Monday, April 29, 2013

Share the Road

It's not only cars that are a danger to cyclists. This motorcyclist clearly saw the cyclist but instead of going offroad to avoid him (which may have resulted in injury to himself) elected to run over two cyclists. This took place in California, but this is why I am afraid to ride on the curvy and overcrowded (in season) roads of Cape Cod.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nothing More to Say

Boston skyline, taken near Boston Harbor
I know that statistics tell us that violent crimes are less common now than they used to be, but this week it is hard to believe. The kind of crimes that come to our attention today are senselessly violent with victims who seem to have no reason to have been targets. The result that we all feel less safe in every circumstance outside our homes, the very definition of the goal or terror attacks and the circumstances common in many countries of the world today.

My heart breaks for these families and individuals who will carry the results of this senseless attack in their hearts and on their bodies for the rest of their lives. I can only lift them up in prayer, knowing nothing I can do will make the world feel safe to them again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring, Springing

I can confidently say that spring has come at last. Yard Slave Season is here, and my beautiful hand knit wool socks are feeling a bit too warm and hairy most days. Last Sunday I was out raking and was relieved to see that things are coming back to life. For some reason I had the unreasonable idea that my many mature hostas were not coming back!

Monday was warm enough to go outside in a T shirt, although when the sea breeze came in later in the day it was jacket weather again. Roxy loves it. She has always loved basking in the sun and dislikes cold or wet weather.

Tulips not discovered by squirrels
Yard chores today: a bit of raking and plant four "shrubs" from Inace's garden. They are not quite shrubby yet, just little offsets with spindly stems and decent roots. Two are from a gorgeous pink dogwood and two are from a bush that is either a doublefile viburnum or a peegee hydrangea. That confusion covers a lot of ground, but I'll have it nailed down later in the season. There is also a rose of sharon that is being mugged by my gigantic forsythia and a couple of offsets from that thug that I will be moving to my Free Shrub Border. Once that is done it's off to the dump to empty my bins and refill them with free mulch to make the new babies cozy and identify them as "part of the landscaping, please do not mow down".  I want to take a division from a couple of Inace's peonies, but that will have to wait until I have my new sunny bed ready. They won't be happy to sit around in a bin until I have a permanent spot for them. When that happens I will also be moving a small tree that is not happy in a location that lacks the right amount of sun and move a shrub that is in a sunnier than preferred spot into light shade. A lot of things in my yard have changed because I removed a tree in the back of my lot and the neighbor in that corner removed three. They were all slender young beech trees, not mature specimens, but the difference in exposure will still be considerable. Yard chores are endless. If your preferences, budget, or state of landscape maturity do not change then your exposure surely will. I used to laugh at the people across the street from my childhood home that were always dragging bushed around their yard in wheelbarrows, but maybe I won't have the last laugh.

Mitzi, arguably the dirtiest dog on earth 
Eel Pond
I read an article in the Sunday NYT Magazine that detailed three landscape plans with varying levels of complexity. The most basic was priced out at $5,000.00 (mostly hardscaping with two trees removed and one new one planted, no flower beds), the middle option which is closest to what I want came in at $50,000.00, and the most detailed which included a pool was estimated at $260,000.00. My landscape budget for this year will be well under $500.00 for the summer, including mower maintenance. I have asked for three yards of compost (delivered) as a birthday present which will be included in the total budget. I am sure this article was meant to be a serious reflection of what such things cost, but I found it depressing and unachievable and will be researching options online for those of us who do not have giant landscaping budgets but do have large lots to maintain and want a beautiful garden retreat. My ace in the hole is access to cuttings and offsets from some perennials, because with the few unavoidable hardscaping materials I need this year there will not be much available for plants. For herbs I will mostly be starting seeds. One package of basil seeds will be much less costly than the ten or so plants I would otherwise need to buy for my needs.

Bournes Pond near sunset
When the yard chores are done then it's time to finish state taxes for me and Shana. If there was ever a better inducement to stay outside working like a coolie there it is. Because the Federal Government does not recognize our Massachusetts marriage I have to create a fake federal return to use in the creation of our joint state return. It's a royal pain, and I truly hope that DOMA will be thrown out and next year we can file our Federal Return together. Probably an unrealistic hope but I would rather be unrealistically optimistic than to think that SCOTUS will come back with a decision of "nope, not citizens with the same rights as the rest of them". Less ragey in the short run to hope.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Aerial Footage of Exxon's Tar Sands Spill in Arkansas

No media is allowed, no government representatives are present. Exxon is keeping everyone away, maybe because they do not want you to see what you can expect from the proposed XL Pipeline which will carry Canadian Tar Sands Oil down to the Gulf of Mexico and away to foreign buyers after creating about 250 permanent jobs for Americans. There is no sound with this video. There are a few captions, and you can fill in the rest with gasps of disbelief. This product does not float on the surface of water, it sinks to the bottom. You may therefore assume that the nice reassuring booms you see in the water are useless. One more thing - because this bitumen product is not classified as oil Exxon has not paid anything into the cleanup fund for this, so part of the cost will surely be shouldered by the taxpayer. That would be us, not the 1% and not Exxon.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Meanwhile, in Arkansas

While we are being distracted by wall-to-wall coverage of Justin Bieber's monkey and Kim Kardashian's odd choice of maternity wear, a tar sands pipeline in Arkansas has ruptured in a neighborhood. The residents have been evacuated, no news crews are allowed in, and no cleanup crews are in sight. To make the story even more interesting, I have heard (unsubstantiated) that this pipeline was manufactured in China, and was meant to be guaranteed for only six years. It did not reach that standard of durability, but even that standard is shocking to me. When you hear there has been a "spill" I am sure many of us think a llittle puddle on the ground. THIS is what they mean: