Friday, August 30, 2019

Fennel and the Fence

This area of California has wild fennel. I love walking by clumps that grow along the trails. The sweet scent permeates the air. But beyond that, the plant is a pest. It is an invasive species, originally from the Mediterranean area, and readily takes over areas where soil has been disturbed. It is difficult to eradicate.

The yard of our new home had been neglected, and fennel was growing wherever seeds could find purchase in the dirt. Even in the middle of the flagstones. It has a long trap root, so pulling it out is not an option. (It appears to have a different root structure than the fennel bulbs we purchase to season yummy dishes.)

Fennel growing between flagstones in our back yard.
In addition to the yard being neglected, the fence between our yard and the neighbor below us was also in neglect. Several boards had pulled loose, leaving cockeyed peep holes. 

Peep holes through which we could see some of the aggravating fennel growing on the other side of the fence. 
A clump of fennel on the other side of the fence. 
 Fennel that is basically inaccessible from below... unless you have a very tall ladder!

Looking through the fence down into the neighbors yard.
So, taking advantage of one of the holes, I managed to cut down three large clumps of fennel. And, we repaired the leaning boards along the expanse of the fence.

Alas, the fennel will grow back again. But, the fence looks great better now. They say good fences make good neighbors... we'll see!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

WEP - The Red Wheelbarrow - August 2019 Challenge

There's a first time for everything, right? So this is my first attempt at WEP: Write, Edit, Publish. When I visited the site to find out more about WEP, the image smacked me in the face, bringing lots of emotional stuff to the front of my brain. I had to relieve the pressure by writing!

So, how did I get to WEP? I actually took some time to read recent blog posts from friends this afternoon, and as sometimes happens, I began leap-frogging from one blog to another on some sort of crazy link trail. That's how I stumbled, and became ensnared in, the WEP challenge!

WEP Blog

There it sat, forgotten and forlorn.
Flecks of red paint were all that shown
That once it was new, shiny and bright,
With handles of ash that were almost white.
The bed of the wagon canted to one side;
The leg brace was bent from too much pressure applied
When Larken mounded a pile that weighed far too much.
He’d hauled on the handles, with a guttural grunt,
The handles had bowed, the brace gave way
And Larken, swearing loudly, called it a day.

His daughter wandered from house to yard 
As memories assaulted her brain: sluggish and scarred.
She watched total strangers pick up objects to inspect,
Knowing they didn’t necessarily mean disrespect.
They couldn't know the stories or the memories each held
And she ached to shout out to them, she wanted to yell
That each one of these objects had been caressed by worn hands
Of Larken: a farmer, a grandpa, a scholar. Her dad. 
Her heart clenched, her throat closed, not a sound could she make.
She could only watch as the strangers would take
Another piece of Dad’s life to the cashier of the sale,
Tears welled in her eyes, she struggled to exhale.

A mere girl pulled her man toward the barn by his hand
And pointed to the wheel barrow; He must understand!
This is just what I need for our little place.
It can be my garden with a coat of red of paint.
You can straighten the leg and I’ll add some dirt,
And plant zinnias and mums and purple larkspur.
The daughter smiled. Dad's wheelbarrow, no longer old and worn,
Would get a new life as it was reborn.

I value your comments.

278 carefully chosen words! So hard to pick just the perfect one!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


One summer, quite a few years ago, I worked at a Girl Scout camp in Rhode Island. I was the director of the horseback riding program at this small camp. (Some day perhaps I should chronicle my experiences there!) In addition to horseback riding we had other activities, including the requisite campfires. I am reminded daily of one of the songs we used to sing around the campfire as I putter around the house, or walk the dogs in the nearby park. I am always enthralled/ amazed/ curious/ entertained/ intrigued by the boats that go in and out of the channel in front of our home, or sail on the other side of the breakwater. And, as the boats float by, the song "Barges" always comes to mind.

We get to watch sailboat races, with boats of all sizes.
Here is the ferry entering the channel.
The ferry began service in January. The terminal is only 3 miles from our house!
A car carrier at the dock, unloading hundreds of new automobiles.
The dredge has been working the channel for weeks. It is highly entertaining!
And, another view of the dredge , on a sunnier day (with fog beyond it)
and an ocean going oil tanker (?) heading into the port at Richmond, just two miles beyond "our" channel.
All manner of sailboats go in and out. We see tiny 8-10 foot boats in races,
and larger boats with their colorful spinnakers.
A tug and either the harbor captain heading out, or a Coast Guard boat.
Tiny tug.
This colorful tug used to be moored by the park near our house.
The car carriers are huge!
There are at least three carriers that come in and out.

I think this carries cargo in its hold!
Our windows provide a never-ending tableau of ships of all sizes, day and night!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Some Like it Hot

Or... We Are in Hot Water Now!

So, we sorta moved into our new home, just down the street from our previous home, in December. I think we spent about 5 days in the new home before returning to Florida. I flew back for a week in February, and then again in June/July. One thing we noticed was just how long it would take for hot water to actually reach the faucet in the kitchen, or the shower in the Master Bath. We'd set the shower,  then go get undressed, and grab a towel, and look for special shampoo. We'd test the water... still not hot. So we'd go find the shower scrubby, and the special shower cleaner, then test the water... still not hot. So we'd go back to the closet to get the bath robe, and brush our teeth... and finally, we'd stick a toe in the water and it was warm! Hallelujah!

OK, so we chalked it up to this being what it was... until we looked at the water heater in the garage. It had an extra piece on it. Upon inspection we learned that it was a water circulation pump (Oh, how I love the Internet!). It was set to circulate the hot water through the pipes in the morning and in the evening. However... that was not happening!

Our Realtor was kind enough to give us a home warranty. There is a $75 per repair charge. We didn't expect much, but called the number.  Shortly after we received a phone call; the repair guy was on his way. He arrived shortly thereafter. He quickly assessed the problem, cleaned the impellers on the recirculating pump, and we found ourselves in hot water in less than an hour!!

Now, when it is time to wash dishes, or take a shower, or wash our hands.... we have instant hot water. It makes us both smile!

(OK... so this may not be such a huge deal where you live, but water is at a premium in Northern California.  Every drop that is lost going down the drain makes me cringe. Now... no cringing as I wait!)

P.S. Three days later the pump failed. Picture a sad face. No more instant hot water. Back to waiting. However, the good news is that the service is guaranteed. So, we'll see Mr. Repair Guy when he returns for a visit!

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....