Archive for May, 2016

Covering the strawberries

May 28, 2016

Last year I got some strawberry plants from our local garden store that were deeply discounted because the blooms and berries had mostly gone by. I planted them anyway, but the few late berries they produced disappeared in the night. I don’t mind sharing a little with the local chipmunks and rabbits, but I was hoping to get at least a few berries for myself.

Well, this year the strawberry plants are just bursting with flowers, so I wanted to protect them from foraging. I banged together a couple of frames (sort of like running hurdles), set one on either side of the strawberry patch, and strung netting over them. Hopefully that keeps the critters out.

A simple solution to keep the strawberries covered

A simple solution to keep the strawberries covered

In other garden news, the potatoes I planted last month are flourishing. The tomatoes and carrots are starting to put their heads up, too. The cucumbers have yet to put in an appearance. It looks like an off year for the blueberries, though. The raspberries are as vigorous as always. I was a little late getting to spraying the fruit trees and one of the pears has been just stripped. We might get some cherries this summer, though, which would be a nice little treat.

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Repairs

May 15, 2016

The workmen have been and gone. It took two weeks to get everything done and it’s been a strain dealing with the work, but it was worth having it done and the results are very good.

They finally figured out why our walls have been cracking: one internal wall wasn’t properly supported, just sitting on the plywood subfloor. The staircase wasn’t properly supported either. They had to pour a new concrete footing in the basement and install a support column and install a support post in the wall next to the staircase. It was a big job, but hopefully that will fix things and our house won’t fall down around our ears. The back door turned out to be less of a problem than we had been expecting, but it’s good to have had that checked out.

It’s becoming clear that the builder who built this house cut a lot of corners, but we’re both pretty stunned that neither the town’s inspector nor the inspector that we brought in when we were buying the house noted any of these things. One of our friends suggested there’s probably a cousin Vinny (or cousin O’Malley) involved somewhere, which as good an explanation as anything we can come up with.

Active April

May 3, 2016

We had a lot going on in April. E’s sister L was with us for a couple of weeks, which was wonderful. We got to spend a lot of time together talking, playing games, and eating good food.

Speaking of food, the garden patch is planted for the year. I ended up picking potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots this year. I was thinking of cabbage, but couldn’t find seeds for a kind I wanted to grow. I’ve done potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers before, but carrots are new to me, so we’ll see how they do. We’ve had chilly weather lately, but little green leaves are starting to poke up out of the ground.

A couple of weeks ago I was over at Middlebury in Vermont for the spring New England Historical Society conference. I gave a paper on race in the ancient Mediterranean that went very well and sparked a lot of interesting discussion. I started talking with an editor for a local academic publishing house and we may get a project going together; the book I’ve been working on isn’t quite what they’re looking for, but they have some opportunities that sound interesting to me. We’ll see what comes of that.

We are about to have some work done on the house. We’ve had cracks in many walls that seemed to be more serious than just a new house settling in. We had a contractor come take a look at it and he thinks our staircases may not be properly supported, so that’s a big job to take care of and a disappointment. There’s also some rot under the back door that needs clearing out. It’s going to be crazy here for a couple of weeks, but it will be good to get that work done.