Sunday, April 26, 2009

Latest Garden News

Apparently I've had a request from a very dear reader of JB USA for some pictures of Kristal's and my Garden, so here they are. In the fist plot we have the spinach that I painstakingly nurtured through the late snowfall we had here on the East Coast. It was all worth it as we had a bumper crop and it keeps coming. Its really the first thing that we've successfully harvested from out gardening efforts. Last year we got a cucumber or two, some inedible tomatoes and about three peas. Talking of peas, we have about a dozen or twenty pea plants climbing up the netting. One has started flowering, and I might be to do some manual pollination to ensure we get some peas from them. In between we have some lettuce from Joyce, which finally looks like its all well established so we might be able to pick a few leaves soon. In the other spaces I put in a couple mounds of Crook-neck Squash seeds. Four have come up, but I'll need to do some thinning so we might end up with three plants. I also put in some pickling cucumber seeds but only one showed up, and he's in a big pot all to himself so I'm expecting great things!

In the second plot we have our herbs (or at least those that made it through the winter - the others are DEAD. No, really...they are completely DEAD). I think we have Sage, Thyme, some kind of Garlic and the Chocolate Mint Tea. When we were last in Mathews a guy was selling tomato starters in his front yard, so I put those in and they're doing well. Kristal started some Cilantro in some little pots and it was doing really well until today in the heat. We put in in the ground and watered it a bunch so hopefully it will make a comeback! Finally we have our Potato plot to the side of the house. I was worried that I had planted the potatoes too deep, but I just noticed that three have poked their heads above ground, and maybe more will follow. I don't know much about growing potatoes, but that patch of ground in the riches soil we have as it's always covered in clover, so it'll be interesting to see if it produces any spuds worth eating. Other small successes around the yard include the Rose bush and Hydrangea that I pruned. Too early for flowers yet, but I was just excited that they survived the process. We also have a pair of shrubs in the front bed that looked completely dead, but a few twigs put out leaves. I cut away all the dead wood, and they turned out looking really pretty. I think they are Pink Cloud bushes, Kolkwitzia amabilis.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm getting married in three months!

In exactly three months tomorrow I will be uttering very serious words of commitment to my fabulous fiancee. For those of you who like numbers and dates, tomorrow will also mark exactly 13 weeks until our wedding. We mark the anniversary of our first date on October 13th, so this month we celebrated two-and-a-half years together.
There is, of course, a website you can visit, although certain areas are password protected for invited guests only: you can't be too careful on the internet these days. However, if you really must cyber-stalk us, then I suggest you visit the blog which will have a blow-by-blow account of the planning process!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Many Cormorants

Many Cormorants, originally uploaded by evens.john.

I had the day off from work today. It feels like forever since the last time there was a holiday. Luckily the weather was nice so I took my mountain bike out for a ride. Normally I would throw the bike in the back of the truck, but I'm tired of doing that so I set off from home under pedal power. It's been a long time since I was last riding regularly because of all this damn running I've been doing, so now I'm paying the price for trying to do 35 miles on & off road. Still, I had fun for the first 25 miles!
I was cycling along the floodwall at one point and saw that every rock in the river was covered in Cormorants. It was an impressive sight so I pulled up to take a picture and notice a couple of Heron's standing close to the nearside bank. Then I saw another, and another, until one was spooked by my presence on the floodwall above them and no fewer than six Great Blue Herons took flight right in front of me, with another two standing their ground. In the small stretch of rapids there much have been at least a dozen of them.

Friday, April 03, 2009


OK, the DUI Guy's insurance company has paid for everything, so I think I'm safe to post on the internet the details of his magical mystery tour into our front yard. On March 6th I was sitting on my couch watching some crappy TV when I heard a huge crash outside. I jump up and despite being in bare feet dash outside to see and SUV parked in my front yard and resting against my truck. I rush to the driver's door of the striken vehicle not sure if I'm going to have to administer first aid or corporal punishment. The front wing panel is sufficiently mangled that it takes some effort to pry it open, at which point this guy strumbles out mumbling, "I'm sorry, I messed up. I'm sooo drunk".

Well, I'm dumbfounded. I reach into the smokey cab (I think mostly the result of the air bag deploying). I don't remember if his car was still running, but for some reason I felt the need to take his keys out of the ignition! By this point Kristal has joined me outside and I tell her to call the cops. I'm trying to make sure DUI guy is not injured, but he has wondered across the street to talk to my neighbors. I soon realize why. The reason he arrived in our yard at all is because he first collided squarely with my neighbor's Cadillac which was parked in the street. After spinning the Caddy 100 degrees and shunting it 20 feet down the road, he's swerved towards out house, cleared our drainage ditch, cleaved several limbs from our Crepe Myrtle, mercilessly avoided out mailbox and continued up our driving way to his final resting place on the quarter-panel of my Tacoma.

Soon enough a police cruiser arrives. Then another. Followed by an officer in a SUV. This is standard operating procedure for Henrico cops, and I have always thought is was over kill. But actually, it takes three officers to take care of everything. The first guy on the scene gets the honor of making the arrest. The guy in the SUV is clearly the most senior, so he takes the easy job of directing the tow truck guy to tidy up the crash scene, and the poor junior officer runs around taking statements, exchanging insurance details and filing a report. His name was officer Stonestreet, and I'm sure I recognized him from somewhere, and I'd like to publicly say what a great job I thought he did.

Two or three weeks later the insurance company has finally got it's act together and I take my truck into the shop for minor repairs. They even pay for a rental car, which is nice, although I end up with this honkin' great Nissan!