When You Come To The End Of A Perfect Day 

The Sadness:

Nothing lasts forever, even my fabulous collection of wooden patio furniture.  Remember when I carefully sanded and refinished everything in Evergreen waterproof deck stain? And how Sami’s second job was to reinforce repair or replace any part of these pieces that was in jeopardy? For everyone of these pieces, there came a point when it just wasn’t worth the metal brackets the new wood the replacements and I had to let this stuff go, piece by piece. The most painful loss was the Jack and Jill but now that I’m at the end of the road here, I remember how every single piece met its end.

I can't believe I don't have a better picture than this of my beloved Jack and Jill chair
I can’t believe I don’t have a better picture than this of my beloved Jack and Jill chair

You don’t see these on residential garbage piles anymore. When I got these pieces, they were things that others had already discarded. I gave them another life, and really enjoyed the crap out of them. Now it’s over and my life is diminished by the loss but enriched by the memory.


UPDATE: I forgot that I have one more piece left of the original collection: the lazy Susan that sat in the middle of the round picnic table. I covered the umbrella hold with the lid from a can of Contadina Tomato Sauce and used it on top of a big plastic flower pot to create a one-of-a-kind outdoor end table, which I have lately been using to hold a radio when I’m sitting or working outside. Mostly sitting.


FYI – I do not belong to a religious group that endorses “hymns” as set out in this use case.* In my religious peer group, hymn singing was strictly limited to the choir loft and was sung by a clique of bingo ladies featuring Agnes Tur___ski as the soloist and someone’s long-haired grandson whose garage band wasn’t making a go of it as the organist. It was a screech fest. Everybody else just listened, even if it was something you wanted to sing along with, like Adeste Fidelis or O Holy Night. You couldn’t. All you could do was listen to Aggie belting it out and prepare for the moment when she came up against a stretch that was beyond her skill and she lost the tune and couldn’t get back into it until the chorus.

I only know about this hymn from seeing Barney Fife and Aunt Bea spontaneously busting out with it on the front porch after supper. Apparently, I am in need of solace as I face the loss of my precious redwood companions. And not the kind of solace you’d get from Agnes Tur___ski.

VERY IMPORTANT FURTHER UPDATE  – I am ashamed to say that I got my TV watching reference wrong here and people, i do not know how I could have made such mistake! Remember The Night. I love this movie – how could I have gotten this wrong? Must need more sleep. 😦

* I hang around IT people a lot now and they would rather die than use civilian term terminology like example so they consult me about use cases all day long.

Life Lesson:  Probably Not Advisable To Scale Up A Log Cabin To a Mansion

There’s no question that I love a good display of ostentation, but I must say that Michael Moore’s lakefront wood pile is the most unappealing “mansion” I have ever seen.

Outside of the established cinematic formula of oilcloth-covered table, cast iron stove, bunk beds and calico curtains hanging on a sagging string, log cabins in general are pretty hard to decorate. They gave it a try here and missed by a mile. The kitchen is especially awful. The only rooms that get a pass from me are a few bedroom that do not have log walls.

But heck, I’m no log cabin expert. If indeed they were trying to preserve to feel of a vacation home on the water and the theme here is I have some random chairs and tables from other places that I can bring over, then they have succeeded. Because that sure is what’s going on there. One can only imagine the newly enriched Moores happily leading a gaggle of bought and paid for interior decorators through the showrooms pouring out a continual stream of “I’ll take one of these and one of these and one of these …” It’s the Michael Jackson syndrome – too much profit at risk to dare tell the celebrity the truth.

Money does not automatically confer good taste. One is born with it or one developers it over time but it doesn’t just show up because you have money to spend.

That being said, I am horrified to realize that both Michael Moore and I aspire to the ranks of the petit bourgeois by means of $20 plastic roll-up shades from Home Depot.

Excuse me, Mr. Moore, but the only saving grace as far as this whole place goes is your excellent good taste in outdoor roll-up shades.

A Lemon’s Progress

And so after a few weeks on the deck, the lemons have doubled in size. Here my lovely assistant holds a quarter for size comparison.

Compare this to one month ago and you will be greatly impressed. Reminder: let us not get too attached to these lemon babies because they still swim in perilous seas.

  • The upper most leaf on the left side is suffering from the dreaded tater leaf, a bad thing.
  • The lemon on the right side has the faintest blush of something that might be the rusty mildew, a worse thing.
  • I still have to transplant this from its original black plastic pot, which causes the whole plant to go into shock and drop leaves and fruit.

Lemon tree farming is fraught with peril and heartbreak, especially if you only have one tree and you are trying to do it in NJ.

All Lemon Tree All Time. Plus A Few Chickens.

Is it too soon to talk lemon trees again?

I’m sure you will enjoy this photo of my solution to the too tall/too short plant stand dilemma that I faced earlier this year as I was making plans to move the little lemon tree inside. I took one of my big outdoor flowerpots and turned it over to use as the base – it’s the perfect height.

Don’t worry – I shut that heat vent. (Please don’t mention this to Sami.)

Okay, so it’s a little bit inelegant but the most important thing to me is that the leaves of the tree are at the right height in the window. Anyway, if all goes according to plan and the tree continues to thrive, next year it will be tall enough to rest upon a 4″ tall rolling plant caddy. So this arrangement is very temporary and only needs to get me through this winter.

I say IF all goes according to plan. My kitchen floor is positively littered with blossom petals and pea sized fruits. 😦

Anyway the chickens came inside to roost on the windowsill for the winter. Here they are under the tilt-in window that gave me the El Kabong yesterday. These also look awkward jammed together like that but that 30″ tray was the longest I could find and again, my only concern is to keep them alive until next season.

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Sami is not of the opinion that ceramic poultry is a good fit for the room where he spends most of his time.



! ! !

Now that it seems safe to assume that my little lemon tree has survived the neglect and torture of its early days with me, I am totally focused on its upcoming move indoors for the winter. I assure you that I have read every word the internet has to offer on how to be a successful steward of a container-grown Meyer Lemon Tree in Garden Zone 7A.

Take what you know about how thoroughly I can obsesses about vintage cocktail glasses or bedside table lamps and apply that to lemon trees and you will know what the last few weeks have been like around here. The decision about which citrus fertilizer to use was agonizing enough but when it came to choosing a new pot, I was practically paralyzed with indecision.

After a week+ of back and forthing, I finally settled on a 16″ lightweight stylish lime green creation. Because of the no-frills way I was raised, I was a bit uncomfortable with the design and had some lingering doubts about if I could live with something that was fancy instead of strictly utilitarian. So I took the pot out on the deck to place it next to the lemon tree for further consideration.


And it’s not bad but it’s also not final. I might still go around to a few places today to see what other options I have. But the pot is no longer my main focus. When I leaned down next to the tree to set up the pot, what do you suppose happened?

I won’t make you guess. The answer is I almost died.


Dudes, it’s the first flower bud.