Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week in Review

Baseball is over; the last game was played last Sunday. Well, it's almost over. Noah has one more tournament to play in the middle of July. I enjoy seeing our grandsons play, but I’m glad it over because it’s so hot. Noah was in a post-season All Star Tournament; he did so well. Noah and Owen usually played two games a week, and Cole’s traveling team played every other weekend. Cole played both Saturdays and Sundays when they had a tournament.

The drought continues. Our grass is brown and crunchy. When it does rain, it only lasts for five minutes at the time. We get just enough to make these high temperatures unbearable.

Tuesday I called a tree service to get an estimate to have the dead maple taken down. I expected to wait for a few weeks to get a call back as I do when I call a plumber or the heating/AC service people. Much to my surprise, I received a return call that afternoon and an appointment was made for the next day for the estimate. The next day he arrived at the appointed hour and gave me an dollar amount that took my breath away, but Mr. Fixit wanted it done as soon as possible to prevent damage to the roof, chimney, or deck. Arrangements were made for the NEXT DAY! He came close to the arranged time and the tree was down in two hours. He was working alone. The only damage done was to my person. I am now short an arm and a leg because that’s what it cost. He did a good job with clean-up with little damage to the yard. He also trimmed the pecan tree overhanging the driveway. Mr. Fixit was upset that the sap from the tree made a mess on his truck.

There are 11 very tall pines along our property line in the back yard. When I asked for a ballpark figure for removing them, he said it would be a minimum of $3,500 because they are so tall and so close to the house. Needless to say, I think those will be there until they fall over.

I miss that maple tree. The sun shines directly on the deck and back door for most of the day now. I have to keep the door closed so that the house doesn’t get too hot. The cats can’t use the cat door. It’s been so hot though, they spend most of their time in the muscadine vines

Mr. Fixit is back working his usual erratic work schedule. For a few months he was working 4:00 am to 8:00 am on the five mornings a week so that he could attend the baseball games. He had to get up at 2:00 am. He didn’t mind getting up early, but he hated going to bed so early. I became a little spoiled. I liked having him around in the daytime and the regular hours, but he’s glad it’s over.

I have started using tote bags when I go shopping instead of the plastic bags most stores use. Some cashiers don’t seem to like them much. The best bags are sold by Walmart because they have a little loop that slips on the bagging frame. At one grocery store they give you a nickel discount for every bag you use. I think that’s better than a dirty look from the cashier when you ask them to use the bags they sold in the first place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Smalltown, South Carolina, Part 2

This is our new library. We share it with Clemson. It's my favorite place in town even though the books on the "New" shelves are often 2 years old.

We also have a new post office

and a new City Hall.

To be perfectly honest, I have never liked living here. I don't like having to drive so far to go shopping, I hate the red clay, and the weather is way too hot and muggy for me. It's funny though; this spring as I was driving along, I realized for the first time that the countryside is very pretty. I felt for the first time since we moved here that this is home. The weather still stinks!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Smalltown, South Carolina

This is Main Street in our town.

Downtown is less than two short blocks. This is the upper portion. Only one building, a bank, is not visible.

This is the lower portion of downtown.

The opposite side of the street, upper portion. The fence and decorative street lights are new.

Lower section of downtown.

When we moved here in 1982, there was only one traffic light. We now have four. We now have a Wal-Mart and a small shopping strip within the Wal-Mart plaza. While the number of permanent residents has grown little, our student population has grown because of the large number of new apartments and condos built for exclusively for students.

These photos were taken very early on a cloudy Sunday morning. That's why the pictures appear to be a bit dark, and there is very little traffic. As usual, click on pics to enlarge.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Demise of the Maple Tree

This morning as I went to feed the cats, something seemed to be missing. Being the observant person I am I noticed these lying across the gardenia bushes. I don’t know why the limbs broke last night. There was no wind. Mr. Fixit wondered if God was a little upset because he didn’t go to church this morning.

This maple shaded the deck and our back door for the last 25 years. Well, not exactly 25 years. When we first moved here I could stand on the deck and look over the top of the tree. Last year the late winter ice storm took some of the leaves, and it began to leaf during a very warm few days in January this year. Then there was another hard freeze that took the most of the buds. There are very few leaves on it now.

I think that this is the real culprit—a yellow-bellied sapsucker (a small woodpecker).
Every spring he shows up and uses the maple as his main food source. Sapsuckers drill holes in nearly straight lines around the trunk and limbs of the tree. There were thousands of holes that allowed disease to take over.

Now we must have the whole tree taken down because it is overhanging the roof. I love that tree. It provided shade and a place for the kids’ rope swing.

(I wish I could learn to put pictures and text where I want them. Blogger seems to have a mind of its own.)