Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lawn mowing and other fascinating stuff

I started mowing the lawn last week. It had really needed it for a week or so before that, but for one reason or another I kept putting it off. We have a lot of lawn to keep mown (especially considering that it's all done with a smallish walk-behind mower)! I'd convert more of it to flower beds, but I think that keeping flower beds mulched and weeded is at least as much work as mowing. . . At least you see instant results with mowing, even if it is one of those pesky chores that need to be done every time you turn around (for a few months of the year, at least).

After mowing, I remembered something that I'd forgotten over the winter-- my hands get really itchy right after mowing. Is that normal? I wonder if it has something to do with my gloves. I think I may at one point have washed a bunch of gloves together with a pair that had come into contact with itchy insulation. I wonder if I might have "contaminated" the whole bunch. On the other hand, I used the gloves over the weekend when I was digging a patch for our tomatoes, and I don't remember feeling itchy after that. . . Maybe it's triggered by all the vibration from the mower-- or some strange hands-only allergy? I guess it'll just remain one of life's great mysteries. ;o)

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We heard last week that our visitor made it home to Sweden safely, so I thought I'd pass that along to any of you who might be interested.

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I've noticed that when I'm framing a photo, I tend to prefer the strongest "line" in the photo (if there are lines-- such as stems or branches) to arc from the lower left-hand corner toward the upper right-hand corner. I wonder if there's a "norm" in this matter. Do more people agree with me in this preference? There's certainly no right or wrong-- and sometimes you don't have much choice-- but one way or the other is generally more aesthetically pleasing to me, and usually that happens to be the diagonal I've described.

Hm! I just found this forum thread where people were discussing this very subject. They wondered if culture could have something to do with preference (depending on the way you read the language-- left to right, right to left, etc.)-- or if it might be linked to which hand or eye is dominant in the individual. I think I've mentioned before that I'm right-handed but left-eyed. (I look through the camera's viewfinder with my left eye, aim a gun with my left eye, and so on.)

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This morning, I began digging up plants that are growing in the area where we're planning to put our patio. Fortunately (?), most of the plants there are just some wild yellow iris that seem to never bloom, so I'm not too worried about whether they survive the move. I'll probably stick them somewhere, just because I feel guilty for throwing them out in the woods to shrivel away to nothing. . . and the foliage is nice, even if they don't bloom.

The handle of our old, inherited "sharpshooter" shovel, which has been acting up for a while, finally snapped while I was digging up those irises. We have a regular shovel, too, but I would like to replace the sharpshooter, also. I like it better than the regular shovel. I don't know if it's worth trying to repair the old one, because it's worn down so much. The "blade" (whatever it's called) is even dented in a spot or two. Of course, assuming we could refit it with a new handle, I guess we could file down and resharpen the. . . whatever the technical word for the metal part is (g). . . I'm not sure how hard that would be to do. I'll have to ask some more experienced gardeners for advice. ;o)

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Still on the subject of the patio, we're still in the planning stage. There are so many options-- so many things to consider. Privacy and shade vs. views of the yard. . . "Sheltered and cosy" vs. "open and airy". . . How much "clearance" does a porch swing need? How much smaller will a given area feel when we partially enclose it? What will look better-- a lattice roof or an "open slat" roof? And which will give better shade? This is the sort of thing that you can get stuck planning for months, to the point that it seems you'll never move past the planning stage at all-- but we want to look at it from every angle and do our best to make it "right"-- well, "right for us".

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Friday, we went down to the beach for the first time in a long time. Spent a little time on the actual, "real" beach, then drove further over into Florida to visit Big Lagoon State Recreation Area and Tarklin Bayou Preserve State Park. (Family, if you haven't been to Tarklin before, it's an interesting stop. Very near Big Lagoon. Free admission, nice concrete/boardwalk combo path. It's meant to be a place to see pitcher plants, especially, but it's a nice little walk, even if they aren't "blooming". The path takes you through a wooded area and right out to the bayou.)

We took over 300 photos (g), and I've put some of them up on my Flickr account. (There's a link in the column to the right. . .)

Going to the beach makes me nostalgic. . . And coming home again, I felt like I'd been gone much longer than half a day. Strange. I guess I really don't spend much time away from here, so even just a brief change of scenery is enough to give me that "home after a long vacation" feeling.

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Speaking of Flickr-- I decided to "geotag" some of my photos, over the weekend.

For those who are unfamiliar with that term, it means that I marked on an interactive map the general location of where I took some of my photos. Kind of like putting a push pin in a map to indicate where I took a photograph. Other people can look at the map and see photos taken at any given spot.

However, I am unable to find my photos on the map, without searching specifically for photos from my own photostream. Weird, and kind of annoying, too. Why did I go to all that trouble if no-one else can even see them on the map? Maybe it's just taking a while for them to show up. . .

Well, that's enough for a post. I've been adding to this one for days, now. Time to actually post it!