Archive for April, 2009

Yet people say, I know not why, that we shall have a warm July

April 27, 2009

Yesterday we got a burst of hot heather, which continues today. In the past few weeks we’ve been having temperatures in the sixties; yesterday it was up in the eighties and tomorrow may be even hotter. We stayed inside in the middle hours of the day when the sun was at its hottest, but a little later in the afternoon we went outside to enjoy it. Strolling down in the woods we could see a lot of new pale green leaves starting to pop out. Then we worked at filling in more of the pebble border around the foundation. We used two buckets: while I was filling up one with small rocks, E. was emptying the other into the border. When one bucket was full and the other empty, we traded off buckets and went back to it.

After a refreshing shower and a change of clothes, we headed down to Salem to have dinner out and go to the SSC theatre production of Pirates of Penzance. It was a delightful production and a lot of fun. All of the performers did well, both the characters and the choruses, and some of them had very good singing voices. The Major-General had a squeaky little voice and fussy mannerisms that fit the character perfectly. The policemen were quite the clowns and the daughters were giggly and silly. Several of my students have been in the technical crew for the production, but none of them were on stage.


The grounds

April 23, 2009

Spring has moved along. The front lawn is now filling in nicely. Up close it still look scraggly, but from a distance it’s starting to look like the real thing. The back yard is still very bare, but little green tips are starting to appear here and there. By summer we might really have a lawn.

Our increasingly green front lawn

Our increasingly green front lawn

A few days ago we dug up a little piece of ground to do our first plantings at Heather House: four blueberry bushes. We got the bushes, two each of two different varieties, from a local nursery and planted them according to instructions with a mix of soil and compost. Hopefully they will turn out well and we will get to enjoy our very own blueberries. If they don’t turn out well, we’ll have to try something else.

E. has been working away at a big project, laying out a border of pebbles and small stones around the foundation of the house to keep the rainwater falling off the roof from washing away all the soil.

Pebble/stone border around the foundation

Pebble/stone border around the foundation

I’ve had a stone project of my own. At the back of our driveway there’s a small but rather steep banking up to the back yard. I’ve been working at covering the exposed earth with rocks to help keep it in place and protect it from washing out with the rain. I’ve also been building some steps into the slope. I’ve “quarried” the stone from a crumbling old stone wall that runs through the woods out behind the house, and which has been an excellent source for nice flat rocks.

Steps to the back yard

Steps to the back yard

New toys

April 19, 2009

This past week I have been very busy with advising at SSC, but the advising period is now over. Out of 15 students assigned to me, 9 ultimately came to talk with me about their classes for the fall and get their registration papers. They can’t register for classes without getting a registration code from me, and they can’t get the code anywhere else, so I don’t know what those other 5 are up to, but they’ve had a full two weeks to come see me and if they haven’t I’m filing it under Not My Problem.

Anyway, with all of that I’ve been spending a lot more time than usual on campus. Meanwhile, great things have been afoot at home. Such as:

E. has a new car! She’s spent several months doing research and put a good deal of time into taking test drives and comparing offers from dealers. The car she finally settled on is a Nissan Versa. She said that color didn’t matter and ended up getting a silver one, so now we have two silver steeds in our stables.

Yesterday we made a shopping trip to a nearby hardware store to equip ourselves with some tools that we have been lacking for gardening and landscaping, as well as some new work gloves to do it all with.

Easter stroll and brunch

April 12, 2009

The sun was bright this morning and the sky was clear. After a long morning lie-in, E. and I went out for a walk to see if we could find a place to have brunch. Despite the sunshine it was rather cold and there was a brisk wind from the north. The streets were mostly quiet, though, and we enjoyed our walk. The first couple of places we looked in were closed, but we found a pleasant greasy spoon, a place called Jimmy K’s, that was open and serving brunch. All the waitresses were wearing bunny ears and tails and someone in an Easter bunny suit was making the rounds with a basket full of eggs. We had a nice brunch and strolled home again.

New furniture

April 10, 2009

This past week I’ve had to be up and out much earlier than usual to hold advising appointments at SSC. (Frustratingly, hardly any of the students I’m supposed to advise actually come to see me, but I still have to be there just in case they decide to.) Thursday is my day off and I had scheduled no meeting times that day hoping to be able to sleep in. However, we’ve been waiting for a furniture delivery, and they decided to come Thursday morning, so we had to be up and about at eight in case they came by. (As it happened, I could not get myself up, but E. was up and about; in the end, they arrived a little after eleven.)
The upshot of all that, though, is that we have two new sofas in the living room and a nice new rug in the dining room.

Two new sofas in our living room

Two new sofas in our living room

The living room has been rather bare up to now, but the sofas nicely fill up the space and make it much homier. The new rug in the dining room fits the space very well and makes a nice complement to the cool color of the walls.

New rug in the dining room

New rug in the dining room

The weather was very warm and springish and E. and I both spent some time outside hauling rocks. There are several places where the loose soil fill left by the builder is washing out in the rain. When the grass grows in that will help contain the soil, but most places in our yard still are not showing much grass, so we were working on building up some rocks to help hold the soil and break up the flow of rainwater.
In the evening we went to see Monsters vs. Aliens, which turned out not be quite as good as we had hoped, but it was good fun nonetheless.


April 6, 2009

It was raining for much of the day today, sometimes quite heavily. Since the grass has not come in yet in our back yard, rain just makes the ground muddy and wet. So I was startled to come home today to the sight of four wild turkeys standing around in our back yard in the rain! Some of the turkeys were quite big, probably a yard or so from beak to tail. They stood around for a little while, then sauntered off across the neighbor’s back yard in that way turkeys have of looking casual and ridiculous at the same time.

Such a nice traditional family…

April 5, 2009

… with the husband in the kitchen making dinner while the wife assembles shelves in the basement with her power tools.


April 4, 2009

When we moved into Heather House, the movers left a scrape on one wall. It wasn’t big or deep, but it was a blemish. To the moving company’s credit, the movers noticed it at once, brought it to my attention, and promised to pay for repair and repainting. It has taken a very long time and a lot of calls back and forth, but today we finally had someone come out and do a paint job on the wall. It only took him a few minutes, and now it looks good as new.

I’ve spent the day grading papers. They have bee the usual mix of some very good, some very poor, and plenty in between, but I’m happy to note that in this batch I have not come across any obvious plagiarism.


April 2, 2009

Today I spent most of the day grading exams, but the weather was so gorgeous that I had to steal a half hour to go outside and do something. I decided to try to be useful and put up a few screens on our windows, since we’re getting into the time of year when a) we’re going to want to have windows open and b) there will be bugs around. I rather expect that we will see quite a lot of bugs this summer. Georgetown seems to be rather wet. There are a couple of ponds (including Rock Pond, where we are) and a good deal of the ground seems to be low and semi-swampy.

E. was out for most of the day test-driving some cars. She’s trying to settle on a car to buy for herself and is still in the process of figuring out just what feels right and fits her needs. It sounds like she’s got some good possibilities, so we might be making a move on that soon.