Living Maintenance - Maintainers Weekly Chat April 14 - April 20

04-14-2014, 06:20 AM
The big acceptance of summer around here was to purchase and put together a small Weber 'Q' model propane grill. We've been religious users of the standard Weber charcoal grill for ages. We finally broke down and got this one since DW wants to pop out on hot days and grill the chicken breasts without heating up the kitchen. It's small enough that we might have to fire up the charcoal one in addition for multiple guests.

I'm continuing to hold my own on snacks - that makes me very happy. Especially since summer offers the notion that 'trail mix' is the proper reward for walking anywhere, anytime. Trail mix is just the best stuff ever, but its high calories are well served keeping up the energy for a couple of hours of hard hiking on a trail - not for when one 'thinks' about going outside and decides to pop a handful of trail mix instead.

04-14-2014, 06:30 AM
I am meeting with the guy who will replace our front porch today - I'm excited and looking forward to the facelift I have planned for the house. Tomorrow I meet with one of the potential landscapers and Wed. with the other. I'm hoping the City removes the tree stump from our front lawn soon so work can begin.

I think we may have carpenter ants - probably in the rear outside rafters - as I found 3 dead ones in DH's office yesterday. Apparently they don't eat the wood of the house the way termites do but they still need to be exterminated as they do excavate large areas for their colonies out of the wood. They eat nectar from aphids and keep aphids for that purpose. Interesting naturalistic stuff but not in my rafters please. :dizzy:

I'm going to have to go on an advertising blitz (delivering flyers next week and weekend) and come up with some new clients to help cover costs. Lots of new puppies out there. I just have to persuade 3 owners that they should choose me, out of the thousands of people now doing this, to walk their dog.

Dagmar :cool:

04-14-2014, 09:30 AM
Good morning! Spring has FINALLY sprung! The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming and we've turned off the heater and opened up the windows. At least, when it's not raining. :lol: It has been absolutely lovely to go outdoors without a coat and wear short sleeves. Plus I can put the girls into their short sleeve 12-month clothes before they outgrow them. :D

Followup to last week's thread -- when they "kiss" themselves in the mirror, it's more like eating their own face than actually kissing, in case that wasn't clear. :lol3: At one point this weekend one of them (I forget who) was laying facedown on the floor with a mirror under her face just staring at herself and giggling. It was super cute! Here is a video ( of them playing and "talking" yesterday morning. C spent the entire day yesterday blowing raspberries nearly nonstop!

I did get us set up to have a free developmental screening for them. This afternoon someone is coming to do paperwork with us and will set up when the actual evaluation happens.

Dagmar, sorry about DH's BIL. Good luck with getting some new clients!

Krampus, hope that you can minimize the impact of the mistake.

Work continues to be nuts here but one way or another something should be somewhat resolved in a couple days -- either they'll agree to give us a few more weeks to figure things out or they'll cancel the project. I don't have too much invested in this yet so I don't really mind either way.

04-14-2014, 10:10 AM
Our golf course has fire ants. The weekend before last, I lost a ball in a flower bed and DH, MIL and I all stepped in to find the ball (we wear golf sandals). All three of us were bitten and I still have the marks to show for it. They sprayed the entire course last Friday for the ants and it was much nice playing this weekend. Saturday I started off having one of the best rounds of the year but it fell apart on the back nine. Sunday was less than stellar.

The weekend's temperatures were very nice--mid 80's where they should be. Last week''s high 90's can stay away for a while.

Happy Monday to all!

Shannon in ATL
04-14-2014, 07:07 PM
I planted my vegetables in my garden beds over the weekend last weekend, and of course now the forecast calls for low 30s tonight and as low as 30 tomorrow night. Grumble grumble.

04-14-2014, 07:22 PM
Sometimes owning your own business isn't all that fun. A couple of months ago we were so busy we were turning people away (little jobs like broken windows or small repairs). We just didn't have the man power. Today, DH informed the installers that we're so slow that we're going to have to lay off up to 5 of them (we have 12 installers). We're not expecting to be busy for at least 4 months. Such is the construction business. Not only is it incredibly difficult to tell someone they're no longer employed (even though there is a 90% chance of us rehiring them in the very near future) but some of these guys have been with us YEARS. They're like family. It really sucks. DH himself is taking a 25% pay cut and we've loaned the company close to $200,000 to keep it going the past few years.

It's going to be tough around here this week.

04-15-2014, 12:00 AM
You all have inspired me to get my backyard cleaned up! I won't go as far as planting this year! But I am going to address the massive weed pile that at one time held a gardenia and azaleas that were killed in a freeze about three years ago. I can't tackle it myself so going to find someone to pay to take it out while on spring break ... in two more days!!! Starts on Thursday but have to teach at the college that night. But just doing that is still a break!

Bill, that's great on holding off on snacks!
Dagmar, awesome on porch people! Did DH look for a car yet? Although probably too much to think about with everything else going on. Hope you get some new pets to watch!

Jessica, love the video! So sweet!

Allison, that sounds very stressful. Hope it turns soon. My DH has always worked commission only. Not nearly as stressful as having other people and families relying on you, but stressful enough for me!

What's up with ants these days! Two of you mentioned them. About a week ago I put two letters in my mailbox to be picked up. Then a few hours later I went to see if mail person had come (our flag broke off). I opened up the mailbox and it was swarming with big black carpenter ants all over the two letters!!! There was this white stuff that was clear in little pellets all over the place. The ants were running around in a frenzy. I was shocked and scared! I wondered if they were getting the glue from the envelopes or what! So I had to pull the letters out with two sticks and the shake them off and then spray in the mailbox. Haven't seen any since, but they are probably in my big weed garden along with snakes and other critters.

But ants are just part of it! A parent at my school was attacked by bears yesterday, just a few miles from my house! A bear knocked down my neighbors bird feeder, completely bending the pole to get the food. I feel sorry for the bears because for whatever reason there are so many more and they have put several down this year. Of course, not sorry enough to dare fed them which is what some people are doing causing all this to happen.


04-15-2014, 09:27 AM
Okay, I spoke too soon about spring, it snowed last night and there are still flurries this morning. Sigh.

Sharon, that is scary about the bears! I didn't know there were even bears in Florida. :lol: I guess I thought they didn't live in hot climates! We have had a few little ants in the house but nothing worth doing anything about. I think they just came in because there was so much rain last week.

04-16-2014, 09:45 AM
No ants for us; they either froze to death or the mice ate them. :lol3: No bears either, but if they are willing to eat deer, I will happily adopt some.

Shannon in ATL
04-16-2014, 11:13 AM
Gardner friends - my plants are all wilty after the cold last night. We did get a light frost for a couple of hours apparently. When I went to bed it wasn't supposed to get quite that cold so I missed it. Are they all goners?

Bears attacking people in Florida? I don't guess I knew they lived that far down either. Scary.

04-16-2014, 11:19 AM
Shannon - ooh, wilty is not a good thing. At best, they will have a growth setback. Wilty is due to the cells freezing and bursting. If they don't perk up quick in the warmth and sunshine, the damage is probably permanent. Some veggies can take it, some can't. Good luck! :crossed:

Shannon in ATL
04-16-2014, 11:56 AM
I was afraid of that, Becky. All the leaves are still green this morning, but what I'm reading says that it is a matter of time before they brown. Sadness. At least they were still new enough that they haven't spread much - I should just be able to pop them out and drop new plants in the same spots. :(

I have all tomatoes and peppers right now, and those seem to be ones that can't handle even a light frost.

04-16-2014, 11:59 AM
Bummer, Shannon. Yep, tomatoes and peppers are notoriously delicate. We don't plant ours until early May, and even then with hot caps and ground skirts. DH won't plant them til the soil temp at 6" down is at least 50F. Lessons learned from a lot of killed seedlings. :(

04-16-2014, 12:30 PM
Tried to post earlier but 3FC was hanging. Shannon, have you got some old net curtains or horticultural fleece to put over them tonight? Newspaper will also work if there isn't a breeze. Or you could get DS to sellotape big sheets together and weight the whole thing down at the edges. Take off in the morning, obviously. Better safe than sorry.

Agree with Becky. Good luck!

04-16-2014, 12:31 PM
Worth a go, imho.

Shannon in ATL
04-16-2014, 01:00 PM
I have stuff to cover them with tonight, but it isn't supposed to get anywhere near cold enough to frost tonight. Of course I said that last night. Meh.

The Farmer's Almanac said that the last frost would be 4/15 and not to plant before 4/19. Guess they were right. :) It was 80 degrees here on Saturday.

04-16-2014, 01:05 PM
I can relate to your sadness. I teared up a little two years ago when our fruit trees were in full bloom, and we had a forecast of hard freeze, it froze, and we had 1 apple that year out of 14 trees! Now we have a strategy that prioritizes certain pollinators, and enough covers to save half.

04-17-2014, 06:30 AM
I went to see Johnny Clegg last night. I read about him many years ago and was very impressed by what he was doing. Trying to make peace with a cultural bridge in a very hard and brutal time in his home country. A country with a hard and brutal past.

I was very impressed and entertained last night. I tend to watch people in the crowd reacting to what's going on on stage. There was a little boy (about 6, 7 (?)) dancing wildly throughout the concert, waaay up in the stands. So good to see such enthusiasm. Brought me right out of my own black hole of the past few weeks.

DH and I really need to get out more.

Dagmar :dancer:

04-17-2014, 07:09 AM
Thanks for sending me out to learn about Johnny Clegg - like this song on YouTube: Johnny Clegg (With Nelson Mandela) - Asimbonanga (

Ouch for those plants in the unexpected freeze, Shannon. Is it an option to replace them with new six inchers started in the green houses? Our late winter here is forcing many folks into using starter plants when they'd normally start from seeds.

Shannon in ATL
04-17-2014, 10:28 AM
Bill - I can replace them with plants from Lowe's, I'm just annoyed. Most of them didn't make it.

Oddly, a couple of the pepper plants have no damage at all, and two of the tomatoes seem like the top half froze and the bottom half looks fine. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to just replace those or see what happens. On a couple of them I was left with just stems after I snapped off the wilted leaves. Looks like worms got them. LOL

04-17-2014, 10:52 AM
First day of my Spring Break, I'm going to get some cleaning and organizing done this next ten days. Also I am working on my app I've been writing for about a year. Very close and plan to get some of the things that I need to add to it fixed. It's a word game for middle school kids. I need to add a scoring that is hosted by Apple so it will show the top scores. I plan on releasing it very soon because I have an idea for another app I want to work on but I just can't start it until I release this one! Sort of like starting a book when you aren't done with another book. I have never released an app, so that part alone will be a learning curve.

My DH was given tickets to a skybox at a baseball game in Tampa tomorrow night. He says there will be lots of good food, and I said, it's Good Friday! Meaning we don't eat much that day, not total fasting but limited. Oh well, I'll manage.

Sorry about your plants Shannon. I'm going to learn about Johnny Clegg too. Dagmar, I do the same thing with watching the audience. But sometimes it makes me cry. If I see people, especially kids, really enjoying something it just tears me up! I felt like a complete idiot about 20 years ago when I took my kids to see Barney, that awful purple dinosaur, and I started watching other kids totally immersed in the show and I started crying... In a Barney show!!! Another time that happens is in airports. I have to just look straight ahead and watch no reunions! It is so annoying because these are total strangers and I cry when they hug and reunite! Forget sappy commercials. I just leave the room! And babies getting baptized... I have finally learned to watch but not pay attention there because my kids would get so mad....why do you cry every time mom????
So now I watch and think of something else. Can't imagine whenever my kids get married, lol.

04-17-2014, 04:21 PM
Calcounter I cry when I listen to choirs - hymns, Christmas carols, etc. I found this out at a performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo - most embarassing. It wasn't small tears only crying - I was bawling. I had to leave the concert. :o th_Black_Mambazo&ei=LilQU5mbL5LI2wXzmoDACg&usg=AFQjCNEl47HdlpwQ7ugts7-SCJ-Wg3Knvg&bvm=bv.65058239,d.b2I

Dagmar :shrug:

04-18-2014, 11:10 AM
Calcounter I cry when I listen to choirs - hymns, Christmas carols, etc. I found this out at a performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo - most embarassing. It wasn't small tears only crying - I was bawling. I had to leave the concert. :o th_Black_Mambazo&ei=LilQU5mbL5LI2wXzmoDACg&usg=AFQjCNEl47HdlpwQ7ugts7-SCJ-Wg3Knvg&bvm=bv.65058239,d.b2I

Dagmar :shrug:
Me too! I cry at music like that also! I haven't ever had to leave an event but I seem to be getting worse, lol, so my day may be coming!

04-18-2014, 03:06 PM
Hi all! I've been having fun this week with my crew of birders that comes each spring to band migratory songbirds. I've started off this year much further ahead than I was last year so I'm hoping this year to keep expanding my ability to ID the birds and start to learn to age them as well. Here is a picture of me with a Common Yellowthroat that I banded (don't mind the hair and shlumpy field clothes - it's field work and was really windy!). The weather has turned back from spring here, too, but these fronts and wind actually make for really good weather for getting birds.

I made friends with these folks last year, too, so it's fun to spend time with friends I don't see often. My work schedule with them is kind of erratic but I'm hoping to get back into regular wogs with the dog this weekend and next week. I have a few good weeks on, then a week off, usually due to work craziness. As long as the good weeks outweigh the bad... at least I've been walking around a lot to check the bird nets.

Shannon, sorry about your plants. This has been a weird spring. My tomatoes and peppers have been enjoying the rain but I need to go put my milk jugs around them if this wind doesn't stop (I cut off the top and bottom of a 1 gallon plastic bottle and put it around young tomatoes and peppers if it's windy when they're young). A friend's garden that has been prolific in greens is getting flooded out, so he's been just giving the greens away left and right because he knows they'll die soon. My morning smoothies have benefitted greatly from his spinach and baby kale. :D

Calcounter, enjoy your spring break! And finishing your app. What an accomplishment.

Dagmar, how did your meeting go re: deck replacement? Good I hope!

Allison, sorry about the layoffs. That has got to be tough. I hope business picks back up soon.

Jessica, the girls are too cute! They will be running around in no time.

Bill, I have a gas grill just for the convenience/speed of it. It is really nice to cook quickly outside in the summer when it's a) I'm hangry! and b) it's hot and we don't want to heat up the house.

Have a great weekend all!

04-18-2014, 05:42 PM
And holding a Common Yellowthroat! How cool is that? :cp:

04-18-2014, 05:52 PM
Awesome photo Megan!!

04-18-2014, 07:23 PM
Love the Common Yellowthroat picture, Megan - We feel lucky when we see those around here.

04-18-2014, 09:44 PM
Great photo of Megan AND the bird!!!

04-19-2014, 02:13 AM
Love the picture! Both you and the bird are adorable!

04-19-2014, 06:53 AM
You look very happy to be out there doing what you're doing Megan. Nice pic!

Dagmar :cool:

04-20-2014, 08:38 AM
Happy Easter to those who celebrate! :easter2: :bunny2:

04-20-2014, 08:44 AM
And a happy Easter to you, too, Becky, which I know you'll spend surrounded by bunnies, while Jen is surrounded by chicks.

04-20-2014, 09:23 AM
Happy Easter

Glad that I don't have young kids that need to hunt eggs outside - it remains chilly around here.

All Boston papers are filled with stories of the Boston Marathon on Monday and remembrances of those killed or injured last year. It's an emotional time around Boston.

04-20-2014, 04:39 PM
Shannon, one of my dreams is to have a greenhouse, I dont have space for one though.

04-20-2014, 09:19 PM
It was a perfectly beautiful day today in mid-Michigan. We are Jewish, but got invited to an Easter dinner and egg hunt by our friends and neighbors. Delicious food, served outside and the sounds of happy, playing children made for a great day. Sooo much nicer than Friday night's stress and tantrums.

04-20-2014, 10:05 PM
A haunted Easter, since this holiday hasn't felt right since we lost several family members and moved the celebration out of the ancestral land, Pennsylvania.

I'm glad to be heading to bed shortly.