Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

1. It's another reading week since I have 4 library books checked out and a couple are one week only books. First, I read the latest Daniel Silva novel, The Heist. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Gabriel Allon, art restorer & Israeli spy. Next, I read the latest from John Sandford, Field of Prey. And as always, I enjoyed the latest Lucas Davenport novel.

2. I've also been reading the latest issues of Pittsburgh Magazine, Bon Appetit, and Saveur. So many dishes to try, so little time left in summer. Or is summer over?! It's been a little on the chilly side lately!
Lots of leafy kale from the garden
3. This week we peeked into the freezer to see what was lurking and discovered the piece of ham we froze last Easter. Time to thaw and eat that along with bakery bread, kale from our garden (turned into kale chips), and zucchini from our garden. HUGE zucchini!!! Sadly, we didn't get to grill them because of the weather. Turns out, I'm not a huge fan of sauteed zucchini.

4. Last night we watched Sharknado 2 The Second One. I laughed a lot last summer at Sharknado, so we figured we had to watch the sequel. It was funny, too - lots of eyeball rolls. And wishing a shark would eat Tara Reid.

5. We finally started watching Season 4 of The Walking Dead. Sigh. I lost interest in it after Season 3, but SP didn't, and Season 4 is on the DVR, so... Against my better judgment, I am starting to become interested in it again. I think we've watched 5 episodes, 11 more to go.

6. We've been making progress on getting quotes for removing the dead trees. We have 2 quotes, 2 more companies are coming soon to offer quotes, and the other 3-4 guys didn't bother responding to emails/phone calls or I discovered bad ratings on BBB, so... This is not going to be cheap, and it makes us even more annoyed with the previous owners because they did indeed plant a bunch of stuff without bothering to think about the long term growth and now in addition to dead trees (thank you emerald ash borer), we have too many trees growing into each other and choking each other, not to mention roots growing towards the foundation, the water/sewer lines, etc. UGH. All the landscape guys and tree guys we've had here to give quotes have said we have way too much crap and it was poorly planned with no long term thought.

We've already had something like 10-15 trees removed - a magnolia they planted right next to the house (what excellent planning, plant a tree that gets huge a couple feet away from the side of the house) and a bunch of those annoying mimosa trees that dropped dirty pea pod crap all over the driveway plus 3 sand cherry trees that died (again, excellent planning by the previous owners, plant 3 trees that grow 7'-10' tall & wide just inches from the edge of the front patio and space them 3' apart). Plus a dead pine and 3 smallish trees that didn't seem to serve any purpose other than completely hiding the house from any viewing angle.

It's taken us 6 years just to get the number of shrubs and small plants down to a reasonable, non-jungle size! We removed 6-10 shrubs and then after the gas line issue, all the plants right out front died so we had that area and the side of the house by the driveway completely re-done last summer with easy to care for and small stuff - ornamental grasses, catmints, rose bushes, daylilies.

I believe my instructions to the landscape guy were: "I don't care what you do there, just make it look nice and neat and make sure it's all easy to maintain, hard to kill stuff that doesn't get too big and doesn't require any effort other than a yearly pruning."

I am starting to despise plants and trees and shrubs and have a greater appreciation for my grandpa's boring, empty except for grass yard. All he had to do was mow, not spend thousands of dollars fixing someone else's poorly planned and executed yard work.

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