Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I bragged that the watch that went through the washing machine was still keeping time just fine on Monday. Unfortunately, inside the crystal a bit of trim (or maybe sealant) had broken loose, and was curling away from the edge. That didn't hurt because it was close to the edge of the face. Last night at about 10:30 the minute hand hit the end of the trim and quit going forward. You can see the second hand quiver, once per second, but the hands don't move. The local jeweler once told me that he doesn't work on Timex watches, but he does change batteries (which is where this watch got the ones it was/is using).
I dug the old Timex out of a drawer, took it to the jeweler, and for $8.56 I am back in business. The other watch is now hazardous waste.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I got up at six this morning and took a book back to the library. I left at 6:15 and was back by 7:26 and did 3 and a quarter miles. Then I had a shower and shaved, fed the dogs, read the paper, and went to the morning AARP training session at Daddy's Grill. Had lunch there, then came home and spent an hour and 25 minutes digging out sand burrs and picking peaches.
For you northern residents, a sand burr is a pioneer plant that can grow anywhere, even in straight sand. It is a southern plant, and a close cousin of Bermuda Grass, which is touted at the "Southern" grass - maybe because the birds spread it anywhere and it grows with 2/3 the water of St. Augustine grass. The only thing wrong with sand burrs is that they grow anywhere and spread by making clumps, sending out underground runners that send up new shoots every few inches, and putting out dozens of burrs from each little plant. There are from one to three seeds in each burr, and the burrs are the problem. They are only about 3/16th of an inch around, but the spines are so sticky that you can't pick a fresh one off, because every time it touches your skin it sticks to it, and just a little pressure makes it hurt a lot.
Once they are in the ground, the seeds are viable for up to seven years, so you can't just kill the plants you see and be in good shape. It takes a continuing effort for years, using pre-emergent herbicides and digging out the ones that come up anyway. When I started, three years ago, I dug a full grocery bag packed full of the plants out of our back yard every day for most of the winter. There were a lot of roots that were the size of my little finger, and they had been there for a long time. It was easier last year, but they kept coming up all summer long, and it is some easier again this year, but you never seem to get them all. At least I only need to dig out a bag every few weeks, instead of every day.
Anyhow, while I was digging sand burrs, I noticed that a peach had fallen off the tree, and it didn't show any damage. I took it in to the BW, and then noticed another four on the ground under the tree. They had all been attacked by the bugs on the ground, with big areas eaten away, so I figured it was time to start harvesting. I threw the downed peaches in the bucket with the weeds and finished, then I went out and pulled off all the peaches I could find that weren't firmly attached. I got 41 nice peaches, and scalded and peeled five of them for supper. They were magnificent. I can't remember the last time I had a tree ripened peach. Last year I didn't spray the tree with anything, and while I was waiting for the peaches to get ripe, the bugs and birds ate them all. This year, I bought some Sevin and sprayed that tree, just once. Now I have more peaches than I know what to do with, and a whole lot more on the tree.
I went out to try to take a picture of the peaches on the tree, but none of the shots really showed them. I did crop one picture so you can see a few of the leftover peaches. They look ripe, but they're hard a rocks. That may change in a day or so, so I have to check the tree over often now.
This is the tree with the leftovers.
This is the 41 peaches on the counter, after they were washed.
And, by the way, that Muscadine vine grew another two or three inches in three days.
Cropped so you can see better.
Monday, May 09, 2011
When I was in my 30's, the strap on my watch started making my wrist break out. I tried different types of bands - leather, plastic, and metal, and every time I didn't wear a watch at all for a while, then switched material it was fine for a couple of weeks, but then my wrist would break out again.
I had a gold pocket watch that used to belong to my grandfather and carried it in high school, but every time I dropped it I had to pay for a new balance wheel because the balance wheel shaft was about the size of one of my hairs. Then, when I graduated high school I got a Bulova wrist watch and was like everyone else. That lasted for 12 to 15 years, but then I had problems with the band. I finally just took one half of the band off and carried the watch in my pocket. After a while the ears on the watch started digging holes in my pockets so I used a file and removed the ears from the half missing the band.
That worked for a few years, but finally the watch gave out and I bought a Mickey Mouse pocket watch, which was great for a long time. It was a conversation piece when some high-level executive pulled out his several-thousand dollar watch to compare after I looked at my watch, and I had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, after eight or nine years I lost the watch. When I tried to buy a new one, the only Mickey Mouse pocket watch I could find had a cover, and you had to open the cover to see what time it was. I carried it for a few months, and finally stored it in a drawer. I saw it recently, so I still have it but I'm not exactly sure where.
After that I found a nice pocket watch the right size in Walmart, and bought that. It lasted me into retirement, but I finally lost it so I went back to Walmart. This time they didn't have any small pocket watches so I bought one that was about the same size as Grandpa's, but it is stainless steel instead of gold, and it runs on batteries instead of a spring. I bought this watch during retirement (some time in the last 18 1/2 years) and it's in my pocket now. I also found the one I lost, buried in a truck, so I'm covered if the one I have gives out.
Unfortunately, last week I looked for my watch and couldn't find it anywhere. I buy jeans and jean shorts now because they have watch pockets (if you're careful which ones you buy) and I had just washed all three pairs of jean shorts. I had washed them in cold water on the heavy duty cycle for extra time because of blood stains on two pairs of jeans and one shirt (the stains all disappeared) and run the clothes in the dryer before I missed the watch, so I ran out and looked in the dryer. Nothing. Then I looked in the washing machine, and there was the watch half way under the agitator. It was still running, so I put it back in my pocket.
A couple of days later I looked at the watch and the clock on the wall, and they were about five minutes apart - in fact, the watch didn't agree with any of the clocks around here and it was at least four minutes slow. I was distressed for a bit, thinking I needed to get another watch working, and then I set it a minute ahead (with the stem out) of one of the little battery powered digital alarm clocks, waited until the clock changed minutes, and clicked the stem in, starting the watch. That was seven days ago. I just checked the watch against the clock again, and I'm sure they are within one second of both showing the same time, just as they were last week.
Timex used to have a slogan - "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking." They don't tick any more, but my Timex did take a licking and it's still keeping time.
PS - sorry about the length of this blog.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
I took the dogs for a walk this morning, starting at 7:00, and it was wonderful. The temperature was 61, which is pretty good for a walker. I read that 55 is the best temperature for runners - they don't make as good a time if the temperature is either above or below, but 61 seemed just fine to me. It was light, but the sun either wasn't up yet or was behind the trees, and there wasn't a cloud anywhere that I could see. We went 2.4 miles by my pedometer, and the sun was far enough up to catch us before we got home. I did work up a little sweat, but the dogs were still frisky.
Yesterday we were lucky because, in the afternoon, we had a long slow rain that left a half inch in our rain gauge. Too often we get a 30 minute thunderstorm that leaves two inches of water running down the street, taking a lot of sand (from our lot) with it. This left the water in the ground where it really belongs.
This morning the BW wanted to find the secret shoe store which is in front of Costco, so I drove her down to Clearwater. We did find the Sketchers outlet store, and I looked at shoes too but didn't try any of them on. None of the shoes have a width measurement so I assumed that they were all too narrow for me. She, however, kept digging and trying on shoes and finally found two pairs that satisfied her demands and also fit. It was a triumph because they had a "second pair half price" sale, and the final cost was only $40 for two pairs of nice shoes. Unfortunately, I have all the shoes I need, and when I do need some new ones I want only ones that fit properly, which means not the cheap ones.
Since we were there, I wanted some more gum, so we went into Costco. We left with gum, mango salsa, watermelon, frozen strawberries and frozen mixed berries, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and organic peanut butter, all in the large economy size. It's dangerous to wander the aisles without a shopping list, but we will use all that stuff. I store the peanut better in the fridge and the nuts in the freezer, except for small lots that we keep out for daily use.
We had watermelon for lunch, which was just fine because it was a great watermelon. Now the BW is sound asleep on the couch, and I'm thinking about what to do next.
I did take another picture of the nearest muscadine vine - it is still acting like Jack and the Beanstalk's vine. You can see how far it has moved up since the last picture by comparing the vine to the 4 by 4. It was just at the wire last time.
Friday, May 06, 2011
I rolled out at 6:00 this morning, fed the dogs, made breakfast, and read the paper. Then I started cutting grass at 7:00. There was a 50 per cent chance of rain, but the grass was perfectly dry Ė no dew Ė and it was cool. I didnít stop to dig up sand burrs, and there were a few out there, but I still didnít finish until 8:47. I think all the things I have to mow around and the separated areas make it take longer than it should. The grass didn't look bad when I started, but it did look a lot better when I was done.
After I had a shower and shaved and put on clean clothes, I picked up Jack for lunch. We went to Snookerís for Amber Bocks and sandwiches. He had pulled pork, and I had a chicken burrito. It was way too much lunch but I ate it all anyhow. I should have ordered the rice and beans, but I didnít see that until too late Ė the Chicken Burrito was on a blackboard as the special for yesterday (Cinco de Mayo) and it reminded me of Ray and Cecelia and the wonderful burritos we got in southern California.
Later I went down to the church and checked out standing on the platform scale in my bare feet to see if I could accidentally make the scale weigh lighter by wrapping my big toe over the edge. You have to stand unnaturally close to the balance beam, wrap your toe way down, and push hard to affect the scale. Iím still thinking about it, but it seems at least very unlikely anyone could do that by accident, even if their feet are numb. Itís especially unlikely that it would happen every Thursday for five weeks until I figured out what was wrong with the scale. Itís probably not totally impossible that this was an accident, but I wouldnít bet anything that it was.
Then I took care of some more Kiwanis stuff and did today's Sparks People. In another hour or so we will have supper.
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