April 26th, 2009


Dirty, Disgusting, Filthy, Lice-Ridden Birds...

Tweeting outside my window at 5:00 in the morning. Stoopid birds...

Wow, that sure was a short spring. We went from the last remnants of winter on Thursday (high 40's, rainy, windy) to full on summer yesterday (temperatures approaching 80), with even warmer temps due today.

I celebrated by doing the first mow of the season (and was stunned when the mower started up on the second pull), along with some other yardwork. I also swapped out the windows for screens on the storm doors and assembled the garden cart I picked up at the Depot a little while ago. A garden cart is basically a wagon with delusions of grandeur. It does have one feature that I would've killed for back when I was a kid hauling one brother or another around in our Radio Flyer. There's a handle on it that if pulled lets you dump the contents out the back. That would've been handy.

I'd actually gone looking to finally buy a wheel barrow, but as I was looking at the options in the store, I remembered all the times I'd managed to accidentally dump the contents of a wheel barrow after running into an inopportunely placed obstacle. Plus there is still a certain amount of lifting involved when using one, and I'm getting a little too old for that. The cart was in the same ballpark price-wise, and should do nicely for the kinds of toting I need to do around here. It was a bitch to put together, though, relying on very large-headed machine screws to be driven into very tight lock nuts for assembly. I was done by the time I was finished.

I still need to do a couple of chores out there. I need to fill in the deep rut left in the lawn by the corner of the driveway when the kind snowplow driver plowed out the end of my driveway back in December. There are also still some ruts near it from when the septic truck drove over the lawn last year.

I also need to do something about a dead rhododendron. I have a line of shrubs along one side of the yard, alternating forsythias and small-leafed rhododendrons. The forsythia are three years old now, and doing splendidly. The rhododendrons are at least five years old, and aren't. They're barely bigger than when I planted them. One of them is totally dead. What's weird about it is that it was murdered rather than being a natural death. All the remaining branches were clipped below the leaves somehow, as if someone ran it over with a lawnmower. I know I didn't run it over. I'm pretty sure that C next door, who is way more into gardening than I am, would've told me if she'd accidentally hit it with the lawn tractor. That leaves either her boyfriend's kid, who occasionally does her lawn, or bunnies unknown. But if it was a bunny, why just that one and not the others. And my experience is that bunnies don't eat wooden stems, just leaves.

Anyway, I have one rhododendron that I planted near the flower bed at the head of the drive that's done even worse over the years than the others (albeit without dying), and this gives me the opportunity to move it to the ex-rhododendron's location. Today should be a good day for that.

I also want to go for a ride. The weather's been so lousy that I haven't gotten out much at all. I did get out Friday, and swallowed my first bug of the season. Today I'm thinking about driving up to Blackstone for a ride before the thunder storms roll in.


Well, today it was wicked hot for April, reaching the mid-eighties. Very summery, with little shade from the trees yet to mitigate all that hot sun.

I drove up to the Blackstone Valley path for the first time this season. I did this with a bit of trepidation. Last time I rode Blackstone, a young man became trapped in one of the tunnels under Pratt Dam, and drowned while rescue workers tried in vain to free him. I was worried about my reaction to the place where it happened, but it turns out I had little reaction at all. It was a quiet, sunny day, with no one around the spot, and no outward evidence that anything bad had ever happened. I sent a silent thought in the young man's direction and kept on going.

The path runs from Central Falls all the way up to Woonsocket now. I always start near the mid-point of the path, and head south first. The southern half is older, bumpier (tree roots have buckled the pavement upwards in spots), and more heavily trafficked. I felt really strong despite the heat, and made pretty good speed in some pretty high gears for me. Then I turned around to head north, and finally noticed the stiff breeze that had apparently been pushing me along so well. It was pretty much in my face all the way up to Woonsocket, and made for slow going.

Then, just a little south of the Woonsocket treatment plant, I saw a vehicle on the path ahead of me surrounded by a group of men. At first I thought they might be some clueless anglers (trout season just opened here) with an ATV, but as I got closer, I realized that they were rescue personnel, and that they were loading a stretcher onto the back of what turned out to be the groundskeeper's cart from the athletic field complex a little further on. Now I got weirded out. I was able to ride past as they were seeing to whomever it was, but I didn't rubberneck. The actual rescue vehicles were waiting at the treatment plant, and I saw one of the firemen propping up a bicycle. Now I'm wondering if its owner was the person on the stretcher.

By the time I got turned around at the north end and headed back (the new section that was under construction in the fall is now fully open), the rescue trucks had left. With the wind at my back again, the rest of the ride was easy.

When I got home, I looked to see if there was anything in the news about the incident,but there was nothing. I'm hoping no news is good news this time out.