This was the sort of weekend that reminds me how out of shape I am. It was also the first weekend in a month, month and a half, where we didn’t have anything we needed to attend outside the house. Last weekend, for example, Saturday was a long run to Costco in Waterbury in the late morning/early afternoon, and the Simplefare test cook in Manchester in the evening. Sunday was the home show in Hartford for a good chunk of the day. This weekend we were just home.
The goals for the weekend were “simple.” I wanted to assemble and load the new basement shelves we had gone to Costco to buy, and I wanted to get the first application of fungicide on the mountain laurels on the property. They’ve been pushing buds for a little bit now, but the temps have been so low that I’ve been reluctant to spray. Two things. Easy, right?
Saturday got off to an aggressively leisurely start, although that was actually part of the plan also. I *did* want to relax some. Bob actually got moving before I did, and went down in the basement to get some of the plumbing tools put away so that we would have room to maneuver. The issue was the camping gear. The tent canvas lives in assorted plastic tubs that have been stacked against the south wall of the basement since we moved in. Now, the tent gear is *heavy,* and most of those Rubbermaid type tubs aren’t built to be… structural. Over the years, I’ve gotten fairly good at stacking them so that the various tub walls are taking the load rather than the lids, but you can still only stack them so high, and the whole assemblage was a touch random. Then one evening last fall one of the tubs decided that it didn’t want to play any longer, and the whole conglomeration came tumbling down. It’s a good thing I hadn’t stacked them any higher, or our boiler might have taken damage. But as it was, things ended up spread out more than they had been. Then we had our various plumbing adventures, and things got spread out and mixed up even more.
To complicate matters, the shelving unit that we bought weighs 198 pounds all by itself. Under the circumstances, that made me desirous to build it in place – partly because it’s one of those deals where gravity keeps all the pieces together, making it hard to pick up without inadvertently disassembling it, but mostly because it’s really damn heavy and I didn’t want to pick it all up at one time again. This meant that all the stuff piled higgledy-piggledy against the wall had to move so that the shelves could be built in that spot. We schlepped it all off to the other side, and put the shelves together – luckily they were pretty simple. There were a couple of minor miscommunications, but all told it went smoothly, and not only did everything I was planning to store fit, a couple of other things that were in the way fit also – that was a nice plus. The next goal down there is to get the workbench dug back out and set up for the planned wood-working projects for the summer. That will be easier now that there’s room to move around the camping gear.
I also had another one of those “you can’t leave me alone with tools” moments. Charlotte was napping. Our power was out for some reason. Bob had taken a walk to see why. Since there was nothing else to do, I decided to chop down the giant solomon’s seal just off the front stoop. Apparently I require supervision. But it looks SO much better out there now. It was all overcrowded and icky before, and now it’s open and nice. There’s room for the azalea now, and I can actually see my holly bush. Much nicer. We’ve still got to pull the stump out, but that’s okay.
Now I *really* can’t wait to cut down that pine tree in back.
Today started earlier than I wanted, but I had a bad feeling about the laurels. All the mountain laurels in the area seem to be infected with cercospora leaf spot. Looking around the property, we’ve obviously already lost a lot of old ones, because the skeletal remains are *everywhere.* I’ve been reading about solutions, and it seems to be two-fold: rake the leaf litter away from the base, and spray with fungicide three or four times in early spring when the buds are breaking. I raked some of them last fall, but there comes a point where you realize it’s ridiculous to be raking leaves away from one shrub… in the middle of the woods. It’s been so cold that I haven’t wanted to spray, but I figured if I didn’t do it soon I risked being too late. So I mixed up the fungicide, girded my loins, and went out to do battle with the mountain laurels. Part of this process ended up involving Bob going to Home Depot to buy me a new (and bigger) sprayer. We have a lot of mountain laurels.
I lost count at about 87. Given where I was when I lost count, and how much more I did after that, I would estimate that we have 250 to 300 mountain laurels on the property. All infected, all ailing. I sprayed every one of those suckers, only excepting the ones that were too tall to spray. Sadly, I suspect that I’m just going to lose those. The fun part is that I get to do it again – every seven to ten days until “conditions no longer favor disease.” I’d better get some return on investment here, because that was exhausting. I hope they survive, because if I can get them healthy enough to bloom, it will be *spectacular.*
Bob cleaned out my sprayer while I was catching my breath, and I did a little more cleanup – some raking, moved some rock borders to make wider walkways, pulled up a ton of ivy (it’s not like it won’t grow back,) stuff like that. There’s a funny little evergreen tree outside the library window that I’m toying with taking out also. It’s a neat little tree, but it’s just in a bad place. This seems to be a theme, I’m noticing.
Apparently this year will be the year of ripping things out and cutting trees down. It’s gonna be great.
A quiet weekend at home
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