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Indian Paintbrush and Texas Blue Bonnets

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Recap...

The time goes by fast when we're here in Ohio, but this summer has been especially busy.  Bill had cataracts removed from both eyes...  that meant 8 trips to Columbus.  He could have had it done here in Athens, but I had mine done at the Arena Eye Center in Columbus 5 years ago and was very happy with the doctor and other services provided.  It's only about 85 miles one way and the drive isn't bad at all, so Bill chose to have his done there too.

We had 2 rentals empty, one we planned to renovate, the other the tenant had lived there 11 years and expected to stay forever.  However, his teaching position at OU was terminated due to down-sizing and he was retirement age, so he moved to Spokane to be closer to family.

Lots of work, lots of repairs, lots of painting, cleaning and all those things required when a rental becomes empty.

Bill's still working on deck here....  the new tenant moved in August 1st, and the inside was done, but with everything else going on, there just wasn't enough time to do it all.  All the outside of this house got a new coat of paint but parts of the deck might have to wait until next year.

We've seen the Spring Migration when we first got here in late March, and are still here at the beginning of the Fall Migration in late August.  We've watched the bluebirds nest, feed their young and watched the young fledge.

It looks like the Cardinals did well this summer...
The young are still getting their "real" feathers, so often we see some strange patterned birds at the feeders.  I counted 8 "this year" cardinals at the feeder at one time yesterday, so I think they did well.

Another bird that hasn't gotten it's adult feathers...
This young Towhee comes without his parents now....  scratching and scattering seeds everywhere.

We drive through a State Park getting home from town, and there's a lake along side the road.  
I love it when the Marsh Mallows are in bloom...

I had never thought about it before, but this year got to wondering about the "marshmallows" we toast over a campfire and the Marsh Mallows that grow in swampy areas.  Googled it...  sure enough...  originally the Marsh Mallow was used to make marshmallows.  Of course there's more to learn there, but I won't go into all that.  Just found it interesting....

One day when I was driving home I saw this fly fisherman out in the lake.  You can see that the upper end of the lake isn't very deep.  I have no idea what he was fishing for...  this is not fast moving water, nor is it very cold.  It's the first time I've ever seen anyone casting like that here.  For all I know he was just practicing.

We bought 2 tomato plants in May.  The cherry tomato we put in the ground.  The bush tomato we put in a container on our patio.  We got our first ripe tomatoes at the end of June.  Looks like we'll get at least one more ripe one before we head out.

We've seen 6 black snakes and a couple of ring-necked snakes this summer.  But no copperheads...  which I'm always on the lookout for.  Bill came across this fat toad on our patio this morning.  He's another "good guy"...  might keep the insect population down some.

I had my game cameras out for about 3 months.  Did real well getting great photos until the crows and raccoons took over.  I still continued to feed the critters, but took down the cameras when I started getting 3,000 to 4,000 photos a night.  The batteries on my game cameras were constantly going dead and I got tired of deleting all those photos.  
I took this photo from inside our motorhome.  We have several apple trees around the yard and the tree next to us has some kind of blight.  The apples are constantly falling off...  no sense in them going to waste....  the deer love having them to munch down on, and I'm happy to pick up a bucket full of them from the ground to keep from running over them with the mower.  The big buck on the right tolerates the smaller spike buck on the left, but runs him off if he gets too close.  Guess rut isn't too far off.

I took this photo only yesterday...
I don't know the species of this baby bird.  Looks like there might be some yellow feathers around his rump.  He was in the poplar tree right outside our rig.  It seems awful late in the year to see one so young.....  I hope he makes it.

The rentals weren't the only thing were busy at...  we closed on selling the house in New Mexico and the one we bought in Mexico, we had another rental re-roofed, Bill & I both got new eye glasses, we had a 3 day yard sale and got rid of a lot of the stuff we should have gotten rid of years ago, we went to most of the June evening concerts on OU campus, and best of all...  we had great visits with our family and friends.  Our daughter had a big party for us and we had all 4 of our kids here at one time, as well as Bill's sister and my brother and sister.  It's been a great summer....

One last photo...
Me, my brother Larry, and sister Cynthia...
Breakfast this morning at Bob Evans....

Still have a few more days of finishing up here on the Ridge and we'll be heading out soon.  
What a Summer!

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Rest of The Story... The Power Wagon, the Man-Lift and more....

I said that I'd report back on the Power Wagon.  It was delivered last evening.  Even though the driver got lost getting here (what's wrong with following directions?), he made it, unloaded it out at the road and off he went back to the shop.  It was too late for Bill to do more than park it in the shed, but after running some errands this morning, he was ready to go out and give it a go...

 It can be bought with either a big "Rubbermaid-type" wheelbarrow bed, or the wooden bed, which you can see is what Bill chose.  

Off he goes....  walking it up the driveway to the hillside that he has been steadily cutting back.  He uses a shovel, digging and piling the dirt into his wheelbarrow...  load after load.  He still uses the shovel, but this trip he piled in into the bed of his new toy.

 That's a lot of dirt...  especially heavy since that hillside is always damp.  After loading it he just walked the wagon right down the driveway.

 And...  look here!  The dump bed just lifts up and deposits the load where he wants it.
I took this photo from a window in our rig....  those papers in the right corner were on the back of the couch.  It's basically a motorized wheel-barrow...  you walk behind it.

Bill is very pleased with the Power Wagon's performance.  It has 4 speeds and he said he hasn't even got it up to the highest yet.  It also has reverse, which is quite handy, too.

You may remember that I got a comment from Emjay, who bought one a couple of years ago and it just didn't have enough power to do what she needed done.  I don't have the answer to why this one is so different, but it looks like a real labor-saver for Bill and I think he'll be happy with it.

The Man-Lift will be picked up tomorrow...
Bill finished painting the barn house, and even replaced some boards along the edge that were deteriorating.  He's painted this building several times in the past...  always using a series of ladders and such.  Renting the Man-Lift made this job so much easier...  and safer.

While he has it, he also did some tree trimming over the driveway and around the site where we park our motorhome.  

The new renter moved into the barn house on Monday...  I finally got around to taking some photos of the finished apartment...  but Steve had already moved in a lot of his stuff...
We painted all the cabinets, some walls, put in a new sink and counter-top in the bathroom, replaced several blinds, took out the old sliding door and put in one that has blinds between the panes, repaired a lot of stuff...  bought a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and microwave.  The kitchen range was bought a year or so ago and just needed cleaning.  In the upper right photo you can see the skylight.  Steve is a musician who works nights...  Bill figured out how to put a covering over the skylight that will block out daylight, but can be retracted when he wants light.  All in all the place came out looking very good.  I had a hummingbird feeder right outside the kitchen window...  told Steve I'd take it down...  but he said no, he'd never had a hummingbird feeder and enjoyed seeing the little guys.  I will continue to clean and fill it...  it's kind of nice having someone else enjoy the birds, too.

One more photo...  remember a couple of months ago when we had 5 black snakes appear within 24 hours?  Well, we hadn't seen any since.  We were sitting in the motorhome having lunch a couple of  days ago... I looked out and...
This big guy had climbed up the side of the shed and when I first saw him, he was laying across the top white board.  Yes, that is a bluebird box on the post, but it hasn't been used this year...  I wonder what attracted him to the box?  I waited until he was on his way down, grabbed him and we hauled him down the road to some new territory.  Got to thinking later...  it's said that black snakes keep away copperheads.....  maybe I shouldn't be so hasty in relocating these guys.

I do like my birds though...  maybe Bill will just make better predator guards on the houses he puts up.  Not going to worry about it this summer.

I was asked if I'm getting itchy feet.  Well, we have been here 4 months and that's a long time.  But the way my mind works...  if I go into something expecting it to last "x" time, then I'm okay.  That could be 2 weeks, 2 months or whatever.  It's like I'm psyched for that time.  But whatever time that might be, I start getting antsy a few days or a week before we leave.  When I'm ready, I'm ready!

I know, not a particularly exciting post...  but Bill sure has done remarkable things here this summer and believe me, his work is appreciated.  And my blog is also my journal.

That's All For Today!