|Judy getting "kisses"|
from the new goats
Today was a pretty good day. I'd flirted with the idea of driving up to Maryland to surprise Dad for his birthday...but as late as yesterday I was dealing with a car that "wobbled" when it was driven at speeds exceeding 40 mph, and I decided I should attend to that before embarking on any long trips. So, instead, I called Dad over lunch and spent a wonderful hour just enjoying chatting with him. We spoke of computers, cars, Skype (Dad is enjoying using Skype to chat with my brother Ray who is in China for work), gardens, and more. It had been a long time since we took time to chat and I really enjoyed it. Dad is 77 today. Happy Birthday Dad!
My 35th high school reunion is this weekend. Members of the Bowie High School class of '76 are gathering tonight to catch up on old times and become reacquainted with each other...the BIG day is tomorrow. Our class had over 800 students graduate and I probably knew fewer than ten percent of them very well. I recognize almost all of them by name, but I was never a "popular" kid and I doubt a whole lot of them remember me. I did attend my 20th reunion and the Friday night gathering of my 25th reunion. But I missed the 30th and I shall miss this one too....just too much going on to take that trip down memory lane. Maybe for my 40th. I am happy they will enjoy decent, if hot, weather for the reunion. As far as I know, none of my closest high school friends will be in attendance, but it would have been nice to see those that are attending. I will look forward to photos shared on their Facebook walls .... when I return from my farm work, sporting my dusty overalls. Have a great reunion folks!
As if our summer weren't sufficiently "busy" with the old farm house renovation, the MANY gardens of experimental crops, and my 40 hour a week "paying" job, I am also taking a class two nights a week... a course which has no "pass/fail" but which is designed to prepare us for the EXAM... the six hour exam... highly technical... I will be so happy when I am DONE at the end of September. Of course, I am hoping I PASS the exam since it costs $600 a pop to even sit for the exam. I know a LOT of professionals who have not passed it in their first attempt and they are a lot younger than I, with younger, better brains! At any rate, if I don't pass it the first time, I'll not feel like the lone ranger.
And around the old farm? Well, though it seems as if it has taken FOREVER to get here, we have managed to get the old farmhouse to the stage where we are about to begin putting in new wiring and plumbing before putting in the sub-floor. The months of tearing out the old, replacing beams, leveling the house, installing new piers, pouring a cement slurry to provide a better moisture barrier under the house, have finally brought us to the point where our carpenter was able to finish installing the last of the new joists this week. Next week we will begin the new wiring and plumbing. Of course, the project continues to grow. What began as "let's get this house stabilized and level" has morphed into plans to completely remodel and eventually add on the "East Wing...." but that is still a long ways out.
|Cement truck backing up to the job|
|Cement chute through front porch|
|Slurry starts to pour|
|Joe raking the slurry|
|Kitchen floor - cement slurry hardened|
|New floor joists going in|
|Living room joists in place|
|Judy, Inspecting roadside garden|
|One of the MANY sunflower "trees"|
|Zinnias, growing happily amongst the watermelons|
|The kids and Judy relaxing after stuffing ourselves|
|Joe, Judy, Stephen, Kristen, Jenn and Benoit|
outside the restaurant
|Judy, with gloves,|
examining the earthworm starter kit
On the GEEZ LOUISE side of things, we've suffered through record hot temperatures with humidity levels that make a person believe they will not be able to draw another breath, augmented by the air conditioner going on the fritz -- naturally on the hottest and most humid weekend of the summer. The downside of living in a garage apartment is that we are literally living in the roof of the structure and it gets HOT quickly when the AC quits. Several frustrating trips to Home Depot later, and after HOURS in the unforgiving sauna installing the newly acquired window AC units, we were able to bring the temperatures inside the apartment down to the low nineties, and even down to the mid eighties when it cooled to the high seventies outside. I was never so happy to see an AC guy as I was when the repairman showed up on day five of our sweatfest and replaced the $20 capacitor.... Ahhhhhh....comfortable 80 degrees reigns supreme on the thermostat once again.
Of course, the zillion other "projects" around here keep us busy, even when we think we deserve a rest. We poured a cement patio last week... a biggish one... 24 X 36 or so. It adjoins the deck on the garage apartment, and will be our "relaxation" spot....when we DO take the time to relax. We will erect the small pool on it later next week, and, if that goes well, next year it will be replaced with the bigger pool.
|Joe and the guys raking the cement into place|
|Joe, forever working the trenches|
|Gravel into trench|
|Giant Hibiscus with old farmhouse in background|
|Gladiola with tiny yellow flowers|
|Judy, "Hanging" with the Chickens!|