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Friday, August 22, 2014

Like the valiant little tailor, three with one blow

Camera in hand I left after lunch to take some pictures for my Boston Pictures page on the township website. What with my mean-spirited attitude and all, that hasn't topped the list this month. On the other hand, half way through my week at Ann’s we were laughing at the ludicrousness of the accusation, and before I was home the whole affair was filed in “Not my monkeys, not my zoo.”

Right on the front side walk I stopped for a garden picture. I hope I have not been too disgusting with my flowers this summer; but the garden is shaping up in my mind and in fact. Once again I have a couple of garden questions to throw out to the universe, and I believe I’ll do that first.  Next week is soon enough for township hints of fall, Nina’s garden, Nina’s arboretum, flowers on the bridge pictures from this afternoon. That may be five with one blow. Quite valiant.

My first picture is of the August lily from my brother Walt’s house this summer. Actually, Mark’s house, but he won’t be offended we’ll always use his dad’s name. Big as a bushel basket when we put it in, it’s bigger than a wash tub now. The blossoms are just starting, and good thing, as we’re talking last week of August here.

I took the plants from the funeral baskets and put them in the garden. Most are annuals or house plants, but we have exactly enough of those to take care of, so I put these out to enjoy the rest of the summer. I put an ivy into a bed I intend to fill with ivy, leading to my question to the universe. Is this ivy a perennial? It’s solid green, that’s all I know. If not, it will just go out with the summer.

Last question: what do I have in this hanging basket, clockwise from the purple flowers? Let’s just call them 1) the purple flowers, 2) the pinks, 3) the ivy, 4) and orangish flower, 5) a short grass, 6) a kind of ground cover.

The purple flowers, alas, are annual. The pinks I can transplant this fall. The ivy can be transplanted to the new ivy bed. The orangish flower will go the way of the purple flower. The short grass can be transplanted to the garden. The bushy ground cover? I’ll just find a spot for it in the garden and see what happens. What do you think?

A totally gratuitous picture, but, have I mentioned how much I love wooly thyme. This is the garden end under the oak tree; anemone blossoms in spring, fall blooming crocus due to pop up any time, and my lovely little wooly thyme about a third of the way to covering the whole area. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Google Earth meets Nancy Drew and Sue Barton

There’s a house on a pond, there in clear view from the Ohio Turnpike. My friend Linda, who packs a rod and tackle box to go to a show, has developed serious pond envy of that property. “You've seen it,” she told me recently. “Right there on the north side of the turnpike, after Warren, before Ravenna.”

Last trip home from her house I kept look out, and there it was, a brown building on a pond. I snatched my pen from the dash board and wrote the mile marker on my hand, where I keep my important notes. Back at home I fired up Google Earth, blew up the turnpike until I had match box sized cars, got on at Warren and commenced looking.

By golly, there it was. No matter how big I blew up Google, however, I could not find a road name past Newton Falls Braceville Road. I emailed Linda, “I found it. South on Newton Falls Braceville Road off Route 82. Let’s go look!”

She emailed back, and this is an unedited cut and paste: “So I finally decided you have tracked this property using the GPS as you went past it..Right?  you are amazing.” And, I answered “Bwahahahahah. When pigs fly.” Perhaps my phone could do that, but I can’t. I can't even turn Google Earth around or tip it for a full frontal view.

We met this morning at the Route 5 exit from the turnpike, left her van at a marginally OK motel and set off to find a house and a pond, north of the turnpike, west of Warren.

With some ingenuity we found the Braceville end of Newton Falls Braceville Road. We drove here and there a few minutes, but didn't turn up a road to be north of the turnpike, west of Warren. Our third trip through Braceville I announced Enough, and pulled into the town hall,

and intercepted this fellow coming out the door. Hmmm, north of the turnpike, eh? He gave Linda some direction possibilities and off we went, again.

The next time we gave up by this store about hunting and guns and stuff. We went in and Linda got some more directions,

to no avail. We passed a barn I thought I should add to my collection, so I made a couple of U turns to bring it back in sight.

A policeman stopped to see if he could help the old ladies. By now I had no idea where we were, but this was a Newton Falls officer, so obviously at the other end of the road.

He gave us direction to go back and see if Oviatt Road was what we needed. We went back. To Braceville. This being our third turn around the center of Braceville this morning, I was noticing more than the town hall. I saw the sign to the road department. Of course, the road department! They know everything.

Nice  New Holland. Nice truck. Nice guys. North of the turnpike, between Warren and Ravenna, eh? This youngster hauled out his phone, and made the same Google Earth journey I'd made. He found it. He was not completely sure of its location, but suggested a road to a gravel road, hopefully not one behind gates, like we'd already passed.

"Slow down!" she said. "I can see it over there. Through those trees. Here's the road. Turn here."

No one was home. Linda wrote them a note and we went off to find some lunch.

Mushrooms (toadstools?) in the yard.


On the way back down the lane, a weed in the field.

And a very old statue climbing from the ditch.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Big band blues

My band tolerance is a struggle after these past three days. Some egos are benefiting from three nonstop days of grandmother obligation, and mine isn't one.

Saturday there was a band show, about ten bands, performing their hearts out. I saw one, in year one. I get it, and will be the cheerful front end runner; delivery only, no pick up. (Joe’s mom dropped Emily at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, after the show.)

There were two unscheduled, until last Wednesday, shows the last two days. The first, on The Green on Sunday had meeting instructions intelligible only to a long time Hudson resident. Similarly to the Williamsburg trip this past spring, “Everyone knows.”  It required four emails to get correct directions.

I spent almost four hours in the parking lot waiting for the band to march back from The Green. In truth, only the one third of the band that actually performed. More on that later.

Finally, I got up before six this morning to deliver my two band members to the school to perform at eight for the new teacher orientation. There are more than three hundred members of this band. I watched fewer than fifty be dropped at the curb; the rest parked their big cars and went in.

Driving Emily and Joe back home this morning, so I could actually go to work, I listened to their list of who will not be on the bus when school starts on Wednesday, because driver’s licenses have been obtained.  No need to flog this subject again; these children do not need to be driving cars for other children to jump on  hoods and trunks.

Emily already floated the learner’s permit idea to adult family and friends, hoping to drum up support. It was a tactical error in several ways, not the least the unabashed attempt to end run grandma. It called forth my best “play the hand you’re dealt” soliloquy, which does not include a car.

The little mini-band performance I chauffeured Sunday evening was another revelation. Looking around the assembled players I recognized many section leaders, not much else. I asked Emily later if her presence had been required. No, she was there “to help the band.” Further drilling revealed only section leaders and the drum line was required to perform Sunday. Between the lines I saw she intends to be a section leader next year. Perhaps with enough responsibility to require a car.

Will being a section leader change your band grade? No. Will being a section leader get you a scholarship in chemistry, biology or engineering? No.

Perhaps it’s good to aspire to being a section leader, but I doubt it. No grandma I know will put in the extra hours and car expense.

I asked who came to the mini band show Sunday night. Some old people, some band parents and some people who were high school seniors during her last two years. I was stunned. Do they have a life? Or will they just become more band parents.