dxmachina: (Snow)
So, it was -10°F outside when I got up this morning, just before sunrise. I don't recall ever seeing a colder morning. Just thought I'd mention it.
dxmachina: (I Got a Rock)
It's a chilly, windy, misty night here, so there hasn't been a lot of trick-or-treat traffic so far. That a shame, because it was pretty nice out this morning, albeit a little colder than it's been. It's still early, but it's not looking good. I've only had one clump of seven tweens and almost tweens, and there weren't any other clumps that I could see up or down the street. Also no parents shepherding the real little guys around. I think the weather may be a little too rugged for them, especially since what's the point of having a cool looking Flash costume if it's buried underneath a parka. I may wind-up having to eat all this candy I bought.

I was disappointed by my candy choices this year. No one was selling the little bags of Whoppers, not Wal-mart, not Target, not the supermarket. The only way I could buy them was as miniatures (only three malted milk balls per package) as part of an assortment that contained peanut butter cups. I've never liked the taste of peanuts (so any leftovers are useless to me), and I'm uncomfortable giving them to children whose parents aren't present (which is probably a massive overreaction on my part, but then peanut butter's been banned by a lot of the local schools around here).

In setting up, I discovered that my doorbell isn't working. Probably the contacts in the switch have corroded. This is like the third button I've installed out there since I moved in. Granted, it doesn't get much use except on Halloween...

--update-- Two more pair of treaters, one set of whom are walking around while their parent(s?) follow them around in a car. The other parent (dad) was on foot. --update--

...and during political season, so maybe I'll wait until Wednesday to fix it. And maybe rewire the whole system. It's never worked right, and it takes an inordinate amount of pressure on the button to get it to bong. And it never bings. I think they wired the backdoor bell to the front, but the backdoor sounds the same (bong). The bing bell is in there, but it never activates for some reason.
dxmachina: (teaching 02)
For the first time in what has been an extraordinarily temperate summer, the temperature has broken 90° here at Casa Machina. We are the midst of the first real heat wave of the year, and of course, I pulled the air conditioners out of the windows two weeks ago. Actually, calling it a heat wave is kind of an insult to heat waves. It has been more a matter of humidity than heat. Until today the temperatures the past couple of days have only been mid- to high eighties, but with the humidity hovering around 70%. Soupy, but tolerable. Today is a bit different.

As noted, this is the first time the temperatures have even touched 90° this year. Till now it's been quite an enjoyable summer. Up until this past weekend, the night-time temperatures in August were in the low sixties, or even down into the fifties, with day-time highs in the low eighties, with only the occasional humid day thrown in. That's why I pulled the A/C units out. I only have one window in my bedroom, and I wanted to open it full up.

I'd turned on the A/C only four times in July, and hadn't touched it in August. I tried to avoid the heat by doing some stuff down in the basement, but when it hit 85° on the first floor I gave in. I reinstalled the big portable unit in my office. That one's easy — it's stored in a cubby next to the window anyway, and it only took ten minutes to set it up. The bedroom one is more involved, and I'd have to carry it upstairs, so I just left it down in the basement and closed the bedroom door.

---
Now if it were tomorrow, I wouldn't have bothered. I'd have just left for work early, and enjoyed the A/C there. I met my new MCC class last Wednesday. Well most of them,anyway. I had four no-shows, a new league record. MCC has a program that phones people who have registered but no shown up, so I forwarded their names, and calls were made so we'll see. There was one who has no phone number on file with registration,so she's still a mystery.

I was pleased with the first session. I finished the lecture portion with plenty of time for the lab, and yet still was able to add a couple of tweaks to it. I'd been a little dissatisfied with the flow in previous semesters, but this time it seemed to work well. I didn't even have any after-the-fact thoughts about new tweaks. I was also pretty happy with the lab lecture, too. Those are easy to second guess, because the feedback is immediate when you haven't explained things well.

---
Teaching in the Brave, New, Academic World... )
dxmachina: (Computers 02)
...or how I spent my summer.

I spent a good portion of the summer teaching — the lab portion of my usual MCC assignment on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m. The three days a week thing got old fast, but otherwise I had a good class and a good time. One of my students was even a minor local celebrity, a features reporter for a local TV station who is apparently chucking it all to become a (male) nurse. Of course since the local TV station is not local to where I live, I had no idea until some of the other students pointed it out. He was totally not the stereotypical self-absorbed TV personality, but was rather a keen student and very helpful to others.

As for the rest of the time, here are the highlights...

---
Last weekend of June... )

---
Fourth of July weekend... )

---
Readercon weekend... )

---
First weekend in August... )

---
The funeral... )

---
Summer ends for me on Tuesday, with the start of the semester at MCC. Meanwhile I have been busy preparing syllabi and lecture notes. I'm teaching my usual general chemistry course at MCC, Mondays and Wednesdays 4-7, and a lab over at CCSU on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30. The department chair at CCSU offered me a second lab section, but it conflicted with MCC, alas.

Hoping I can post this...

Nope, still down... and I lost all my tags. Bother.

And now we appear to be back.
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
Boshe moi, the pollen vortex is frackin' killing me.

March finally showed up on April 1st, and for the past few days April has been trying to shove it out of the way with a vengeance. On one hand, I was finally able to ride my bike two days in a row. On the other hand, I am wheezing like a patient in a TB ward. I hate to think what it would be like without the zyrtek, because even with it, boosted by some diphenhydramine, my mucus membranes are still running overtime on histamine production.

I had the windows open for the first time yesterday. Did I mention I had all the windows except the ones in the front replaced? Back in January, when it was 7 °F outside. Cold as it was, at least I could breathe.

I never did see any crocuses this year, although the daffodils and tulips have sprouted. I'm worried about the two krabapple trees in the front yard. Neither has shown any signs of life yet. They're both a few years old, so it's not like this was their first winter. The branches still seem fairly flexible, so at least there's some moisture in there.
dxmachina: (Rain02)
I think it's time for me to break up with Mother Nature. I seem to be trapped in an increasingly abusive relationship with her. The past few months have been especially abusive on her part, and I've had it. Start with the coldest winter I can remember*, one that doesn't seem to be anywhere near ending though it's the last days of March. Throw in the snow storms and the ice. Then the last few days have been the nor'easter from hell. It's been raining hamsters and now there's water seeping into my basement as the water table rises. Plus the winds seem to have wrecked my gas grill.

* And I have an especially good memory...

I can't take much more of this. I thought we might finally be getting a break three weeks ago when the temperatures got up to about 60 one sunny Saturday. I even broke out the bike for the first time in months for a sloppy ride through the snow melt on the bike path. I even left the bike in the car, figuring I'd be back reasonably soon after. Nope.

Bother.

I really am itching to ride. Last year was my worst year since I got the new bike back in 2007. Didn't even break 900 miles for the year. The year before I'd done almost 2300. It shows in my weight. Between the lack of exercise and the cabin fever, I'm gaining. Not good.

More rain in the forecast for tomorrow. One of these days I'd better install that sump pump.

On a happier note, I appear to be well set for teaching the rest of the year. I've got a summer lab lined up at MCC, and my usual course at MCC along with a lab at CCSU for the fall. I could actually make a reasonable sum of money this year. OTOH, it was kind of fun getting almost everything back from Uncle Sam that was withheld for taxes last year. I'll be getting most everything back from CT, too. On the gripping hand, I owe more to RI than I do to either the US or CT, even though the only income I got in this state was a piddly amount of interest and some dividends. Almost makes me want to start thinking about a move to CT**.

** Seriously, the tax rate in RI is double what it is in CT, and CT seems to offer better services. I need to investigate.
dxmachina: (Snow02)
I am so done with winter...

I've had to deal with two full and one partial snow days in the last week and a half. One of the full ones and the partial (they shut down classes at 4:00 on a day when I teach from 3:05 to 4:20) happened to my course at Central, one that already had four credits worth of material jammed into a three credit course. I lost yesterday from my MCC schedule, but at least that course has more places where I can make up the difference. I normally tack on some non-syllabus material on the last day anyway. Both of the full days landed on the final lecture before an exam, so I've had to postpone the exams a day, which is probably harder on the students than it is me.

Boskone kicks off today, and I'll head up there for the evening in a little while. Had the Subaru maintained* this morning, so there should be no problems with the drive. I would dearly love to be able to take the train up from Wickford, but while it would get me there today, service stops before I want to leave tonight, and there's no service at all on the weekend. Bother.

* I've already put 10,000 miles on the Sub since I got it less than six months ago. It has been very handy having AWD for the snowy days, especially the drive out to and back from New Britain on that partial snow day.


dxmachina: (Dizzy)
I find myself using the word "sweltering' quite a lot lately. Indoor/outdoor thermometer is reading 86° in the house right now*, and 100° outside. I don't think it's really quite that high. The outdoor sensor is under the eave in front of the house, which faces west, not the best place for accuracy. Weather.com is telling me it's 86° out there, but that's not right, either. Somewhere in between, I think. I was going to mow the lawn when I got home, but heat stroke is a concern. I took a ride last evening, and it was like riding through soup. The piney woods smelled nice**, while the Great Swamp was more fetid.

* I only got home from school/lunch with Tom and his family an hour ago, and the A/C hasn't yet caught up yet.

** Speaking of smelling nice, driving by Schartner's strawberry fields towards the end of June was just amazing.


I think the heat and humidity actually affected the experiment the class did today. They were measuring the heat of fusion of ice, the amount of energy it takes to covert water from a solid to a liquid. You do this by throwing some ice cubes in a styrofoam cup with warm water in it, and calculating how much heat the original water loses. The two values are equal and opposite, so you then know the total energy it took to melt the ice. Except... even though the building has A/C, it was really humid in the lab. Warm, humid air carries a lot of heat, so there was more than one source of heat to melt the ice. The average percent error I saw was about 50%. Not good results. The procedure isn't especially accurate to begin with***, and the conditions made it worse. Tom and I discussed the procedure later, so maybe some changes will be made.

***I told one student that the procedure was a "quick and dirty method," although not especially dirty considering the final outcome is cold water.

I need to start gathering my camping equipment for the trip to Maine on Thursday. I'm off tomorrow, so I have the whole day to pack the truck. Key things to do include figuring out how I mounted the bike rack on the back of the truck back in 2002 when I took it to Canada. Normally the bike stays under the tonneau cap, but with all the camping stuff there isn't much room. The rack was designed to attach to a trunk or hatchback, as on my old Subaru, not so much a tail gate. I did switch the narrow tires on the bike to a pair slightly more suitable for riding Acadia's gravel carriage trails.

Don't find out till tomorrow night if I have to teach Thursday.

Still sweltering...
dxmachina: (Snow02)
...and other thoughts about the blizzard of '13.

It's another snowy weekend, although I don't think there's as much on the ground as they were predicting (6"). At least there's still power. I lost power in last weekend's blizzard around 9:30 Friday night. I didn't come back until around noon Sunday, so around 39 hours without heat or other conveniences. It wasn't so bad Friday night, as the house is well insulated and there was still a lot of residual heat in the house. It was getting near bedtime anyway, so I reported the outage to National Grid, and then stuck myself under the blankets around 10:30 and went to sleep.

Staying warm... )

---
Pushing snow )

---
In other neighborhood news, whilst doing my second shoveling of the end of my driveway, I finally had a conversation with my across the street neighbor. She's lived across from me, on and off, for 9 years, so it was probably about time. I also had my first chat with the guy who lives next door to her, so it was a very social blizzard.

---
The power outage bugs me more and more. I'd been lucky in previous big storms, not losing power when many others did. What is bugging me so much is that during the great blizzard of '78, which was a much worse storm, far fewer people lost power. This time around, more than 190,000 homes were without, and remember, Rhody's population ain't all that big. There's been storm after storm after storm that just clobber the infrastructure in dimensions that seem to far exceed what they used to. I wonder how much of that is due to the utilities cutting back on tree trimming in the name of profit. Blech.

---
Speaking of natural disasters, I am so very glad that the meteor didn't hit Russia, say, thirty or forty years ago. That could have been bad, in the crossing the streams sense.
dxmachina: (Snow02)
It's been snowing since about 8 am, about 2½ hours now. There's still not a lot of the ground yet. I can still see tufts of grass sticking up out of it in the lawn, so maybe an inch so far. Apparently we're due for some serious accumulation, but to quote the immortal Carl Spackler as he and the bishop made their way through the monsoon, "I don't think the heavy stuff will come down for a while." We'll see.

I've already been out for the mandatory storm purchases. Just the essentials—overpriced milk and sugar-free white chocolate macadamia cookies. Now I'm hunkering down with all the tv I'm behind on.
dxmachina: (Snow02)
We had our first substantial snowfall of the season* last night, 6-8". Today is bright and sunny, and it's very pretty out. There is substantial wind chill, though, so apart from shoveling, I've been admiring the pretty through my picture windows.

* Actually, large parts of New Jersey and Rhode Island got lots of snow inland during the Boxing Day nor'easter, but nearer to the coast, where I was staying while in Jersey and where I live in Rhody, we just got soaked.

---
Christmas was good for the most part. There wasn't much traffic on the way down, and even going back during rush hour on the 27th wasn't too bad. I got lots of good loot (DVDs, books, money, and a quart of real maple syrup from my brother's farm, among other stuff), and there was terrific food. It even snowed lightly Christmas Eve, so we had a white one without the necessity of shoveling.

---
I stayed with eldest sister. She has been fostering dogs for one of the local shelters. She already had one of her own, and liked one of the foster dogs so much that she adopted him as well. There was also a third that she brought home for the holiday while the shelter was closed. Unfortunately, that one was young and ill-mannered.** I caught her standing atop the dining room table. She also kept picking fights with the other two dogs, so she wound up spending most of her time in her cage.

** Think Stitch right after Lilo adopts him.

It's too bad. She is basically a good dog with people, and with proper training would be a nice pet. She liked me, and I liked her until she switched from chewing on the hems of my jeans to clamping her jaws on the screen of my laptop. Fortunately no harm was done to either computer or beagle mix.
dxmachina: (Charlie Brown 2)
For the second time in a month, I am sick. Low fever this time with associated achiness along with congestion. I was freezing for most of the afternoon, then took some dayquil and as the tylenol started reducing the fever started roasting beneath all the layers. A couple hours later I appear to have reached temperature equilibrium, at least for the time being. I had a flu shot a couple months ago, so it's probably not flu, just something obnoxious picked up at the elementary school where we play volleyball. I should probably buy some hand sanitizer for Thursday nights.

---
Looking out my living room window I spotted two separate tufts of down stuck to the outside, the remnants of a real life angry birds attack. Poor bruised birdies. I get bird strikes on my picture windows quite often. I'm not sure if there's anything I can do about that.

---
Things that take me out of stories, item the first:

Note to the writers of Law & Order SVU: Bernardsville New Jersey is pronounced BERnerdsville, not berNARDSville. I rarely watch SVU, but I caught a bit of an interrogation while channel surfing.

---
Things that take me out of stories, item the second:

Not so much a pronunciation issue, but the characters on NCIS (original recipe) would never refer to highway route numbers as "the 95." McGee does this all the time, and yet his entire family appears to live close to DC. The proper shortcut term back east is either Route 95, I-95, or just plain old 95. The only exceptions to this rule are named highways: the Turnpike, the Parkway, the Deegan, etc., and the Beltway if one wants a DC specific example.

---
And then there are historical inaccuracies in non-fiction... )

---
Talked to my folks tonight. They were 13 days without power. The generator was a good idea, at least until they ran out of gas for it. They had to throw out all their perishables. Jane, who lives way out in the sticks, was without power for even longer. Yikes!

Status

Nov. 8th, 2012 12:55 pm
dxmachina: (Snow02)
So, after not losing power during Sandy, the measly little nor'easter knocked power out for a couple of hours overnight. I happened to be partially awake and rolling over when it happened (around 1:30), so I saw the clock and night lights go out. Wouldn't have mattered if had been asleep because the UPS and smoke detectors started chirping to let me know what was up. I spent the next 15 minutes or so gathering a battery lantern, then turning off the UPS and disconnecting the first floor detectors to shut them all up*. Then I called the electric company to report the outage, and went back to sleep. I woke up again a couple hours later, and power was already back. So no harm done, and kudos to the electric company for fast work. I even got a nice call from the Grid checking to see if things were working again. The detectors are back where they belong.

* Actually, the detectors didn't shut up since there seems to be no way to stop the chirping until their capacitors run down or something. So I stashed them on the sofa underneath a blanket.

---
We got maybe an inch of snow here, and it's already pretty much gone. However, the wind is still whistling past the side door pretty well.

---
I've been watching Arrow and enjoying it. It's good to see both Harry Dresden and Colonel Mann getting regular screen time again.

---
Still can't find the frelling drill.
dxmachina: (Snow02)
The nor'easter is upon us; it's snowing like crazy out there.

It's actually been pretty windy most of the day, with smatterings of rain here and there, but now it's really coming down. It's 35° out there, so I doubt any will stick.

---
This week's Castle was hi-larious, what with all the Firefly references, Ed Quinn and Armin Shimerman (Stark and Quark!), and cameos by Frakes (who directed) and Shatner. So much fun.

---
Anyone seen my cordless drill? I was looking for it earlier, and I damned if I can find it. It's not in any of the usual locations, i.e., on one of the benches in the workshop downstairs. It's not in the last place I used it, either. It's got to be here someplace, but where? Bother.

---
And 10 minutes later the snow is starting to stick. Temperature is dropping, too. Double bother.

Flats

Nov. 2nd, 2012 12:54 pm
dxmachina: (Warp Speed!)
As it started to get dark Wednesday night, I happened to glance out my front window at the truck and noticed that the right rear tire didn't look quite right. Closer inspection confirmed that it had lost quite a bit of pressure. Usually in these cases it takes time and a soapy sponge to locate the leak, but this time it was obvious. The head of a 2" drywall screw was sticking out of the sidewall at a 45° angle just inside of the tread. As it was getting dark, and since I didn't need to go anywhere, I left it for yesterday.

Punctured... )
---
Speaking of Asbury Park... )
 
dxmachina: (Rain02)
Now that cable is back on, things are getting back to normal here at Casa Machina. For me, the storm was relatively uneventful. Never lost power, although there were some flickers in the afternoon. Much of the town is reportedly out, although I don't know how current that report is. The gas grill got knocked over yet again, despite my precautions. I'd placed it right next to the house, so that it would be supported when the wind hit. Instead the wind just bounced off the house and blew the damn thing over from behind.

The big Bradford pear out front survived yet anther major storm intact. It has to be the luckiest 23 year-old Bradford pear in existence. My next door neighbor's Bradford lost another good-sized chunk.

The cable went at around 6:30, and did not return until this morning, which is basically the same thing that happened with Irene last year*. Of course, last year I went to work the next day, so I had at least some source of news about what happened. Not so much this year. In these modern times I get all my news through the cable, either over the net or by TV. It was weird yesterday having absolutely no idea what was going on at all, even locally. It was actually pretty nice here for most of yesterday, partly sunny even, so the view from my front window was encouraging. In the old days I could've switched from the cable connection to rabbit ears, but even if I had a set of HD rabbit ears, they wouldn't work with my obsolete TVs. It's a mild version of the technology trap that James Burke described in the first episode of Connections way back in the seventies. I suppose I could've dragged the radio up from the basement, but I don't have much faith in local radio giving me much of any kind of useful news.

* It's strange to me that cable should be more vulnerable than power lines. Losing power I would understand. Power lines are the most vulnerable of the wires on the pole, and they can't be reinforced the way telephone wires are (which is why the phone usually work even when the power is out). Cable is even lower on the pole than the phone, so I doubt the issue is physical breakage of the lines.

Now that I can see the outside world again, it looks like Rhody got hit about as hard as it did with Irene, except for the beaches, which were clobbered. RIDOT flew a helicopter along the coast to assess damage. There are pictures here. The photos run roughly west from Misquamicut Beach in Westerly to east in Newport, although I noticed the section of photos of the area I'm most familiar with, Narragansett, starting here, is arranged in reverse sequence if they were flying west to east. It looks like the surge even broke through the sea wall at one spot. If you happened to see any of the Weather Channel's live reports from Narragansett, they were made at the 4-way intersection in the upper left corner of this one. The brick building there is the 'Gansett post office.

I talked to my folks down in Jersey last night. They live a long way from the beach, but still got clobbered. No power, no heat, but my brother hooked up a generator for them so they have some power. My mom had just gotten home from rehabbing after her surgery. What a nice welcome home. My sisters are also without power, and Jane has no water since her well pump has no juice. She and the kids are camped out at Rie's house, where there is city water, at least. Word is, at least according to the city councilperson neighbor that my dad talked to, that it'll probably be a week or so before the power is back. OTOH, I suppose it could've been worse. A big tree landed on my parents' next-door neighbor's sun porch. There a lot of very old, very tall trees in the neighborhood. Dad had the most at risk trees in his yard taken down a few years ago after one landed on the garage.

---
Now to go out and buy some treats to hand out tonight.

Status

Oct. 13th, 2012 09:50 am
dxmachina: (Dawn)
So, mom is out of the hospital and in a rehab facility to regain some strength. Things seem to be going well. I admit that Neil Armstrong (a man of approximately the same age as my mother, and someone whose medical history had been meticulously tracked for fifty some odd years) dying from complications of similar surgery put me on edge about this, but mom seems to have come through it like a trouper.

---
It has been chilly and mostly rainy for the last couple of weeks. I turned on the furnace last night, in anticipation of a cold night, and, sure enough, it got down below freezing. It's been such an odd year temperature-wise. Temperatures were very moderate through the third week in June, then Mother Nature turned on the steamer. Even when then temperatures were reasonable, it was ridiculously humid. Then come September, the dial got switched back lovely. Now we seem to be getting a normal October, albeit a tad wetter than usual. Climate change is very strange.

---
The weather has made my riding schedule sporadic. Yesterday was nice in the morning, so I mowed the lawn. We got a brief shower around noon, but then the sun came back out, so I was able to get in a ride before too early sunset. The ride was a slow one. I felt pretty good, but I think the lawn workout, coupled with volleyball Thursday night, left my legs a little slower than usual. It was also pretty windy. I seem to be getting used to pounding the muscles take in volleyball. I had an uncomfortable night of sleep as they stiffened up, but once morning rolled around I was fine.

---
Speaking of volleyball, there is this whole time machine effect going on. My friends who play that I have seen over the years all look normal to me. But among the other people playing who were playing eight years ago, people who I don't hang out with and haven't seen or even thought about in all that time, it amazing how much most of them appear to have aged. Very weird, especially some of the guys who are much younger than I am who are now sporting very silver hair.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
I'm going camping in Canada next Thursday, on the 10th anniversary of the last time I went camping, also in Canada*, in exactly the same provincial park. One of my friends grew up in the area, and her family holds a big annual shindig, the Otty Lake Blues Cruise, on the first weekend of August. A bunch of us went up ten years ago, and now we're returning. There will be biking, golf, and tennis, among other activities. A good time is anticipated.

* I just now realized that I've had this journal for ten years now. Holy cats!

I should have all the camping gear I need. However, I haven't used any of it in ten years now**, so I figured that as long as I have all this free time, I might as well check to make sure it's all in good shape. A stitch in time saves nine, right?

** I used to go camping somewhere almost every year, but got out of the habit. Stupid, that.

The first thing I checked was my air mattress to make sure it would still hold air.

Pump it up... )

---
Apart from the nasty thunderstorm at 5 am that left my neighborhood without power for an hour, today was a nice sunny day, so I washed my sleeping bag and hung it out to dry on the clothesline. Smells like springtime!

---
One of the activities planned for the trip is a round of golf. The last time I played golf was ten years ago at the same event. I like to play, but I has no one handy to play golf with, so I never got around to it and fell out of the habit. Plus, it's gotten tres expensive round here. Still, I'm looking forward to it, and in anticipation, I figured I'd better go hit a bucket of balls to see if I could still play.

Well, it wasn't pretty, but I didn't embarrass myself, either. Apparently my days of hitting the ball a couple hundred yards in the air are long gone, but I can hit it 150 or so, and it was usually straight. And hitting it shorter has the benefit of making it harder to really lose a ball when you hit it wrong. Unless you're trying to clear a water hazard.

I also took 10 swings in the slow pitch batting cage, also for like the first time in ten years. I can still hit a line drive, so there's that. I do miss playing ball.
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
First mow of the year today. It might have happened last weekend, but for the non-functioning of my lawn mower. My old adversary, the Briggs and Stratton two-cycle engine, strikes again. The first time starting in the spring is always an adventure. Normally I can get it to start by spraying a little starter fluid into the cylinder, but my trusty can of starter fluid seems to have gone walkabout. I didn't make it over to Wal-Mart to pick up a new can until yesterday. One spritz and I was good to go. Take that, B&S.

In retrospect, I probably could've waited a few more days. The grass wasn't as high as I thought it was. It's been a really strange spring. March was essentially April in disguise, which has many of the plants in my yard very confused. It's interesting to see which plants have been affected by the warmer temps and which haven't. For example, the grass greened up and grew like crazy during the one week in March when it got up into the seventies, but slowed a lot once the spring temperatures became a little more normal. My crocuses were apparently up in late February, because they were already past their prime before I'd even noticed they'd popped. The cherry tree bloomed in late March, about a month earlier than usual, while the Bradford pear waited until about a week before its usual mid-April to puff out. The forsythia have been golden for a couple of weeks now, while the rhododendrons lagged behind. The daffodils on the south side of the house are mostly gone. The ones on the north side started popping Easter weekend. The tulips, being more mercurial, shall arrive in their own good time. (Actually, the first started to bloom yesterday.)

Up until this weekend, April was April-like, however it got up into the seventies today, and, depending on which weather site you check, we'll be up into the frelling nineties tomorrow. Yikes!

I suspect I may have to buy some tomato plants early this year.

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