Okay! Exactly 1 month to the day since the last entry – which means that I was actually out living life…a good thing, methinks. Since last we “spoke” I have planted things, wrestled with the city, painted some (house-painting, that is), picked up large pieces of roofing during a storm then fretted over Steve being on the roof making repairs, and so much more.
As far as the planting goes, last year I decided to start a butterfly garden and started planting flowers and shrubs to attract them. Early last summer, some swallowtail butterflies were born on my parsley – and who knew that the butterflies like to lay their eggs in parsley? I certainly didn’t before last year. They also like to eat it – and eat, and eat, and eat! I had to go out and buy more organic parsley plants to satisfy the demand on those very hungry, very beautiful caterpillars. So, needless to say, there will be parsley aplenty this coming growing season. Additionally, 1 of 2 veggie garden plots is now prepared for plants and seeds.
Wrestling with the city…hoo-wee! For the 3rd year in a row, notices have been taped to our door saying we were in violation of city codes. The 1st 2 years it was for grass that was too tall – even though I told the officer going around inspecting that I was letting the grass that I liked go to seed, letting the seed mature, then scattering the seed with the lawn mower. I had already checked with both next door and across the street neighbors to see if they had any objections, and, as I told the officer, once the initial growing for seed occurred in the early summer, the yard would be kept up in terms of mowing for the remainder of the season. But notices were taped to the door anyway.
This year, we were cited for limbs in our backyard. The letter sent via certified mail contained pictures of the offending items, and the angle that it was photographed from meant that the code enforcement officer had to enter through a latched gate and stand in the middle of the fenced backyard to get the pictures – which we had a BIG problem with!! This resulted in a very scathing letter to the editor and an equally scathing conversation with the powers that be at the city council meeting, passing the pictures to the council members and explaining how they were obtained followed by my reading the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution and the statement that our 4th Amendment rights had been violated and I take issue with that. I started out with 11 points that I wanted to make about the whole code enforcement thing but decided at the last minute to just pack a quick and powerful punch with the violation of our Constitutional rights. A number of residents got up and spoke, and we got results. It was announced by the director of Public Works that the backyard searches were no longer going to take place, that they would only take written notice from neighbors with legal access about troublesome backyard debris, etc., to be followed up with the city attorney and a determination made as to whether or not there is probable cause to obtain a warrant to further inspect the property. Yay, citizens!! A few other changes were announced regarding code enforcement, but that was the biggie.
Here is what the city cited us for in our backyard:
What’s on the tarp and in the wheelbarrow is mulch. That little pile of sticks beside the mulch is what they took a picture of and cited us for. The sticks were all that was left after a couple of our very large, mature trees dropped huge limbs last year.
Here is what the backyard looks like now:
Part of the bare spots are due to big pieces of the fallen limbs being piled up last summer after the huge branch fell from that tall wild cherry tree by the shed, and part of it is where Steve dug up the roots of a massive yucca plant that had been problematic for years. Another bare spot is where we burned some of the branches after obtaining a burn permit. We spent the whole summer dealing with that as well as the humongous limb that fell from a large tree in the front yard: cutting firewood, finding people to haul off big portions of what couldn’t be used as firewood, hiring people to help us with burning part of it…a whole slew of problems to solve.
The little grey roundish thing toward the lower left corner of the cleanup picture is a little gnome and his teapot hut in the butterfly garden:
This is the snow that just happened this past weekend:
House-painting is by no means completed, but a color for the living room has been chosen, and work on the ceiling is what must come first. The goal throughout the house is to do away with ceiling popcorn for a smoother surface that takes less paint and looks far more attractive.
So, yeah. Storm. Roof. We had the bright idea of going grocery shopping late at night with a storm moving in. It ended up being a good thing, though, because when we got back, I caught a glimpse of something on the way into the house and decided to move in closer to see what it was. It was a piece of roofing about 9 square feet in size. While picking that up in the pouring rain, I noticed another piece about the same size, then another, and another. For 3 days after that stormy night, Steve spent many hours a day repairing the roof it came off of, which was on an enclosed back porch, not original to the house, built rather cheaply around an outdoor patio slab. The roof over it is almost flat, which made it very easy for the wind to catch underneath the roofing material and and rip it right off as if it was paper. Thankfully, Steve and a friend had installed new roofing material over the original roofing to fix a leak last year, and the original roof was still in place, so we only had a small amount of water leaking into the back porch room. We have talked for years about taking out the shottily-built porch room and making it a screened-in porch. We both love the idea and get excited talking about it, so maybe that can happen in the next few years.
In other news, I am considering discontinuing my booth rental salon job while keeping the once a week on Monday veterans’ retirement home haircutting job to devote more time to tending to Mom. I had 3 clients move out of state recently, and that seriously cut into the cost of renting a station, making it kind of not worth trying to maintain it. I’ve been wrestling with this for a while, and it may be the right call. Mom goes to a senior-focused exercise program twice a week with a personal coach. One session is spent doing exercises in a pool, and I’m pretty much the only person who can help her get into her swimwear as well as help get her into dry clothes afterward. She also has a lot of other medical doctors that she has to see regularly, and it’s getting so that other things such as having her eyes checked keep getting pushed back. She needs a lot more of my time and attention now, and she deserves that.
Maybe life will stop coming at us so fast and there will be more time for blogging. That would be nice.