Saturday, July 12, 2014



Supermoon by Elizabeth Warner

There'll be a Supermoon Rising tonight. A supermoon appears much larger than a normal moon. Here's the scoop on supermoons from MSN News:

"The full moon on Saturday will appear to be unusually big. In fact, it will be a "supermoon."
That's the nickname for full moons that happen when our celestial neighbor is relatively close to Earth. That distance varies because the moon follows an elliptical orbit. When it's close and full, it appears bigger and brighter than normal, although in fact the difference can be hard to detect.
If you see Saturday's moon close to the horizon it may seem huge, but that's just an illusion caused by its position in the sky."

Two other full moons this summer, on Aug. 10 and Sept. 9, are also supermoons.

Here's a video on the subject from Science at NASA (Thanks for the link, Leanne):

I hope I get to see the supermoon rising tonight. We promise to have clear skies, but the video warned that haze may obscure the view. We've had haze in Bismarck for days now, from forest fires burning in way northern Canada.

On the home front:

All the grass in the backyard is dead but the fill dirt hasn't been brought in yet so the hydro seeding hasn't been done. There's been a delay due to the wrong part being delivered for my contractor's tiller.

However, on the plus side, my other contractors are working on my garage at long, long last! They finished getting rid of the small amount of debris left over after my niece's fiancĂ© and cousin cleaned out the garage this spring. They then proceeded to rip out as much of the rotted out stuff as they could. They tell me that the garage is in such bad condition that the only thing holding the walls up is the stucco! They have to work very slowly and carefully. I have been having visions of coming home to find the garage all collapsed. However, when I got home from work last evening they had 1/3 of the garage framed out (if that's what you call that procedure).

They are re-building the garage from the inside out when it would be easier to demo it and build a new one. However, they are committed to saving old stucco buildings from the 1920s-30s when possible, and, more importantly, the city building codes won't allow us to build a new garage in the same place as the old one. I would have to put the garage in my back yard, which is not going to happen. If some future owner wants to cut up the backyard and install a two-stall or more monstrosity, fine. I want my little cottage, plus garage and yard to look like they did when the house was built in 1929.

On the negative side, the garage is costing me $4,000 more than I had expected, so I am feeling extremely broke right now.

Most of the early summer's gardening work has been done, except for the usual watering, fertilizing and weeding. Of course, there are always plants to move around to a better place in the garden! The bare squares in the new checker board courtyard are almost completely filled in. I will try to get some pictures this weekend.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Happy Fourth of July, everyone. It's a welcome day off for me. It was an extremely busy week with many people being on vacation. My department was only half staffed, meaning those few of us who were there had to work furiously to keep up.
Tonight I'm going to a BBQ at my sister's house in Lincoln, which is a bedroom community about five miles from Bismarck. Unlike Bismarck, Lincoln has no ban on the sale and purchase of fireworks, so it will be a cacophony of noise from all quarters. Mandan, our sister city across the river, also has no ban on fireworks. The amount of fireworks set off in that city prompted one of our local radio announcers to compare it to the Gulf War's "Shock and Awe".  As I sat on my deck last evening, I could hear that the barrage had started one night early.
You'll note that I called this post "I HATE - SUMMER VERSION" and that the first picture I posted is of fireworks. While I love the colors and shapes of fireworks, I do hate the artillery-like boom from the huge displays.
I can vividly remember my mom and aunt taking me to the fireworks display at the Divide County Fair in Crosby, ND. When the booming started, I ran. I can remember crouching down behind a car, my knees in the gravel and my fingers stuck firmly in my ears. I still can't get used to the sound.
Therefore, I'm glad I won't be in Mandan tonight for another evening of "Shock and Awe", or in Bismarck for the stupendous fireworks display at the Capitol.
Other things I hate in the summer:
Rabbits. The damn things are eating my flowers down to the dirt. I have discovered they have a penchant for petunias, annual dianthus, and lilies, which they start chewing the minute they emerged from the ground this spring. They have never been this bad before. Last winter I often saw rabbits in the yard and I thought, "Oh, poor bunnies, I hope you are surviving the winter okay." Now it's Poor Bunny, my ass. I want to get a gun like Elmer Fudd's and shoot them all.

I also have murderous thoughts about campanula rapunculoides. This is actually a gorgeous wildflower also known as creeping bell flower or purple bell flower. If it would only behave itself, I would gladly welcome it into my garden, but it spreads like wildfire and becomes a noxious weed. It has even gotten into my lawn. I did some research and found a herbicide that supposedly kills it and ordered a special fertilizer/weed killer from the Internet. It did nothing. Further research indicates that it is almost impossible to eradicate, because it spreads runners deep underground.

To make matters worse, I had been blaming the almost identical adenophora, or lady bells, as being the culprit. I learned that while campanula r.  is rampant, lady bells behave themselves like their namesakes and stay put where they are planted.

Earlier this spring I was enraged at the billions of elm tree seeds that wafted down upon everything in my yard. No matter how often I swept my deck or my niece swept the sidewalks, more fell. When the wind blows them into corners they look like drifts of light green snow. I don't know if I hate them more when they end up as a sodden clump of seeds or when they sprout in the ground and in all my potted plants.
I love my huge American elm that shades the deck, but over the years it has caused problems, not only with seeds, but also with sticky black juice from aphids or little green worms that suddenly descend on you from a gossamer string. At least the elm seeds are almost conquered for the year. On to the evil campanula and the wascally wabbits.