Monday, May 31, 2010

Today was cloudy and windy and cold most of the day, with a couple small showers, but late in the afternoon the sun came out. The wind kept blowing, though. I went down about 4PM and planted the rest of the lilacs. So all 200 are properly in the ground where they will keep til I am ready for them.
I have sent the address of this blog to a couple or three friends who didn't know of it, and I intend to keep going through my inbox starting with the oldest pages until I have notified everyone who might take an interest.
I am too sleepy to write any more tonight.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It is not long before sunset now. Late in the afternoon the sun came out and after giving it some time to dry off I went out and planted for a while. I got about 40 planted, and I suppose I could have done more, but I was getting hungry, so I quit and came in. I am very muddy and getting a little cold as the sun stops sending any heat in the windows. I need to get the fire to burn better and maybe take a shower. 60 or so left to go.
It is pouring rain right now. Yesterday after 4PM I went out and properly planted 64 lilac bushes in their temporary patch, which brings the total too over 100, so there are less than half left just heeled in. But it was getting late and the black flies were bad, and there was not a cloud in the sky, which looked like today would be good too, so I figured I'd do the rest of them today. I didn't even take in the bucket of vegetable seeds which was sitting in the tub on the back of the 4-wheeler. There was still no cloud to be seen when I went to bed. But this morning it had clouded over. It still didn't look like it would rain soon. But when I looked out the window I saw raindrops on my truck already. I immediately went out and took in the seeds and covered the gas tank of the 4-wheeler which leaks rain water into the gas. Before I could get oatmeal cooked for breakfast, it had started to rain in earnest.
The rain is good for the lilacs, no doubt, and it would be good for them to be planted in the rain, but I'd get too wet and cold too quickly.
Yesterday I finished sanding the insides of one bucket of spoons and started sanding another one. I want to get those 2 buckets finished before I cut out more.
When I sand the lilac ones I smell the incense smell of the lilac wood right through my dust mask. I wonder if there is a way to make incense of the sawdust or shavings.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Greed Buds, Dead Buds

I should tell what happened the next day after my last post. I heeled in the rest of the lilacs, but i noticed that, although the first box, the ones i had already planted had healthy-looking green buds, and only a few bushes that didn't have, the others were reversed, only a few with green buds and most with dry, dead-looking buds. They didn't seem to be just dormant and hard, but dead and kind of crumbly. I called the place i got them from and they said they made a note of it and would replace them if they didn't grow. She asked if I'd soaked them, and I hadn't, but after reading the pamphlet they send with any order, it said for shrubs, soak the whole thing, not just the roots for several hours in muddy water. So I took them back out of the ground and soaked them in a barrel full of water. Then they went back in the ground, but still not individually, really planted. I hope to do a good deal of that tomorrow.
I talked to a neighbor and found how to fix a brake line like that. I have never had that trouble before. But the necessary repair parts, can't be had locally, but 40 minutes drive down the main highway. I have been trying to find someone who's going, but so far I haven't made contact. So I am stuck at home.
Today I built my second workbench in the shop and did one sanding on the insides of the batch of spoons that has been drying, which includes lilac, apple and maple. Two more sandings on the insides and then sand the outsides. And there is a bucket which is one step in the process behind that bunch. I think I should finish those before I cut out a bunch more, but I gotta get crackin' or the wood will.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

200 Lilacs!

This morning the man with the tractor came to rototill the garden and I had him do a patch for temporarily planting the 200 lilacs as well. Incidentally, I learned that it is his nephew who has the machine I hope to get to clear the ground for the labyrinth. Then I got ready to go to the post office.
The notice in the mail on Friday must've been the sandpaper. When I started for town to pick up the parcel, I stopped at the mailbox and there were 5 more parcel notices. When I got as far as the bridge just before you turn onto the pavement I noticed something not quite right when I stepped on the brake pedal, so I paid more attention when I stopped at the pavement. It definitely went down too far. When I arrived at the post office I nearly ran into the low concrete wall at the edge of the parking area even though I was being careful. I got down and peered under the truck. I saw dripping on the other side. When I went around and looked I found a brakeline had a serious leak.
While I was trying to figure out what to do, the clerk came out of the post office and said, "There are 5 big parcels for you. Want me to bring them out?" She brought them all out and leaned them against the truck, each about 6 inches square and 4 feet long. I put them in; then I had to go in and sign for the 6th, which was the sandpaper.
I was in a quandry because I had to get something done about the brakes, but I also had to get home for an important call from the MP's office lady who is trying to help me with an infuriating bureaucratic problem. So I started off carefully, using just the emergency brake, and went right past the garage and straight home, intending to call a mechanic this evening, to see if he could work on it if I bring it to his garage. After a long time waiting and calling about the bureaucratic problem I went out to plant. It had started to rain. I planted one box which contained about 42 lilacs from 10 inches to 3 feet tall, mostly 2 feet or so. Then I tried to plant some vegetables, but it had gotten so muddy I gave up after 3 or 4 feet of row, and came in, very soggy and cold and muddy. I had to take off my muddy shoes and pants in the shop and the rest of my clothes in the bathroom and took a hot shower.
I hope it drys enough tomorow to allow me to plant both some vegetables and the lilacs.
But I forgot to call the mechanic and I still have to do something about the brakes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I don't know if the next step in this story is about to unfold or not, but I got a card in Friday's mail telling me i have a parcel at the post ofice. It might be the 200 lilac bushes I have ordered, or it might just be a package of sandpaper I also ordered. I was busy making ready for my housewarming which was yesterday afternoon and evening, so I hadn't looked in the mailbox til Saturday, and the P.O. wasn't open.
Johnny Matthews called Friday morning saying he is coming around with his tractor to rototill gardens "the first of the week". I will get him to rototill an extra area in which to put those lilacs temporarily til I get the land cleared, whether they come tomorrow or not for 2 more weeks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blooms & Birthdays

The way these blogs work, the first post goes off the page and I am concerned because that's the one that explains what this blog is all about. I intend to ask my friend and blog consultant, Robin, what to do about that, but I want to put here a notice to anybody who happens to read this for the first time to go to the bottom of the page and click on "Older Posts" and go to the first one to see the explanation of why I even made this blog in the first place.

Nothing more has happened as far as the labyrinth project itself goes that makes very exiting reading. The 200 lilac bushes I ordered have not shown up yet, but the 15 to mark the route of my water line have and I have planted most of them. The rest are just heeled in in the garden. I went out yesterday afternoon intending to plant them, but it was so cold I just planted the few handfulls of hulless oats I grew last year from a small sample. There is a Gaelic saying that whoever doesn't plant on a cold day won't harvest on a hot one, so I thought I should do it even if it was cold, and I'd plant at least a couple of lilacs afterwards. But it was blowing so hard and cold my hands were numb, and it started to rain, so I gave up.

The serviceberries (saskatoons, Indian pear) are a little past full bloom. Plums are blooming, the apple treees are slowly opening their buds into small green leaves. That is the stage things are at here.

It has been staying cold, in the 40s F (5-10C) in the daytime, which is quite a bit below the normal high of 14-15C (upper 50s to almost 60F).

I am working on another batch of spoons while the ones I made before dry enough for finish sanding. Some lilac, some apple, a few maple. I think there is a total of 54 in this batch.
Well, today is my birthday and my daughter and her husband are coming out, so I have to make sure everything is clean when they get here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I have been cutting up lilac wood into spoons and bowls and spreaders and I wish I could put the smell in my shop onto this blog and share it with all the people who read this. Lilac wood does not smell like lilac flowers; it smells like some kind of incense. I do believe you could actually make incense out of the sawdust by mixing some kind of binder with it and forming it into those punks that have a thin stick in the center and smolder away. When you cut it up into a spoon or the like, the smell eventually dries up and disappears, but it lasts for quite a long time, to a sensitive nose, and usually if you have occasion to sand the piece again, it comes back for a while.

I went down to the mailbox this morning to check the mail before the mailman comes, because I had neglected to check it yesterday. The 200 lilacs will be arriving one of these days, and I am a little apprehensive, because I will get a notice in the mail and have to go to the post office and pick them up. Then I will have to get them in the ground right away, and that will be hard for me in my present condition. I hope I can get a high school kid to help.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thanks to Robin!

Everything on this blog except for the text is here thanks to my friend Robin (whom I have never met in person). She has assembled the pictures, the quotes, the links and all that and arranged it so it looks much better than it did. I don't even know how to do it, and my connection is so slow that some of it would be impractical to do from here. I want to put on a picure of the area where I propose to make the labyrinth, but I am too disabled to go that far through woods and brush until I get the roadway cleared out and can drive my 4-wheeler in there. I may have an old picture I took years ago, but, if so, it will be a slide and a slide scanner would be necessary.

A dream

A couple nights ago I had a dream in which I was to meet with a man and a woman to discuss something about this project or this blog. The man was already in the room when I got there. The woman showed up shortly after I did and immediately began to berate me for failing to have put a certain thing on this blog. I did agree it would be a good idea, but she didn't need to attack me like that. This blog is still under construction, in a manner of speaking, and I am very inexperienced at it.
Some way I became aware that it was a dream, without being fully awake, but I think, done with that dream, and I decided I would remedy the deficiency in the morning. But when I woke I didn't know what it was. I still don't.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


It has been suggested that I have a PayPal account for readers of this blog to use if they feel like contributing to the project. So far I have dragged my feet and not done it. I myself have never had a credit card or a PayPal account and never have paid for anything over the phone or the internet, although a few times a friend has done that for me. It seems risky to me, considering the number of crooks who are trying to find a way to get their hands on the money. It also seems an expensive way to do it.
However I will consider it if enough people want to use it. In the column to the right, we've included an address to send a paper check. Below that is a Poll where you can let me know if you think PayPal is a good method to add to this blog or not. I want to make it easy for people to get involved, and I honestly don't know if it's the best method or not. Take a moment to let me know. Thanks.
I guess I am an old-fashioned person who'd rather send a paper check by the post office. If anybody mails me one, I will put it in an account that will not be used for any other purpose. But if you'd really rather do it by PayPal, say so.

Lilac bushes

The first lilac bushes I ordered arrived yesterday. These are not the ones for the labyrinth, but 15 of them I ordered to plant along the route of my waterline to mark it. But I suppose that means the 200 I ordered for the labyrinth are not far behind. When those come I will have to plant them temporarily along my septic tank drainfield, because it may be some months before I have the money to get the land cleared for the labyrinth.
When these 15 lilac bushes arrived there was a booklet on planting different things in with them. I looked to see what it might tell me about lilac bushes. Among other things it said they might take 3 to six years to get established, but it was worth it, because they could live for 300 years!
Today I did the first sanding on the inside of the bowls of the spoons I have made of one of the trunks of the lilac bush I was given. There are 10 big stir-the-pot sized spoons a foot long or more and 18 or 19 smaller ones. I estimate, if those all get dry without cracking, they will sell for a total of $300 or so, and there are 4 more trunks, I think. So the cost of clearing may all be supplied by that one bush. However long it will take to sell that many lilac spoons. But it's encouraging to see how much one lilac bush could contribute to this project. Well, it will be a week or two before the spoons are dry enough to sell.