Monday, July 9th, 2012
10:20 am - A Couple of Weekends  
My legs are sore, my back aches, and my right index finger hurts when I move it. Yes, I've been playing volleyball.

Have had a couple of busy weekends in a row, with one more to come (Readercon). Youngest sister visited with her kids two weekends ago, so we did all sorts of stuff. Spent a day over in Newport gawking at the rich folks and their cottages. Spent another day on Block Island (aka, the Block Island Death March) walking hither and yon in the heat and humidity, since we didn't have bikes for the younger kids*. Still, a good time was had by most all, except for younger nephew who was being quite the pill and is fortunate the rest of us decided not to reenact the massacre at Mohegan Bluffs. The next day was a combination pool/volleyball party where the kids swam and I played volleyball for the first time in a year. I also introduced them all to Pratchett via the adaptation of Hogfather, and teenaged nephew left for home with the loan of several books.

* My suggestion that we let the adults and teenager ride whilst the little kids walked was met with disapproval, alas.

This past weekend had another pool/volleyball party, and I played a lot, which is why I ache all over. Still, it's a good ache, and I'm contemplating going back and playing again with the group at the Guild come September. I'd quit after I had my bike accident in 2004, which was followed by back troubles, and general problems with being old and fat. But I've lost considerable weight, and I've been considering going back. I hadn't yet because I was wondering if I could still play up to the competition at my age, but I was able to keep up without embarrassing myself the past two weekends, so maybe. I doubt I could do it every week like I used to, but it'd be fun.

July 4th is my annual marker for trimming back the shrubs, and I started working on that. The problem has always been the size of the shrubs in front of the house. They're huge, because the previous owner wasn't diligent about keeping them trimmed back, and they're a pain to keep in check. I don't mind so much with the rhododendrons, because they are gorgeous in the spring, but the arbor vitae and, especially, the junipers (I'm mildly allergic) drive me crazy.

So anyway, I was out there trimming away, and I finally decided to do something about it. Went into the basement, found the chainsaw, and cut down juniper #1. Then I spent the next couple of days hacking away at all the intertwined branches with my loppers to separate them all into manageable bits so's that I could dispose of them all. I was worried that the side of the rhododendron would appear bare now that it's neighbor is gone, but it's not too bad, and will undoubtedly grow in now that it has more access to its environs. Juniper #2 meets its fate this week, and then I'll make a decision about the arbor vitae. Then I'll need to replace them with something. I'm thinking azaleas.
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arlissarliss on July 10th, 2012 - 02:25 am
We (for values of we meaning he did the actual and I provided moral support) just yanked out the decades-old random "bushes" in the front of the house. There were three, one male and female of the same species that dropped black smooshy berries and trashy leaves all over and I'm glad they're gone. A hosta-wannabe ground cover that's nearly impossible to eliminate, so most of it was grubbed out. The row of concrete wall stones that edged the bed were embedded vertically in the asphalt that edges the bed, like a serried row of tiny tombstones. They have been pried loose, and joined by a pallet of their brothers, and will be laid horizontally, as the lord intended, and stacked two or three high to make a low wall edging the bed. Which will be sprayed with herbicide to thwart the creeper, mulch cloth laid end to end, and covered in small gravel. At leisure, then, we'll space large planters along the gravel and fill with pretty flowering things and good-smelling herbs. And possibly a St. Francis statue, a meditatin Buddha, a temple lantern, or a garden gnome or two. There are stairs to the front porch from the street now--tomorrow the treads will be screwed in place. And then we'll cap the pressure-treated uprights with white vinyl (which lasts longer than painting), and replace the lattice on the half of the front that doesn't have new stairs. So exciting!
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DXMachinadxmachina on July 10th, 2012 - 11:20 am
You and H have far more ambition than I do. The other juniper is going to go, but I think the arbor vitae will get a stay until I see how the replacement plants for the junipers work out. There will definitely be mulch cloth.
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