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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

Life at the apartment complex
The first day of Labor Day weekend is here. The hurricane Dorian is approaching the Florida coast, now upgraded to a category 4 storm. My brother lives in Tallahassee, sisters in GA & NC, all will suffer from this storm. I hear the storm surge will be huge on the coastal areas and the northern coast will have effects by next weekend.

Last weekend here at the apartment complex was interesting, to say the least! On Saturday, one of my resident friends who has a garden plot next to mine caught another resident stealing her tomatoes. The story goes that she saw someone in our garden area and went for a look-see. She saw him taking tomatoes from her ex-hubby's garden's tomato plants. She knew her ex hadn't given permission for anyone to take tomatoes. She watched the thief...but he saw her and exited that area, carrying a bag of tomatoes. The tomato thief walked towards other garden plots with the bag of tomatoes, hid the bag and came out. My friend went looking for the bag and found it, full of almost ripe and green tomatoes. On Monday, she reported the thief to management. We are not sure what will happen, but this thief, always out in the common area where the sitting benches are has been absent since early last week.

Sunday afternoon, I went out to pick some parsley from my garden. A resident parked his pick-up truck in the fire lane, right by the sitting benches. He turned on his radio (or CD player?) full volume, opened his doors and walked away from the truck. Two of the residents were already sitting out on the benches...but they left. Others who are fond of loud music were outside. I took a video of the scenario. I didn't mind the music, but the volume was just inconsiderate.

Monday I was outside and the group of people (listening to the loud music Sunday afternoon) asked me why I took the video of the truck parked in the fire lane with doors open. I neither denied or admitted taking a video. The confrontation made me very uncomfortable. I reported this incident to management the same day.

Later this week, the residents who had the tomatoes stolen from their gardens were accosted (this is the only way I can describe the situation, even though I was not present) by a group of residents who know the tomato thief and obstructed their way back into the building. My friend's ex stood up to them and they were allowed to pass. The next morning, the group was reported to management. I don't know what will happen.

Since the new manager came on board (early January, 2019), things have improved with the overall situation in the building. There was a group of party-goers every weekend on the third floor, they would party all night and wake other residents. The street was always parked up with cars of non-residents. Earlier this year, I noticed there were actually parking spaces on the street. Seems the new manager has taken care of that situation.

I locked myself out of my apartment in mid-August...a fine of $30.00. I wonder if this is sanctioned by HUD, who supports the low-income, senior and disabled residents. Anyone who has any information on this subject, please let me know.

A resident-friend of mine went into the hospital on Wednesday. I drove him into St. Luke's outpatient surgery Wednesday at 8 am. He was to be released on Thursday. He is still in hospital today. I have no idea what is going on with him but I will go visit him later today.

Landscaping is on hold right now. The property owner is having some reconstruction work done on her house and a steady stream of company as the summer draws to an end. I hope to return to the job next week.

BB the dog is doing pretty well this season with his Seresto collar. He doesn't have any fleas but is now starting to itch. Seems every late August and into September, he gets itchy and will lick himself into hot spots. He had a clip job on Monday and a bath on Thursday but woke me up this morning at 4:45 with his licking. I gave him a sponge bath, put him on the bed with me. He knows the rules...no licking in the bed! We will soon go to the park for a nice walk. 

EEE is here in MASS & RI. Several people have contracted EEE from infected mosquitoes. MASS has had several aerial sprayings along with a lot of ground fogging in the parks and recreational areas. One local person has died from EEE. Most parks are closed before dusk now as the threat spreads into different areas. EEE is now on Cape Cod.

I am looking forward to cooler days and the end of the heat.

Thanks for reading!

Life in general

Well, here we are looking at Labor Day weekend already!!! It has been a fairly good summer, punctuated by very humid, hot days with cool rainy days. This summer, we didn't have such a drought, but the high heat has taken it's toll on gardens. Lawns are now getting brown from too much short mowing which seems to be an epidemic around here.

I have been working at my friend's in Rochester and have done some splendid work with the help of Sam, my assistant. He learns as we work and I don't have to do the heavy lifting. Together, we have edged, removed soil, sifted soil, added soil amendments, replaced soil, mulched and created beautiful areas. The battle continues, but we are gaining.

During our digging out of bad grasses & weeds, we discovered two clumps of "mystery bulbs". I was at a loss to identify these bulbs and sought outside help from some "experts". Some had no idea, others tried to tell me they were daffodils!. I knew better and continued to search. On the Fedco seed website, late in summer, they had some miscellaneous bulbs...and I was able to identify the bulbs as Resurrection Lilies. I was so excited to discover these bulbs bloom in mid-summer! They are related to Amaryllis but hardy in this area. I have the bulbs resting in a covered planter and of all things, some are blooming in the planter, no dirt, no water! What a surprise!

Meanwhile, I was working around the bulkhead area and discovered some bad things going on there. Using my experience as a home inspector and painter for the past 40 years, I showed the homeowner the issues that probably need to be addressed...rusted out bulkhead, no proper shingling of one area around the bulkhead, wet & rotted wood, leaking into the stairs to the basement. I suggested an alternative approach to the basement entrance. A small addition allowing a real door for entry and removing the bulkhead altogether. I figured with all the work that needed to be done to correct the water damage, she would spend more money but in the end, have an easier access to the basement. She called her contractor and they began work on the basement situation almost immediately. When I went to check on the plants I potted up for later re-planting in the beds, I saw that the entire corner of the house had been water-damaged and was replaced. Along side of the new work on the house is the new entry for the basement. It is so sweet! A real steel door with a window, the new entryway is now waiting for shingles. All in about two weeks! Installing the new roof was a challenge but the contractor did a sweet job in a very small area under a second floor deck.

Right now, our yard work is on hold. It has been too humid & hot to work outside, so I have concentrated on my inside work in the apartment and on my projects. I have now completed a chest of drawers and two small trunks. I am thrilled that I have been able to get this far with all the logistics with these projects.

My garden has been doing very well. Yesterday, I pulled out the basil, made & froze pesto for winter. I hope to plant a fall crop of spinach and radishes today. The lettuce I planted two weeks ago is doing well. The parsley has been home to many Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars! I had Painted Lady butterfly caterpillars in my Borage! Such a treat for living in the city.

Last week, my neighbor caught someone stealing tomatoes from her (and another's)  garden. A bag of tomatoes, both green and getting red. I am speechless about this! She saw him picking tomatoes, he took the bag and hid it in some weeds. She scouted around and found the bag of tomatoes. There were several pounds of tomatoes in the bag! She will inform management this morning...

Earlier this year, someone took the first two hot peppers out of my garden...maybe the same person?

Downy mildew has come for the squash and cukes, so I sprayed with a Neem spray last week.

A neighbor just stopped in...I will pick this up later.
Life in general
Here we are in August already! This summer has been a blend of hot, oppressive weeks punctuated with two or three delightful days. The work at Syd's gardens continues with the help of Sam, who is just indispensable. He has a great work ethic, so seldom found these days. We have completed renovating the garden on the east side of the house. Now, I am going to work on designing the layout of the bed using the plants that we have removed and finding some other favorites that Syd has requested.

I did discover the identity of the mystery bulbs that were clustered together in two places in this garden bed. They are
Lycoris squamigera or Magic Lily. They haven't bloomed because they are so overcrowded and in need of dividing. There are so many bulbs, I don't think we can replant all of them! They bloom in mid-summer and are great for cutting. I am so thrilled to discover what they are!

The apartment complex seems to have another (continuing) outbreak of bed bugs!!! I am still keeping them at bay. At the residents meeting yesterday,  we were told the hallways and other common areas cannot be sprayed for bedbugs due to people & pets walking on the sprayed areas. I wonder if these areas could be sprayed during the night? Of course, the management denied an outbreak, but I know who has had them on my floor. There are others we don't know about. The conversation was abrupt and went away quickly. I spray carts, left out for residents, with Zodiac carpet and upholstery spray which will kill bedbugs as well as fleas.

I just got a call from a neighbor and she is coming over to talk...so bye for now.
Life in general

Well, after six weeks of no internet, I am back online. I have signed onto Pcsforpeople, an internet service for low income folks. They are a non-profit group and offer WiFi hot spots. One must buy the hot spot, then pay a subscription. I really can't say much for their customer service, it is lacking...I could go on about this, but it is a waste of my time.

Where I live, there are few choices for internet, either the local cable group or Verizion. The monthly charge for either is very high...and I feel there is a monopoly on internet in our city. An anti-trust issue if you ask me. But no one asks. And these companies remain the "big providers" in the area. As a matter of fact, I was told Verizion is not available in this apartment complex.

I have been working on many projects to clear up the items from my storage unit. All have been moved out of storage and into my apartment. So, things are a bit out of sorts in my bedroom, which is really a storage space right now. But I have shelves and most of the items are off the floor and neatly on the shelves. I am sleeping in the living room and like it this way for now.

I have finished one chest of drawers and it now contains my clothing and my shoes. It came out very nice, considering it needed two new drawer bottoms and a new back. I sanded off the old, brown finish, put a coat of Penetrol to feed the old, dry pine wood, two coats of polyurethane finished the project. I have sanded down two small, wood trunks, two coats of poly inside and out to seal the wood. Now, two new bottoms will finish them and I can add handles and use them for storage. There are two more trunks to be cleaned up and finished and the four trunks will be done.

I have cleaned up the chair I got off Craig's List last late fall. It is 1979 Mary Webb Wood chair, typical wing-backed chair. The upholstery has embroidery on it in the form of the Tree of Life. At least that is what I think it is. The chair needed to be cleaned for there had been a bad coffee or tea spill on the cushion and onto the arm. I managed to get most of the stain off with my Bissell Green Machine. There are some stains that won't come out, but overall, it is a beautiful chair and I am enjoying it.

I have a small garden space at the apartment complex. I have been growing from seed...two different kinds of cukes, kale, lettuce, Borage, Basil, Scarlet Runner Beans and Johnny-Jump Ups. I bought in some organic hot peppers, lavender & parsley. Early in spring, I planted some horseradish root. Right away, the squirrels dig up one of the roots for a taste. Guess it was too hot, for I found the root, a bit chewed off...right next to the hole where it was planted. I laughed at the thought of the squirrel's shock when eating the root! The squirrels can be a problem...as well as the cats who live across the street (they like my garden as their toilet) but I have thwarted both with a sprinkle of Cayenne pepper over the ground in the garden. I had to fence off the catnip plant once the cats discovered it and tried to kill it with eating all the top growth and rolling in the plant. It survives nicely now.

There are many soil-borne insects in the garden soil, so I removed 5" of the top soil last fall and added new organic soil this spring. Unfortunately, the added soil had a lot of not-composted wood pieces in it and since there are termites in the wood sides of the raised bed, the termites have been eating the stems of the basil, right below the soil level!!! I have done several soil-drenches to try to eradicate all the grubs and other bad insects below the ground, but the termites seem to be invincible! This fall, I will add a topping of manure & seaweed for extra organic matter that the termites might not like.

I have been working at my friend's gardens & yard in Rochester but the heat has been oppressive...the heat index was 107 ten days ago and may reach that again in the next few days. So, I work inside...BB the dog needs a clip job, I need to address paper work and get that sent out. I just love my central AC!!

Bedbug patrol needs doing every few days, vacuuming and re-applying DE to the baseboards on a rotational basis. The clutter on my table abates, then somehow finds it's way back!!!

I have made a few good friends her and I am grateful for that.

Thanks for reading...time to take BB the dog out for his walk and look at the garden on our way back in to beat the heat!
Life in general
The days fly by now, still trying to clear out my Summer Street storage garage. On Friday, Bonnie and I were again there, moving the few things out to the camper. I am not going to sell my small apartment size dryer, so this coming week, I hope to get it into the Volvo and take it to the recycling place. I will get little $$ for it, but it must go.

The owner of the storage property has not managed to move the tenant's dead car out of the driveway or at least back further to ease my moving. The walk from the storage garage to the car is almost 100 feet, carrying items to the car has driven inflammation into my hip bone and I am in bed, resting for the past two days. I will attempt to move the boxes that need to be recycled out and vacuum the space tomorrow. Then I will need to find someone who can help me carry the dryer to the car. That will finish up my work there.

Last week I took the chest of drawers outside to the courtyard and put the first coat of polyurethane on. I cut the poly 50% with Penetrol and it looks good. Now, for a low-humidity day to take it outside, sand and put on the finish coat. I need to buy some dark green spray paint for the knobs. They are wood by still have the brown stain. I could spend hours trying to sand off the brown stain, but the results would be less than satisfactory. Green paint will do the trick.

I went to the Urgent Care clinic May 24 b/c I had two ticks bites. I was given a Rx for two Doxicyclene for a preventative against Lyme Disease. I had to be careful for several days after taking it since it makes me photosensitive. The bites healed much faster than the bites I got earlier this spring.

BB still needs a clip job, I think I shall knuckle down and get that done today. It is a job and my back always aches from doing it, so I have been procrastinating. But he gets hot with too much hair, so best get down to it.

Weather here is still foggy & rain comes and goes. I am happy for the cool weather, it is easier to manage all the moving when it isn't 80 or 90 degrees!

Thanks for reading this blog!