happy anniversary…

by grace on September 17, 2018

to us!  yesterday was kevin and my 12th anniversary.  it’s astounding to realize that twelve years have flown by.

kevin bought me these gorgeous roses…

…and we took a nice boat ride early in the day, before it got too hot.  lots of gulls followed us.

I jumped in the lake way over on the other side, near where i’d jumped in earlier in the year – and this time I could touch the very very muddy squishy bottom.

we continued celebrating by watching many episodes of “elementary,” which we’ve been watching from the beginning and are near the end of season three.

riley joined us and suddenly jumped in a bag.  he’s never done this before, and it was so cute.

but he quickly wore himself out and snuggled down to nap inside the bag.

later, lester climbed in the bag and started gnawing at it, sending pieces of the bag all over the place.  funny kitties.

today kevin discovered a second pumpkin growing in the garden.  so now we have two!  maybe he’ll make a pie?  not likely, but we’ll have to put them out on the front porch.

and one more darling shot of darling riley…

last week I went to the st. louis zoo and I have many photos and a few videos and I need to get busy on posting those.  soon, hopefully.

ok then,

mrs. Monday night hughes.



i itch, therefore i am.

by grace on September 7, 2018

first, a couple of darling kitty photos.

this was sunday, august 26th.  les had to rest his weary head on top of a sock, on top of a cushion, on top of a rug…and yet his usual favored sleeping position is resting against some cold piece of metal.  Winnie is pretty calm these days, and seems to be getting ever so slightly more used to the twice-daily affront of getting cream applied to his inner ears, plus the dreaded squirt into his mouth of anti-seizure medicine.  when I have to do two swabs at night, starting out with wiping out his ears and ending with the squirt stuff, he’d usually sprint away, as fast as his old arthritic legs could take him.  but last night he didn’t go too far and was sitting next to me on the couch in pretty short order.

but then again, this morning when I got up I looked for him and he was in the basement bathroom and immediately ducked into the closet that leads to the walled area behind the old shower area, so there was no hope of even thinking about reaching him.

but then again once more, right now he’s giving himself a thorough bath next to me on the couch, a pretty happy kitty for right now.

riley, always so darned cute.  he’s a little unhappy today because the big rain finally started last night and continues, and he’s not able to go outside to his precious fenced yard. I know he’s managing to sleep it off somewhere around here right now.

so…on Wednesday august 22nd we had the trees taken down, as I’ve written about, and we also go another barge full of riprap.  we’d gotten one barge full a week before that, and hired a couple of strong young college boys to dump it onto the shoreline.  it seemed like fairly back-breaking work, and I was pleased that we were finally, finally getting some riprap.

riprap is rocks that line the shore so your property doesn’t all slide into the lake.  we get a newsletter from the lake association, and one of them talked about how rip rap is a “yearly tradition” for many lake residents.

but here’s the huge scam about that:  we’ve lived here for 10 years I believe, and haven’t gotten any new riprap.  I assumed mom and dad got some at some point during the over 20 years they lived here, but mom revealed not long ago that they had never had the riprap replenished.


my grandmother didn’t have it done, either.  in the 50 years she lived here.

so that means that the eroding rip rap at our shore is the original stuff that was put there when the lake was first built in the 1930’s!

so.  yes, there’s some erosion – we’re at the point of losing a big oak tree that is hanging over the lake, and you can see the erosion – but it’s not bad at all, considering that it hasn’t been touch in almost 90 years.

a friend who lives on the lake talked about how she used to throw rocks that had slipped into the water back up onto the shore, and how the original rocks were clearly big pieces of broken sidewalk.  that’s exactly what our riprap is.

almost 90 years.

some wealthy people on the lake choose to put in retaining walls instead of rocks.  when my parents moved in here in the 80’s, dad got a few feet of retaining wall in order to put in the dock.  I don’t remember how much it cost, but I want to say that a retaining wall is somewhere in the thousands of dollars per foot.  so in order to get a wall around your entire property, you’d pay a fortune.

I just tried to get a ballpark of how much a wall would cost and wasn’t successful, but I did find this interesting tidbit from a site called “lakeshoreguys.com.”  they had lots of reasonable-sounding reasons why it’s a very bad idea to get a retaining wall.  here’s the most pertinent, in my opinion:

Retaining walls are very damaging to the near-shore environment. They cause wave action, which scours the lakebed, displaces bottom sediment, and creates a sterile environment devoid of life. Wall structures on a lake can disrupt and destroy ecosystems of fish and other wildlife.

looking at their website, they sound so fantastic…but (1) they’re located in Minnesota, and (2) I think we’re doing a pretty good job on our own.

and did I mention that the shoreline hasn’t eroded hardly at all in almost 90 years?

I’ve been talking to the guy at City Water Light & Power who is in charge of all things riprap and tree-related (if you live on the lake you have to get written permission to trim or cut down trees), and told him that the riprap had never been replaced.  and you know what he said?  he said “well, you’re lucky.”

i wanted to say to him are you KIDDING me???  but i didn’t.

but, ridiculous.  sooo ridiculous.  we’re not lucky, it’s simple if you think about it – we’re a lake, we’re not the ocean, there aren’t huge waves pounding at the shore, pulling down the rocks.  the erosion takes a loooooong time.

anyway, the CWLP guy said we should get some 2″ rock to fill in the gaps, and then we could get bigger rock to put on top of that.  we’ll have to wait til next summer for the big rock since the guys are back in college, but he said the little rocks would be fine for now.

kevin was so pleased at how the riprap looked that he decided to order a second barge to complete the job – the one barge hadn’t made it all along our and my sister’s shorelines.

kevin also decided he could shovel the rocks himself, and he’d ask his friends to help.

here’s the second barge, next to the tree on the left that’s going to plunge into the lake at some point.

he shoveled a lot even though it was incredibly hot and humid outside, and he came to this point, where there was so much honeysuckle growing in the rocks.  on Saturday the 25th he had to go out of town, and he asked if i’d be willing to pull the honeysuckle and I said sure.

I worked for an hour and a half and it was so incredibly hot and humid and I wore sweats because of the constant poison ivy threat, and gloves, but I wore a short sleeved t shirt because it was so terrifically hot.  I pulled and hacked at the honeysuckle and used the hedge trimmers and started throwing some of the rocks back up onto the shore because there were plenty of smaller rocks that I could lift.

I sweated through all of my clothes, and took a break for an hour and a half.  I finally went back out, and this time mom helped me – she carried branches to a pile and was generally encouraging. we worked for another hour and finally stopped.

here’s what part of the section looked like after kevin had resumed shoveling the rock the next day.  I wish there was a before picture – that whole area there was covered with honeysuckle, pretty much.

here’s where he almost finished…

…the barge comes with a handy gangplank.

kevin completed the job, the barge was empty, and he had to work on incredibly hot days because they were coming to pick it up on Thursday the 30th.

but the barge is still here.

so never mind about the rush in the heat, but at least it’s done.

next summer we’ll get the big rock and maybe the college boys will come back or maybe kevin and I will put it down, i’m not worrying about that right now.  it’s good to know that this is the only time in our lives that we’ll have to do it, since it’ll last a minimum of 80 years.

the one bad thing about the whole deal is poison ivy.  after i’d done my work that Saturday, kevin and I walked down to look at it on sunday afternoon and I looked down at the ground and said “that’s poison ivy.”  and he said “yep.”  it was a small plant, but who knows how big it had been when I touched it.  and I looked down at my arm and said “and that’s some poison ivy.”  it was just a few dots, and I worried that I might get it all over my body.  I started putting on steroid cream, but it got all red and horrible and the itching kept me up for a couple of hours every night.  I took massive amounts of Benadryl and was in a constant fog of drowsiness.

this is how it looked by last Saturday.  so gross.

amy had horrible, horrible poison ivy earlier in the summer and when she finally showed it to me I demanded that she go get a shot and drugs and whatever it took from the doctor.  so when I sent her and jim this photo, they insisted the same thing.  I said it wasn’t anything at all like hers, but she pointed out that it looked atrocious plus it kept me up at night.

so I went to urgent care that evening and got a prednisone shot which helped a little bit, and I started taking prednisone pills on Monday.  right now it looks a million times better, it’s dry and just red, and i’m tapering off the prednisone.  but the itching woke me up this morning, and I keep putting ice on it, but i’m so lucky and thankful that I didn’t get it anywhere else.  so lucky!  I do have a vague recollection of thoroughly scrubbing my hands and arms after working that day, but I couldn’t remember if i’d done it after each time I worked, and I couldn’t remember what clothes I changed into in between working, so I just threw all my clothes into the wash.


the predisone has been keeping me up at night, and I’ve been super energetic during the day, but I think that’s all winding down now.

and now, September, things are more calm.  the remnants of hurricane Gordon continue to rain down on us, but we need the rain.

and that is all on this Friday afternoon,

mrs. why should I even leave the house today hughes.



the end of the tree…

by grace on September 4, 2018

here are two more videos of Mund Enterprises taking down our trees, plus some photos.

Something I didn’t get on tape was when a giant branch smacked into the bucket where the guy was – a part of the bucket fell off, but not an important one.  luckily it didn’t cause the guy to fall out.

in this short video, the guy cuts one log.

later in the day, they quickly swoop in on some kind of tractor thing to take away another giant branch.

this wasn’t the final bit of tree getting cut down, and it’s not even the last video I took, but this is the last one i’ll put up here.  this one is particularly amazing because the guy cuts this huge branch and there’s no rope on it, and yet it doesn’t crush anything.

one of the giant branches hit the ground vertically and was lodged upright for a while. I don’t know why I didn’t get a photo.

here’s our fenced yard – it’s so amazing that they didn’t hurt a single plant.

I had to get ready for work in the afternoon, but I kept watching from the house.

here’s they’re almost done.

it’s so naked…

…then just a trunk…

and then that was gone, too.  it makes me sad, looking at it.

the bucket guy counted the rings and said it was probably around 150 years old.  pretty old for a lousy silver maple, don’t you think?

this final photo is my favorite, the bucket guy and kevin chatting as the guy sits on a part of the tree.

what I didn’t capture was the huge swaths of brown dirt that was suddenly the back yard.  as I previously wrote, kevin tilled the earth and planted grass seed all over the place the day after this, and then next day it rained two inches.  right now kevin is watering the grass; it seems that he’s been at it for hours.

whew.  i’m getting more used to no tree every day.  maybe we won’t need curtains till next summer, because we’ll want the warmth of the sun to come in the windows.

and that’s about that for today…

ok then,

mrs. September hughes.




tree-cutting-down continued

by grace on September 2, 2018

taking down the silver maple took up most of the day on Wednesday, august 22nd.  after making quick work of the tall locust tree, they started in.  I have some photos, but I think the videos are more interesting.  here’s the first giant branch coming down.

the buy in the bucket, I wish I knew his name – he was so expert at his job, and in this video it shows how hard all the guys have to work.  at the end, the guys are hurrying around dragging the giant branches.

this is the longest video, as another gigantic branch goes down – but this one gets stuck on other branches, and it was amazing to watch the guy cut them apart.

at the end of this video they’re having some kind of disagreement – this might be when a branch hit part of our fance, crumpling it.  but they came back early the next morning and did an A+ job of repairing it.

ok, that’s all the videos so far – I have three more for next time, and that’s all the tree-cutting videos for now.

it’s amazing to me that it all happened less than two weeks ago – the day after the trees were cut down I bought a bunch of grass seed and planted it, after kevin tilled up the bare earth, and the grass is growing tremendously.  i’m getting more used to not having that tree out back (somebody pointed out that we still have a lot of trees), but I think we’re going to have to hang some curtains over our giant window.

this will make bev very happy when she comes back to cat-sit, because she hates the thought of people being able to see into the house.  all that’s out there are deer, more deer, raccoons, and the occasional bunny.  plus chipmunks.  but curtains will make her happy.

ok then,

mrs. sunday hughes.




taking down the trees

August 30, 2018

I took many photos and a completely berserk amount of video of the huge team of guys felling our trees. i’m still pretty sad about the whole thing even thought it was all my idea. I am grateful that the giant tree won’t smash through the bedroom roof and kill us as we sleep, but… […]

Read the full article →

more stuff from august

August 29, 2018

first, there was kevin’s birthday.  I attempted to make a healthier version of a black forest cake and it ended up taking a very very long time and there was lots of oozing of cherries and it was sort of a big mess…but he seemed to like it. kevin took this lovely photo one morning, […]

Read the full article →

as august is about to slip away…

August 26, 2018

i’m sitting in my living room trying to avoid the blistering heat-n-humidity that has been plaguing us for the past couple of days, and will continue this week. just now I finally decided to quit playing mindless games on my ipad and started to download one of boy George’s songs from when we saw him […]

Read the full article →

Friday night at the fair

August 13, 2018

a while back, randy and I got tix to see boy George & the culture club at the fair.  I remember when we went to the empty fairgrounds to buy them, thinking that the concert was such a long way away…but then it snuck up on me, suddenly it was august the 10th, how did […]

Read the full article →

summertime, summertime…

August 6, 2018

when we were out on the boat on july 23rd, we saw this tree that had crashed onto this boathouse.  ouch.  at least it didn’t crash through and destroy the fancy boat moored there. amy and jim’s dogs love to sunbathe.  I believe they’re on a pad and then a fluffy comforter on top of […]

Read the full article →

are you kidding me, august already??!!

August 5, 2018

the summer roars by, nothing to stop it…we had a lovely reprieve from the hot heat, but it’s back to feeling like august again, but at least it’s happening now in the correct month, not like the sweltering time we had in june… so many boats continue to be out on the water, even though […]

Read the full article →