Riley

Fall!

by grace on September 22, 2021

Kevin informed me that it’s going to officially be fall at 2:20 this afternoon, in just over two hours from now, so this new fall website banner is ahead of schedule, something I do manage to achieve once every lifetime or so.

Meanwhile, back on September 2nd I took a boat ride by myself and had a delightful time.

Mom took this awesome photo of these two fawn right in front of her window.

I thought the clouds were particularly interesting on this day.

In my past post I mentioned this terrific book that Jim gave me, all about Lake Springfield, called “Lake Springfield in Illinois.” The caption on this photo talked about the opening of the zoo and the fact that Marlin Perkins from “wild Kingdom” was there, but didn’t identify any of the others. The guy to his right is Jim’s dad! His dad, Lawrence, was one of the founders of the zoo and Jim hadn’t known he was included in the book, but told me that he got in the paper quite a few times over the years. He said that Marlin Perkins was his dad’s friend. Pretty cool.

Spot helped Kevin with gardening. He’s always eager to follow us around wherever we go outside.

Riley and Lester always enjoy hanging out on whatever new thing might be lying around.

The gulls usually don’t pose quite this nicely when we’re cruising by.

For the past few nights I’ve been taking Spot down to the dock to sit on the swing and enjoy the night sky. This was from the 19th, the first night.

Ir’s funny that it’s the first day of fall because it’s a lovely cool day and I’ve been back at the digging up the evil rhizomes. I feel like I’m close to the end but then of course there are millions more of them under the soil when I start jabbing at the ground with my garden fork. It rained two and a half inches two night ago so the ground is no longer super hard but now instead it’s quite clumpy and muddy and wet. Oh, the fun I’m having.

Ok then,

Mrs. Hughes in the fall.

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Yeah, so

by grace on September 16, 2021

happy anniversary to us. We were married 15 years ago today and at this exact time on that day it was official and we were probably making toasts or something at the Motor Boat Club.

I got sad looking at some of our wedding photos because so many people are dead, or we’re no longer in touch. Some of them I’m in touch with but just barely. Maybe I’ll get out of this no-talking-to-most-people-but-Bev rut. Maybe.

But here we were on that day, looking very happy. Because we were.

Yeah, so, I just want to contrast that photo of us here in what is now our backyard with the selfie I took this afternoon in selfsame yard.

Yeah, so…oh my. This is the 16th day I’ve been battling the dreaded chameleon weed, wearing Kevin’s Australian hat which on the inside says it’s a “Swaggies hat with fly control”. I wear it so mosquitoes and gnats don’t bite, but that big red thing high up on my cheek is where a mosquito took a big chomp.

The corks are on strings which bounce all around and are supposed to deter the bugs. I’ve worn this hat a lot and some of the corks have fallen off and right after this I’m going to see if I can buy a new one on Amazon.

But then there’s…whew. The other red splotch on my face is just that, it’s sun damage but actually it might have been there 15 years ago but carefully concealed. Not quite as glamorous as my wedding day there in the yard.

But oh, the fun I’ve been having. This is how many rhizomes were under a stone in the yard. This is actually just one layer; they go down pretty far.

This is about the entire section I finished in one day, and this was the second time I dug up the ground, because the first time I was using that garden claw instead of this very helpful rake.

I finished this strip in back of the fence today. We had paving bricks and three mums which I had to cover with netting so the deer wouldn’t eat them. I’d already dug up part of this bit, but yesterday and today I tried to get lots more of the rhizomes. The thing is that if you keep digging around you just keep finding them. At some point I had to stop digging because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing it.

Today I also had the brilliant idea that we’re going to forget about putting the bricks back. That’s what I did with other parts along the outer edge of the fence – I put down landscaping cloth and put the bricks and some mulch over them. I know this won’t prevent the weeds from coming back but at least it’d slow them down.

But we decided it would be OK to leave out the bricks and just plant grass along the fence, the way Dad left it. And when the evil chameleon plants poke their heads out, probably in the next few days, I’m just going to chop them off at the base, no more digging.

Well, no more digging after I’m done digging. After I finished this section this morning I went back into the fenced yard to work on a section I’d already worked on a week or so ago and found gobs and gobs and gobs more. Many were nestled down into the roots of this beautiful vine that Amy gave me a few years ago.

I finally had to stop for the day because I was getting a little delirious plus it’s our anniversary and we should be celebrating. Celebrating!

While I was doing all the digging Kevin was hard at work on our new patio.

And Riley was just trying to relax.

I’m not pulling weeds constantly, though. On Saturday I sat down at the dock and read this awesome book that Jim and Amy bought for me. Spot was at my side because he just wants to be with us all the time.

Yes, reading a picture book about Lake Springfield while sitting on the shore looking at the lake. Doesn’t get much better than that.

ok then,

Mrs. it’s going to be fall in a few days Hughes.

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The Dreaded Chameleon Plant

by grace on September 9, 2021

I’m always writing here about Kevin’s many projects, but don’t get the idea that I’m just lazing around. This plant below has been my obsession when I identified it with my friend Wanda’s help on August 17th. Maybe you know about this already, but she said that if you have the google app on your phone, you can turn on the camera in the app and point it at a plant and it identifies it. How cool is that? I clicked on it, and found out it’s a Chameleon Plant.

It’s called a Chameleon plant, but there are many other names for it, and it’s called a plant but it’s really a horrible, horrible weed. The latin name is Houttuynia cordata, and Wanda texted me that it was a “houttuynia,’ but I wonder if she’s ever said the name out loud? Here it is close-up.

I read lots of stuff about it online and many posts from people all over the world who have tried desperately to eradicate it. It has rhizomes which are rootlike stems that grow and spread horizontally. If you pull the root you have to get every last little bit of it because even a tiny piece will propagate like crazy. People reported that it grows underneath any kind of barrier – concrete or whatever – and it just keeps coming back.

Meanwhile…Kevin made and actually narrated this video about digging up the ground for the new patio. In the video you can see some of the noxious rhizomes which were all over the place under the old deck. They’re little white pieces of root.

The weeds are already coming back in an area where I tried to pull all of them up and it takes me from an hour to two hours to clear one little bit of land, as I use different tools to try to get every little piece. My Dad had left something called a Garden Claw, a long pole with a handle at one end and spike on the other; you push it into the ground and turn it, which brings up the pieces of root. Even though I didn’t bend my knees when turning it, Kevin says I was actually doing some tiny turns, which were very painful on my injured knee.

Luckily Dad also left a Garden Fork, another pole that kind of resembles a pitchfork. I used it yesterday and it’s much more straightforward as opposed to turning.

I’m making a little progress every day I can, but I had to half my efforts there for a week or so when it was just too hot out. Right now, though, the weather is perfect and I’m about to start in again today.

Kevin also bought me something called a Garden Looper, which can be used for just pulling out the tops of the plants, or also for other weeds. It has something at the end that looks like a triangle and you rub it over the earth, going down about a half inch, and it neatly cuts off the weeds.

Busy busy busy. And speaking of busy…Riley and Lester, very busy on the bed.

Ok then,

Mrs. September Hughes.

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More August Fun

by grace on September 7, 2021

On Aug. 16th Kevin removed the very old deck off the bedroom and is in the process of replacing it with concrete tiles.

Riley has been excited about it ever since. He finds it a fascinating place to sniff and creep around in.

Kevin unearthed this giant slab, part of the old patio off the back door. Riley loves it all.

Here’s Kevin hard at work tilling it up. Riley wasn’t so keen on that.

The next day I went for my very first walk through the field by myself since my knee surgery; I’d taken a couple of short walks with mom, but on my own I went a little faster and further and was delighted to see the field for the first time this summer. I hadn’t even known if it was planted in corn or beans until I asked Jim.

Beans.

I walked to the other side of the old part of the woods trail and found it a little bit…overgrown.

Lots of scrambling and struggling to get over/under mighty big fallen trees. Clearly they haven’t done any maintenance on the trail for quite a while.

I finally made it out of the woods and a couple of deer were interested to see what I was doing.

I headed into the new trail in the woods, assuming that maybe it’d be a little better maintained. It was, until I encountered all of this.

The tree on the ground was more massive than any in the old woods and it took some effort to get over it.

I can see parts of the new wooded path from the road and it all looks completely overgrown. Maybe they’re just abandoning it for good? Starting in mid-October they’re going to allow bow hunting for deer in different woods around the lake and we’re pretty sure that our own private path across the road is going to be one of the designated places. Kind of scary, but I’m wondering if they’ll clean up the trails for the hunters? It’ll only be maybe one weekend at a time, only a few times of the year, or maybe one week each time? There certainly are way to many deer in the woods everywhere but I don’t want to get pierced with an arrow.

It’s always something…

Ok then,

Mrs. September Marching Right Along Hughes.

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As the summer whooshes to a close…

September 6, 2021

September, really? It was almost fall-like for a few days but now it’s hot again, but not into the triple digits at least. Way back in August, Riley kept trying to relax. Ditto Lester. He’s lying on the case for our giant inflatable swan that we pull behind the boat and it has become a […]

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New Gutters!

August 1, 2021

Ok, now that it’s August…August! How did that happen? It has been so hot and humid around here, but yesterday was freakishly cool and cloudy. It it rained in the morning and after a nap I trimmed the forsythia bushes outside my huge picture window. They’d been growing like crazy and bugging me and it […]

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Lovey’s time on top of the kitty house

July 29, 2021

I don’t think I’d ever seen Lovey being confident enough to sit on top of the kitty house, but there she was on June 15th looking very confident. But then, aha! Riley spotted her up there. He trotted right over as Lovey eyed him suspiciously… …and then she quickly looked away so as not to […]

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June, in July

July 8, 2021

June 11th, to be exact. I was up pretty early (for me), enjoying the morning and the darling kitties who were also enjoying the morning. It’s usually Lester who is posing for the camera while Riley sprints away, but here Riley stopped for a minute. Lilies are so beautiful. I wish they lasted longer. Some […]

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Alive!

July 4, 2021

I lived through my surgery, yay for that! Gee, it’s been way over a week since it happened. Much has happened, but not so much. First – two days before my surgery, June 22nd, Les Paul and Riley were on top of their cat house and suddenly there was something out in the yard and […]

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No high heels!

June 24, 2021

Jeez, where has the month gone? Well, oing yard work. Lots of yard work. It’s 6:18 a.m. right now and we have to leave at 7:30 for my torn meniscus surgery. It’s so lovely and quiet at this time of day, but I doubt that will make me get up this early on a regular […]

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