Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Things have been very busy this spring, more so than usual and I've allowed blogging to slide. So, here are some updates.

Fritz reaches the halfway point in his radiation treatment the day after tomorrow. It's been going very well, and his doctor says that since he's made it this far without side effects, the chances are he'll complete treatment without any.

The big news is that I bought a new car ten days ago. The Jeep is still working, and I'm keeping it. We'll use it for the heavy work of hauling lumber, supplies of one kind or another, buckets of compost, bags of crystals for the water softening system down at the Center, and for Fritz to have when I'm away chasing opera performances all over the East Coast, etc. But we felt that at 214,000 miles and with the occasional stalling incident (it always restarts, but still), we couldn't go away on big road trips with the confidence we'd like to have.

I did a lot of work on the web checking out every brand I could find. My choices were limited by the fact that I wouldn't consider anything without four wheel drive for the northern New England winters, particularly as we live on a hillside with a fairly steep driveway. I didn't want a big SUV; I wanted something no longer than the Jeep for ease of city driving and parking. Two weekends ago I was pretty confident I'd found the vehicle. I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was pretty sure it would be a Hyundai Tucson and was helped tremendously by many appreciative comments by friends who owned one or who knew others who were delighted with theirs.

On Monday the 3rd we went to the Hyundai dealership in Manchester and test drove one. That clinched it, along with going through all the various bells and whistles with the salesman. I did the registration and insurance that afternoon and after Fritz's radiation on Tuesday, we drove over and took possession.

So, there they are. The old veteran in the back, the new Hyundai in the color Chai Bronze (the New Hampshire DMV refers to it prosaically as brown) gleaming down front. It's extremely comfortable, has lots of storage space and far more leg room than the Jeep, has Bluetooth for hands-free telephoning, and glides along in virtual silence. We're very happy with it.

I've been on an orgy of outside work. Large portions of the property that aren't actually woods are part of the big landscaping plan. I had committed to putting in all the remaining trees and shrubs, as well as the herb garden and a patch of perennial flowers along the west side of the house this spring. One thing we've discovered is that the various birds and animals living around us in the woods are much more comfortable with us now. "Our" snake turns up here and there around the house and isn't spooked by my working near him/her, even if it involves digging or moving around heavy rock. We've also had a wild turkey making appearances very close to the house.

I shingled the upper sides of the new wood shed and filled it with stove-length wood for next winter.

There are some disadvantages to this healthy outdoor life. Despite slathering myself with Deep Woods Off, the black flies make a meal of me every time I go outside. My forehead looks like a war zone and my right arm is one mass of itch. As ever, I'm an insect magnet, but I have been lucky not to pick up any ticks -- yet.

This week, I've dug 48 holes for the new trees and shrubs. The earth is filled with rock -- in fact, several of the holes yielded a good deal more rock than soil, some of them forty pounders. The delivery is scheduled for a week from today.

The garden is going well. We bought our seed potatoes today along with more seeds and flats. I built a support trellis for pole beans. The cold frame will be moved out of the garden terrace as soon as I finish a cement block base that we can fill with good soil for it to stand on, just behind where I stood to take the picture.

Fritz planted a garlic bed last fall, heavily mulched it and covered it with black garden fabric for the winter. We uncovered it about a week or so ago. It's doing well as are the onions we planted in April.

At least somebody gets to rest around here!

We've got a little project going. It's for the opera company I design for and has to do with a new commission for a one act work to be produced, in all probability, a year from now. Yes, WE are working on it together. I always told my beloved non-opera loving husband that opera would come after him sooner or later and now seems to be the time. He's even enjoying it! I'll talk about it next time.

And I expected you to be the hybrid type. The Hyundia looks nice.

Yard is coming along nice.
I might well have been the hybrid type, Rick, but I don't trust Toyotas at this point in time, and I needed the 4 wheel. That was the deal-breaker in the case of several vehicles I would otherwise bought in an instant.
Glad to hear Fritz is doing well. And I see you are getting into the mode of many retirees that your busier retired than when you worked. It's no wonder you have not had time to blog. Ha Ha...
Kent, so many of my friends who retired years before I did, men who like me had a wide variety of interests, told me that after they retired they wondered how they had ever found time to work.

Just curious, you aren't by any chance a Boston-area actor/singer are you?
glad to read the good news about Fritz and the treatment - yeah!

the new car looks lovely and sounds like it drives like a dream - good for you!

cant wait to see what trees and shrubs you chose!
Southern Gal--
Here's the list:
1 Diablo Ninebark
3 Beach Plums
3 Lowbush blueberries
1 Grey Dogwood
1 Pink Dogwood
1 White Dogwood
6 American Hazelnut
6 Comptonia peregrina sweetferns
3 Lowgrow fragrant sumac
6 Northern bayberry
3 Japanese holly
2 Plum leaf azalea
5 Red sprite winterberry holly
7 Juniper communis
Wow...those bites look nasty. You told me that the bugs love you.

Handsome vehicle for 2 handsome men.

Let Fritz know he has been in our thoughts. This getting old thing is for the shits.

Love that you are neighborly with the critters on your property. What a great sense it must be to have them know that you wish to share your space. I am zany for that snake. We have hummingbirds that allow us get very close to them.

I think of you both ofetn & fondly.
Will, no my partner Michael and I live in Okla. City. But you can fantasize if you want.
I have been away - and I missed you posting !
It is always a thrill to hear your updates.
However, those nasty bites made me sit up - what sort of monsters do you have out there?
Oh my, those bug bites look awful! Isn't there a spray you can use to keep 'em off? I've grown highly allergic to mosquitoes and will slather myself in hot tar if it will keep them away.
Tom, I use Deep Woods Off, sprayed onto my scalp, slathered all over my face and any other exposed part of me and they STILL get in there to bite me. I guess they're crazy for Italian food.
Glad to hear that Fritz is doing well! Nice to read his perspective. And the Hyundai looks great!
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