Saturday, October 31, 2009

Project Yard Work

It's amazing, but the major portion of my yard plan is finished. The rocks in the front yard are just the way I want them. This includes a huge rock I actually purchased. It called to me as soon as I drove into the rock shop, and I tried to ignore it. But it came home to our house. I think DH even likes it. Pics soon.

And today I put the last, I hope, of the rocks/border around the back basement window. With those 2 projects, it just a matter of keeping things under control for now. I've pretty much given up thinking that the area under our deck will ever look nice or be "landscaped" so I'm content now.

Whew. Content and tired!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Glowing October Days

The colors of the trees this year has been simply indescribable. The closest thing I can say is they glow this year. You just need to be here to believe it. I've taken several pictures, but they don't capture the feeling that comes over me when I'm out walking the woods. And since we've had very little sun, I haven't yet figured out why the trees are glowing! Very, very cool fall show.

Along those lines, there are very few pine cones and acorns on the ground. Last year when we walked the path in the back woods, it was like walking on ball bearings. And every morning when we came out, the yard was covered with cones from our white pines, no matter how many we picked up the night before. DH figures that the year before last the trees must have been stressed. The good news from that was the finches were here in record numbers. I suspect we won't see many crossbills and such this year.

I went berserk and bought some more rocks. This morning I loaded up 500 lbs of field stone into my car, then drove home and unloaded the things. I also shoveled the last of the river rock into the cart on the mower, so I can get those placed around the window well in the back. I spent several hours a couple of days ago beating back the weeds in my "back yard." This is barely more than a ribbon of grass around the back deck, but dang it! I want it to be a ribbon of domesticated, well behaved grass. The environmentalist in me is rather disgusted with the home owner in me that wants said ribbon of grass. We've got 3+ acres here, and most of it remains in it's natural state and I love that. But we have to grow domesticated, well behaved grass over the leach field, which takes up our whole front yard. And when one has grass growing, it needs to be cleared of the leaves in the fall, or it will cease to be well behaved grass. I bought a leaf sweeper that goes on the back of the mower, so DD can cruise around and sweep leaves to his little heart's content. And again the "green me" is yelling at the homeowner me about using so much gasoline to get rid of leaves. I guess October is just going to remain a month of my internal selves yelling at each other.

And homeowner me would dearly love for the spiders to either move back to the trees or at least stop pooping all over my porch. Can't a girl have a little space to herself that doesn't need to be cleaned all the time!!!!!! Is that asking too much?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Random Thoughts, October Style, au deaux

I didn't get to my Nevada Barr book yet. I just know I won't put it down once I start, so I'm waiting for that perfect moment to curl up in my Big, Comfy Chair and read for hours.

The autism book addresses issues for younger children. And yes, we've done everything suggested. And the kids still have autism. Oh, yeah, they always will, damn. Now I need an encouraging book about young adults with autism.

Speaking of which, DD went to the Homecoming dance last night. He took his friend Allie, who has Down Syndrome. They've been buddies since they were 3 years old. It was a nice chance for them to do the other stuff that HS kids do. Fortunately, since I drove, they didn't go parking after wards. And boy oh boy, were the girls dressed up! Holy cow! My mom had a hard time getting us to dress up as teens, because it was going out of style--now it's back big time! Sheesh!

And a special shout out to Ranger Pi, who is now a travel writer in Quito, Ecuador. It's a dang shame that NPS lost this guy--we need more Ranger Pi's!!!!! Since Pi's a writer, his blog promises to be wonderful. Here 'tis: Adios!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Thoughts, October Style

Being back in Ohio means my mind simply isn't engaged enough. When I'm working out west, I barely have time for an original thought, much less totally useless thoughts. So here's this month's quick thoughts--though not the totally useless ones. I'll post those later.

1. Congrats to Raptor Ranger Lora of Acadia! She's pulled a perm job with FWS in CA, doing bird things! She's a great ranger and NPS will miss her! Another case of another agency getting really good staff from us.

2. Meringue is fun to make. But I should have timed this batch for a day that didn't rain and rain and rain! The humidity really does make a difference.

3. Oak Openings is one of the most beautiful places in the world in Autumn. I'll try to get some pics posted, but they don't do justice to the scene. It's as if we become part of the colors somehow. Even today, with rain and gray, gray skies, the trees are breathtaking. This is what I miss when I'm out west. In YNP, we talk about the beautiful aspens turning yellow. That ain't nuthin' folks! And New Englanders boast about their neck of the woods. Nope, again, the show there doesn't even come close the the show here. Y'all come visit.

4. Why, you ask, am I making meringues? Well, if Shannon doesn't need/want them for her wedding reception, I'll use them for Turkey Day and Christmas celebrations. They freeze wonderfully. And homemade ones can't be beat (no pun intended). I made coffee liqueur and amaretto ones this time around.

5. I'm back to around 50% thinking about opening our home for the Whitehouse Library Christmas Tour. If we can find 2 more houses closer to town, that would be better. We have 4 beautiful homes already.

6. I actually finally bought a book about autism. This is an exercise in telling myself that I've been right all along in how I've managed our lives for the past 18 years. And as it is with any child, the next 40 years are the scary ones. . .

7. Also bought new Nevada Barr book. This one is her third book that doesn't have Ranger Anna Pigeon in it. The first one was a "Gothic frontier western lesbian romance." Not a huge audience for that, as she points out. The other was a non-fiction work about her budding interest in religion, a very nice journey. DH is gone right now, so I can stay up all night and read the new book. Should be pretty scary-- and tonight really is a dark and stormy night. . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Housing Projects

When I'm out west, I miss that there are no house projects which need our attention--sort of. . . The apartment is small, which means no intense cleaning needed, but it's also pretty sterile. When I get home, I'm overwhelmed that there are so many projects that need my attention--sort of. . . I'm hoping that when the basement is finished (the end is almost in sight), that I can start indulging in more fun stuff--like taking a hike without being overcome with that old Protestant Work Ethic thing. All summer long, I tell folks that they should go sit on a rock and do nothing, but I fail to follow my own advice. I'm thinking of making myself take a walk in the woods every Wednesday. Check in with me to see if I do it. Maybe I just need peer pressure to do it!

I'd also like to get back to my sewing projects. It's good therapy for me. I used to say it was cheaper than therapy, but if I actually get my crafty corner fixed up in the basement, it could get costly again. I'll have room for my material stash, and all of you crafters know how dangerous that can be.

So today's project is to stain the front deck. DH did one section last May before he came out west, so it looks, once again, like poor white trash abide here. The new roof looks great, and the downspouts work, except that there are "splash guards" at the corners. They've turned into leaf catchers, so I called the company yesterday and asked them to come out and remove them. We did get the new door put in, complete with the electronic lock. Email me for your own private code number!

And I got one of the 1 1/2 tons of river rock moved. I have a plan for the rest of it, but I've got to get that stain on before the rains come again. Bring your paintbrush and come on over!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life on the Big Sandy

One of the downsides of living on a huge sand dune is well. . . . I miss rocks. Really. I have a thing for rocks--river rocks, granite, scoria, rhyolitic, knife river flint, petrified rock, you name it, I miss rocks. So yesterday, I bought another couple of tons of rock. 1.5 tons of it is river rock, the rest is field stone. And when one buys rock around here, one will be shoveling rock for week. Dang. At least I've finally got a plan for how I want the "foundation" plantings around the house to look. The bad news is that there's a lot more (expensive) rock in my future. And surprise surprise, no one wants to come over and help me shovel it. Humph.

Upcoming events include Shay's arrival from Texas and her wedding shower Sunday afternoon. Wedding is in 2 weeks. It'll be a nice family affair at the Lodge. DH and I had our reception there (along with several other fun parties) and K8 got married there also. It'll be loverly! Another fun thing to add to our list of fun November things.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Old School Rangers

Thank goodness for old school rangers. We had our monthly luncheon today with retirees from DH's Park District. It's nice to share some of the old stories, but most importantly, we all see the need to make changes in order to serve now. Since the moron who was the last director of the district finally left (YEA!) the new director has recognized that institutional memory is a good thing. He knows that we can't go back to the old ways, but understands that there are many, many parts of the old ways that are good and should be re-incorporated into the goals of the district today.

So lift one for the old guys and gals, and wish success to new rangers. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sons and New Technology

My older son, FTD, purchased a new laptop computer this afternoon with money he earned from his summer job. What a step in growth--sort of. His primary use for it is to watch pokemon shows and upload game cheats. Okay, so he's not going off to college to earn his way in the world. But he did use good consumer skills to pick this thing out. That's an achievement right there. I'll take this as one of life's bigger successes for him--even though right now he's sitting next to me watching an incredibly dumb and inane show called Dragonball.

The boys are re-registered for school. What a gigantic pain in the seat. After the gracious and thoughtful welcome we received at West Yellowstone, the beating we took at AW was ridiculous. We had to prove we actually live in the district--where we've owned a home and/or other property for 30 years. We were told we had to produce 2 utility bills to prove we live here. Not our IDs, not our pay stubs showing where our money is sent (including the one the school district sends to DH to work for them), not even the public online records showing what we own and how much we pay in SCHOOL TAXES, but 2 utility bills. I said (very loudly and adamantly, I must say) no way. What a load of crap. At West and in Medora I just had to say, I work here. "Okay, when can the kids start and how long can you stay with us?" was the reply. Upon reaching the HS today (after last week's scene at the Board Office--they won't forget me anytime soon--we had to go through the whole rigmarole to pick classes again. FTD actually perked up at one science class that is offered. When his special ed teacher came in, she threw every wet blanket she could think of at him. No wonder he pretty much hates school. I'm really surprised that he chose to go back to AW instead of the vocational HS. He'll go there next year.

And the final upshot regarding his schedule is that he'll exercise his Senior option which is to skip 2 class periods a day. He'll skip 1st and 2nd. Except for the fact that I'll have to drive him in every day, this will work better around here. DD will get up and go, and FTD can get up in his super-slo-mo fashion. DD will be getting on the bus at 6:35, and I'll leave home with FTD at 9. That will give me a reason to get up and moving, too.

Nobody ever said life would be easy, but it shouldn't be spent on inane things like we did for the past several days. And yep, this this boondoggle won't stop me from moving back west next summer. . . I hope.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cleaning Time Again

For a house that hasn't been fully lived in for nearly 3 months the place is a mess. Yep, there were dirty clothes and linens to be washed (even tho DH said he did them all), and little annoying stuff had to be done--like put the dish ware back where it belongs, ditch the 4 month old food in the 'fridge and so on. But alas, I repeat myself.

So yesterday and today was work on basement and outside day. I could barely move when I went to bed last night. But my alleged flower beds are weeded, some of the pine needles are raked up, and most of the camp boxes are back where they spend the winter. Well, all but DH and FTD's boxes--they are definitely cut from the same cloth--both oblivious slobs. Ah, well. . . .

And I know why 'taupe' is such a popular color for houses--it's the same color as fly and spider poop. Dang for such little critters they sure can pile it up!! And why oh why do they have to use my front porch when there's 4000 acres of real honest to goodness woods out there!?!?!?

I'm also trying to get caught up on upcoming projects--basement of course, and the Whitehouse Holiday Home Tour scheduled for Dec. 13 this year. If my next door neighbor opens her home for the tour, I'll do ours also. That means I have to get rid of my entire family for a week, so that could be tricky. We'll see. Last year's event was terrific. Good fundraiser for the local library.

So back to the yard--I sure know why condos are sooooo appealing! The downside would be having to share the view from my front porch. . . hm m m m .....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Home Again, Home Again. . . and exhausted

We've arrived "safe-home" once again. And as usual, I'm whipped. DH said last June before he left for Wyoming that the laundry was all done, etc.. When I got home yesterday, I realized that his idea of "laundry all done" and mine don't match. So not only did I have 5 days worth of traveling clothes to wash, there were several baskets of last spring's laundry also. Yuck.

Each summer someone different has lived in our Ohio house. And each year I come home and can't find stuff. The most annoying part is that the kitchen stuff always gets moved around. This summer wasn't the worst, but it's still a pain.

The good news is that the basement floor is done--including being stained. It's just the way I wanted it, which was tricky since I ordered it via email and phone conversations from 1700 miles away! The down side is that the basement didn't get aired out, so last night we had to turn off the heat and open the windows. Even though it's in the upper 50s, it feels much much colder than the 50s we're used to out west. It rained a long time yesterday, and then the wind blew and blew all night. There's several sassafras branches rubbing the roof, so all night I was either awake and cold or awake and wondering what was making all that racket. DH got several of the branches cut off this afternoon, but there's still one that he can't reach. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep tonight.

Other news is that the TVs are on the fritz, so no boob tube again tonight. I'm so tired that I just want to completely veg out in front of completely useless, inane tv shows for the evening. Dang.

Later on, I'll write about our trip home--very different from our unusual trips. And speaking of which: DO NOT drive Rt. 287 south of the park this winter!!!!!!! We were in 4-5 inches of mud for miles and miles!!! What a mess! I'm thinking it was beautiful scenery, but since I couldn't take my eyes off the road, er ditch we were in, I'm not sure. Pictures to follow.

But for now, the pumpkin pie is done, and the big, fat roasting chicken is in the oven, so all is calm. Ah, dinner at home, with room for all 4 of us to sit down and eat together at one table. Sweet.