Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Decision 2008 - Potholes and Zombies

Are you tired of the Presidential campaigns? Yeah. Not me. I'm loving it still, but need to turn my concentration to the things that matter. You should, too.

Ask yourself this: Who are you voting for in the race for County Clerk? How about County Auditor? State Senator? State Congressional Representative? County Coroner? Mayor? City Council? Property tax increase for the local school district?

These are the people and issues who get things done on your street, right? I mean, are you going to call Obama if you need a pothole filled? How about Zombie Abatement? McCain may look like he's up to the task, but I think I need a more experience County Coroner to tackle that problem.

I printed out a few sample ballots and will do a little investigation in the next few days so hopefully I can walk into the voting booth and know what I want to do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lawn Care for Dummies. And Some Pictures of Trees. And 7 Years Ago Today it Rained. A Lot.

We live in a newer subdivision (~6 years or so) and as such were equipped with foliage and sod in the front 40 acres. The back 40 had a lovely grass seed bed that never has been the envy of anyone, really. I’ve been working on that recently by scraping the thatch from the backyard and an attempt at overseeding with hopes that next spring will yield something a bit more lush for the kids to run around on.

The dethatching, that’s some hard work. And since I’m a semi-miser, I did it myself with a metal rake borrowed from some neighbors who looked thankful when I walked away from their garage wielding the implement of backbreaking torture. It only took me a few weekends of on again off again labor, the dead yellow grass piling up and offered back to the ‘wetlands’ beyond the yard, but I got it done.

Our neighbors on either side, well, they have more sense than I do. They paid someone to dethatch, aerate, and fertilize their lawns last year, so they have sweet pitches that would make the keepers at Sox Park proud. I’m jealous. But if my lawn comes back with some good old fashioned American manual raking, well, imagine how satisfied I’ll be. (jeez, I am an idiot)

Beyond the grass, though, we’ve planted some trees over the years. Talk about long term projects. Our backyard gets full-on western sun all year (part of why the grass is so fried, I suspect… well, beyond my neglect, that is), so I’ve always envisioned some shade trees. Again, being the stooge, I ignored the most important mantra in planting trees: The best time to plant a tree is last year. None of our trees in the back are 6 years old, so that shade is coming along quite slowly.

Presented for your amusement. Okay, more for my amusement so I can do a comparison next year. If I can find some older pictures, I’ll add them side by side for current growth comparison:

Aristocrat Pear – Planted Spring 2004 – Up until Spring of 2007 I could reach the top of this tree, but that summer it grew about three feet. Same for Summer of 2008. Very cool. The silver maple is in the neighbor's yard and was a big tree when it was planted back in 2003.

Flowering Crab – Planted Summer 2006 – Not sure exactly what kind of flowering crab this is, but the blooms in spring are amazingly fragrant.

Cleveland Select Pear – Planted Summer 2006 – I think we planted this one crooked, but if it makes it in the long run it will be very satisfying, since it only cost $5.

Silver Maple – Planted Summer 2006 – This one is technically not in our yard, but we planted it along with a few more trees below. It survived some deer gnawing on the bark last year. Spring of 2008 I could reach the top. By summertime the top was out of my reach. This one should start zooming up in the next few years.

Spruce pines – Planted Spring 2006 – These two are what remain from five pines planted that spring. One other spruce and two white pines died out. These have not grown much in height (about 3 ft), but have gained some diameter. They are survivors and I expect they’ll start heading skyward next year if their roots have taken.

White Pines – Planted 2007, 2008 – One of two planted that spring that made it to 2008. Its companion was taken back for a full refund at The Home Depot (1 year warrantee FTW!). Another White Pine was planted in its place. These seem to be kind of delicate, so I hope they make it in the long run.

Red Maple – Planted 2008 – Here’s hoping this one survives the winter and we get some shade from it 15 years from now.

Silver Maple
– Planted 2002 – This one is along the parkway part of our yard and was planted by the developer. In recent years it has grown tremendously. In the summer you can look and see that the bark has split vertically where it is growing.

Not Sure What Kind This Is – Planted 2002 – This is also along the parkway and has been pretty pathetic. All the leaves are already gone. The tree behind it is the same kind, but is in front of the neighbor’s house. I’m tempted to chop it down and start over with a better looking tree.
Weeping Cherry – Planted 2002 – We were lucky to get this one, as it was planted by the developer in the front yard and is unique on our street. This one has grown in thickness, but not so much in height. In springtime it covered in amazing blossoms.

Oh yeah, if you’ve endured this post to this point, congratulations. You’ll be glad to know that today is the seventh anniversary for me and my lovely sweet wife. October 13, 2001. Holy crap, did it rain that day! Not just rained, but freakin’ POURED. It was insane. So much for all those pretty autumn wedding photos we were going to capture. But I’ll have to hand it to all the people annoying us that day with “Rain on a wedding day is good luck!” They were right. I’m one lucky guy. Here’s to my sweet one!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Time to buy stock in Moet

I guess 20 years since Kirk Gibson hobbled into baseball lore have pent up some frustration at Chavez Ravine, but this is ridiculous:

And with less World Series titles in their ignominious history than the Cubbies, Connie Mack's descendants had some unwinding to do:

Come on here, people. You just won a DIVISION SERIES.

This is not winning any kind of championship. It’s like a team cutting down the nets after the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament.

At least win the LCS before saying you won something, yeah? And even that’s like cutting down the nets when reaching the Final Four. It’s kind of premature.

Weird thing is, a team will cut down the nets when making the Final Four, but not when they win the National Semifinal game.

The sporting world is strange, but I bet the sparkling wine lobby surely smiles upon the MLB's six division titles, wild cards, and three tiered playoff system.

I say we just stop keeping score and give them all trophies for participating. And then go out for pizza afterwards and celebrate our good sportsmanship.