The simplest things…

I put a clean towel next to the sink this evening. You remember our house, don’t you? It’s the one that breathes during the winter. Everything in it is also crooked. The windows don’t quite fit, the plumbing works and does not leak, but it looks like it belongs in a Mouse Trap game. Even with all that is wrong with the house, I’m amazed what clean counters and a new dish towel does for it. Maybe I’ve had one too many cocktails, call me simple, whatever, clean counters and a new dish towel makes my day.

House from back yard.

The summer is cruising along. It’s been unseasonably cool and wet this summer. It rained so hard early this morning, I thought the house would be washed off the foundation. I don’t mind, tho. I’m not a hot weather person, unless I can be out in the boat or swimming all afternoon. The kids love the cooler weather. I’m amazed with how much more they play outside, when it’s cool and slightly overcast, then when it’s clear and 85 degrees. When it’s hot, they come in saying “it’s too hot” and plop down on the sofa to watch a video or continue some ongoing project. If I can get them going in the deep shade of our friendly maple tree along the edge of the ravine, they sometime will play when it’s hot, but not often.

Business has really picked up during June, July and this first part of August. V and I really need to watch supplies and materials so we don’t run out. We need to start ordering higher volumes of ingredients, displays, containers, etc, and then order when we are about half-way through them so we can build in some time for shipping and the occasional mis-shipped, or lost items. What would be a fiasco for a large company is usually solved with a quick phone call to a customers about a back ordered item. It’s still a hassle when we don’t have the items to ship. We keep learning, thankfully.

Later, Brad

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Lawn repair, Other yard projects and Weather.

We’ve been busy in the yard lately. The biggest chore, besides the constant attention the vegetable garden needs, is the front lawn. I say lawn, when actually, our yard has never been landscaped. The yard is covered with field grass that has been mowed, but it has never been weeded, fertilized, or had any attention payed to it. Before we bought the house, the front yard had been scraped of briars and weeds, and the offending debris, and top soil, were pushed into the ravine. As a result, we had huge patch of clay where nothing would grow. When we excavated the ponds last fall, I had the silt dumped on the bare patch. The dirt sat there, all winter and early spring until it dried enough to til, spread, level, rake and seed. And now grass has sprouted! I’m hoping to mow for the first time before S’s birthday party in early June.

Backyard panorama.
Backyard panorama. Click for larger view.

We have planted two cherry, two apple, two peach, a pear and six quaking aspen trees. Also, hundreds of other odd flowers, bulbs, plants and shrubs that my sister gave us. I even trenched the middle of our well packed gravel driveway and filled it with topsoil so I can plant it. Not sure what I’ll plant. V has some nifty creeping thyme seed that should work well in that area. Something I won’t have to mow.

We had a nice stretch of weather over the past couple of weeks. The nice weather allowed me to get the “lawn” in shape. And luckily, it rained over the past three days, so the seed got some much needed water. I’m sure I’ll have to water for the next couple of weeks, tho. We even burned a fire to keep the chill off the house. We are due for some partly cloudy weather for the next week or so. That will help the lawn. Better than getting dried out with full sun.

I still need to do some tilling around the yard. We have many areas that are in need of weeding, smoothing and planting. Wildflowers here, clover there, anything that doesn’t need mowing. Let me know what works best for ground cover.

Later, Brad

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Snow?, Old Maple Tree, Follow up

Snow on April 2. It’s been so cold here the past few days, I’m ready to go back to full winter clothing. We had a nice stretch of weather over the past couple of weeks, spring definitely had sprung. We had begun to dress lighter, the girls are in spring dresses, I even wore shorts a week ago. And then this. Snow. 0 centigrade over night. Cold house in the morning. I’m ready for warmer weather.

I cut a big maple tree in the yard the other day. It had not fully leafed for the past two summers. 30% of the branches had leaves on it last summer. A friend dropped in the other day, looked at the maple and said, “it’s dead”. Lots of maples are dying in eastern Lewis county. No one knows why. Could be warming, could be pollution encroachment from the valley, could be anything. When I made the last cut and the tree hit the lawn, it shattered into thousands of pieces. Much of the wood was past dead, and had dried on the limb. The bark fell off main branches, the limbs shattered, there were all sorts of bugs in the canopy. I cut the tree about 15′ up in hopes of sprouting new shoots. My friend says it won’t sprout. We’ll see.

I did the last of the follow up from the trade show last night. A few days after the show I sent everyone a quick email “thank you” and yesterday, I sent a post card. I love visiting with customers to answer questions, send samples or brochures, zap email back and forth, etc. Don’t hesitate to write.

Later, Brad

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