Right in my own back yard


OK, I’m a little embarrassed to think how long it has taken me to get some photos on my blog, even though the infrequency of my posts camouflages it a little. I started this opus in 2018 so that’s really embarrassing. Well, enough of the groveling and begging for mercy here are some pics from my own back yard.


Here’s a patch of bee balm. The white flowers behind are fleabane, which lots of people think of as a rank weed. I think it really sets off the hot pink.


Here’s the same spot, last December. The small tree is a witch hazel we planted about twenty years ago. The bigger tree is a black walnut, which was already well established when we moved in. It doesn’t look like it’s that big here but it is.




Here’s the front yard last April Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, shot from my front porch. Note the sidewalk to nowhere, tasteful.


Here’s a hawk in a walnut tree.


And here’s a super red dogwood tree.

This is just about like posting a whole lot of selfies, I know, but it was hard to quit. Since, however, it was like posting a whole lot of selfies, it only seems appropriate to close with an actual selfie.


There you go. Later.

Breaking the Mold


It’s 1:30 in the morning and I can’t even tell you how good I feel right now. I have been having some unexplained health issues: Varying levels of nausea every morning, in spite of being post menopausal all my life, sneezing, hacking and coughing, as well as being a real dim bulb, a very distressing development.

The room where I am sitting now started out as a really shabby garage. I renovated it back in 2002 and it became a really cool workshop. After discovering my prodigious lack of talent for woodworking, I sold most of my tools and got back into wargaming (See the banner at the top of my home page).

This is a pretty big room, 10X20 feet, so my wife and I agreed it would make a fine habitat for me, having determined that we like one another much better when we both get a decent night of sleep. So, one bed, four studio monitors, four hundred watts of power to drive them, four guitars hanging on the wall and a whole bunch of posters, et voila’ I’ve got the room I’ve wanted since I was sixteen. The honeymoon was beautiful, until it wasn’t.

Cathy, my incredible wife, had been telling me for a while that she could smell a musty odor but I had tuned it out so I didn’t pay attention. When she/I/we discovered a black patch of musty smelling stuff coming up through the parquet tiles, we got busy with the bleach. It helped with the smell, but when the subfloor began to expand and the parquet tiles began too buckle, it became clear that this beastie was going to put up more of a fight than we were going to win with bleach. And so it began.

When I built this room, I did it in such a way as to make it easy to dismantle, in case we wanted to sell the place to some scrofulous barbarian who wanted to turn it back into a completely useless garage. Knowing that gave me a completely misguided feeling of optimism, one of which I would soon be disabused.

When I got the plywood subfloor there was still an overhead door, so there was no problem moving it into my work area. Getting it out was not so simple. I had to cut it into manageable pieces, which meant lots of soggy moldy black sawdust. Tasty.

Replacing the plywood went fairly smoothly, which restored my foolish optimism (Emphasis on foolish). I couldn’t find parquet to match, so I went with a dark laminate locking floor, thinking it would look good. At least I was right about that.

By this time I had gone the best part of a week without a wink of good sleep. Cathy has to go to work, my couch is too short and my bed was next to everything else I had to move so it was like sleeping in a hoarder house. The only way I could get to sleep was by Xanax and/or exhaustion.

Installing the floor was when the sleeplessness and brain fog really began to take hold. It would have been much easier if I had oriented the planks in the opposite direction. I should have known that, it’s not my first day at the rodeo. It was hard to get a clean cut because the planks were too wide to cut in one go with my miter saw. The uneven surface of the concrete below made it hard to get the joints to lock together, so there was a lot of prying and tapping, as well as a lot of swearing. Eventually the light came on and I remembered I had an air compressor and a finish nailer. I remembered something else, something much more important: Perfect is the enemy of good.

Armed with this wisdom and my shiny six shooter, I finished the floor in about an hour. We put down the (new) rug, moved the furniture in and hooked up the electronics. After a cool relaxing evening with no monkey on my back I went to bed, put on some ambient music and closed my eyes with a smile on my face. I woke up about three hours later, feeling like I had slept well all night. I got up and got a glass of water, put on some Moody Blues and wrote this post. Now I think I will go back to sleep, since it was so good the last time. Good night.