Monday, September 21, 2009

A quick update on That House

Today I have to find a contractor and also convince City Guy to pay for a concrete retaining wall... hey, he said this is a terrible danger that could get my house condemned, so it isn't routine maintenance, right? Tis an urgent emergency by his own words, right? So no long wait on the maintenance list, right? By his own words...

Anyway, our friend the mason says that a concrete retaining wall would take all the stress off the bricks and then we could just re-lay the bricks under the window, instead of actually taking the whole wall apart and then rebuilding it. From the ledge (inside floor level) up, the walls are fairly straight; they only bow out below the ledge. He says unbuilding-n-rebuilding will take a VERY long time and not be finished before the cold weather sets in, but building the concrete wall will get the whole job finished quickly.

The reason I have to do a sales job is that I already asked about building a concrete retaining wall and City Guy said it wasn't necessary... but hey yanno, he thinks my mason is a man, so maybe now he'll listen.

Please wish me good luck?

And now I have to get off the puter--big thunderstorm rolling through!

Cath, fully prepared to shamelessly beg for City Guy's help

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On my way out the front door what do I see, but that the Self-Installing Cat Accessory Program has initiated again. Module Three is running the "Queen of All She Surveys" Application on the "Steal Mom's Chair (and heart)" Platform.

Isn't she gorgeous? Over the past year she's darkened from a silver tabby with light ginger accents to a grey tabby with lots of caramel. Her fur is just scrumptious!

Having our own oak tree makes me happy; seeing it set acorns makes me happier yet! How exciting! This is the street tree that the city planted about ten years ago.

Next up, Elf Footprints...

These ugly mushrooms have popped up again, this time not under the oak tree but across the sidewalk in our front yard proper. Usually mushrooms look pretty to me; I don't know why I think these are so ugly, but they're just plain flat unappetizing! Sheesh.

Is it Wichita? Or is it just me? Last year my peppers didn't really produce until fall, and now this year here we go, the season has turned and once again the plant is finally loaded with blossoms and new fruit!

These two are growing about as slowly as peppers can grow. I'm very tempted to harvest them now and let the plant put its energy into the new fruit.

This is what I found when I went out to water the lilac.

Yikes! That is SOME mildew! At first I thought maybe we had splashed the plant with the rinse water from a paintbrush, but no--tis mildew. It hit every lilac in the neighborhood, and is also widespread on all the weeds in the back yard.

*sigh* I cut the stem off that ivy over two months ago, and it's still growing strong. Evidently it really IS that humid in Kansas, Dorothy...

A visitor.


Maybe a resident.


Maybe a well-fed resident.

It DOES occur to me that something has been chewing up the raspberry vine.

Sometimes weeds are just... charming. These little lavender daisies just steal my heart! And I LOVE the contrasting greens!

Till next time, adieu from That Yard!

a MOST horrendous growling...

I was on my way out the door to water the lilac when I heard a MOST horrendous growling. What on earth? So I peeked into the bedroom.

Well, that seems pretty quiet, right? So out I headed again, only to be stopped by a MOST horrendous growling....

What I could NOT see? A cat making itself tiny, all snuggled into a pile of dirty laundry on the other side of the room.... sheesh! What a brat this doglet can be!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pics of the damage to the brick wall

These pics are to show the damage caused when the wall bowed out and the bricks took a tumble... the pics are from April and since then, the problem has continued. The wall is more noticeably bowed out now--although we caught the next batch of bricks before they tumbled, and propped them up.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

That House gets a snow jo---er, paint job

Hello again! Well, it's been a busy time for us at That House. Gryph had Labor Day off work and so we labored Sunday and Monday both. It's been slow going and we'd really like to get a paint sprayer to do the walls. In the meantime, here are a few pics of our progress!

This first pic is of the "vinyl siding" which gave Our Intrepid Heroine such a headache.

Here we are with the paint job almost finished. The teeny pocket garden there looks lusher than it should, since The Redbud Which Will Not Die has once again leafed out all over the geranium. The tall plant is our eggplant and the one in the bucket is our blueberry.

They all got a shot of fertilizer Monday, as did the bell pepper and lilac on the other side of the steps.

And now *ta-daaa!* what happens when a Gryph still has paint in the bucket! We'd both been wanting to get rid of that strange Not-Taupe-Not-Brown color on the concrete cap of the wall.

Look! Ohhhh so clean looking! I confess, when I brought our drinks, I made Gryph set them down on a plastic bag as if it were a coaster... lol!

Funny how you never know just how dirty your old paint looks until you start adding new paint; I would have sworn I lived in a white house, and that the new paint was NOT white but cream colored.... huh.... the new paint sure looks white to me now! Talk about having it all backwards!

Our painting was interrupted Monday because we had a visitor. We found this little being clinging to the inside of the porch railing, sheltered from the wind. It was just a little bigger than my thumbnail, and to me the spots looked like polka dots. How astonishing to see that they're actually triangular! And don't you just love the fringe on the wings? Reminds me of an old-time cowboy's leather jacket!

So. Gryph was quite enthusiastic about continuing on with the paint, and now we know at last what color I actually bought when I was forced to choose a stock color at the paint store. This blue is called Magic Wand and Gryph absolutely LOVES it.

Me, well... I have this feeling I'll soon be living inside a giant blue and white ice cube! Eeeep!

One of the joys of life? Being outside with your people, watching while they do incomprehensible, bad-smelling things, lol!

So. While Gryph and Lady were holding down the fort out front, I was working in the back. We have ivy everywhere, and it's really bad for the house; we've pulled it down but of course it comes back. I had finally decided that I would just have to buy some brush killer and spray all the ivy that's on the house walls.

So here I am painting away, priming the back porch and rails, totally concentrating on what I'm doing, and a skeeter brushes against my shoulder. I brushed it away and went back to painting. The feeling came again, a soft brush against my shoulder. This time I looked... and found the ivy brushing ever so gently against my shoulder.... and in my mind I heard, "Mother?"

*THUD* Okay, not only is it pretty unusual for me to hear my plants--even though I of course talk to them, lol--but to be asked if I am The Mother, the new nurturer and caretaker of the place, by a plant I have long since decided to poison?!

This certainly brings new meaning to the phrase, "toxic parent/child relationships" don'cha think? *blinking* And how am I to deal with the guilt now???

Well, I finished priming--the Great Guilty IvyQuestion had to wait for another day--and looky there--now that really IS white, blinding, glaring, white, lol....

The white you see around the door is weatherstripping-type foam sealant, btw; I filled gaps around the door frame and then sealed the bottoms of all the mudroom windows as well.

Coming back around to the front, we were nearly done for the day when I happened to notice a leaf being chewed on the lilac!! It's still recovering from Oscarpillar and cannot afford to lose any leaves.... well, sure enough, OscarMoth left us an offspring.

Gryph was absolutely jaunty, excited as a kid to be given another caterpillar to raise. "This time the caterpillar needs a girl name!" and nothing would do but Petula, after Petula Clark the singer.

Well, I confess, although PetulaPillar is MIGHTY small, she is also QUITE voracious.

Look what she did to that leaf! And so when I mention her, I say "PtooiePillar!"

Gryph says, "PetuLApillar!"

And of course, I respond, "that's what I said. PtooiePillar."

Hrumph. My lilac may never be safe!!


One last pic today--here is why I didn't post on Tuesday. This coffee canister (39 ounce--the big one!) is normally a "saucer" of sorts for the lilac, but I pulled the lilac out when I fertilized it Monday and just didn't get around to putting it back into the canister.

Then it rained nonstop from 1 a.m. Tuesday morning until 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, and continued raining off and on all night and into this morning. This is what I found when I walked the doglet.

Flabbergasted is the only way to describe this Desert Rose's reaction... simply flabbergasted. Sitting out in the open, nothing over it to funnel the water or anything... the coffee canister is full of water that came out of the sky one drop at a time.....

.....I'm simply flabbergasted.

My fancy expensive supplies....

The big doily on four little white towels, t-pinned to a big piece of cardboard... hey, nuthin' but the best fer me! *cheeky grin*

Friday, September 4, 2009

Seen in the Walgreen's parking lot...

...two enormous shiny black SUVs evvvvver so slowly and carefully backing toward each other, for all the world like beetles about to mate....

.... ah. So that's where VW bugs come from. *eyebrow waggle*

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Modern Art!!

Incident with Dog and Paint Can