Saturday, June 29, 2013

How does your garden grow?

My garden crew has done an enormous amount of work that I have not bored anyone about, possibly excepting them. They cleared out the long dormant weed infested bed on the other side of the porch, and we planted RASPBERRIES!  This year's crop is small and making some birds quite happy. Next year.....

We moved the huge bed of orange lilies down to take over the small area around the lower drive.  When Hamilton was exhausted from digging trenches he got the thumbs up to send two wheelbarrow loads tumbling over the hill into the woods.  We sent them down with plenty of earth clinging to their rhizomes; I except the whole bank to be a blaze of orange next year. Or not.

All those lilies on the left--gone. The girls planted their mosaic stones and a few flowers while we consider what to do.

In the event anyone wonders about the lettuce tower, it is dwindling.  The greens now make salad for six, no augmenting with store lettuce.

Though the deer have not visited the lettuce tower they have munched on through the pansies.  Aided by the skunks, no doubt; I often smell they have passed when I go out in the morning.

It was so cool this morning after more rains over night the garden crew was assembled early to battle a grassy infestation in our mulch free sections.  Taking advantage of our hard work! Emily and I spent two hours and dispatched the worst; Laura and Hamilton cleared the colchim leaves that have died back.

A picture from last fall.  Colchim are fall blooming crocus.  In late July we can dig up this twenty five year old bed, replant many and make friends happy with the rest.

All this work this morning so Laura and I could go on a spending spree for marked down replacements for the pansies.  We only bought two more plants than the two we left for.

We put succulents in the old pebble pot.  For years it has held only the soccer ball; time for an upgrade.  The mustard pot now has little geranium types.  Really inexpensive plants may be without tags.  I have no idea. An old pot of pansies remains, to entice the deer.

Because instead of a cheap plant to fill the other pot, we found a cheap rose.  With lots of thorns.  I know from experience deer love roses.  May they get bloody lips from this one.

And a new hanging basket refill.  The plants from the old hanging basket went around the mosaic pavers.  We do recycle.

By the time we were done Laura and I were hot and sweaty and dirty.  One watering can was dispensed on the flowers around the pavers, where the sun had passed. The rest could wait until it was not so darn hot.

Right on schedule, thunderstorms from the heat of the day.  Rain forecast all day tomorrow. Good job, garden crew.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dressing Boston Park

Dress:  Middle English, from Anglo-French drescer, dresser to direct, put right.

Our road guy who maintains the town hall grounds is, as my grandmother would have said, persnickety about their appearance.  I teased him once about adding soil, raking, seeding, generally grooming the hill that leads to the septic tank cover.  “It needs dressing,” he said of his fussing.    And, it’s no longer a weedy embankment, it’s a small, grassy hill with a large iron cover atop.

You remember Doug, the fellow who’s seen the president’s plane go over, and who helped save Sunny last summer.  At the last town board meeting Doug reported they began to dress Boston Park. 

That word again. I know I heard it often as a child, but in today’s world of stripped out communication, it too may be lost in a generation. 

Doug was pleased with the progress made dressing Boston Park; in the clean-up they uncovered hand cut sandstone walks they are resetting.  I went to take a look.  What a little gem.   There are hand cut sandstone walks, cut and fitted like a jig saw puzzle. 

These are being lifted from under years of sod.  There is a large stone planter, almost like a wishing well. 

It is an old time vignette, framed by cedar.

I asked the people I know about the Boston Park, and have an earful of fantastic and fantastical stories.  The stone planter was built by Shy Dickerson.  It was built for Shy Dickerson.  It was built in the 1930’s. The planter used to be a bubbler, fed by a spring up the hill behind the ski area.  The spring was piped down, filling first a stone watering trough on the west side of Riverview, then supplying the bubbler on the east side.  I heard someone up the hill was mad at someone down the hill and used the spring as a latrine, ruining it forever.  I even know the name associated with that story.  When Riverview was relocated a township resident petitioned both the county and the National Park to keep Boston Park intact, and succeeded.

This is all wonderful stuff if you like history.  I do.  Love the stories.  If they aren’t recorded, they’re lost.  And for Boston, it’s a struggle against the National Park, which is rewriting our history.  We maintain a history tab on the township website; the most visited part of our site.  It has languished recently, so I’ve thrown a challenge to the community to write the best history of Boston Park we can and post it on our web site.  Then, pick the next piece of history to save.  Boston Mills, for instance, is Boston Mills.  The Park doesn't get it; they call it Boston Mill, on their fake railroad station that used to be Shy Dickerson’s store and everywhere they mention it.  It’s time to dress Boston Park’s history, too, and then start on Boston Mills.

This National Park replica of a train station calls itself Boston Mill.  You see Boston Mills road east and west; Riverview Road is at the top.  Boston Mills crosses the Cuyahoga River a few hundred feet east.

I did not get the date of this picture; it's early 20th century.  There is a covered bridge over the river.  The triangle that is Boston Park is in the foreground, with a wooden road marker cross.

Number 3 is Boston Mills Road.  Number 2 is Riverview Road.  The top of the picture is south.  Use 5 and 6 as the base, visualize an equilateral triangle, and you;ll see Boston Park trees.   This map is 1954.

Finally, lifted right off the Summit County website, the platt for Boston Park.  Riverview runs north and south, Boston Mills east and west.  Old Riverview Road and the cut off road to Boston Mills Road drawn in.  Boston Park was the small triangle.  The cedar grove, stones and planter are at the intersection of Boston Mills and Riverview Roads.

When Riverview was relocated, about then years ago, a resident petitioned both the County and the National Park to leave Boston Park intact.  It was scheduled to become road right of way.  And  it is, but with about four inches of topsoil, a sign that says Boston Park, and a cedar grove in the corner. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An inflorescence of yucca meets rain and wind…

A week’s worth of hot sticky days ended in a several hours of lightening, thunder, wind and rain last night.

The weather alerts came often, preceded by the annoying attention signal.  This is a dangerous storm, take shelter indoors.  The wind gusts were sixty miles an hour, as promised.  Out back a limb of our struggling old elm come down.  It’s reduced to two branches reaching skyward.  And the kid’s watermelon rind hole.

The elm is at the bottom of a small ravine.  The end of its snapped limb can be seen at the top of the hill.  The hole in the trunk is at least sixty feet away; the kids stand along the deck rail and wing their rinds at the hole. A surprising number make it. The deer and the squirrels are happy.

The rain gauge is nearing three inches.  I’m sure it was three inches; the wind blew the rest straight over the top.

In the front, I've kept my eye on the yuccas, slowly coming into bloom.  I wanted photos of an inflorescence of yucca when several plants bloomed. 

That may happen yet, but in the meantime the big guy needs a crutch.  A round of applause; it took sixty mile gusts that brought down an old elm’s branch.  But, as the day went on, the yucca sagged lower and lower; we staked it up.

Emily and I repaired Laura’s flower basket corner.  The basket was so heavy with water and the ground so waterlogged, the basket holder sagged to the ground

 Every trip through the front door, Toby wants to know if we brought him leaves. There are oak leaves and twigletts scattered at the front door and back; Toby needs more, more, more.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Many barns have crumbled to dust and been removed in the twenty five years I have lived in this community.  They have succumbed, on the whole, to progress.  Some are waiting for progress to catch up. And progress has overtaken others.

Many years ago the plight of barns in this old farming community interested me, and I drove around a little, here and there, taking barn pictures.  I came across two of the pictures when I scanned all the photos on hand.  There were more, but they are gone, like the barns.

Both these barns are gone.  They are no more.

This barn is south on the main road, in the old township that was annexed by the greedy city to the south. Progress has come to the east side of the road; there is a steel and industrial plastics company.  The west side lingered for years, the old farming acres relatively undisturbed.  Even the skeet shooting club decamped in the face of city regulations, and their old barn declined. Traces of the last paint job remain under the eaves.

For the last couple of years the land has been undergoing remediation.  A developer will be building a large senior living complex on all those acres.  But first he had to pick up all the lead shot!  Actually, tons of earth were trucked away and other tons trucked in to replace it.

This old barn was part of some manufacturing complex.  I assume that was its second life. Other buildings include the original farm house, some smaller farm outbuildings, and a recently built (less than a hundred years ago) concrete block building with six loading docks and a couple of yard offices at the end.  It’s for sale.  Not including the horses across the street.  Comments anticipated.

This barn sits unused in a field near us.

This barn is on a small road near us.  Several horses are generally about.

This old homestead is near us.  There is a pond with a picturesquely deteriorating dock and an equally decrepit row boat on the bank.  Only a glimpse of the old barns is visible from the road, but the property is both deserted and for sale.  We ventured down the grass filled old gravel drive and found posted signs covering the front of the house.  I’ll go back some time with Emily; she’s braver than Jan.  It’s Emily’s barn, in any event.  She says she’s spotted it way in the back.

I see old barns frequently, out and about, and intend to be more diligent in recording them.  Like Gilderoy Lockhart and the joined up writing, I can take pictures with my phone now. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

There will be pictures

Nothing, but nothing irritates me more than a “bored” child. Had we tried that line on our parents we would have been spading gardens or setting up a croquet game or any of the stuff parents had in reserve. 

I’m good at finding jobs, and these kids have turned out to be quite cheerful job tacklers. No one has tried the bored line, yet.

Way back in early spring the high school sent out a notice of Summa taking applications for summer “interns.”  So you relate to that at once, in our day they were “candy strippers”, and Summa is one of the two major hospital systems in the greater Akron area.

The screening process may have been rigorous back then; it certainly is now. A multi page application, complete with an essay.  Screening meetings, orientation meetings, TB testing, ID badges.  Teenagers with ID badges, for crying out loud.  It’s a new world; I shake my head. It’s the way it is for them. And, it is a hospital.

For the first screening meeting I told Hamilton and Emily they needed tan khaki trousers and nice shirts. That was OK with Hamilton, but Emily is a little too fond of “skinny” jeans and tees.  There was a bit of persuasion required.  Then the directive from Summa, business casual required.  Emily double checked at school to confirm business casual, and she and Hamilton went shopping.

My heart went pitty pat when I dropped them for the screening and my two business casual grand kids walked away.  I cursed forgetting my camera (this before I knew how to take pictures on my phone!).

Today is their first day, noon to four.  Hamilton will be calling out-patients to remind them of appointments; Emily will be filing in “Wound Management.” Driving them to St. Thomas I warned them, “There will be pictures.” Yea, we know, gramma.

“Well, I’ll just be the grandmother who ruined your teenage years, because there will be pictures.”

And Emily, bless her little heart, said “It’s not like ‘this is a picture moment’, and you whip out the camera. You tell a story.  Like that biography you found of your great grandfather and I took it to school for my genealogy project.”

Now, if they just stop saying “like!”

My Aunt Ruth, IHM, was a nurse, and worked at St. Thomas long, long ago, when it was the Catholic hospital.  Emily’s middle name is Ruth.  Aunt Ruth would be proud.

So, our summer is settling out.  Emily has lots of library volunteering and Summa.  Hamilton has being commandeered by his sister, Summa, and McDonalds, to pay his car insurance.  Laura makes bird houses with Uncle Tom and goes to the library.

In July Emily is going to State College, Pennsylvania, to help Linda at a major art show at Penn State.  Hamilton is going to church camp.  Band camp at the end of July, and then school starts in August.  Hard to believe, and there will be pictures.

Stand over there

Turn around and smile.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What goes around…

Twenty odd years ago, when I was thick with Peninsula merchants, we invented Python Days.  Peninsula’s python has a long history, and we helped revive it.  A Cleveland reporter, on a slow news day in the depths of World War II, thought he’d lighten spirits a bit by enhancing on local folklore he overheard, probably at the Peninsula Nite Club. The python became legend, as much as a small town python can become legend.

I remember writing the press releases promoting Peninsula’s python.  Our efforts sputtered and fizzed along for a few years, and almost passed into history, until Harry Potter days arrived in town.  You recall the frenzy around the release of the last book.  Peninsula had, at the time, an independent book store, and the owner, together with the other merchants in the Peninsula Chamber, held a two week-end extravaganza.  If you were a parent or child, what excitement.  If you weren't, detour town.

Town merchants, being in business to make money, reserved that weekend for the revival of Peninsula’s own python, intending to build on the crowds that came for Harry Potter. I doubt the street closing crowds of Harry Potter days have recurred since, but the streets are closed and there is a parade, and games, and contests all over town. Peninsula Python Day!

All that lead up to leaving for the library and work this morning.  I thought Emily was bringing her guitar for this morning’s Kid Wrangler activities.  Instead she brought her brother.

Around the supper table we got the rest of the story.  Hamilton was brought along to be introduced to Sue, the coordinator of kid games for Python Days on July 20th.  On her first day as Kid Wrangler Emily was asked to help with Python Days.  When she realized the scope of the activity she decided a Kid Wrangler assistant would be very useful, and brought Hamilton along to have judgment passed.  Her plan worked out as she intended; Hamilton has been asked to be Kid Wrangler Assistant.

I hope you stopped to read something about the Peninsula Python. Way back when we revived it we asked Honore Guilbeau, a Peninsula artist whose name some may recognize, to design a logo.  You can see it back there on the Python Day website.  Ms. Gilbeau also designed the front of the Peninsula Library, seen in today’s picture.   The façade depicts both the Cuyahoga (Crooked, in original Native American) River and life in the valley.

We made banners featuring the logo, way back when, and participating merchants hung them outside stores.  I’ll find ours and hang it up on Python Day.  It’s one of only two remaining, and I won’t part with it.  The library has the other banner.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kid wrangler

The Peninsula Library offers summer programs for children twice a week. I’ve known this for years; the parking lot overflows Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer.

My grandchildren love libraries and seem especially fond of the Peninsula library.  They all have been in to transfer their ClevNet cards to the library and be introduced around to the staff. 

I’m in the library at least every two weeks, on township business (a public place to post township minutes [Ohio Revised Code]) and I’m often stopped at the desk by “I have books on hold for Emily (Laura, Hamilton)” and I leave with a sack of books.  In between I return sacks of books.

Earlier this spring the librarian in charge of children’s programs stopped me and asked if Emily would be interested in volunteering for the summer.  “Of course she would,” her grandmother replied.  And, she was.

The job is keeping small children interested, involved, focused and fed, all in ninety minutes.   It starts half an hour earlier, set up, and ends half an hour later, clean up. The director of the library says the job title is Kid Wrangler.

Last week there was a magician.  Today the Akron Zoo was there with half a dozen animals for the children to admire.  Laura told me all the names, but, of course, I can’t remember. Emily said they put out fifty cups and used forty seven plus one kid who didn't have a snack, and that's how they count kids.

In two weeks Emily has been asked to help out at another volunteer job, and given a library job application to have on file in the event a paying summer job opens.

I drop them on my way to work.  They walk two blocks to the town hall when Emily is done, and we come home for lunch.

The kid wrangler and her skippy little sister; one to work and one to be in the audience.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Short sighted

Laura planted a row of sunflowers in a plot Uncle Tom turned over for her.
Saturday night the deer came through 
and bit off half the tops.

They still have not seen the salad bowl.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Saturday afternoon felt class

I enrolled Emily and Laura for a small object felting class at the Art Academy, Saturday.
We arrived right on time, noon.

The girls went in.  I stopped for a picture.
The front doors are flanked with pots of hosta  and violas.

Inside I found everyone confused. The class is next week.

 Back outside and another picture of a table and chair grouping I admire.

We passed sandwich boards on the way announcing
Skip's Peninsula Junction.

There are only two Skips in town and I know both.  So which one?
This used to be a junk yard and transfer station.  
Now it's clean enough to please your grandmother.

This is one side of the yard.  The retaining wall blocks have a history.
When concrete trucks come back from a job the extra concrete is dumped into waiting forms.
I've seen these kinds of blocks in many applications; now I know how they come to be.

This is a business on the other side of Skip's yard.
I'm sure it makes a lot of people smile.

Skip hopes to turn his yard into a weekend market.
There was one vendor when we arrived, shortly after noon.
Nina's husband, Wayne. The man who slipped the money plant seeds into my car.

And one food vendor, Pierogies.  
Wayne had a bird house I coveted, but I only had $20 of the $30 in my wallet.
And two little girls departed for pierogies with $10.
Not a problem.  We would go home for the check book.

When we returned Wayne, on the right, was refusing to sell my bird house to the nice couple.
Skip, he didn't say nothin', although he was appealed to, also, to change Wayne's mind.

This fellow I see around town stopped to say hello, and let me take a picture.

We left Skip's Peninsula Junction, with the birdhouse and change.
Why go home; we could go the other way and buy ice cream.
This vehicle had a fine mud patina and says on the window
So you like mud, Huh?

Finally heading home, we passed this fellow on Truxell Road.
Thanks to Emily for the fine picture.
I pass him often; I use Truxell to go to work.
Linda wants a bicycle like this.

The bird house.  That old barn board is at least 18" wide.
No trees like that left around here.
See the eyes and the nose?
No wonder that other fellow wanted it.
Thanks, Wayne.

Hamilton hung it about six feet up, across from the wren nest in the studio window.
That wren is so polygamous; he supports nests all over our back 40.
So, here's a double decker for him.
Slate roof and everything.