Monday, April 24, 2006

What a train wreck of a weekend!

I put my rain barrel on top of some cinder blocks to give it a little elevation, so I'd have a tiny bit of water pressure. Unfortunately, the weight of 55 gallons of water caused the cinder blocks to sink into the mud, which caused the rain barrel to fall over onto my newly planted, six-inch high clumping bamboo. "A pint's a pound the world around," so 55 gallons is... hang on... about 440 lbs. Poor little bamboo.

I got the truck running briefly, but I had to turn it off and it wouldn't start again after that. I think the batteries just need a charge (again) but it's still annoying. I bought a little solar charger that is supposed to deliver a trickle charge to the batteries all day through the cigarette lighter. I don't know if it will be able to keep up with whatever is draining the batteries though. At least it'll help a little, I hope.

I worked on the tractor for a while, with some help from a friend on the opposite side of the planet. I did narrow down the problem, but until the tractor is running, it's hard to feel like I accomplished anything.

Our worms have been trying to mount a daring escape from their bin. Well, at least some of them. We had moved the bin into the kitchen because the garage was getting too cold over the winter. They were out of the way, and it was convenient for adding scraps (though it still didn't keep me from waiting until the "fermented satan" stage from time to time). But when they started climbing out, crawling off the counter, dropping onto the floor, and drying up, something had to change. E5 went on some "rescue missions" to put the worm jerky back in the bin. Actually, that's probably not a bad place for them to go. I don't know if they are overpopulating, if they aren't happy with their environment, if we're not feeding them enough, or if it's just in their nature to explore. Regardless, they're back in the garage for now.

I bought a porch swing. It was a frivolous purchase, but ever since we moved into this house I've wanted one. At our first house, I used to love sitting on the one we had there. I'd had my eye on one, and Sunday I finally brought it home. I put it together, and then got out the stud finder to find where I could hang it. There weren't any beams going perpendicular to the railing, just one running the length of the porch. I didn't want to put the swing facing the railing, but I didn't see a lot of options at that point. So I drilled some holes, put the hooks in and hung it up. It worked ok, but there wasn't a lot of leg room before you ran into the railing. Lori and both kids came over to try it out with me. With all of us sitting on it, we swung about one full arc before the vinyl ceiling material, the beam, the porch swing and all of us hit the deck. Yes, it all came crashing down. So now I have a diagonal porch ceiling that makes it pretty hard to open the front door. And a porch swing that isn't very fun or relaxing.

At least now I can see what's up in there. Maybe we can put in a support beam to mount the swing the other way.

But I did get some more fun plants in the ground: A black currant, a red currant, and a gooseberry. I've never had any of their berries, as far as I can recall. But my new favorite place (a garden center / farmer's market / seed exchange that's not too far away) had them, and I'm a curious guy. I'd considered getting them from my fruit catalog, because they make everything sound good, but these were cheap, they didn't have to be shipped, and they're grown locally. So we'll see how that turns out. I got a few little herbs and stuff too: Lemon balm, sage, one spindly lavendar plant, and some creeping thyme. (See what happens when I read a new book? In this case, it was "The New Healing Herbs" by Michael Castleman. I've never been into the whole herbal medicine thing, but this was really interesting because for each plant, they give some history, what people used to think they did, and what scientific research has shown. They're not all herbs, in the sense we think of them. Just a variety of plants that have been shown to have medicinal benefit.)

At any rate, I should not be allowed in that garden center unattended. I could have gone home with twice as much stuff. My mental checklist of plants, and especially trees, that I have homes for on our property is still pretty long. I still need a couple sycamores, at least one thornless honeylocust, black tupelo, maybe a Kentucky coffeetree, maybe some hybrid poplars, any nut tress I happen to run across... Sorry, I think I was an arborist in a previous life.

That trip was actually a bit of a disaster too. Amelia was with me, and she suddenly decided she needed to take a nap RIGHT NOW. Since that wasn't possible, she started crying piteously, and continuously. I rushed through the checkout and headed home. Maybe it was for the best though. Our bank account does not magically replenish itself.

I think the main problem was just that almost everything I set out to do ended in frustration. And with my job keeping me busy through much of the weekend (including a 4:30am - 11:30am stint on Sunday) I'm beat.

It's not often I say this, but boy am I glad the weekend is over.


At 4/25/2006 6:28 AM, Blogger Morgan said...

good for you keep planting.

At 4/25/2006 7:57 AM, Blogger Suzer said...

The porch swing story had me laughing out loud. We have had our share of collapses. Notably the downstairs ceiling falling in the week before my baby shower! It always makes for a good story in the end although extremely inconvenient in the short run.

Don't worry about the bamboo, it is extremely tenacious and unless you planted it in a confined area, it will take over your yard in a few years and you'll wonder why you ever thought you could kill it in the first place!


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