Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh for a camera, again!

Out working on the pfitzers, and had another visit. This time two does, two fawns, and one THREE point buck. Probably the one I thought was a two-point, but the rack has grown and is definitely three. They grazed on the grass next door and across the street. They looked directly at me to see if I seemed threatening and seemed satisfied I wasn't. I stopped working and just watched. Passersby slowed and looked. The largest of the does finally walked directly into my yard only feet away from me, and checked out the bird feeder. Brazen little vixen! Some joggers came along making a lot of noise, and scared our little family away.

When will I remember to take my camera with me when I'm out in the yard.

Hoo boy, it was a big job this morning. A couple of hours and managed to do serious damage to those old pfitzers. Lot of scary things in and amongst the limbs, creepy crawly things. As the song goes, I don't like spiders and snakes. I know there were lots of the former, and I fear possibly the latter. My practice is to make a lot of noise going in so anything scary has a chance to leave. Filled the trash can to overflowing and have a large pile of limbs besides. Do you suppose one of the city crew might stop by on one of their trips down the hill and take those limbs? They have a "green" drop-off site at the city shops, but I have no vehicle good for hauling such things. No I don't suppose they would do that.

And the humming birds are out in full force today visiting the hyssop (my friend whose name I am forbidden to mention in this blog says I manage to work the word "hyssop" into every conversation), and chasing one another away as if there wasn't enough for everyone! Ah, what a lovely day!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I've sulked a lot today over my warning from the water department. And I felt rather immature about the whole thing. After all, I was in violation. But I finally realized why it bothered me so much -- and it had nothing to do with the possibility of a fine. It was far more personal.

What thing has occupied more of my time, energy, strength, finances, love, and devotion this summer than my yard (as evidenced by this very blog). I am always out there mowing, clipping, weeding, planting, watering, hauling huge heavy loads of mulch and steer manure. I've seen them in their trucks staring at me as they drive by. I imagined them down at the city shops saying to one another, "That Mrs. S. up on the hill, doesn't she work hard in her yard, always out there in the heat of the day. And have you noticed that she consumes far less water now than in the past? What a fine citizen!" Not unlike Ralphie in my favorite Christmas movie, "The Christmas Story", when he turns in his theme while dreaming of his teacher's reaction: A! Plus! Plus! Plus! And then reality when the graded themes are returned: C! Minus! Oh, nooooooo.

Yes, that's exactly how I felt. Like I had been outside most of the summer with my body aching and sweat dripping in my eyes, expecting to get an A plus, only to get barely a passing grade.

Upon this realization, I made a tall glass of iced tea, and went to sit on my patio intending to do absolutely nothing the rest of the day. Which I nearly managed to accomplish. And a small flock of finches joined me and sat patiently in the apple tree until I moved a little further away so they could visit the bird bath. And with that nice visit, I was over my pout.

North Salt Lake - Grrrr

I was having a lovely morning of puttering around the yard and getting some watering done. I am very careful about my watering and have over the last several years greatly reduced my consumption by xeriscaping large areas of my yard and reducing the area of Kentucky Blue Grass. And what is my reward? This morning at precisely 10:15 I was issued a warning by the water department that I was in violation of city code that prohibits watering between 10 am and 6 p.m.

Okay, I was in violation, but I was nearly done, the temps were not hot today, and I was only 15 minutes into the prohibited time. The cowardly guy didn't bother to ring the doorbell and just kindly remind me. Instead he went to the trouble of writing me up and posting the warning on my door. I had heard him pull up, so was opening the door just as he was getting into his truck to drive off. No words were exchanged.

According to my written warning, I get one such warning. The next one entails a $100 fine (though inexplicably the fine drops to $50 per occurrence after that). So now along with my backflow inspection, I must be extra careful to keep my watering within the proper time bounds.

And since I know that at least one city councilman reads my blog from time to time, I am suspecting that they didn't like my previous post about the backflow inspection and sent the little water gestapo guy to lie in wait. Nah, they wouldn't do that, would they?

So now I'm sure I'd better get that inspection done too, although I haven't received the promised warning in that regard, they will no doubt abide the letter of the law and pull out my fingernails one by one (to mix my metaphors) until I comply.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Labor Day

Three day weekend coming up. I'm tempted to take off Friday and make it four. They are calling for temps in the mid-90's on Saturday, and then rain and mid-60's on Monday. The season change will be setting in soon. Have windows in the house open today, no need for air conditioning with temps in the 70's. Lovely.

We learned our department will be working round the clock January 1st and forward several weeks to support a major software installation. So we lose the holiday on the 1st and our weekends. No vacations can be scheduled. I need to use some vacation before then as I will be in a use-or-lose situation by then. I noticed I'm schedule for graveyard shift one week. This will be interesting. I've never worked a graveyard shift in my life. Well, we're all in the same boat, so I'll tough it out and hopefully survive it.

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I think I need Friday off.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How'd I miss this? North Salt Lake is requiring immediate inspection of backflow devices

The mailbox was full of the usual junk mail yesterday. Almost never receive anything I actually want or need. Usually goes directly in the trash or the shredder (in the case of credit card applications). But a newsletter from the city, hmm, I sometimes like to read those. They used to be little black and white photocopied things, but with our new mayor, we've stepped up to full-color, glossy. But, sadly, the writing has not improved. Still there might be news about the fall trash pickup, so I'd better look through it. Amidst all the exciting news of home beautification awards, 72-hour emergency kits, and police reminders, buried on page three one little item caught my eye: Home Backflow Devices Need To Be Tested.

Apparently I should already have known about this as the article tells us inspections are to be completed "ASAP". I think I had a backflow device installed when I had a guy work on the sprinkling system a few years ago. There are water boxes next to my front porch, and I remember him telling me something about what was in them if I were to open the lids. I never have. But now might be the time.

I went to the NSL city website to see if I could find out more about this and discovered I'm actually delinquent. The inspections were to have been completed by August 15th. If not, homeowners will receive a reminder and will have 15 days to complete the work. If still not completed, homeowners will be cited and fined. And, I noted, the city will no longer perform this work for free (they used to do it for free?).

The city was good enough to provide a list of companies and the associated rates they charge for the inspection, needed repairs, and reinspection: generally $45, $65, and $45 respectively. I'll study it further and try to find the best price. Some of them say they will charge less for up to five neighbors who have the inspection done at the same time. But the savings is small, not worth trying to get my neighbors organized. Certainly none of them have contacted me to arrange this savings.

How did I miss this? I looked up the July newsletter which was still online. No mention of it. Did it come with the water bill? Unlikely, since that is just a little postcard. Well, I guess it has to be done, and I certainly don't want to be polluting water for people downstream, so to speak, from me.

Put it on the LOTTD.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time to write up a new LOTTD

I've been drifting along, just sort of keeping up with things and enjoying the end of summer. But cooler weather is coming and it will soon be time to put the yard to bed for the winter. I have things in my mind I want to do, but I know the only way I really get it all done is via my famous lists of things to do. The list drives me and I refuse to be defeated by items left unchecked. So that's what I'll do. Tomorrow.

Tonight I want to watch Hillary's speech. I also intended to saw off some big branches from the pfitzers for the past three days and excused myself due to the heat. But tonight is a good 15 degrees lower and I have no excuse. I could get it done before the speech. And I want to start up my daily walking again. This time I won't drive down to Bountiful, I'll simply walk the hillside around my own house. I won't obviously walk as far as on the flat streets, but the strenuousness of the hike should make up for it.

Still, tonight I'm simply sleepy. So it remains to be seen if I will complete any of my three goals for tonight.

UPDATE: Well I sawed off two large limbs, cut them up into managable pieces. Watched Hillary. Didn't walk, but did water the yard.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brideshead Revisited

This movie was judged to be an unqualified Five Stars by all in our Reel Women group.

Based on Evelyn Waugh's 1945 classic British novel, Brideshead Revisited is a poignant story of forbidden love and the loss of innocence set in England prior to the Second World War.

Young Charles Ryder leaves the home of his emotionally abusive and cruel father and sets out to begin his college education at Oxford. There he meets and befriends Sebastian Flyte, a wealthy, gay aristocrat with a following of fawning friends. Sebastian takes Charles to the family estate, Brideshead, where we are introduced to sister Julia and other family members including mother Lady Marchmain, played by Emma Thompson.

Charles who is an atheist learns the mother is rigidly Catholic and has driven her husband away with her fanaticism (he living in Italy with his new woman), and has caused untold emotional damage to her children, of whom Sebastion and Julia have apparently abandoned their faith, and practice only to please their mother.

The story winds its way through romantic encounters and conflicts, spectacular locations, and unexpected plot twists. Charles first becomes involved with Sebastion, but then is attracted to Julia. This discovery breaks apart the friendship of all three. The contolling mother informs Charles at any rate he cannot have Julia as she can only marry a Catholic. In the ensuing discussion, the mother asks Charles why he thinks he is on the earth. His reply is to enjoy life and be happy. She responds that happiness is not important; the only thing that matters is the hereafter. Not unlike religious fanatics of all persuasions

*Spoilers ahead*

Julia marries an exploitative man who meets her mother's criteria of being Catholic. Charles marries an American girl, but goes to Africa alone for two years to paint. Upon his return, at a showing of his work aboard a ship, he encounters Julia and the two fall into a passionate love affair. They vow to break up their marriages and at last be together. They return to Brideshead where Charles intends to confront Julia's husband and inform him of their plans. It turns out badly as the husband cleverly tricks Charles into "buying" his wife for the price of two paintings. Julia is hurt. As they are leaving they are passed on the road by a car occupied by, among others, Julia's father who has returned home to die. Julia cannot leave.

A priest is summoned and Charles attempts to interfere saying it's not what the father wants. But the father asks Charles why he is in interfering in matters that don't concern him. Charles is confused. He watches the grieving family, including his beloved Julia, kneel in prayer around the bedside as the father receives the last rites, and finally the father acknowledges his sins and accepts the rites to the great joy of all his family.

Julia chooses her Catholicism over her lover, and Charles is left alone. Sebastion slips further into alcoholism and finally goes with his latest lover to Morocco to escape the life at Brideshead. The mother in later years tries with no success to get Sebastion to come home before she dies, even asking Charles to go to him in Morocco on her behalf. She never sees her son again.

Throughout the movie we feel Charles is the good guy with only the best intentions, but one character does slip in a hint of doubt for us. Sebastion's earliest lover encounters Charles at Brideshead and tells him that it wasn't love that drove Charles to seek first Sebastion and then Julia, but a selfish desire for the beautiful Brideshead estate and its wealth of art and sculpture. Charles looks as though he had never considered this, but it might somehow be true.

The friends are all separated never to meet again.

Besides the wonderful and well-acted story, the beautiful location scenes made this movie one of the most enjoyable we've seen. We are 100 percent in agreement, we recommend this movie.

We started the evening at the charming old Lamb's Cafe in downtown Salt Lake. The old-world ambience and excellent food provided a good entre for our British movie.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Now two does and two fawns

They visited twice this morning while I was outside. They are so unafraid of me. The does are young and the fawns are just tiny. No sign of the two-point today, but I've decided they probably stay together pretty much, though some may be out of my sight. I managed to get a couple of pictures, not very good because of the lighting and distance.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Little Doe Again

She's a young doe, all right, but she has two little fawns. I walked out the front door just as the sun was setting, and she froze in her tracks in the middle of my front lawn. Watched me a few minutes and then walked on to the neighbor's. Two little fawns came bounding across the street and followed her across the lawn bouncing with that funny four-legged hop that looks like they are on a trampoline. Then came the two-point buck. Slowly, not concerned to see me standing there. Nibbled on my petunias and I had to shoo him on. Still did not run. The doe and buck, I'm sure, are last year's brother and sister. The two older does have not been seen all summer.

I know they are destructive, but I never tire of watching them, especially so up close.


Started early, worked almost steadily for four hours. Digging weeds out of the parking strip, rock wall, sidewalk, driveway. It was cool at first but turned hot. Worked too hard for too long, but got it done. Looks nice and the Advil is starting to kick in.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pests of all sorts

Gophers are back. Since the neighbors had the new rock wall installed in the front, it's stirred up some activity. I now have new gopher burrows in a couple of places in my rock wall and in my front lawn. I offered to share my gopher pellets with my 30-something neighbors last night as they were out putting in some plants to enhance their new wall. They seemed shocked I would poison the wildlife. Ah, but just wait. They'll see what havoc will be wrought if they don't.

And wasps or hornets or whatever the heck they are. I tried looking them up on the internet, and it seems they are one and the same. Those devils are everywhere suddenly. I got stung on Sunday so I'm being a little more cautious. They tried building one of their charming multi-celled creations on the back of my hose trolley. I have sprayed three times and broken up the little nest, but they keep coming back. I have a paranoid feeling as I water my fragile new plantings that the wasps are sneaking up behind me ready to attack.

And yes, the deer are once again cleaning out the bird feeders.

One happy note. I had an entertaining moment yesterday watching the scrub jays take turns bathing and sipping the fresh water in the front bird bath. It was hilarious to watch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Men do sometimes ask for directions

When working in my yard, I see a lot of people drive up and down the street. Many look at me at they pass. Brittany noticed this when we were moving mulch -- it bothered her that people seemed so interested in what we were doing. But after nearly 30 years of living on this busy street, I guess I'm used to it. But I've become curious about all those people. Some of them wave, though I don't think I even know them. Some of them look away when they see me noticing them looking at me. And every once in a great while, one will stop and say something to me.

Sunday a man stopped and told me my garden was looking nice and when I finished, I could come work on his. We both laughed. I have no idea who he was. Another man stopped, a young guy in a big pickup truck, clearly pissed off. "How do you get to the golf course?" He almost demanded. I pointed up the street and told him a few simple turns to make that would take him right there. "Thanks." He drove off. In just a moment I remembered I had told him to turn at David Way rather than Gary Way. Big difference. Oh, dear, I can usually be counted on to give very good directions. I'm sure that didn't improve his mood.

I sometimes wish more people would stop and talk.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who do I think I am?

Saw the movie, "Gonzo, the life and times of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" tonight. Made me think about my own writing. I've tried to subdue my political writing because I had offended some people and was inviting a lot of criticism. The old Becky could take it. The new Becky is too nice, too soft. I don't think it's me. I think I have a bitchy nasty side and I once liked to air it in my blog. Why has that gone away? I'm thinking about it. Seeing this movie lit a bit of a spark in me. Not sure if I will run with it or supress it. Remains to be seen.


Every project has its glitches. Yesterday was no exception. I'd planned to completely revise the day lily bed. Got a head start last week by digging out a good many plants, leaving five islands of lilies. Yesterday I cleaned up around the islands, raked out the remaining debris, put down steer manure. Planted a nice variety of plants for color throughout spring through fall, and finished up with some lovely cedar mulch. Hard work and nothing left to do but water. With a lower plant profile, I wanted to lower the sprinklers, and there ran into problems. I removed the tall shrub sprinkler from the front of the bed and tried to install its replacement. But water in the line flooded the hole, and the more I tried, the more mud got into the sprinkler supply pipe. Ah, patience was required. I finally got a medium height extender installed but without a sprinkler head on it, turned on the water and flushed out the dirt. Installed the sprinkler head and all worked fine. But now I think it's too high, it is missing the nearest plants. I'll try a different head today but will take great care not to repeat yesterday's experience.

Walking back to the garage, I felt something sharp sticking into my hand, I looked down thinking it was a weed poking out of the garabage bag, but it was a wasp giving me a good hard sting. Ouch! Luckily I am allergic to very few things, and a little topical Benedryl fixed me right up.

The project about did me in, but inspired me to move on to the next areas. I finally know what I will do with the myrtle hill. That needs to wait till cooler weather - September. So this week I'll make a round of weeding and maybe trim a little of those pfitzers. And do some edging.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dog days

Terribly hot all weekend, but lovely nonetheless. Helped the kids, spent some time with someone special, two luncheons with girlfriends, planted more plants. The Mexican sunflower finally bloomed and is truly lovely. This morning while I was watering the yard, a little doe and I startled each other. She ran off just a few yards and then turned to watch me watching her. She doesn't seem very afraid of me. Where is her brother the two-point buck? The last three times I've seen her, she has been alone.

I've tried filling the bird feeders again - I'll see if I can keep the deer away. Though the summer is hot, I'm enjoying it so much. There is much to enjoy, much to appreciate.