Hell of a Guy
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Going Green – The Coincidental Gardener…

05/23/2009

A few months back I read an article in the AARP magazine about building a vegetable garden, and how rewarding it is to see one’s labor rewarded with bountiful harvest.  Well, I immediately envisioned a vegetable garden somewhere on The Farm.  I imagined a cornucopia of tasty, fresh vegetables, especially those like tomatoes and summer squash both yellow and green, cucumbers, green beans and peas, carrots, lettuce and loads of fresh herbs.  I could see it all in my mind, and with a little planning I could picture it oh so clearly.

There is a spot on our property that most definitely at one time was just such a garden.  I am guessing in total it is about forty feet by eighty feet.  In my grossly under-estimating-the-labor-involved-in-such-an-endeavor mind, I thought I might attempt to recreate it.  The Nancy, being the more sensible of us, talked me into starting small just to see how it goes.  Her idea was to maybe make a ten foot by ten foot to give it a try, and that was a great idea; however my insanity took over and it ended up being sixteen feet by twenty-six feet.

Believe me when I say the size of my garden may never get larger.  I had no idea what it would take to get this thing going, but I can say the harvest of said garden best be damn good.  The initial investment included $600 for a tiller, $500 for lumber, fencing and materials to keep deer and small critters out of it, plus $360 for good top soil to fill the raised portion of the plot, and another $100 bucks worth of plants and seeds.

Initially I was just going to put up a little fencing to keep out the deer that populate our area in large numbers.  Talking with others who have done this before, I was encouraged to go tall.  The framing of the fence is eight feet tall.  The fencing is chicken wire and is attached to the frame with nearly 5000 staples.   

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I can’t say this was a labor of love.  It was torturous.  Every bone in my body aches, every muscle is sore.  My hands ache from squeezing the stable gun a billion times.  I got sunburned because I wasn’t smart enough to wear a hat or sun screen.  And to add insult to injury, I got dirt under my fingernails – yuck!  All I can say about all of this is, these had better be some damn tasty veggies or this thing may turn into a pen for chickens.  Hmmm?  Fresh eggs!

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Berkeley Springs Gothic…

05/13/2009

If you look to the left of the screen you will see the original Berkeley Springs Gothic.  Very obviously this is a knock-off of Grant Hill’s “American Gothic.”  Google it.

The Nancy and I live on a farm, aka The Farm.  We got the idea to make our own version of “American Gothic” in 2006.  We took the photo ourselves using a delayed shutter mechanism on our digital camera, and we had fun doing it.

The Nancy is one of the most beautiful women I have ever known.  Our Berkeley Springs Gothic does not do her any justice.  Trust me, she is very cute.  She did this for me, and I love her for it.

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Several years ago I had a picture of The Nancy done by Andrew Yevish. I first saw his work at a kiosk at a mall in Plymouth Meeting, PA about five years ago. He is good. About eight weeks ago I came across his card in a box on my desk that has about 500 business cards in it. Almost immediately I saw “American Gothic” become “The Berkeley Spring Gothic.” Andrew said he could do it and this is the result:

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I was more than thrilled to see the finished product when I picked it up from Andrew this past Monday.  It now hangs in our family room.  I see both of us in the picture, while The Nancy only sees her mother.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Latest Experience…

05/07/2009

I am in St. Louis.  I have been here for two nights.  Last night I went to a sports bar with the local sales rep, where I enjoyed a couple of not-so-great beers and a mediocre pizza.  I watch a hockey game on a big screen TV.  There were a lot of excited guys in the bar.  I am not sure whether it was the hockey game that had them is a state of frenzy or the cleavage displayed by the wait staff and the bar tenders.  I tagged the staff’s dresscode as “Tits for Tips,” and is seems to work well for them.

I had lunch today at the airport’s Chilis Restaurant.  I sat at the bar.  Two guys sat opposite me, and were in discussion about golf courses they had played and how excited there were to have played one where a Rider Cup tournament once took place.  The ultimate joy in playing a particular golf course escapes me, but each to his own.

I got to thinking about what excites me.  As I was mulling this over, I was skimming my e-mail and opened one from The Nancy.  It is below, though slightly edited:

Natural Highs

It Does Make You Feel Good, especially the thought at the end of #44.


1. Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
4. No lines at the supermarket.
5. A special glance.
6. Getting mail.
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
11. Chocolate milkshake (vanilla or strawberry).
12. A bubble bath.
13. Giggling.
15. The beach.
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they Love you
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you’re beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke with FRIENDS
24. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
25. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
26. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
27. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
28. Playing with a new puppy.
29. Having someone play with your hair.
30. Sweet dreams.
31. Hot chocolate.
32. Road trips with friends.
33. Swinging on swings.
34. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
35. Making chocolate chip cookies.
36. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
37. Holding hands with someone you care about.
38. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
39. Watching the expression on someone’s face as they open a much desired present from you.
40. Watching the sunrise.
41. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
42. Knowing that somebody misses you.
43. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
44. Knowing you’ve done the right thing, no matter what other people think.
45.  Watching the sunset.

Lord, keep Your arm around my shoulder and Your hand over my mouth

I can add one more the list, at least it is a personal natural high to me, and that is anytime I get to be with kids, especially the little ones.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Sunday, May 03, 2009

Aches and Pains…

05/03/2009

I am sitting here on this very fine Sunday afternoon attempting to position my aching body so my back doesn’t hurt.  Right now I can feel pains in both my arms, my feet and calves, in addition to my back.  When I stand it feels as if every muscle in my body is bruised.  I am hurting.

Yesterday I worked outside for about four hours.  Nancy and I are putting in a vegetable garden.  The plot we have selected is 16’ by 26’.  It is in an area of The Farm that was very obviously used as a much larger garden plot at one time.  The soil is rich and not nearly as rock and stone laden as other areas of the 3.4 acres of yard we have here.

My original thought was to turn the soil by hand.  I did turn about an 8’X8’ section of it, but it was really tiresome and at the rate I was going fall would be upon us before I ever got it all done.  To expedite the preparation, I purchased a tiller.  Is that a laugher or what?  Me, a city boy whose collection of farm-type equipment now includes a big zero-turn lawnmower, a chainsaw, a host of shovels, rakes, an axe, and now a garden tiller.  What the hell could be next?

All of that aside, after using the tiller on the garden plot, racking the lumps of grass into a huge pile, shaking off the excess soil, loading them into my wheel barrow (never thought I would own one of these, either), I took two loads of the leftover grass junk down to the woods and dumped it.  With that done, I decided to cut some grass, but inasmuch as my big mower is in the shop again with a very flat tire, I used a little Lawn Boy and cut about an acre.  I am not used to physical labor at this intensity, hence my pain.

I can deal with the pain, and one of these fine days when I enjoy a delicious homegrown tomato or a squash or a zucchini, I will appreciate the pain I endured, and will be able to more justify the $600 tiller, the $360 I spent on screened top soil, and $200 worth of lumber and chicken wire fencing I bought to keep out the deer, rabbits and groundhogs, not to mention seeds and plants to grow all the delectable veggies and fruits we will surely harvest later this summer.  After all, it’s only money, right?  Just look at how much we will save in the long run?

Damn, I hurt!!!

And that is all I have to say about that…