had several days where we had tornadoes here in October. Last October it snowed!!!!

Third.....I have been informed by those who read my blog that indeed my bird bath base is level and that it is I who is a half bubble off.

Fourth....Roger wants to rent a skid steer again. He says he needs it to move large rocks for MY hosta garden. Pffft.....who's he kidding. He just wants to do donuts in the yard with the skid steer. So I put the kibosh to that notion. So he is back to the lawn tractor and snow saucer for moving the rocks. Please no hate mail from the guys!!!! Roger gets to play plenty!!!!! Plus maybe next year I'll let him rent one, but don't tell him.

Fifth....and not the Stoly kind either, but after this month I may need one. Roger rototilled the Hosta La Vista bed and positioned several large rocks. Hopefully tomorrow we can plant the hostas and put that bed to rest. No pun intended. Stop groaning.

Well hopefully this post will clear up any notion that we have been slacking off at "The Gear."

Also......a gratuitous Goooooooo Smoke. Tony is currently in 4th place with several races to go before The Chase is over. Anything can happen when there are two Busch brothers on the track, so don't count Tony out just yet.

Goooooooo Smoke!!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Level with me....

OK, I need you all to level with me. In the below photo does the base of the concrete bird bath look straight or tilted?

If you said tilted...I agree with you. But...and isn't there always a but....the level says it is level. Is it an optical illusion or am I delusional?

Let's say for the sake of argument, that it is most definitely level. Do I leave it the way it is or do I adjust until it appears to be level???

I would hate for people to leave "The Gear" saying "Oh my gosh...did you see how crooked her bird bath was?"

On to the other hosta bed. After clearing out little stumps and sod the bed was ready to be filled with sorted varieties of hostas.

The photo below was taken after we planted most of the hostas. All that is left to do is plant Patriot hostas around the edge, put the bowl on the bird bath base, and paint the bird bath.
Since it is "Chase" time for Nascar's Nextel Cup Championship, I would be remiss if I didn't give out a gratuitous "Gooooooooo Smoke"! Tony Stewart is currently in second place and only two points behind the leader, Jeff Gordon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Granny has been grabbed!

I planned to pick the other 50% of the produce at "The Gear" today. I rested and performed some stretching exercises so I wouldn't pull a muscle. I walked out into the yard and what do I see???? Nothing!

My rather smallest Granny Smith apple was gone. I believe a varmint has absconded with my apple. My produce has been poached. My Granny Smith has been snatched, stolen, and seized. No doubt a squirrel has squirreled away my lovely apple green Granny Smith apple. Yup, he climbed that little tree and grabbed my Granny. He then bolted, bailed, hot footed (pawed), made off, skipped town (well at least skipped the yard), scampered away, and out right skedaddled. All before I was able to produce a photo of my produce. All I wanted was a pair of photos of my perfect petite pear and less than ample happy apple. Now all I have is a lonely pear, perfectly placed in front of purple posies and perched atop a pink phone. Pathetic.

Friday, September 14, 2007

See the sedum???

The area just to the left of the porch step gets quite hot. I have tried several different plants but I think I have finally hit upon the right combination in both appearance and durability.

Remember the photo of the plant I posted with all the hail pellets??? Well here it is now.......along with some Autumn Joy sedum I brought over from the other house.

Disregard the peeling paint on the house in the background. How come every photo I post of Gear Acres shows peeling paint????

Today I harvested half of the produce grown at Gear Acres. One Asian pear!!!! Tomorrow after I rest, I will harvest the other 50%....a rather smallest Granny Smith apple.

I have to tell you I really like the looks of the Asian pear trees. I like the structure of the tree and the color and substance of the leaves. It appears that the Japanese beetles are not attracted to the tree either. I couldn't find one leaf that had any areas of damage.

I should rest so I am capable of completing the harvesting at Gear Acres. Makes me tired just to think about it.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Buried treasure?.....

I'm always reading about people finding buried treasure in their yard or finding something incredibly interesting or valuable in their attic...well guess what??? We found something. Buried. In our yard!!!!!

Using your best Jim Nabor/Gomer Pyle voice say "Surprise, surprise! Shazam!" Look at what we found!!!!!!

A sidewalk!!!! Yea!!! What the heck, you say??? Well if you read carefully, I said other people find buried treasure. I didn't say we found buried treasure, I said we found something buried!!!!

While Roger was tilling the dirt on the north side of the house and he noticed that at some spots the rototiller was going over something hard. I took the shovel and starting poking around and could hear it hit something. I shoveled a little and then realized it led in the direction of the gate. Hmmmmm. Sure enough it turned out to be a walkway that wraps around a large Norway pine. The walkway also has the same embedded colored slate as the walkway in front of the house and behind the sun room. I think this will be a perfect spot to plant more hostas!!!!!

This photo is a little dark, but it shows the embedded slate.

In other developments. Planted 22 lilacs last weekend. Dark purple, light purple, white, pink, pinkish red, and burgundy. We also finished our rock circle and planted Guacamole hostas around the tree. Tomorrow we will plant the final two bushes....two snowball bushes. Then we should be done with the planting in the front yard. Except for the hosta beds.

Here is Roger cutting down one of the two Hawthorn trees that were growing on top of the walkway.

Back to the race. Tony is in 4th after 344 laps. Gooooooo Smoke!!!!

Don't even ask me about the change to Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing. Scuttlebutt is that Tony is not happy about it but has a contract through '09. Home Depot also has a contract through '09. I look for Tony to take Home Depot and go to RCR. That's my 2 cents worth and my prediction.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Let's plant!!!!

The other day , while shopping for lilacs, I ran across 2 Asian pear trees on sale at Kmart. I already have 1 Asian pear, I believe the variety is 20th Century. These two semi dwarf trees were another variety and they were only $5.99. The price was I bought both of them.

So what do you do after you buy a tree? You plant it right? Well, first you have to decide where you want it to grow for the next , oh say 30 years. AND after much thought, oh OK I just said, "plant it there." So the digging began and this is what we found......

Yup, a rock. Right smack dab where I wanted to plant one of the trees. And notice not 1 rock but 2 rocks (still buried to the top left of exposed rock). Along with these 2 big rocks we found numerous smaller rocks, a long iron hook, parts to a bridle, 2 long square spikes, and 2 pieces of a plow. We were able to remove this rock, with the help of my Dad and under the supervision of my Mother. This weekend we will remove the other rock and hopefully won't find a tractor or remains of a horse!!!!

Here's my Dad and Roger. Looks like he knows how to use that shovel!!!! You'd never know he had triple bypass surgery just 4 months ago.

Oh by the way...the rocks were recycled and are being used in the hosta garden. I currently have purchased 171 varieties!!!! I'm a hostaholic.

On a sad note.......the tornado that hit Fenton destroyed a lot of very large trees and damaged many homes and businesses. Judy, my cousin, sustained a lot of damage to her beautifully landscaped yard......bummer. My son lives just 2 miles south of the Tractor Supply store that was heavily damaged. He said he didn't even have a twig in his yard.

On a happier one was severely injured and the sirens went off in time to warn everyone.

If you're interested, here is a site that has numerous photos of the damage. Take note of the large twisted tree in the Oakwood Cemetery.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hosta La!!!!

I know you have all been waiting to hear what we are going to do to the northwest corner of our property. Well haven't you???? OK that's what I thought.

I've always liked hosta plants. They come up every year, you really don't need to do anything to them except water and at the end of the cut them off and you are ready for spring the following year. Up until recently, I thought that there were maybe 20 varieties...tops. Green, green with white, white with green, bluish grey, small, medium, and large, and maybe a rare pale yellow type. Nope not even close. There are thousands of varieties. So we have decided to put in a large "hosta only" garden. This garden will be called "The Hosta la Vista Garden". Quit groaning...I heard that.

Remember the large stone/boulder by the edge of the driveway??? Well, the Hosta la Vista Garden will have large boulders intermingled upon the plants. We will also add a concrete bird bath for our little feathered friends. The plan is to have a random scattering of plants with larger varieties in the back and dwarf/small varieties in the front. I have purchased over 130 varieties so far. If you are interested in hostas, go to the Hosta Library. It's a great site with lots of photos and information. Currently (meaning today!!!), my favorites are June, Guacamole, Kossa Regal, Albiqua Drinking Gourd, and Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

Roger has been busy the last two weeks digging large rocks out of the fence row. Getting them to the front of the property is another problem. I suggested the snow saucer. In the past we have used it to drag heavy shrubs across the lawn. It works great and doesn't leave ruts. The below photos shows how we rigged the boulder and how it moved quite effortlessly across the lawn. I didn't even break into a sweat. Oh yeah, right, I forgot.....Roger did all the rigging. I just supervised.
One rock down and many more to go.

We are also planting a smaller hosta garden under the trees in the center of the circle driveway. The photo below shows the area where we have purposely killed the grass (behind flag pole, top half of photo) where we will plant Komodo Dragon, Guacamole, Paul's Glory, Kossa Regal, Frances Williams, Patriot, Orange Marmalade, and August Moon hostas. This photo was taken from the bath in the master bedroom.
Now this is where I need everyones help. The large hosta garden has a name and I really don't want the smaller........."though not any less important"...... garden to get a complex. So I need suggestions for a name. Something that either goes with the Hosta la Vista or the Gear Acres theme. If I use your suggestion I'll send you a hosta plant for your garden. So everyone, put on your thinking caps!!!!!

Hasta la!!!!!!

Also does anyone know which case is correct, upper or lower??? Is it La or la?

Update.....rock moving has come to a halt!!!!!! Seems Roger has this weekend off so he is going racing if he can get the car ready and scaled by Saturday. This will be his first outing this year in the Mod. Below is the only photo I have on my flash drive of Roger in a Mod. Roger is in the black mod on the bottom and Gavin is in the white mod on the top. Sorry about the poor quality.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tony Stewart and the weather Part II

Both Tony Stewart and the weather are still "hotter than the hubs of hell."

I think we Michiganders have gotten used to less humidity. The last couple of years the humidity rarely gets above 60% and it's usually been staying in the 30 to 40% range. Now I know for you desert people 30-40% is a killer but us Great Lakes people usually have to endure 3 months of sticky weather. So now that we have had to live through a week of not only hot weather but high humidity....well......I just can't take it like I used to!!!!! Yuck, icky, sticky weather. So in a nutshell...not much has happened at "The Gear", workwise that is. Seems lately all I do is water plants. Some are looking rather droopy due to the heat. Relief is in sight. Tomorrow should be very enjoyable, so I should be able to get something accomplished before I go to work. Operative word being "should".

Also a shout out to Tony Stewart who won at Watkins Glen on Sunday. Smoke is HOT, HOT, SMOKING!!!!

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on our plan for the northwest corner of the front yard and why this boulder is sitting in the driveway with a strap around it.

I just realized, after looking at the above photo, that the vegetation growing in the cracks of my driveway are greener than my lawn. Go figure.

Also, I have no idea why my paragraphs either have large spaces between them or none at all. It appears just fine in my drafts, but when I publish's different. The paragraph gods are not being kind to me at all. But just in case a former English teacher or professor reads this...I swear I'm doing it's the computer's fault...I swear. Has absolutely nothing to do with the idiot running the keyboard.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tony Stewart and the weather........

What do Tony Stewart and the weather have in common???????

They are both currently "Hotter than the hubs of hell!!"

There is absolutely no way we can work on "The Gear" in this weather. The weatherman is forecasting 98 degrees tomorrow. So tomorrow will consist of watering plants, fruit trees, and pretending the house is dark grey.

Sunday I plan on power washing the house to remove any loose paint and hopefully loosen the little bit of paint that is actually stuck!!! I know....I're not suppose to power wash wooden shingles. Normally I wouldn't, but these are not in the best of shape and are slated for R & R. Not "rest and recreation" but "removal and replacing". The plan is to replace one side of the house each year, starting in the back. Hopefully by the time I get to the front, I will be shingling like a pro. The shingling that my Dad and I did last summer actually came out really well and that was using old shingles.

I was reading somewhere, i.e. Internet, magazine etc. that using rocks in your landscape as mulch was not exactly a good idea because it warms the soil too much. Well ......not so. I have part of my front bed covered in rocks so far. I have two clumps of coneflowers, one is surrounded by rocks and the other isn't. Which one do you think was dried out and which one was still perky??? That's right guess it, the one surrounded by rocks was perky. As far as the soil being too warm due to the rocks.......I doubt if it will ever get any warmer than it is today. I actually think the rocks keep the moisture in the ground and act as insulation. Sure the top of the rock is "hotter than the hubs of hell!!!" I like that saying!!! But if you pick up the rock and feel the bottom of it, it is cool to the touch. Of course not as cold as a "witch's t*t in a brass bra" but it is cooler than the air temp. I like that saying too!!!

Speaking of "hotter than the hubs of hell", Tony Stewart is on fire. He's now won 2 in a row. In an earlier post I wrote about kissing the bricks at Indy. I included a photo of Jimmy Johnson kissing the bricks. Well as you know......or maybe you don't......Jimmy Johnson is sponsored by "Lowe's" and Tony Stewart is sponsored by "Home Depot". Several of my friends questioned my choice of including Jimmy Johnson's photo. I'll admit I was lazy and that was the first photo I found of someone kissing the bricks, so I used it. So without further is Tony Stewart aka "Smoke" kissing the bricks at the brickyard.

Smoke and the rest of the Home Depot crew climbing the fence at "The Brickyard".

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Tony was fined $25,000 dollars for using a "bad" word in his interview with ESPN. 25,000 smackers...holy know what I could do with $25,000...let me see. I could hire someone to paint my house or I could hire someone to re shingle my house. I love that line in the movie, Exit to Eden , where Rosie O'Donnell's character says, "You want to do something nice for me? Paint my house." I digress.......The reason Tony said what he said was because....It was "hotter than the hubs of hell"!!!! he swore.....whoopee...he's sponsored by a home improvement store and anyone that has undertaken some sort of home improvement has swore at one time or another. Damn it!!!

Racing news on the home front......Gavin, in only his second outing in a midget, qualified 5th, placed 4th in his heat race, and finished 7th in the feature. Plus, he was named "Hard Charger" of the race for passing the most cars!!! Good job Gavin. Here's a photo of Gavin.

Here is the lovely Barbara pushing Gavin out onto the track for the feature. Good job Barbara!!!!