Saturday, June 27, 2015

I love my screened porch!

I love my screened porch and have spent many perfect hours sitting in it so far this summer. The weather has been really nice—not too warm and not muggy! My flowers are doing really well, and I have a hummingbird coming to my feeder, birds coming to my bird bath and bees to the bee house. A couple of Sunday afternoons ago, three of my neighbors came over and we sat in the porch and had a nice visit. This is not the norm in our community!

Another benefit of my screened porch is coming home during my lunch time and eating out there. I have had many evenings where I've eaten my dinner in the porch, too. Of course, Nels is always my dining partner. (No, he doesn't eat from my plate or eat my food.)

My screened porch is also an excellent reading room for me. I'm reading a really good book right now, "With Every Breath," by Elizabeth Camden. I spent a couple of hours yesterday and again this morning sitting in my porch enjoying this captivating novel.

Of all the improvements I have made on my home, screening in the porch has proven to be the best.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Time Out

My cat, Nels, is a very handsome cat, and he's also smart. One of his tricks is very annoying, however, and just earned him a time out!

Occasionally when I am in my cottage, he begs to come in. He begs and begs. It's not always convenient to have him with me, such as when I am working on my computer. Last week, when he was perturbed because I wasn't dropping everything so he could come in to sit in my lap, he jumped up onto one of my dressers and began knocking things off. Glass things. Luckily, nothing has broken—yet. Usually that gets me up out of my chair, go to him, take him in my arms, and bring him to the cottage, where I pet and pet him, as he curls up in my arms.

Well, not today. Today I decided he was not going to be rewarded for that behavior. Rather, he is spending some time out, in his kennel. I'm not sure it will do any good, but we'll see.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

I'm growing a pineapple

Many years ago, while shopping in IKEA, I spotted a potted pineapple plant with a tiny pineapple and decided to buy it. I had it outside on my patio for a little while, but became concerned that a critter would eat it, so I took it to my office. It was a novelty, for sure. In a few weeks, or so, it turned yellow and I broke it off, washed and cut it, and ate it—all four bites! It tasted good. You can see a photo of it here, the blog entry I wrote about back in 2008.

Knowing a pineapple could grow in a pot, I googled how to start one. It sounded pretty simple: cut the top off a pineapple that you buy in a grocery store. Take this top, or crown, and plunk it on top of a pot filled with potting soil, and water it. In a couple of weeks, it will have taken root, Continue to water it as you would any house plant. Well, I started one. After some time, I noticed a new top was forming on top of the one I had planted. I kept watering it. Eventually, the leaves of the original top died and I cut them off, leaving a new plant that kept growing and growing.

One day my boss said I should transfer it to a bigger pot. He had one I could use, so he helped me re-pot it. This must have been six or seven years ago—I can't really remember. Well, the plant kept growing and growing and was taking up a considerable amount of space on our work counter. Here is what it looked like:

When I returned from Japan in February, my boss said we should consider finding a new place for the plant because it was really in the way. I told him I'd start to look around for a new space.

The next day, while watering it, I spotted something brown down in the center of it.

I was so excited. "Paul, come and look," I exclaimed. "My plant is growing a pineapple!" This was in late February of this year.

By March 13, the little pineapple had begun to grow and the supporting stem stretched up, making the pineapple visible.

As you can see, the supporting leaves are still erect, surrounding the pineapple. Also, there is only the inkling of a crown on the fruit.

This photo, taken March 24, shows a top sprouting up, and the little "circles" are forming flowers—little purple flowers. There is one flower per "circle." [The technical name is coalesced berries.]

On April 14, I took this photo. The flowers have stopped blooming and the top is getting larger.

I took this photo May 4. The fruit and the crown are getting bigger. Also, the lower supporting leaves from the original plant are beginning to lay down as their nutrition is no longer needed. I wish I would have measured the circumference at this time.

This last photo was taken today. The top is definitely getting taller, and the fruit is getting bigger. I measured the circumference today with dental floss and it measures just over 11 inches. I began a chart to track the growth of the fruit. The pineapple can easily be seen while walking up to the building (The office is on the second floor.).

Saturday, June 06, 2015

It's been a noisy neighborhood . . .

It's been a noisy neighborhood for the past few weeks, but today it looks like the project of redoing our main street is coming to a close.

New storm sewers and man holes have been installed in the short, three block long street that runs by my home. In doing so, new curbs and gutters, as well as new sidewalks at the corners have been constructed. Yesterday they were grinding the existing asphalt down to the base, leaving the road with those irritating scraped little ridges on which to drive. I wondered just long they would leave it this way before covering it. Well, not very long.

This morning at 7, the sound of heavy equipment jarred me from my cozy bed. I peeked out the window, and sure enough, the construction crew was well represented. I let Nels out on the porch because he has been very curious to see from just where the racket is coming. Knowing I have to use this roadway later this morning, I got dressed and walked out to see what I would be dealing with.

To my delight, multiple trucks were bringing in hot asphalt and it was being laid down with a team of professionals.

Here are some photos I took – just for the record.