There will be chapter by the by


Hi guys. I was hauling river rock.  Freed an entire flowerbed for cosmos, which are great flowers because they self-seed and don’t let weeds bother them. Oh, and I can use them for cut flowers.
I also am ALMOST at the point of digging up the side flower bed for the “dedicated” rose garden. (For now. Next year, if things are okay, I’d like to put a gazebo in the middle of the yard, with roses climbing over it, but that’s…. not this year. It’s conditional on my writing enough and the economy doing well enough we can afford to spend around 1k on “it makes Sarah happy.”

I will do a chapter today or tomorrow, but …. things hurt.

Oh, yeah, I’ve been driving.  So if you’re in Denver and you see a crazy woman with calico hair (an attempt to remove the hair dye, you don’t want to know) driving a red honda, beware.  Anyway, today I forgot it’s not the expedition, so I loaded the trunk with 500 lbs of soil and manure and then it drove like a barge.  I came home before going out for further shopping.

On the good side, heavy work always calms me down and I’m feeling rather happy.  Just dead on my feet. It reminds me of Heinlein’s ode to the wheelbarrow.

59 thoughts on “There will be chapter by the by

  1. *Thumbs up* I spent most of this afternoon arranging, trying to count, and photographing Swarovski rhinestones to sell. So, much smaller rocks. But yeah. Ow.

    Luck with the gardening!

  2. First seeds planted in the greenhouse today. Carrots in a couple-three months, God willing!

    Toamto seedlings growing nicely, zucchini and other summer squashes were started yesterday. I do have a large fraction of a ton of Supersoil to put in the outside raised beds. At least the mini-tiller will do the mixing.

  3. I sure hear you on the aches and pains after gardening.

    I spent a good chunk of my afternoon today working on the garden and the flowerbeds — and now I’m finding I’m sore in unexpected places. But the garden is planted except for the pepper plants (which I still need to get bought) and the onions that are being started from sprouted onions. While I was planting the green beans, I could see a few snow peas pushing their way above the ground. I’m already looking forward to seeing little plants out there.

    And in the front yard, the unsightly tree stump is now covered with soil and mulch, which is now planted full of gladiolus bulbs. I also planted lilies and some other flowers in the flowerbed under the window, then covered it in mulch. I may buy one more bag of mulch to get better coverage — and as I was picking up after my labors, I discovered I’d missed one bag of gladiolus bulbs. At this point, I’ll probably wait until the others start coming up, and put these into the gaps.

    I can’t even imagine putting 500 pounds of soil and manure in a car. I used our business van just to get about a hundred pounds of soil, about the same of water softener salt, and two bulky bags of mulch. But congratulations on getting back to driving after so many years of avoiding it.

  4. It was raining, so gardening got put off, but I cleaned out a bunch of junk from one of my sheds. The 20-yard dumpster I’ve had for 3 weeks is almost full.

    And I bought a new wheelbarrow when I got the dumpster, because no way was I schlepping all that heavy crap by hand.

  5. We got the last of the blackberries on the big bed cleared and most of the mulched. Final bed prep and some plumbing repair, the seedlings go in. Sore but happy.

  6. Got a little rain this AM, so I wrote and did battle with the [censored] miller moths infesting this part of the planet. Thanks be Athena T Cat is not inclined to chase the [really censored]s, unlike GiganCat. (He was 22 pounds, 36″ nose to tail, and not graceful while in flight.)

    1. My Miz Kitty is an eight pound anti-bug smart bomb.

      There is that tranquil approach, a streak of gray, then the noisy chaos splash on contact. Collateral damage is common.

      Nice kitty! You got the bug! Now give me an hour to put the living room back together.

      -Good- kitty!

  7. “Hauling river rock”???

    Boy, just when you think you’ve heard every euphemism for why a gal’s walking funny … Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. I now have three volunteer reseeds from last years most prolific tomato plant (orange cherry tomato, very tasty, lots and lots) coming up. Meanwhile the last three years the store-bought tomato plants produced zipzeronada. If I get all three to production stage I will be happy.

    1. We have some greens DIL planted last year coming up. I thought they were weeds, but they’re in a row, evenly spaced. need to get her to look at them and make SURE.
      The scallions she planted last year came up a treat too.

    1. Many years ago, when MomRed was having chemo, she came home from work, announcing, “I want to look like [name] when my hair grows back!” [Name] had also lost her hair, and it came back in three colors, in patches. She marched into MomRed’s cubby, removed her wig, and wailed, “I’m a calico!” (This was a bit of a problem, since [name] had to be on TV a lot as a spokescritter for something or other.) MomRed’s hair came back streaked, but not calico.

  9. New anti-bird chicken wire for the blueberry enclosure, removing the old rusty wire turned out to be a far bigger production than we thought it would be.
    As soon as the time machine works I’m going to go back and tell the much younger selves that we don’t need to fasten the chicken wire with a gazzilion staples.

    1. Snow in May is annoying, but not unprecedented. The last few and the next few days are the “Ice Saints,” but my family doesn’t plant anything freezeable until after Memorial Day. And yup, the temp yesterday was in the 80’s, but last night was plenty cold. Like normal, for the end of May.

      That said, I wwould like some sunspots.

      EWTN has a full choir today, plus civvies in the pews. I was so happy to see the ladies who always sit up front! They are still inundated with roses in every building of their campus, which shows that you should be careful when Father impulsively asks people, on Mother’s Day at Mass online, if they would like to send Our Blessed Mother a literal rose in the following week.

      More than one FTD semi of roses. In a convoy.

      Of course the trash will be impressive, but maybe they can mulch and compost all the things, or make a lot of rose petal crafts.(This is the advantage of having lots of rural space and a couple religious houses.) It did help all the local florists in the Irondale area and elsewhere, because having a nice post-Mother’s Day boost, in a year without big weddings, makes a difference.

      And the cameramen at the Masses love all those different colors of roses!

      1. EWTN rose flood, including interviews with florists.

        The pic doesn’t show all the roses by a long shot…. Apparently, early on, they started taking the roses to the chapel and blessing them, and then sending a lot of them to nursing homes, hospitals, and other area churches, as well as spreading them around the EWTN buildings and religious houses.

        So they’re sacramental roses, which is even better!

        Good people are really filled with a lot of goodwill these days, toward almost everyone except politicians and reporters, even with all the financial difficulties. And even that’s only the crazy politicians and reporters. Lots of spring fever out there. when people are allowed out to express it.

        1. It’s been impressive – and a little bit hair-raising – out here to see how fast people move when someone says, “I hate to bother, but such-and-such a group is having trouble,” or “We’ve got some kids who need books,” or “If anyone has a few spare [small but important thing], I know someone who would really be grateful.” Neighborhood share boxes have also appeared all over – if you need, take; if you have a spare, leave it. No questions asked, apparently no abuse noticed. All unofficial and quiet, but a lot of needs are being met and help provided.

    2. It’s not actually that unheard of– my weather app has record highs and lows, and has ’95 with 35*, last week the record lows were 30-31 from about the same time, both are prime “it is snowing!” temperatures especially if it’s not going to stick– but it is quite unusual.

      1. It’s been a running joke in the house that we’re seeing the END OF THE WORLD AAAAAGH, and that song pops up in my head in earworm mode.

        OT, but I’m puzzling over something. So China’s imposed an 80% tariff on Australian barley, claiming that ‘Australia has been selling it far below market value’ and it totally isn’t a ‘punishment for pushing for an investigation into the CCPlague.

        This has me tilting my head in confusion. So they’re claiming that Australia was selling (‘dumping’) barley to Chinese markets cheaper than anyone else (I would have thought that this would favor the Chinese) and thus the Chinese are imposing a tariff and raising the prices of Aussie barley imports to China…

        With that locust plague up there, and considering how much food China tends to import, plus the supposed food shortages we’re expecting here (thanks to bushfires, drought and floods, PLUS CCPlague) in my head it’s “More for Australians? Chinese will starve in some areas by government diktat? Please impose massive tariffs on Australian baby milk too, and other dairy products? And meat? We’re supposed to be having problems with supplying those soon for local consumers.”

        Or am I missing something here?

        1. Well, China does dump stuff in order to depress local markets, so they’re probably trying to hamstring an investigation and/or establish a precedent, just like the junk with the manufactured islands and the defense of “but it says China in the name, so we own the China Sea!”

            1. If I understand the thumbnail cultural psychology, it’s not projection because that needs a guilt/innocence rather than a face culture, but it’s a similar tactical choice.

              Sort of crying wolf.

              1. Crybullying, maybe. But yeah, I see what you mean; a lot of this is by saving face. A lot of the other countries backing the inquiry are only able to do so because Australia and the US and such are pushing for it, and really, the tariffs and reduction of orders or purchases of meat are, despite the claims really punishing Australia for daring to go up against the Middle Kingdom.

                I really really hope that Australia will pull a lot of industries back, but the unions here plus Gillard’s changes to work/pay really did a number on businesses being able to run here. Fingers crossed, Trump gets a lot of those red tape hamstrings cut away.

                1. It being an obvious punishment, which they can publicly lie about, is a possible aspect as well. (as Bob explains)

              2. If you have power, you can coerce people to endorse your untrue statements, and then the people you hurt don’t have an excuse to act that will be accepted by as many people. In the web novels, the protagonist can figure out that the villain-of-the-story-arc is lying, and what the truth probably is, but what matters is the combination of verbal trickery and proving raw power to cut the powerful man out from his crowd of coerced support. The initial crime may inspire the quest for vengeance, but finding or proving the truth is an early step, causing the protagonist to increase their dedication. The resolution is after gaining power, and wining a public confrontation.

                  1. Oh, you probably don’t want Australia’s answer to be ‘winning this, as would the hero of a Chinese web novel’. Because that might look like ‘fight and win a nuclear war, then send in genocide troops to clean up the non-combatant survivors’. You could excuse that with the ‘pulling up trouble by the roots’ aphorism, so it is at least a possible implementation.

                    That is something Australia would at a minimum need to collaborate with America to do. And nobody anywhere close to power in the US is that kind of crazy.

                    Think about what victory means in terms of Australia’s culture, not America’s or China’s. Chinese culture is only important if you are considering terms that the Chinese people might agree to for peace. Right now, the war/peace decisions of the Chinese are being made by a dictator, whose decisions are based mainly in personal insanity, and will not deliver on his side of any peace terms negotiated.

                    I couldn’t prove that answers exist inside of Australian culture and outside of conventional orthodox thinking, but I would guess that they do. The more paths you can blaze to such an answer, the more likely it is that Australians will converge around new leadership and ideas.

        2. The theory is that Australia is trying to ruin Chinese agriculture by dumping. Then they jack up the price.

          1. The Chinese don’t need any help ruining their own agriculture. Or anything else.

            1. They do, however, need a foreign foe to blame for the pain inflicted on their citizens subjects.

          2. Pffft. Chinese people don’t trust their own products, that’s why we have this huge problem over here with them buying up whole groceries’ worth of baby milk and selling them to Chinese mums at a massively jacked up price. It’s so bad that we have complaints of mums here being unable to feed their own children. But apparently there’s nothing wrong with the foreign-owned companies making milk in China, but the Chinese don’t trust it anyway.

            1. Chinese quality control: Somebody used the product, and didn’t die. It’s safe!

              1. Pretty much that, really.

                Found myself watching a video some months back made by a travel vlogger at Wuhan (made well before the current events) and apparently Wuhan is somewhat popular as a food destination. As the video was suggested to me in Feb, I laughed.

    3. We’ve had snow down here in the Texas Panhandle in early May, although late April is technically the last freeze. No one sane plants tomatoes until the mesquite blooms, which it did in the last week of April.

  10. Anyway, today I forgot it’s not the expedition, so I loaded the trunk with 500 lbs of soil and manure and then it drove like a barge. I came home before going out for further shopping.


  11. My brother and I were raised by our maternal grandparents.
    Their home was on a 3/4 acre corner lot in a small midwestern town.
    Grandpa loved to garden. We had fruit trees, strawberry and raspberry beds, rhubarb, and a 20 x 20 vegetable patch. And flowers. The back yard had a picket fence lined on both sides with flowers, Iris on the street side and roses along the interior.
    I remember how every year all summer long on Sunday after church cars would line the side street while church goers stopped to look at Mr. Bauer’s flowers.
    Of course every spring Grandpa would haul brother and I out to a friend’s farm to gather bushel baskets of organic fertilizer, aka cow flop. One year for some reason we had to do that two days after a rain. Car smelled horrible for weeks after.

    1. If I ever build a gazebo on my property, I’m going to shoot an arrow into it and hang a “+3” tag off of it.

      For a real laugh, though, you have to read about the Head of Vecna. 😀

  12. Up here on top of the world, North Pole, Alaska, gardens generally go in the first or second week in June, we can expect hard freezes any time before that.

    1. North Pole, Alaska? I had a cousin (2nd cousin, I guess) who was a successful High School Football Coach up there. First he coached many years at the Air Force Base School, then later at the town high school in North Pole. He succumbed to the family curse of heart problems. One version I heard was that his pacemaker gave out in an electrical storm while he was checking one of his trap lines.

  13. We had snow that stuck here in Hooterville Ontario last week. But yesterday was pretty nice (-ish, no shorts though) so I finally got my A-frame gantry crane put up. Loooong time coming to get that thing up off the ground and on its timbers, but now it is. Yay! So now I can lift heavy ungainly shit out the back of the truck and put it on wheels with out breaking anything or killing anybody (fingers crossed and knock on wood).

    It is good to have the right tool for the right job. For moving stuff over 100lbs, you want a gantry and a chain fall.

    I also had half an hour of fun with pulleys getting the rusty truck frame moved. It was sunk 4″ in the grass with 4 flat tires, and the tractor had insufficient traction. Spun the tires. So hooked a pulley to it, tied the rope to a tree, through the pulley and then to the tractor. Pulled it out as nice as you like, and I got to use my enormous pulleys. Win-win. ~:D

    Young ladies, important romance tip: The way to a man’s heart, if he’s the type that likes doing things, it to let him mansplain all the tools and implements he’s using to do them. Just nod and look interested, and he will love you forever.

    1. Young ladies, important romance tip: The way to a man’s heart, if he’s the type that likes doing things, it to let him mansplain all the tools and implements he’s using to do them. Just nod and look interested, and he will love you forever.

      Can confirm. My wife actually tries to understand when I explain what I’m doing in my computer-programming job, and I absolutely love her for it.

      1. I’ve heard that not having disdain for the person you’re interested in helps. But that can’t be true; it is such a ridiculous concept on the face of it.

  14. Walking my ass off has been one of the big tools that I’ve used to keep myself sane in these mad times. Currently doing 3-3.5 mile walks in an hour with a backpack holding 26 pounds. I’m probably going to up that to 32 pounds this week, keep the same amount of time and distance. If I start to exceed that, more weights to get into the 3.5 mile/hour goal. No more than 20% of my body weight, which is going to be fun.

  15. Reminds me of the RAH letter (I believe to his agent, Lurton Blassingame), explaining his recent lack of output. Is the Hoyt family a two wheelbarrow enterprise yet?

  16. The daughter and I are doing home and garden improvement as well – not just the built-in bookshelf in the hallway (which alas, doesn’t accommodate nearly as many paperback books as we thought!) but a paved patio spot between the raised veggie beds in the sheltered side garden between my house and the next-door lot-line house. And … bought plants for the long-neglected and really awful-looking front yard on the right-hand side of the driveway. We finished the paved bit and the raised beds on the left-hand side of the driveway this spring, and it looks so splendid now that a neighbor who adores the looks of it all came over last evening to ask about the plants that I have in it – mostly echinacia, gerbera daisies, coriolis, various bulbs, iris gotten from a neighbor who has massive beds of purple and white iris.
    Now, if my favorite nursery stocks side-oats grama grass…

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