Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the garden, in August...

bumblebee hyssop 10
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Hey, it's August, and that means we have a new wave of blooms in the garden here. Since I've been kinda quiet lately (especially since little has happened), I took pictures today to show you all what HAS happened in our garden, with little help from me.

Plus, it was good practice...I like some of the bumblebee pics, like this one. They came out really good, in my humble opinion. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Helping out folks in need...

It's been a while, but I have to post conscience won't let me not post it.

I'll try and fail miserably to keep this short.

Yesterday, I was fielding a short story out in Minnesota for my mag's HR awards program. This company has a program in which they help employees who have been struck by an unexpected financial crisis with a donation/grant. It's a great program, but that's just the background.

As part of my interview time, they wanted me to talk to someone who had taken advantage of the program recently, and I met a family (the wife works at this company). About a month ago, their house was hit by an F3 tornado, only six months after they bought it. And here they were, taking time out to relive it all and tell me about that day and everything since, and how this program helped out -- just one month after it happened.

Anyway, I felt pretty helpless and terrible for them. They gave me CDs with before and after pictures, and the house had serious damage (about half of it was blown away and the rest pretty badly damaged). They had huge, 85-year-old trees all over their property, pretty much all of which were obliterated.

I felt like I had to do something to help...and this is it.

Isn't it what houseblogging is all about? Sharing your dreams for your home and your accomplishment of those dreams with others? Here, we have someone who was able to start to provide those dreams to their children, only to have Mother Nature step in and throw in a setback.

I'm just going to pass along this link. Apparently, they are using the funds to rebuild their barn and daughters' dreams of owning/keeping their horses. If you are interested, buy something and help the cause. If not, just ignore this post.

Either way is OK...I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't pass it along.

I should note, these are not relatives or friends of mine, nor would I even call them anything more than just acquaintances. I don't get any cut, nor do I want any recognition or anything like that -- I didn't tell them I had any blogs or any ability to "advertise" or post to help them out. I'm doing this out of the kindness of my heart and because, well, I can.

Obviously, none of you is obliged to buy anything or do anything. Again, I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't pass it along. Feel free also to pass it on to anyone whom you think cares.

If this offends you, I apologize...just ignore it and move on. If I were a beat reporter for a major metro, this would be blasphemy. But I'm not a beat reporter. I'm a b2b editor. And I want to help.

If this is all I can do, then so be it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Leave them wanting more...

Holy crap! I exist!

Well, not much, honestly, has been going on around our bungalow lately...I've been traveling for work, playing a bunch of softball and weathering wicked storms. All just barely getting lucky enough to cut the grass and keep the place moderately tidy. And then, when I think I've got a weekend to do something, bam, I have a wedding or BBQ. I can't, of course, deny the friends my presence, right? :)

So, today, I put aside a little time for my inner DIYer. Yes, it was time to start tackling the fence. Though, we have a very important step before destruction of old fence and installation of new fence. That is sealing new fence panels. I bought 8x6-foot panels at Home Depot a few weeks ago when they were on sale, but they're untreated pine. So, of course, I have to treat them before I put them to Mother Nature's test.

Last week, I went all over looking for Thompson's Water Seal's green-label water seal and wood protectant...the kind that supposedly keeps the wood from turning gray "naturally" as they say. Personally, I don't like that gray look and would like to keep it away as long as I can, if possible. Anyway, a finally found a place that had enough of it (I needed about 5 gallons, and nowhere could I find the 5-gallon drum of the green-label stuff) in the one-gallon size (which was comparable in price). So I bought it.

Today, I went to work. Opened the garage doors for ventilation, cracked out the new 4-inch brush and started going (note, I would have preferred to spray, but I had nowhere to spray and no help to move the panels to a spray-able location). It took me two hours to apply the sealant to both sides of two whole panels. I decided to try a 1-inch nap roller. Took half as long, but I felt as though I was totally overcoating the panels and wasting product (I'm cheap, especially with paint and the like). So I switched to a combination of hitting the flat face of the panels with the roller and the back, with the braces, with the brush.

When I was done, five panels had been sealed/stained. I called up my little bro to have him help me haul them out of the garage to dry outside (lest the fumes build up in the garage and blow up or something). It's a small victory, given the lack of project work that has been done around here. I have seven panels left to do, but I need to look ahead and pick a weekend on which I can bribe a crew of friends and family to come out and help me install the new fence and maybe take down and apart the hot tub and roof contraption.

And then, of course, there's still the basement...looks like my goal of finishing it by Halloween is going to be (as I figured it would) an unattainable goal. I guess we'll see.

Anyway, hope to have some pics of the fence panels and of what's blooming in my yard...I've got some Anise Hyssop -- let me tell you how many bumblebees are on this thing every day...tons. And I think there are some honeybees on there too, which nature-lovers would be happy to hear...I'm not sure what honeybees look like, exactly, but I think these are honeybees.

Until next time...