JUILLET DANS LE JARDIN AVEC TONY

Aujourd’hui  nous desherbons et plantons. Yes, its back to the Rose Bed for round 2 of the weeding and then some planting of the plants I bought yesterday. In case you were wondering its also July and that means “Tour de France” or as Bob Roll  always says “Tour Day France”

The day does not get off to a great start as Brenda tells me that one of the boat trailer tires is flat. Next problem, the Jack is becoming difficult, but I soldier on, and eventually the wheel is off and the spare is on. Looks like a valve problem to me.

Start the morning with the new “Tom” and arrange drippers etc while softening up the hanging basket toms that were getting the yellow leaf problem.

Good looking Tom !

Now for the seed planting of lettuce and radish which is one of those things I’ve been trying to get to but have been running out of puff before I’ve made it to the veggie bed.

Seeds planted at last

With seeds in and a quick check on all the veggie drippers time for another attack on the rose bed where all the thistles have migrated to after all the early season weed spraying. The poor old wisteria that had sat on the stump is now lying on its side as the stump has rotted through.

A bit sad for the Wisteria

With the rose bed complete the afternoon becomes another gardening session and the planned cycling gets ditched in order to complete the mission. Two hydrangeas that have become toast in the side Scuffy bed get hauled out and a happy Mr Wisteria is in place along with some companion dianthus.

Mr Wisteria happy again

Now its the 4th! time for a ride, then plant all the dianthus and salvias and cut those edges……. and we do have the new blue umbrella for the shade garden which matches the dragonfly cushions perfectly.

Planting goes well but Brenda is not enjoying the “4th” as nothing is happening anywhere, no parties, no music, and hardly anyone out and about.

Planting gets finished, the afternoon monsoons are here, but morning riding continues and the week finishes on 2739.43 as I don’t get a ride on Saturday as its Day 1 of the Tour and I’m not looking too good having had a Bee hit me on the head at about 20 mph and as a last resort it must have stung me on impact! I think I’m becoming allergic to these little devils. Being on top of the skull the sting had nowhere to go and started moving down my face swelling up any flesh it could find on the way.

It was dark glasses to hide the disfigurement for Saturday pool where I added yet another 3rd place before the GT took over!

TONY DOWN

 

SOLSTICE TIME

As Henges go Stone Henge is one of the best!

21st June and the Summer Solstice is here? Will there be nude maidens dancing in the Shade Garden tonight ? I rather think not and some of us can’t stay up that late anyway!

Brenda is ordering the much needed replacement bed, thanks to Farm Bureau for the generous settlement.

Next on the day’s menu is to move the Safari as we have a regular couple coming for a week and we are full. Brenda has been doing a lot of work on the bus and its looking really good. Jacks are retracted, TV cable disconnected, water lines turned off and stowed and the motor fires up immediately and warms up. Rather than leave the bus in the road Megan has said we can park it on her parking lot. We move off and as we come out of the park loud RV horns are sounding!!! Yes, I’ve done the “Robin Williams” and driven off with the power cord still connected!!!

……. and then it gets worse! I drag the power cable back to its bay and come back to the bus and before I can get back in the engine stops. No, of course its not going to start again is it ? Turn the key and the engine is racing round …….. back in the dim past I remember this happening and after much research and hours of b…sh.t the final result was that one battery was dragging the other down and not giving any power to the fuel pump thereby the engine had nothing to compress and was spinning like crazy.

Get 4 gallons of diesel just in case, but no, still spinning at warp speed so call Jack the School bus tech. Jack concentrates on the fuel system and is convinced that that’s the problem. Eventually I recall the story of what happened last time and we duly check the batteries and of course 3 are up there in the 12.6 and the other engine battery is at 1.74   ……. back from Walmart with a fresh battery so wish me well and fingers crossed. Battery fitted no real sign of improvement so back to town and buy one filter and order the other. Jack is sick so maybe the whole thing will be on hold until Sunday.

The other filter made it to Cortez on Saturday morning and Jack had them fitted in 30 minutes flat. Safari now running well and topped up with fluids for it’s next trip.

Sunday is very windy and becomes a rest day and gardening day and the start of weeding the main bed. Its hard work and that dreaded arsebine is everywhere and choking other plants.

Arsebine removed!

On the cycling front I crack on and by Tuesday I’ve cracked 2600.6 miles. A little weeding over the last two days but now the decision is to finish this big bed which takes another 3 days with NO RIDING! A quick ride on Saturday (30th June ) finishes the first half of the year on 2617.83 compared to last year’s effort of 1876.79

Well the weeding is complete save for recuts on the edge and some replanting with salvias and dianthus.

Ready for some color on that front bed

June was also a great month on the pool tables with 2 first places at 8 Ball along with 2 third finishes. 9 Ball went equally well with a first and 2 second places.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

OTHER JUNE JOBS

 

An enforced rest weekend due to pouring rain has shut me down on gardening and cycling. Drying up slowly but still  dark and ominous and still 50% chance or more rain and a thunderstorm or two.

Looking ahead, once the Waterfall Bed is replanted with a bit more color I can move onto the Fir Tree Bed and uncover what is still alive and ready to burst out. Need another clean up on the Rose Bed where the old tree stump has rotted through. I think the weed spray was not to the taste of the roses who are very sulky at the moment and not a bud to be seen.

Monday, and the storms have passed. The rain made a good impact on the fires and our grass is loving every minute. I managed 25.24 to take me over the 2400 mark and can maybe see 2600 by the end of June?

Some dianthus ready to be planted

The plant for Brenda I couldn’t resist

More for planting

Some lobelia for variety

……. last ones

The afternoon goes to plan and all Sunday’s plants that we bought from Walmart and 4 seasons are in the ground with just the edging to do.

How it was

Weeding done

Let the planting begin

Planting complete

Tuesday and the game rolls on and another 26.40 is done before getting back on the edges on the Waterfall Beds. All the precision cuts are made, soil turned over and excess material removed.

The Razor’s edge

Summer is here

Grass gets cut, and the edges are completed which is always the most satisfying part of the job ……. Center Bed next!

Wednesday and an early arrival of the Insurance Assessor who has finally been in touch with Brenda and was due to arrive on Thursday at 1100 ! No matter he has the check and WE have the AZ title!

This becomes $5932.21

…….. and I get another 1st place at 9 Ball.

A good 30.53 on the Roubaix after breaking the valve while trying to pump up the front tire. Total at 2461.35and 10 days left in the June.

 

TONY DOWN

 

RETIREMENT JUNE JOBS

As always a ton of things to do as we move into full summer. Plenty of beds that need attention, another motorcycle trailer to be found, the BMW to be repaired, boating to get on the list and the ongoing quest for those miles around the Equator!

For those that have forgotten (how could you) the distance around the 3rd Rock from the Sun is 24,902  miles at the Equator and so far the epic cyclist in his post stage 3 COPD has covered, 2031.22 in 2016, a more ambitious 3602.09 in 2017 and at close of play on the 9th of June 2018 a further 2226.10 for 2018. That gives me a total of 7859.41 miles with a new target of hitting 10,000 before weather shuts me down again this year.

Back to other mysteries, the bashed trailer saga continues and the quest for a replacement title has made minor progress in the last TWO WEEKS as Arizona MVD has actually cashed the $4.00 check but on further enquires we are told it takes 4 to 6 WEEKS to get another one!!!! Don’t ask!!!   The trailer was duly hauled away this week after we had removed some of the chocks and tie downs and we remain hopeful of getting the promised check.

After much thought, and the prospects of another dose of 30mph winds I’m going for a gardening day. Scuffy the boat was finally cleaned out of winter leaves and debris, two large flower displays are now in the stern and irrigation is flowing.

My task this morning is to cut the edges to the lawn, relocate the irrigation tube, and plant the 7 flower arrangements I bought on Friday.

Jen and Tom dropped off 4 baby toms and they are now all planted in the whisky barrels which are all irrigated and should be self sufficient but would be improved with some fresh miracle grow soil.

Tough work cutting the edge around Scuffy and removing the dead grass after the weed spraying but eventually the 7 new displays are in the ground. Still more edge work to do and then move on to the last 3 beds.

The paeonies get their supports and the lilies have joined in with a mass of buds and a few open blooms.

The local forest fire (the Burro) is about to join up with the other monster fire (the 416) over by Durango and the morning air is full of smoke until its turns westerly around 1030.

The Burro fire rages on

The 416 fire by Durango is too close to town

More edging on the Scuffy Bed takes me up to the maple so just the last bit out to the drive for this afternoon, then the move to the last 3 beds on the front lawn.

The edge gets finished, and I’m now officially on the Waterfall Beds which will take some time but with all the water I’ve been putting on the lawn the beds are delightfully moist so weeding is a breeze!

Serious weeding required!

Wednesday and an early trip to town for some oddball shopping at Walmart and a visit to the School’s Admin. Seems the School wants to pay me for all the sick days I never took …….. quite a surprise bonus!!!

Another bonus as the wheelbarrow blooms open

A nice plant for Brenda catches my eye and is in the cart along with the replacement dianthus plants for the Waterfall Beds.  With temps up to 85F this morning the ride is pleasant and another 26.85 takes me to 2306.90

Ready and waiting

Time to spend the “hot” afternoon with some more weeding before a beer or two and quick shower before pool.

More of the same for Thursday with 29.52 up the road the 2 hours on the knees in the Waterfall Bed removing the “dreaded arsebine” invasive ground cover creeper!

Weeding complete and ready for some new plants

Friday, mega threats of showers for the next 3 days, …… well the fires need to be contained. 28.35 in the book for the morning ride and good news when the long awaited AZ trailer title finally makes it to Colorado.

Brenda gets all the fresh grass seed on the lawn and now its full power on the hoses to get it to germinate. I might get those dianthus planted if I can work around the spraying water. Carry on and finish the weeding, and its looking good, now a final preparation on those areas where the new plants will go.

With the prospect of rain for the next 3 days (can’t remember the last rain we had) add a few more miles and finish the week at 2379.18 as we won’t be riding tomorrow!

A new arrival in the shade garden in the shape of a Dragonfly

and suddenly we have a plague of them!

Nothing gets done, as predicted on Saturday morning and its raining a steady drizzle ……. oh well at least its pool day so something to do while the rain keeps falling. A hard working 3rd place for me having to work through 4 games on the loser’s side.

Serious puddle

Sunday morning, raining hard, too wet to plant anything, so one more day of rest.

While we wait for everything to dry out the toms are loving all the fresh rain water.

 

TONY DOWN

HANGING BASKET DAY 2018

The official proclamation is made from the bedroom ……. and  today has been nominated as “Official Hanging Basket Day” and thus it shall be!

The car is made ready and we are off to Denny’s for breakfast before seeing if anything can be rescued from the Walmart  mortuary where plants are sent to die.

Some still living half priced items and 8 bags of Miracle Grow soil are duly loaded and we are off to City Market and collect some plants for the back of the raised bed and a nice half priced Hibiscus along with a wind burnt Gardenia. This completes Load 1 so time to go back to the house for unloading before our main purchases at Four Seasons.

First load arrives at Cozy

Vic, the owner, is on hand to give favorite customers the official tour of the greenhouses and one by one the 5 chosen baskets are ferried to the main building to join the 2 selected tomato baskets that will hang from the Maple.

See anything you like?

What about that one?

Home with load 2 and irrigation lines are checked, baskets hung and padlocks secured (its happened before!)

We love the “Painter’s Splatter”

A matching pair of these

Full House!

By 1300 we are unloaded and everything is finding its place for the summer. Time to see how we are doing in the garden as the plants keep growing both in size and number!

Hibiscus in its new spot

…… another basket

The wheelbarrow looks good

Window box redone

1/2 price Walmart pot with the back row of Figgy things

Good selection

Haven’t found a spot for this one!

The birds are back

The Shade Garden is nearly fully stocked and replanted but I know there will be more we can’t resist after our run to Durango and the Red Lobster trip to Farmington for Lowes and Hobby Lobby.

 

TONY DOWN

 

THE BIG END OF MAY RUSH

Last Day of School is 5/23 this year and its finally here! No more getting up at 0430, hello summer, and now tasks can be completed on my schedule, without having to rush back into Cortez for the afternoon drive.

Buses are parked, but still a lot to do before the end of the month. The 2000 mile marker is another realistic hurdle that I believe I can make and I have some 2020 Census testing to complete on 5/31.

Another windy day for 5/31 but I made the target on 5/30 with a 30.91 taking me to 2021.08 for the year.

The Census jobs are NOT the ones I was expecting, more of a solo continuous survey, which I could do alongside Sub driving. We wait to see where this one is heading. I thought this might be the initial selection for Crew Leaders and above for the start of the mapping phase which precedes the number crunching part of the main Census.

The weed spraying did its job and kills nearly everything but now I need to scratch up the leftover dead vegetation. This gets done on the driveway side of Scuffy and around the Rose bed. Now need to finish the internal on the Rose bed and the lawn side of Scuffy and the unproductive bed under the sign. As soon as I can get those done then it will be time for the waterfall bed and the center section….. both somewhat overgrown.

Another 1st place at 8 Ball on Saturday (2 in a row) and a mid week 1st Out at 9 Ball …… my first ever!!!

TONY DOWN

 

MAY ROLLS ON

 

Not much progress in the last few days due to other commitments! First job of the week was to get “Plan B” into the boat shop to be dewinterized. Recharge the battery, but see its been disconnected so how did Brenda lower the motor ? Did she disconnect them ? I know I didn’t. Well no matter they are charged and the motor is now back up in the travel position.

Cadi backed up to the hitch and I lower same onto the ball ……. but it just won’t sit properly …… several more attempts and it clearly needs a little lubrication as I’m lifting the car up! Brenda moves forward and the trailer comes off the ball and rushes forward and hits the bumper!!! not only is it now stuck but the ball is jammed in the hitch behind its receiver. Lordy, Lordy!! Only way out of this one is to undo the hitch, chock the trailer, and drive forward and allow the ball to come away from the car.

Well that worked as planned and now everything can be greased and we can try again. Second attempt and all is well. Lights plugged in and amazingly, after the saga so far, they all work and the new tires from last year are still holding 35 psi.

Into town and drop off the boat and home again …… but the lights in the Cozy Comfort sign are all out ?  Check fuses and all appear good but the pumps for the waterfalls are not working either. A few more on and offs for the circuit breaker and still nothing. Home from the afternoon bus run and mysteriously the lights are now on and so are the pumps.

The mileage continues to climb, albeit not at the rate I was hoping for as I’m constantly trying to get other things done but progress is progress no matter how slow! Currently at 1845.39 on 5/22 and hoping to make the magic 2000 before 1st June.

Tomorrow is the Last Day of School, and I for one am more than pleased as this does seem to have been a hard year due to far too many Kinder and 1st Graders on the bus who WILL NOT stay in their seats. I’m not alone as many of the teachers are at their wits end as they bring this unruly mob out to the bus.

The boat was collected this morning without any problems and some other successes trying to get a replacement title for the destroyed trailer that we can’t find and also getting the address for the census testing which refused to open and tell me where! Of course the BLOODY winds have been non stop over 30 mph for the last few days and are draining my patience to an all time low.

We tried for hanging baskets last weekend but common sense finally won as those poor plants would have looked awful in these non stop gales ….. its gotta change soon!!!

More watering of the grass and mowing of course, the damaged trailer gets moved and apart from body work dents it appears road worthy.

More watering of the front raised bed and eventually its soft enough for me to prepare it for Brenda to sow some seeds.

Windy and calm days swop around but I’ve pushed on and as we hit 5/27 I’m up to1933.83 before today’s ride.  I beat the forecast gale yesterday with its 35 mph winds and also got a good 1st place in 8 ball where I’ve been close but had a run of non scoring 4th places so I’m well pleased to get back in the winner’s circle.

Sunday and an early morning call from the bedroom announces……..  “Its Hanging Basket Day!” so without more ado its time to saddle up, get into Cortez for breakfast at Denny’s.

TONY DOWN

 

 

ROLLING INTO MAY

The clock turns, we roll into May but the weather which had been nice up until Sunday, also decides to change with temps dropping 20F and more stuff dropping in the form of snow and rain!

I remember these and getting all tangled up

Sunday was designated a “rest day” and a Shade Garden Day with many Bloody Mary’s as the first 1500 was in the books. Monday and Tuesday I managed to drag the total up  to 1541.26 but the bad weather was already upon us and the last ride was verging on insanity! Wednesday and Thursday saw a series of very nasty storms rolling through with every form of precipitation you can think of. Add the standard bitter wind and temps down at freezing and you have the big picture.

Friday an improvement and 22.52 joins the total and another 23.44 on Saturday is as much as I can manage pre-pool. Sunday and with a very pleasant morning shorts and short sleeve cycling garb is on for the first time in 2018 as the total crests 1611.50 for the year.

The NEW Infinity saddle arrives on Monday, but as yet has not been fitted. Two more good rides in the warm 70f conditions and I must watch the “U-Tube” fitting sequence before giving it a try.

Wednesday, garden work to start, clean up the under balcony wood pile, restack, sweep and clean and then bring out the two lawn swings and rebuild.

The seat goes on, a few adjustments, and a couple of mini test rides. Now I’m out of time as its early release so try again tomorrow.

40+ miles go in the book for Thursday and Friday, and despite some very high winds and red flag warnings I’m through 1700 and hoping to crack 2000 before the end of May. Still trying minor adjustments on the seat with fore and aft changes and so far coming up half an inch at the seat post. Current thoughts are back a little more and up a little more.

Saturday and although warm in the 70’s that awful wind is gusting 45-50 mph and doesn’t sound like my kind of cycling weather so I might be lawn mowing instead!

Lawn done, some branches removed from slot 4 in the park and time for a few more adjustments ……… seems I need to go back to the base point and try again. I have now come up an inch but I think I’m too far back …… start again, and maybe drop the nose a little ?

TONY DOWN

A SHADE GARDEN QUIZ

The weather changed as we rolled into May and a very pleasant last weekend of April saw a warm day with virtually no wind!  However, plenty got done and a lot of Bloody Mary tastings were the order of the day.

Last Sunday, Shade Garden all cleaned up and here we are at the BM tastings

……and enjoying some crispy fried electrics

It then got colder and a series of wet and miserable storms rolled through ….. but its changed again with temps almost up to 80F next week so “perhaps” we are actually coming into Spring/Summer ?

Time then for the “Shade Garden Quiz”. Here are a series of photos taken as the seasons move through

A little snow

A lot of snow!

Summer dining

Full Summer

More dining

More summer

Bath time

The evening monsoon

Fall again

……. and back to snow

Well those pictures are your “Starter for 10” and we will see if you can spot the difference?    This picture was taken last Thursday morning after my morning drive …………

???????

 

Study the pictures carefully and if you can spot it then read on…….

 

Seems my motorcycle transporter which had previously been parked off road, but on our property, has appeared just above the fence line?

Apparently a lady from the town houses on 16th Ave was taking two of her “nice” children to school and they were fighting and being a complete pain …….. she turned round without braking to deal with the problem and this is what happened

Lucky it didn’t come through the fence!

She pushed it off it’s block and 15′ down the road!

Yikes!

We await the assessor from her insurance company

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE APRIL TARGETS & GOALS

April memories from my youth in England

The serenity of bluebells in the woods

My mother had primroses everywhere

Starting the month on 986.22 my “wishful thinking plan” was to see if I could hit 1400 by the end despite some miserable conditions and the infernal wind which can rob the soul.

It never stops at this time of the year!

My watch pops up the battery symbol in the city name window, it always stops at this time of the year!!

With Mercury retrograde a few things start going wrong! First my watch says it needs a new battery and Walmart take the back off but then tell me they don’t want to do it as its an expensive watch!!!! Suitably pissed off I go to the local jeweler but he says I will have to leave it and he’ll call me when its ready …….. with form filling and telephone numbers this takes longer than if he had changed the battery then and there!! When I do collect it he tells me he can’t reset it!…… never mind I CAN!

Meanwhile out on the open road my speedo/odometer quits so  change the sender unit and order another one. The new unit arrives and one day later the other sender unit quits!!

Well no real surprise as they were both purchased at the same time. Battery changes all round as its a simple 2032 battery that many devices use and of course I NOW have plenty. Mercury now spins the right way up and as a bonus the weather picks up with warmer days in the 60-70 range but still windy. Time to remove ONE thermal layer!

During Brenda’s trip to LA to see Phil I managed a 3rd at both 9 ball and 8 ball and she was back on it on her return with another 3rd at    Saturday 8 ball. This week we have the finals of both competitions and on Wednesday I had a good win of $109 for the 9 ball where perhaps I have a very slight advantage with my billiard experience and can see some shots that others don’t take ……. although they are watching! Tomorrow its the 8 ball final.

The 9 Ball “Shark of Dolores” is back!!

Back to cycling, there is a saddle out there that people are generally impressed with called the Infinity. A bit pricey but all the reviews say its worth it.

Good looking seat but doesn’t seem to be available

Might have to be this one in black

Out there on the pedals, as I said earlier, I was hoping to hit 1400 by the end of the month and having made 1318.06 before pool last Saturday the 1400 looked very feasible. 34.50 on Sunday and then 24.26 and 25.52 took me over the target to 1402.34 by Tuesday  night.

Early release on Wednesday and the total is 1420.45 with 5 days to go. Hmmm? is 1500 on the cards?? The post 9 Ball hangover did not sit well on Thursday and there was much thought of a “snooze”, rather than ride, but Wimp got it together and limped in another 15.22 pushing ever closer.

Now Friday and my day off so a ride to the lakes starts the day before leaping on the electrical work that has to be done on Slot 5 in the RV park. The 30 amp socket had been destroyed by the last tenant bigtime!  Off to the General Store but sod’s law they don’t have it so after a small “thinks bubble” I take all the 30 amp circuit out of the Boat house electrical box as that used to be Slot 12.

Brenda has given me an early birthday present in the form of a professional weed sprayer and lawn improver. This will save me over a month on my hands and knees weeding all the gravel areas around the park. Now I must mow the lawn and water it before they come early next week.

Temps must be in the 70’s but now that the electrics are finished I can get to the lawn which I complete with the aid of a couple of much needed beers. Waterfall ponds refilled as the deer are sucking them dry and now get both hoses on the lawn and let them run for 3 full hours.

During the course of all this work the cycling demon has knocked 45.56 more miles off the Equator ride and I’m up to1481.23 for the year and pretty determined to crack the barrier before we set off for the 8 Ball Championship.

Out on the road in pleasant warm conditions and sail through the 1500 hurdle with 23.42 for 1504.65 miles for the year. Pool not so good but can’t complain with my earlier win this week.

Sunday morning, Edward’s birthday, very windy and not looking like a riding day! First call to the UK goes to answer phone …… lets try again. Second call same result. Another birthday thing is that Edward’s birthday is the same as my father’s. I carry on ringing but never get an answer!

TONY DOWN