Playing catch-up

We’ve been gone a lot lately – weekend trips here and there, I’ve been traveling for work sporadically and let’s face it, we’re having weather that’s more representative of October than June – so there are some things around the house that needed catching-up on.

The humming birds were out of food. I like to make my own nectar, so I started Saturday off by making a batch. The recipe I use is 1 cup of water to 1/4 cup of sugar.

Bring to a boil, stir once or twice.

Pour it into a Pyrex to cool.

While the nectar was cooling, I headed outside. With all of the rain, my roses have been decimated. The blooms only last about 2 days, but I haven’t had a chance to dead-head and shape the bushes. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a bud or two to get the shape you want. While it always seems like a waste, trimming off a bud lets the plant put its energy back into filling in, etc.

Roses bud from the stem where there is a branch of five leaves. So look at the stem, and trim back to just before the first or second 5-leaf cluster below the dead bud.

I like to trim my roses/other plants in the yard prior to mowing the lawn – and then I just throw the branches into the grass. The lawn mower will chop them up and bag them for me while I mow.

After the roses were done, I did just that – mowed. It had been about 3 weeks. I aerated, thatched and overseeded in May, so I’ve been mowing less often to let the seed take, but it’s not doing so well (I blame the lack of sun).

The established grass was pretty tall, so I had to empty the bag about every 4 laps around the lawn. Mowing all three lawns filled an entire yard-debris bin, but was worth it.

After mowing, I went to the front yard to trim and shape all of the shrubs. About halfway through my trimmers broke – hopefully the lifetime warranty stands up.

With the shears broken, I rounded the flower beds, weeding. When pulling weeds, make sure you get the root, and also if there is a seed pod or head (like the puffy dandelions) make sure you trap all of the seeds in a container. It will keep the weeds from spreading. I carry around a plastic 5 gallon bucket, and make sure everything I pull gets trapped in there. After pulling as many as I could, I loaded up the sprayer to hit some problem areas with round-up. Although I try to pull as many weeds as possible, there are some areas, like the pea gravel near the street where grass is impossible to remove, so round-up it is. Everything in moderation, right?

I went back inside, and the humming bird nectar was cool, so I rinsed out the feeder, and filled it up. If you have build-up or mildew in your feeder, put in two tablespoons of brown rice, mixed with hot water. Put your thumb over the opening, and shake shake shake. The rice will scrape off the gunk, but won’t leave any residue like soap that can harm the little guys.

With the feeder up, Helen and I, and one of our friends Erin, jumped in the car and headed to the other side of town. Our buddy Joe was turning 30, so we went to celebrate. There was a keg of Ninkasi Total Domination and Tess made a smorgasbord of delicious food, so we ate, drank and danced the night away. There may or may not have been glowsticks involved.

Today, it’s raining again. I topped up the hot tub and balanced the chemicals. For a while the water was green and slimy… not sure about that, but it seems to be normal now.

The tub in the main bathroom also needed some help. The caulk between the shower walls and the tub was getting pretty nasty. I pulled the old bead off, and then used toilet bowl cleaner to clean the crevice out. I find it works really well – it’s made to kill mold/mildew/germs, and also made to stick to porcelain, so I just run a bead of it around the seam, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub it off using a plastic-bristled brush (for cleaning only, obviously).

I rinsed it off, let everything dry, and then re-caulked using tub and shower silicone-based caulking. No more mold, and a year or so more of no leaking.

Helen’s been busy in the kitchen today preparing a dinner for her pop. The Pioneer Woman is helping her out, so naturally it’s going to be delicious.

Her uncle Jim is going to come over later today, too, to help me pick up our new front door from Home Depot…. Can’t wait!

Since dad’s birthday is always very near or on Father’s Day, we typically combine the two – poor guy gets a bum deal, but that’s why we didn’t trek down to Philomath today. Sorry dad… Happy Father’s Day!

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