Friday, September 14, 2012


(Anyone know the origin of that title?)

Let me eschew all political talk for the time being and concentrate upon what I've been up to. In one word : "Not much." (As Biden and Obama would say. Oops. Sorry.)

After all the rain we had last week (two storms of over 0.6 inches on Tuesday and Thursday and another of over 0.8 inches on Saturday night) things finally dried out sufficiently for me to get the deck work done. From Sunday through Friday we have had no rain at all and the only moisture I had to contend with was from early morning dew, thus all my staining was done after noon.

Tuesday was spent doing all the front and west side decking area as well as the stairs leading up to it. Staining is a semi-mindless activity that lends itself to contemplation which was perfect fro Tuesday, 9/11. In the evening, as the sunset--a beautiful red sky--I could see the contrails of three or four passenger jets high overhead coming from the west and thought about the beautiful day 11 years ago when all such skywritings disappeared.

Then I spent Wednesday cleaning and washing the smaller front entrance deck and railing. Once that dried overnight, I was able to stain that area on Friday. 


Wednesday I also managed to cut the grass which, although the season is nearing an end, is still growing by leaps and bounds.

And speaking of growing. The snap peas I planted around August 18th are now over 8" tall and starting to twine themselves around the strings I put up for them. With luck, they've got another month or more before a killing frost will likely come our way. Maybe we will get some peas, maybe not. (I say this remembering the late October snow we had last year.) The tomatoes are looking pretty bad but we did harvest over a peck of cherry tomatoes this year and enough larger tomatoes for some nice BLTs. There are some still on the vine that are ripening but the vines themselves took all that rain last week pretty hard; meaning they are mostly withered and looking like hell. When the plants are finally done, I'll be bagging and tagging them instead of trying to mulch them for fear of any lingering tomato blight. The zucchini and cucumbers are through and need to be pulled and bagged. (Not for blight, although they are right next to the tomatoes. Rather for the vine borers that some of them harbor.) I finally pulled the string beans out of the ground the other day--and harvested two more quarts of beans along the way that Terry processed for the freezer which is now jam packed with veggies.


I've been thinking of putting in a couple of more raised beds and/or expanding the ones I've got. The only problem I have is where to locate them. I was sure I knew were the electric line and phone line went as they left the house buried beneath the surface in a trench that went out to the power pole, but after that, I wasn't sure of the exact location of the telephone line that leads to the box out near the road. So, being a good boy scout, I had Terry call 811 so they could notify folks that I planned to dig. The theory is the 811 service then notifies everyone under the sun and the various services send someone out to mark their lines/pipes. And by "everyone" I mean EVERYONE. They called the four gas companies working in the county, the wind farm operators on top of the mountain, the township, the two electric companies operating in the area, and the phone company. 

As expected, almost everyone responded with a "No services/facilities on site." Only one power company and the phone company were of interest to me as anything else would have showed up on our deed. Our electric company sent someone out Thursday--a very nice young man--who looked up at the powerlines running overhead and asked, "Why am I here?" To which I replied, "Beats me. I KNOW where your lines are. They go underground from there to there in a very deep trench before going overhead. It's the phone line that I'm unsure about." "Sorry I can't help you there. They get a little touchy if we do anything with their lines."

Today we got a visit from the young man from the telephone company. (This was important because our phone lines carry more than phone. They also have the internet and TV signals.) He got out his equipment, hooked everything up, and started walking along the route followed by the power lines in that deep trench. But then he veered a little to the north and kept walking west past the pole a good 10 feet further than I remembered before swinging almost due north and toward the corner of the one garden I already have. Sure enough, the line goes right under the corner of the garden I had assumed to be a safe distance to the west of the phone line. It's a good thing the line was buried about 18 inches down and I had only dug about 6 inches in that area before filling the garden area with trucked in soil. I want to add even more soil to that particular bed anyway.

Looking at the lay of the land, the route the line takes makes sense as it follows a far more gentle slope than it would have if it followed the line I thought it did. Still, my mistake of the route--especially since I was here when the bloody thing was put in--certainly makes calling 811 a priority.

So now that I know where the phone line, the power line and the septic/drain lines run (last two were never a problem) I can start planning my garden expansions. Not sure where the soil is going to come from, but I'll get it from somewhere.

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