As our Garden Grows, the Beauty Shows

Life begins the day you start a garden.

– Chinese proverb

Well, my mom seems to doing well after surgery. I’ve been helping out a bit over there so that’s why I haven’t been updating so much lately. She’s a pretty strong woman but I still worry. Meanwhile over here, the roof to the sunroom and it’s gutters got redone all over, which took about 2 days. It was needing a little bit of an overhaul since but I’m pleased to say it looks good! Hopefully the new materials will last for years to come. They also put in a new gate system ala LD’s wishes to access the area underneath the sunroom from the outside which is a better setup than what was there before. The real test will be how it fares when we get our first serious rain storm but I’m feeling pretty good about it, the work looks really well done.

In the meantime I’ve been playing with all the new features of this new cell phone, watching YouTube vids on tips and tricks, etc. – I’m very pleased with the purchase! I’ve also been trying to get LD’s old iMac to see the new printers (just for fun, we never use it anymore since we both have Windows 10 laptops and a 7trh-generation iPad) while also looking for a new phone for her. I think for her the Samsung A52 might hit the sweet spot. Curiously her carrier doesn’t seem to carry them online which seems odd to me. I need to go down there and see what they have in stock. They also seem to have conflicting policies on unlocked phones which is a real drag. Part of the reason why I went with the carrier that I went with and pleased as punch about it. I did find an incredible deal on an new air fryer at Best Buy for sale new for only 20 bucks so we’ll be trying that out soon. (The sale has since ended). If we like it we may purchase a bigger one, but this will be a good one to try to test out what we would do with the capability.

On the gardening front, the foxgloves, fuchsias, clematis, rhododendrons, various rose species, and various other plants are all really starting to bloom now. I transplanted the mosquito plant (essentially a geranium that really does smell like citronella!) into a bigger pot and mowed the lawns before the weekend. I was pleased to see the hibiscus is finally starting to have new buds. I hadn’t had luck the last couple of years with the placement but this one might be taking! Also the sourwoods are coming in real nice now and even the pine tree is growing new limbs and pinecones!

Garden as though you will live forever

It was to see the natural gas guys finally dig up the street and fix the gas smell that had been permeating the neighborhood for a couple months now. To think that LD got that ball rolling! I don’t know if other people kept calling as well but apparently they finally decided to deal with it. I heard it was pretty noisy while they were doing it but I guess it’s over now as the smell is gone and I see they paved over they holes they made near the sewer openings.

Preparing for a Hot One

One of my happy places, Lighthouse Beach in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Boston Fox 25 News Station shared the above photo from my Instagram feed. The picture is actually from last summer but I felt like posting something. Boston is supposed to hit close to 90 degrees F today so a dip in that water might be nice right about now. Instead, I’m preparing for my mom’s surgery tomorrow. I took her down to the testing site on Friday and got that all done with. Just the formalities. Later in the day checking over the garden I saw some irises and a species of columbine began blooming. When it’s hot like this watering everything gets to be a bit of a chore, especially with all the stuff we have, but it’s worth it to see everything do well and explode with color everywhere. Speaking of everywhere, there’s pollen everywhere and all over everything. I have been seeing Shiloh all over the yard as well. He is so cute, but he’s getting a little bit bigger and bigger by the day.

My new set of USB-C to USB-A cables arrived yesterday all of varying lengths, along with some USB-C to USB-B adapters and a portable battery that can charge the phone either through the cable or wirelessly by plopping the phone on top of it, which I’m finding really cool. I may still buy a MicroSDXC storage card as the phone only comes with the onboard storage but I can add up to 1TB more. The 1TB is pretty expensive right now but the 512GB isn’t too bad. I can wait a bit longer on that, let the prices go down over time. Might be a good birthday gift for me though (my BD isn’t until August).

Operation Plant Swap: Success

We went down to LD’s acquaintance’s house and swapped out some of our rather large hostas that LD hated and traded them for some day lilies that this lady had tons of and had dug a bunch out. What a character this woman is. Talks a lot but I actually had fun listening to her various stories. LD knows her from her gym. She’s apparently a member of the town’s garden club so she could be a good resource. Anyways, eventually we planted the lilies in various spots in the yard. They won’t bloom this year but hopefully they’ll establish themselves over time.

Made some steak tips on the grill tonight. Had to use them up before they go bad.

Game time: Box Bob. You know I love to try to solve these types of puzzle games. Currently stuck on level 10. Arrrgh!

Everyday Has The Potential to be a Great One

Sunrise off the Maine coast

Yesterday’s biggest adventure was bringing one of my mom’s cats to the vet for his yearly shots. He checked out A-OK with was great, but he did puke a bit in the cage when he got done. Poor thing was so stressed out, but like I said, he bounced back in an instant and everything checked out fine. I finally went ahead and strung up some warm lights outside on the back deck now that the outlets out there are working again. I might still rearrange it a bit differently or even move them to the table with the umbrella on the back patio – I’m not sure yet. Been playing around with this new phone a bit. It has so many features I’ve been watching YouTube vids on how to use some of them! Needless to say I’m very happy with it. I’m really digging the wireless charging. I did have to purchase some new USB-C cables and a couple of adaptors so I could still use my older portable chargers when I’m on the road but no biggie.

I went ahead and installed the AC in the bedroom. Little early this year, but at least now it’s done and ready to be used should the need arise. I still need to set up the Smart TV. Now that I have this new phone I should be able to cast to it effortlessly, which will be nice and to have more options. As for the gardening, the azaleas and columbines are blooming. Supposedly doing some kind of plant swamp with an old woman tomorrow sometime, a trade of some of our hostas for her many day lilies that she wants to get rid of. We’;; be starting off with 20 of them or so. The plan is to maybe plant them along the left side fence where there’s a bunch of bareness, hopefully they can fill out that area. We’ll see. Unfortunely it looks like the bunnies have been getting at and eating the phlox in the rock garden bed area but that’s nature!

The Best Laid of Plans…

Springtime robins

Was all ready for today, drove Mom down to her 6 am surgery and left to go home til it was done. About 2 minutes before I pulled into the driveway, she called me saying her doc called in sick and to come get her. So we needed to reschedule. Basically all next week. So another covid test on Friday, and the surgery this coming Monday. They’re all a little later in the day so we don’t have to get down there at the crack of dawn. These things happen I suppose, although it’s a little annoying but no harm no foul.

Those tubers I planted a few weeks ago after storing them in the basement all winter and they ended up looking all dried up were apparently still good as each and every one I replanted is starting to sprout up from the soil. So, victory there. I believe they’re these super tall dahlias that take forever to bloom.

I’m 5G, Android 11 Now

Yesterday ended up being a busy day. I woke up early to drive my mom down for her covid test. After been through it once before it was even easier than last time, plus I don’t think people are getting as many tests nowadays. In and out in no time. Then I went over to the nearby Best Buy and bought the cell phone that I wanted unlocked. They had them in stock and I was in and out of there in like 3 minutes. From there I went to my carrier and had them switch the account over from my old to my new, I must say I’m very happy with this new device. What a difference. I still need to install some apps and figure out how to work some things but in general I’m up and running again. By then it was around lunchtime so we got some meatball subs down in Winter Hill and ate them in the car. I hung around for a few hours more before heading back. Heading back Kinda sucked because it’s apparent that traffic is pretty much back to it’s normally shitty self. Especially in that Needham stretch – that’s the worst, just before Canton isn’t too swift either. In the early evening we actually went into a Trader Joe’s – first time in over a year! We ended off the evening by making a shrimp and kale salad with some roasted sweet potatoes and some television.

My Cape Happiness All the Way to Infinity

The Truro Cottages

To understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

-Stephen Hawking

The story behind the photo: All 22 beachfront cottages are 420 square feet, all similar, with two bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a living space with windows facing the water. The cottages are numbers 1 – 12 and 14 – 23 along the beach – no unlucky 13 among them. I want to stay in one someday! (although it might be a little cramped!) Each cottage also a name, an individual identity, named after 23 different flowers, one for each cottage. I’m not in the area that often but the last time I was I decided to go around the back and that’s where this shot was taken from. I like how the houses seem to go to infinity in this short, almost like a fractal, or a recursive routine!

Here’s a shot from the backyard of what I call the Bunny Family. Could that possibly be Shiloh on the left, and either Mom or Dad on the right? Also, this was before I cleaned up and mowed the back lawn although it seems these rabbits seem to like it in this condition.

Decided the grill up some steaks tonight. Here’s me trying to be the Grillmaster.

Building a Butterfly House, Gardening Chores and Happy Spring Activities

Swan Boats Spring in Boston

I went off this morning to the gas station to get some gas for the lawn mower. It was on my to-do list for the last few days. After filling up the can and bringing it home I loaded some into the mower and began mowing the back yard, which really started to need it. I made sure not to touch any of the plantings along the fence lines that ‘D’ helped us put in last fall, and also avoiding a couple of spots that the baby bunnies like to frequent that we’ve seen. I also did my yearly dodging of the random buttercup that seems to grow in the middle of the lawn. After it’s done blooming I’ll mow that down. Yeah, most consider it a weed but for some reason I kind of like the flower so I’ll let it bloom out before running it down. LD also noticed some poison ivy growing on the side of the shed and the side of the sunroom so I went ahead and sprayed some ivy killer on it. It’s already wilting but the direction say to keep up the spray for a few days so I’ll stay on top of that until it’s gone. After that I went down to the local deli and got us a sub for lunch, something we’ve been doing quite a bit more these last few weeks.

I finally got my hammer together and started to build my butterfly house. I was able to finish it within a half hour – it’s basically a closed box with some slits in the front for the butterfly to needle themselves through, and the top rotates so you can get inside the box to put in a banana peel which is supposed to attract them but I’m not sure about doing that because that just screams other unsavory bugs coming around to me. I’ll let LD paint it some bright colors and then we can hang it somewhere!

As you can see from the photo, spring in Boston has begun! It’s actually a wonderful time of year here in the city. I’m totally enjoying the warmer days.

Dawn of a New Day

Sunrise in Suburbia.

Spent the day in Somerville, helping out my mom and deciding on which cell phone to finally pop on. I’ve decided to get the FE 20 unlocked at a store and then bring it over to my carrier to activate it. Plan on getting that all done on Friday after her second COVID test in preparation for her second operation on her other hand on Monday morning. She’s doing really well I’m very glad and relieved to say. I ended up trimming the front hedges while I was there as well. Good arm workout let me tell you, especially since I used the hand tool and not the power cutters. Just call me Popeye!

Back at LD’s saw a bunch of mother and baby/teen bunnies in the backyard. Could more bunnies be in our future?

A Plum Visit

Crashing Waves

Spent yesterday just taking it easy. After my second shot I didn’t get sick or anything. My arm was a little sore for a few hours, and I felt pretty tired most of the day, but I still grilled and got some stuff done. I’m back to my normal self already.

Plum Island

Here’s some more pix from the Plum Island Reservation outing before me getting the shot.

Going through my camera bag I actually found my old Kindle (third generation). It said the battery was dead so I went to try to charge it up but nothing. I think it might be dead dead. I mean, it is pretty old. The thing won’t even reset. I suppose the battery inside it has completely died but there doesn’t look to be any way to open it easily to get at it. I see there is a way to actually replace the battery (saving this for myself for future reference) but I’d need to buy one and install it and I don’t think it’s probably worth it at this point due to the machine’s age. Perhaps I should just buy a newer version but I actually like the feel of real books.

Fully Vaxxed, Baby

I woke up at 6 am having not being able to sleep anymore. We went down to the DPW drop-off to get rid of the hazardous waste. Not really hazardous, just an old microwave and air conditioner. The line of cars to get in looked pretty long but LD figured it would move pretty quick, which it did, so we waited and eventually got it all unloaded and disposed of. While waiting in line I got a notification on my phone that my swan photo was being featured on Boston Fox25 social media news outlet. Very exciting! They’ve shared some of my stuff in the past and NECN has a bunch of times and I’m truly appreciative. My holy grail is to get on’s but try as I might I’ve never been able to break through on that one. Seems pretty clique-y to me but I’ll keep trying.

In the afternoon it was off to my second Covid shot appointment. The first one had been in Amesbury but for some reason this one had to be moved to Newburyport. Might as well make an afternoon of it since we were in the area! Ended up walking around Plum Island Reservation and Salisbury reservation. I think I got a lot of good photos but I’m going to relax for a while. It’s nice to finally have gotten both shots. I’ll post some of what we got in day or two. Here’s a picture of me after getting the shot along the shore in Salisbury.

The Electrician in the Garden

The electrician came by today and fixed the outside outlet that I noticed had been wonky over the winter. I should now be able to string up the outdoor lights without problem. He’s also the town’s animal control officer and told us a bunch of stories – he meets a lot of crazy characters. While he was there though, we saw two bunnies jumping over each other in the yard and he told us that that is their courtship routine, and that within 30 days they will have babies. No sooner than he said that is when we also saw a littler bunny, possibly Shiloh or one of his siblings. It was like the whole family was out there. Maybe they’ll decide to use the pot again for another bunch of bunnies! I’ll need to mark this one the calendar and make a note. I also saw my first hummingbird come by this afternoon. It flited around the tulips and hanging plants before darting off. Very cool to see, I’ve been trying to attract them for some time.

Earlier in the day I mowed the front lawn and got some stuff out of the basement and into the car to drop off at the DPW for Hazardous Waste Collection Day. Finally trying to get rid of some old minor appliances that have been taking up space in the basement since last winter. I was also going to do the back but the gas was running low. I’ll need to go get some and then complete the back. The electrician/animal control officer also gave us some lowdown about the former sinkhole in the yard which we converted to a nice phlox rock garden. Apparently there must have been a tree there at one time that was taken down before we ever came here. Over time the insects in the ground ate whatever was left under the soil and it just starts to cave in. I learned some new things today. I also was able to finish the book on the theft of the Gardner paintings I started a couple of days ago. All in all, it was a very good read, if slightly outdated. It did make me what to go back there and see the artwork again. The crazy thing about that is that there just seems to not be any real leads. You would think sooner or later some talk about where they are would happen or a crook or someone would want to cash out somehow. Problem being that the works are just too famous. I will admit that out of all the ones that were taken, Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is easily my personal favorite. It was the artist’s only known seascape scene. I hope it’s not too damaged – it really is a work of art. Oh I almost forgot, we even went to the beach for an hour this morning and saw some guy power paragliding (sort of like these models) right over the dunes!

Finally, for tonight I cooked up a walnut-crusted salmon with a roasted veggie jumble and lemon crème fraiche. It came out pretty good but I think I should have let the zucchini go a little longer in the oven. In the interim I was trying to solve some of the puzzles in Screw Gravity. Just when I think the game was over, there were more puzzles.

How About a Romantic Ride in a Swan Boat?

Swan Boats in Boston

On Saturday the Swan Boats come back to the Public Garden so I thought it apropos to include a shot I took of them a couple of years back.

We saw those two hawks in the tree again. They better leave the bunnies alone! Speaking of bunnies, I think we saw Shiloh today, or at least, one of his siblings. It was right in the back yard by the shed. This bunny wasn’t a baby bunny, but also not a full grown bunny like we usually see. I like to think it was one of the bunnies that was born here. I mean, it must be, right? It sniffed around one of the sourwood trees, which I’m pleased to say have started to bud and leaf out a bit, before darting underneath the shed.

The Weeping Willow Represents Balance, Harmony and Growth

The House with the old Weeping Willow.

The story behind the photo: Kinda bummed about the recycling bin in this shot but as the kids used to say, ‘whatevs.’ I grew up down the street from this house and was always enthralled by the large weeping willow that has been there for as long as I can remember. The house seems somewhat out of place as it’s surroundings don’t really match the décor of any of the surrounding triple deckers. Also the fence out front seems to have some kind of pagoda motif to me. I always wondered if some artist of some sort lives here or not. Seems like the place would lend itself to that. Strangely out of all the million times I’ve passed by this place, I’ve never seen who actually lives there. I just looked at Zillow and although the place isn’t for sale, it’s listed at close to a million and was built in 1900. The house I grew up in and is still in the family was built in 1856, and let me tell, sometimes it feels like it as nothing is to any proper or standard dimensions.

Yesterday Mom made it through her surgery A-OK! She’s due for another one on the other hand in a couple of weeks but now having gone through the process once, we know what to expect. I’d like to give a shoutout to Cambridge City Hospital for their good work. I guess it’s just called Cambridge Hospital now, just outside of Inman Square. Trivia bit: it’s the hospital were I was born! I’ve been spending the last two days over there helping out a bit so that’s why I haven’t updated much. I got a strange email from my webhost saying they needed to delete some giant file that was on the server under my account. I think it might have been some old backup of my previous site although I’ve no recall of ever backing that up. Anyways, I don’t think it matters or that I’d ever need whatever it was.

I found an old picture of me today frequenting the Egyptian artworks over at the MFA. Makes me want to go back there and visit the museum and the Gardner one too. I have a deeper appreciation of the artwork nowadays than I did back then and would like to see them again in my enlightened thoughts.

Calzones and May Day Deliveries

Sunset blankets over Jamaica Pond 5/1/21

Spent the afternoon at friends’ house on their outside deck and had takeout from some place that I must say made these amazing calzones! I had the buffalo chicken one and it was really good. After that LD had to deliver some end-of-the-semester goodies to her trainees as they’ll be wrapping up and moving on in their careers so we took a quick jaunt all throughout Boston, mostly parts of Dorchester, Hyde Park and JP. Moving on, there was even one who lived in the North End so I had to get out and navigate all the outdoor dining going on there, and let me tell you, the streets were packed. There were a ton of people dining yesterday – it was very crowded. Guess things are starting to get back to normal afterall – or people are just ready for it to be so and that’s that. Once all the packages were delivered LD thought we might be able to catch a sunset over at Jamaica Pond. We got there just as the sun was disappearing.

Jamaica Pond at Sunset 5/1/21