Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I never get tired of listening to the birds on spring mornings.  They sing---rain or shine.  I'm thinking I could take a lesson from them.  

Anyway, they're out there happily tweeting and chirping this morning after a night of heavy rain.  

We received a thorough washing last night; not that we needed one, but I must say the lawn looks rich, clean and dark green this morning.  

Yesterday's partially dry day allowed me to carefully run the mower over most of the lawn, cutting the ragged edges and chopping up the riffraff left over from winter.

Just before the rains came, I even tilled my "bend-over garden."  I'm still old school in some of my gardening, even though more planters for less bending over are showing up every year.
I have a large "bend-over" plot for tomatoes and above-the-ground plants that won't get eaten by deer.  Beneath-the-ground plants the past couple of years have been eaten by the rodents, so I'm using the planters for them.  

My lettuce usually occupies a plot close enough to the house that its only nemesis is an occasional digging frenzy by Brooke.  Yes, Brooke not only escapes to the neighbor's house, but she also digs.  And, last year she almost decimated my young lettuce.  

I was able to salvage and replant it fast enough that it survived; plus, Debbie brought me more lettuce seeds.

Back to the bend-over patch.  I'm so proud that over the past few years of virtually everything going wrong with my equipment that could possibly go wrong has reaped some educational rewards.  

Yesterday my rototiller did not want to fire up.  First, its rope would not recoil back into its case after each pull.  Before getting mad, I recalled fixing the rope and the recoiling mechanism a couple of years ago with help from my brother. 

"I can do this," I thought to myself.  So, I gathered a couple of wrenches, removed the casing and found that the rope recoiled quite nicely when it wasn't part of the rest of the machine.

That meant something in the machine wasn't working right, namely the hardware that rotates the rope.  

Out came the miracle drug for virtually anything that doesn't want to work:  WD-40.  A few sprays here, a few sprays there, and by golly, the rope recoiled when I reinstalled its casing back on the rototiller.

Even then, however,  the rototiller refused to fire up. 

Before getting mad, especially in front of Annie Dog, my stalker who watches every move I make during each day, I thought, "I can do this." 

I remembered another occasion a few years back when the thing wouldn't fire up.  Bill brought out a gas mixture and poured it into the carburetor.  So, I followed suit.

It started.  Things were a bit crazy as I tried to get the covering for the carburetor screwed back into its spot.  A vibrating rototiller will make that process difficult, but I eventually succeeded.

Then, I moved the running rototiller over to the garden plot.  Once the tiller blades were engaged, the wheels would not move.  

Back to the shop to grab the WD-40.  Everything got lubricated AND the stick which I found directly under the blades was removed.

From that point on, the tiller worked like a charm.  I was proud AND I never got mad in front of any stalking dogs. 

So, that garden plot is worked up for the first time.  When and if the rain decides to stop again for more than one day, I can work it up again and maybe throw in some seeds. 

I long for the day when rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off to get stuff done while it's dry will cease.  Don't know if that will happen, but it will be nice if it does.

Today I'm putting some pea seeds into the ground near the dog kennel.  Haven't grown peas for years.  So, it will be nice to have a few fresh batches when they mature. 

This year for the first time, my garden will include onions grown from seed.  I've never had them from seed in all my gardening years, and it's kind of exciting to see them pop up from the potting soil with their long, skinny stems.  

Last night I transplanted a few in the planter near the barn.  I think they'll survive being outside; if not, there are plenty more in the greenhouse.

And, this morning, for Delores, I'll report the current data in the ongoing story for 2011 called "Of Mice and Marianne."  

Delores' husband drew me an illustration for a better mousetrap than what I'd been using out in the barn.  Bill was quite pleased when he saw Clint's drawing because it resembled what he had already described to me from his days of Forest Service camping. 

He was so pleased that he even volunteered to put it together.  Well, we've been a little hit-and-miss (literally) on the mouse eradication plan around here, but we've done away with more than a dozen.

It's hit-and-miss cuz they're still getting into the horses' grain buckets.  I've found them in there a few times and have had the presence of mind to tip the buckets over into the trap.  

Some still escape, but others meet their fate.

I think the demise of the first dozen has sent a message to most of the other little creatures who've been popping up or skittering away virtually all over the barn.

There's a lot less of that activity these days, and for that I'm grateful, as are the horses. 

Enough twitterdeedee for this morning.  It's not raining so I must get outside and seize the dry day. 

Happy Tuesday.

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