Friday, March 11, 2011
Wednesday I went down to the Chamber of Commerce to find out where and when the Citrus Festival signs would be ready for the Kiwanis to put up. The first thing I had to do was wait a half hour until someone could talk to me, then wait another 10 minutes while they tried to figure out where they wanted them. Then they gave me 16 signs and five large banners that they wanted up. I was having a hard time understanding their directions because I know the directions of the compass but not the directions they were giving me, so I waited while they figured out where, in compass directions, they wanted the things placed, and which direction they should face. By the time I finished the 16 signs it was 2PM (four hours after I started) and I took a lunch break at home before tackling the banners. Fortunately Dan called me there and asked me to wait for him - he had stopped by the Chamber but wasn't ready until after three, so I waited in a recliner, because I was shot.
Dan and I managed to get four and a half banners up, using all the line the Chamber gave me, and all the rope I had at home. By then it was nearly six and I was totally done for the day. I did go out after supper and buy another package of clothesline braided rope to finish the last banner.
Yesterday it was raining really hard in the early morning, but it quit, and I took the BW with me to finish the last banner. She held the middle up while I wrapped the line around a post twice before pulling the line as tight as I could. The clothesline stretches, so you need to get it tight, and then I wrapped the end over the line twice to get the knot tight for the first knot.
After that we went back to the fourth banner, which was a mess because we were running out of line and one corner had the grommet ripped out. I put four layers of duct tape on both sides of the bad corner, embedded a strand of rope in the corner for strength, and then cut a hole with my trusty Swiss Army knife. Then we moved it farther back from the intersection so there were places to tie the top corners and middle of the banner. It looks great now.
Today I went for a nuclear stress test, which took from 7:45 to 10:00, then rushed over to the Citrus Festival and helped make pancakes and clean up. Then I brought all the pans, bowls, and utensils home to wash for use tomorrow. I'll be back there at 7:15 tomorrow, and maybe again Sunday. It was a fairly long day and I found out that the Chamber expects us to recover all the signs and banners for them Sunday or Monday. I'm not sure about it - I guess I can, but the BW has a big shopping list and I promised to go shopping for house stuff Monday. I also got a call from a doctor who reads the before and after pictures who says I look worse this time than the last test, so I may have a fight with the cardiologist next week.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
We had Shepherds for 30 years - went through five of them. I gave the first one away after a couple of years, and neither he nor our first bitch was a good example of the breed standard even though the bitch did win a puppy show. That got us out of the dog show business because the other owners had nothing encouraging or friendly to say. If it's going to be cutthroat, it's no fun.
The last three were near perfect, and the last one was perfect, but they didn't last all that long.
After the last one (Willy, for Wilahamina) died, we didn't have a dog for a couple of years, and then I retired. Pretty soon the BW was mooning over every dog she saw - even every scrawny cringing mongeral she was in Mexico, but I refused to adopt a dog in Mexico.
We were out on our bikes in Yakima, and the trail passed the combined SPCA and Pound. She went in and asked for a small dog (since we were living in a 27 foot long trailer). After a couple of rejections, one guy remembered "That Scottie" on the back wall. They brought out this sad little dog, who weighed 8 pounds, and since he did come to her when she called him I suggested she put some money down on him. He has Schnauzer ears and a tail. He was also in day five of a six day stay, and looking at a vacuum the next day, so she did pay $30 for the dog. He cried when they put him back in a cage, and the attendant said "Don't cry little fella - you're going home today." That did it for the BW - we turned around and went home to get the van right then.
As soon as we got him into the van, he came to life and was barking like crazy at every dog he saw with a terrible shrill bark. Since I let her keep him, the BW let me name him, and because of his attitude I called him Dirty Harry. That turned into Harry in short order.
As near as anyone could figure, Harry was half Miniature Schnauzer and half Miniature Poodle. The had Schnauzer ears and stance but a Poodle coat - silky and thick. People would pet him and remark "Oh - he's silky!" because he looked like a Schnauzer but was something else. I used to tell people he was an Irvington Terrier, and it made everyone happy. He grew up to be a 14 pound dog and a real lover. He also lasted 14 years and had a personality and expressiveness that was amazing to a lot of visitors. He would do almost anything I asked him to do. He could also disappear in a travel trailer, and we couldn't figure out how he did it. Annie's shepherd took up the whole couch, and you never had to wonder where Fuzzy was.
The shepherds, after six years living with us, seemed to understand about as much English as a six year old human. Harry wasn't quite that fast, but nearly so.
Because the Shepherds didn't last too long, when Harry was about six or seven the BW started wanting a replacement dog, and she finally got a "Schnoodle" called Gracie with ears and a tail. It was the third litter by the same breeder, who finally left a litter natural.
So we had two dogs, and when it got cold Harry would shiver. In spite of his fur, his surface to volume ratio was way too high. I have seen Chiuauas shivering away on a hot summer day, but they can be so small that anything less than body temperature makes them suffer.
When it was cold we had a sweater for Harry, and later we leaned to cut off a sweatshirt sleeve, cut arm holes and slit the belly, and make a sweatshirt for him. He didn't mind a bit, and was perfectly happy wearing a coat.
After Harry died, the BW went crazy, and within a couple of weeks she had located a breeder of miniature Schnauzers with a litter due, cut a deal, and paid for a puppy in advance to be sure she got one with a tail. The standard for the breed is that the tails MAY be docked, but in the US every breeder has it done at the age of three days. It's a major operation for a grown dog (costs about $600) but for a new puppy it's minor.
Ralphy, Harry's second replacement, is a 14 pound dog too, and he sometimes gets a shivering fit - not often, but in the winter here it gets cold enough to bother him. We bought him a sweater, but every time we put it on him he would go crazy - run around in circles as if he were chasing his tail. We finally figured out that the hard sweater was catching the guard hairs in his coat and pulling the hair. I cut up an old sweatshirt of mine, put the sleeve on him. and he tolerates it just fine. He isn't sick - he is just small. The people who claim that anything with fur shouldn't have a covering never had to live with a small inside dog. They do get cold, and you feel really bad when they're shivering hard.
Monday, March 07, 2011
The mirror frame hides the bottom edge where the silver has flaked off on the bottom fourth to half an inch, but the glass is so thick that you can see the back of the frame in the mirror. I guess you can't have everything. There is another mirror hanging on the wall, and when I look close I can see a gap between the frame and the back of the mirror, but it is very small. The mirror must be single strength glass, or even specially thin. The dark patches are three mirrors reflecting me taking the pictures. I have lived here for seven years, but I never noticed before that you can see a prefect left profile in the door mirror if you open the door all the way, and a right profile of half of your head in the big mirror if you hold the open door just right - which is what happened when I took the picture. It just goes to show that you are blind to things that you don't know, even when they are staring you in the face.
The BW likes the frame a lot, so I guess it was worth the effort. Here's the picture.
I also have a couple of pictures that show how I braced the end posts of the trellis, and control the tension on the grape wires, and then how the ropes are rigged to train the vines vertically. Here they are.
You can see how I ran all three wires through to top hole - first the support wire, then the brace wire for the first end, and then how I wrapped the wire all the way around the post before running the other end through the 5/8 inch hole.
And this shows the ropes in place of the treated poles. This arrangement keeps the leeching chemicals away from the plants, will support the climbing vines, and is all that is needed to train the to grow straight up.
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Today was partly sunny but had a lot of cloud cover, and is overcast now. I took some pictures, but it was hard because when the sun is shining and behind me, I can't see what the camera is going to capture. The Meyer lemon tree is completely covered in buds and blossoms now, and I counted 16 buds and blooms on the Eureka lemon, which I just planted. They are both everbearing, like the lime tree, so we should have all the lemons and limes we can use this summer. There is even the first blossom on the pink grapefruit tree, so I think spring is starting. The peach tree is covered with peaches again, and I'm glad I pruned it back. I also trimmed a couple of low branches off the Meyer lemon and the lime tree yesterday.
There was a broken picket on Rob's fence and the BW was worried that one of the dogs would try to dig out, so I put up another picket to keep our yards separate. That makes the fourth one, but I got smarter - I was able to pound it down into the ground about three inches so it matches the old ones in the fence. Then I pulled the screws out of the other three new ones and pounded them into the sand too before I put the screws back. Then I went along and found about 20 more pickets that were still standing up, but had nails rusted off and were very loose with no top connection to the fence, and put a primed screw in each one at the top.
After that I cut the blocks from a 2 by 4 and used poster putty to put the mirror frame up. It made the BW very happy, she loves the frame, but the mirror got five inches shorter in both length and width.
After that I used a sledge hammer to knock the broken support staff back and forth until I could get it out of the ground. It was broken off about five inches above the ground, but it was sunk in 18 inches, and I couldn't move it with my bare hands. Then I went to Ace Hardware and bought 50 feet of quarter inch rope. I drilled three eights inch holes in the four marker stakes, cut and sealed four pieces of rope, and tied a not in one end of each, threaded them through the holes, and tied them to the top wire with a tent rope knot so I could tighten them up if necessary.
I took pictures today. Here they are.
Meyer Lemon Tree Today
Eureka Lemon Tree
Meyer Lemon Tree cropped to show buds
Peach Tree today cropped to show peaches (but I counted five after I blew it up and looked. The tree is full of peaches.
And I forgot to take a picture of the mirror frame. That gives me something to do for tomorrow.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
I groomed the dog today (gave Gracie a haircut) and skipped Ralphy because the BW didn't think he needed it. Gracie almost didn't look like a dog - more like a walking pile of fur. It was about two inches long and fluffy, so her legs looked like they were almost touching each other and her tail was a joke. After I took it down to about a half inch and skinned her feet with a trim clipper, she looked like a different dog. Ralphy has shivering fits from time to time and jumps up in my lap to get warm, and his coat is thinner and a lot shorter - maybe an inch for the guard hairs, and not so much undercoat. It's warmer, but he has shivering fits at 74 degrees, so he can go a while longer.
Then I sunk an anchor in and put a brace on the east end of the grape trellis and finally got back to the mirror frame. I had painted it again, and let it cure for a few more days. Today I laid out the placement for all the velcro strips, sanded the back of the frame with 600 grit paper to get it nice and smooth, cut up the strips, and stuck them on the frame and mirror. Because everything is laid out so the frame will overlap an eighth of an inch on the bottom and three eights of an inch on the top, the last step is to cut two blocks, one two and a half inches high and one two and three eights high, both. They have to be at least three quarters of an inch thick because when we stick it up I don't think we will be able to get it off easily, so it needs to be placed precisely, and the only way I can think of to guarantee that is to rest it on a solid surface at the right height, then slide it in, with the bottom touching first. I need to coach the BW a couple of times before we do the deed, but everything should fit. The velcro adhesive achieves full strength after 24 hours, so we are waiting one more day before the big event. It is surprising how long it takes to turn out a simple frame, but I have plenty of time.
The Shrimp Creole turned out great today. I thawed both containers, got the stuff warm in the microwave, then got it boiling in a sauce pan and let it simmer for 55 minutes. I left the shrimp in while it cooked. It got soupier, and nothing was crunchy. The BW added some ketchup to hers, but she liked it, so it turned out just fine. I guess I have better luck when I just follow my nose and use common sense when it's my turn to cook. I didn't think the time for each step was long enough, but I was following the chef's directions (blindly).
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