Rain, rain

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I resisted the urge to continue that title with “go away.” It’s always a good idea to be careful what you wish for even if we have had rain every single day for at least a week. Heavy rain and thunderstorms blow through every afternoon and evening. We wake to rain early in the morning, enough to make the hot days steamy.

But we had drought conditions last summer so I don’t want to complain. Too much.

M has been off from work for the past week, and is taking this upcoming week off, too. It’s his 2-week stay-cation. He’s been working on projects around the house and property, keeping pretty busy. Sometimes keeping me pretty busy while he’s at it.

Last night we went to Canton to check out a new jazz club: The Blue Olive. We had a good time. The music was excellent (The Mike Austin Project from Youngstown, Ohio). We didn’t eat there so they’ll be no food reviews this time around. That’s probably a good thing as I’m not nearly as good at that sort of thing as Alto2 who seems to have a real knack for it.

The theme for July’s NaBloPoMo ought to be right up her alley: Food. I’m thinking of using it as an excuse to learn how to take better photos of food. I don’t think we’ll be traveling anywhere in July. I should be able to post every day.

I know I’m overdue with the Move 2008 update for last week. Since it’s so late in the week, I’m going to wait and combine two weeks worth on Monday.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.

A Prairie Home Companion

Mary, a friend, had VIP tickets to last night’s live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion from the Blossom Music Center. Lucky me, she invited me to go with her.

I’m very familiar with both A Prairie Home Companion (APHC) and the Blossom Music Center. M and I are regular listeners of APHC, and we spend quite a few summer evenings picnicking on the lawn at Blossom before the Cleveland Orchestra plays their concerts.

Blossom is a lovely venue in Cuyahoga Falls, surrounded by woods, and located within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where there is some lovely hiking year round. Usually when we attend an event at Blossom we have to park quite a distance away from where the concerts take place. That can be attributed to our poor timing (we tend to leave too late and so end up in the outer parking lots). The walk in takes about 15-20 minutes and it’s a good way to add exercise to your day.

Last night, however, Mary had a VIP parking pass and we were treated to parking practically next to the gate.

(VIP Gate at Blossom. June 21, 2008.)

We were able to bypass the walk, the main ticket booths, and the main entrance. Star treatment.

The main feature at Blossom is, of course, the pavilion where the concerts are held. It fits into the landscape quite nicely.

(The pavilion at Blossom. June 21, 2008.)

Mary and I sat on the lawn under a nice, shady tree to have our picnic dinner before the concert. It was hot and a little humid with thunderstorms looming in our future. We were there pretty early and, as you can see from the photo above, not many other people had arrived yet.

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Flickr Mosaic

This was too tempting to pass up. I nicked it from Marcia of Are We There Yet?

Here are the rules (so to speak):

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s Flickr Toys: mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food? right now?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

And here’s my mosaic:

1. Robin (Erithacus rubecula), 2. A bowl of salad, 3. 2007_12_02_VA_and_DC_029.jpg, 4. End of the day, 5. Angelina Jolie, 6. Chill.NeSs, 7. – Middle-Earth? –, 8. My first strawberries of this season…, 9. The Photographers, 10. Family Portrait, 11. The Lazy Days of Summer, 12. Morning sun

I should be doing other things, but it’s a chilly, cloudy day, the kind where it’s hard to get motivated to do much beyond play.

Today’s view of the pond

(The 3:00pm view)

Did I mention that gardening is hard work?

Yes, I think I did, somewhere in my last post.

The problem, of course, is that I neglected the garden for about two weeks. We were gone for five days. It was hot when we returned. Then it rained. I had all sorts of excuses. And good ones too, so I thought.

The weeds practically took over the garden. The good news is that they mostly grew between the rows of vegetables and not in with the vegetables themselves. I work on keeping the weeds away from the veggies every time I go out to the garden, then attack the stuff growing prolifically between and around the rows. A garden hoe would be an excellent tool for this purpose. However, I’ve found that my lower back does not respond well to the stance and movements necessary to do a good job with the hoe.

Instead, I’ve been using a cultivator, that little hand-held tool with three prongs. I squat or get down on my hands and knees, and cultivate like crazy. My back is happy, my arms and legs get a good workout, but it’s taking a very long time to make any sort of progress.

I’m going to have to suck it up and ask M to hoe between the rows for me. It will probably take him all of ten minutes to have it all finished. Then I can do what I should have done earlier in the growing season: mulch. That will help keep down the weeds. It will also make the veggies happy, especially if we hit a dry spell.

The weather is unseasonably cool today. I’m enjoying it. I had originally intended to work in the garden for the usual 30-45 minutes, but ended up out there for over two hours. It’s amazing how fast time flies while I’m weeding.

I brought in some lettuces and a few radishes to put in a salad for tonight’s dinner. Yummy. M and I also took a ride up to Hilgert’s (the farm up the road from us) to pick up some strawberries. They had some spinach, green onions, and a few other local goodies in the market.

I ought to stop being so lazy and go out to the strawberry fields to do some picking. They’re much cheaper if you pick your own. Today would have been a good day for it. It’s cool, cloudy, and breezy. Those three conditions do a good job of keeping the bugs away.

M the Younger is still searching for a job in Colorado. If you know of anyone looking for a guy with a degree in Geology in Colorado, give me a holler. A few leads would be nice.

The wedding date has been set for June 13, 2009. M the Younger and his fiancee have found a church. They’ve been looking for a place to have the reception. As far as I know, they haven’t decided on that yet. Then there’s the cake, the food, the DJ, etc., etc.

I think I’m lucky I had sons instead of daughters. 🙂

Gardening, the Irish Festival, and a Move 2008 Update

(Garden greens. June 2008)

I’ve learned two things about gardening over the past few weeks:

1. Gardening is hard work.

2. It’s best to spread out the hard work by making the weeding a part of my daily routine rather than wait a week and then whine about how hard it is to get all the weeding done.

There’s a third thing, now that I think about it:

3. Nothing tastes as good as food you’ve grown yourself.

Those fresh from the garden lettuces are fantastic. We’ll be eating plenty of salads over the next few weeks. It makes me feel healthy just to think about it.

(Piper at the Irish Festival. June 2008)

M and I went to the Riverfront Irish Festival on Saturday. Martin and Meredith went for a little while, too. It was lots of fun. We listened to some great music by the band Rathkeltair. I bought one of their CD’s but I don’t think it does them justice. They’re very high energy and that doesn’t come across in the CD. Not that the CD is bad. It’s very good. But I liked them better live.

(Rathkeltair at the Riverfront Irish Festival. June 14, 2008)

And now for the Move 2008 update. Week 24 was a good one:

  • Mileage for Week 24: 25.85 miles
  • Total for 2008: 508.33
  • Strength training: x3
  • Yoga: x5

Yep, a very good week. I’m finally past the half-way point. 500 miles!

Move 2008

(Maryland Heights trail. June 2008.)

I can’t believe we’ve finished Week 23 already! This year is going by much too fast. It must be all that moving I’m doing, making time zoom on past.

I had a good week last week. The hiking and tubing in Harpers Ferry were a nice treat. It reminded me that I ought to break up the monotony of the “usual” with a little “unusual.” I really should get outside more than I do. I have a million excuses as to why I exercise indoors, weather (too hot, too humid, or too cold), bugs (the mosquitoes and deer flies are plentiful this year), and country dogs number among them. Country dogs are probably the worst for me. Our country block is 5 miles around and it’s a lovely walk, but people let their dogs run lose out here in the boonies. I’ll be walking along enjoying the scenery and getting into the rhythm of walking when all of a sudden a dog is running at me full speed, barking his/her head off, baring his/her teeth as if he or she is going to bite my face off.

Scary stuff.

The cows and sheep are much less frightening.

My numbers for Week 23 (last week):

  • Mileage for the week: 21.01 miles
  • Total for 2008: 482.48 miles
  • Strength training: x 2
  • Yoga: x 4

This week should be a good one, too. I’ve started out well and intend to keep going. I have to hit 500 miles by the end of the month if I want to make my goal for the year.

There’s also the little matter of a full check-up to celebrate my 50 years on earth coming up in July.  Although my birthday isn’t until December, I figured I’d get the medical stuff out of the way during the summer when I’m eating better, exercising more, and feeling less stressed.  Well, most of the medical stuff.  I’d much prefer it if the doc would put off that first colonoscopy until next year, when I’m actually 50.


Today was lots of fun. Hot and oppressively humid, but lots of fun.

We started our day with the auto tour of the Antietam Battlefield. There’s something (to me) a little spooky about these battlefields, especially if you’re out and about on a warm and foggy morning. 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of fighting there during the American Civil War. No wonder I found it a little spooky.

After a few hours of doing that, during which the day really warmed up, we ate a quick lunch and headed out to go tubing on the Shenandoah River. It was relaxing, peaceful, cooling, and fun. We were the only two out on the part of the river where we were tubing. It’s early in the season. We were told things might start picking up in a week or two.

I haven’t been tubing in a very long time, not since we lived in Atlanta, Georgia and went tubing on/in the Chattahoochee River.

Dinner last night at Shaharazade’s was fabulous. The food was fresh, nicely spiced, and very tasty. I highly recommend the place. We started with a hummus platter. Then we had a summer salad of mixed greens, (fresh, locally grown) strawberries, walnuts, apples, and a ginger dressing and a plate of chicken shish kebob which came with an eastern salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, and pine nuts, and seasoned Basmati rice (it was sort of like a pilaf with almonds and raisins, the seasoning was saffron). We shared the entrees (the summer salad and chicken). We both had tea to drink. M had the lemon rooibus. I had the Provence rooibus (rooibus with lavender).  Shaharazade’s is, after all, a tea room.

The service was excellent, the surroundings were relaxing, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. It was a pleasant contrast to our dinner at The Anvil Inn in Harpers Ferry.

We’re going back to Shepherdstown for dinner tonight. We’ll probably go to the Blue Moon Cafe to enjoy some vegetarian food.

Tomorrow we head to Lancaster. I won’t have an internet connection there so I’ll write again after we return home on Sunday.