Saturday, July 31, 2010

R.I.P. D.B.

A few weeks ago, our diving board bit the dust. Well, actually, it broke off it's rusted footing bolts (the switch to saltwater had been just too much for the ageing hardware) and followed its final diver into the deep end of our pool like some silly skit version of the sinking of the titanic. Luckily for all, no one was hurt, and the aforementioned diver was a fully-grown but not overweight adult. No, it wasn't me. Or Jon. No, I'm not going to tell you who it was, you'll just have to live with that.

We got all the rusted particles out of the water quickly, and the board and hardware have gone to the dump and recycling. But the bolts are still standing up out of the pool deck, corroded and unsturdy like a miniature ruined pier, menacing enough to demand that we all stay clear. Usually we just put a chair over them. I have been toying with the idea of not replacing the diving board. New ones made for saltwater pools would need different bolts and a different configuration, anyway, so we'd have to do some concrete work. I really should and just grind the old bolts down. "Maybe the kids would forget we ever had a board," I find myself thinking.

Today we hosted a birthday party for a friend's 7-year-old and had a dozen or so kids in the pool. There were plenty of balls and water toys to play with, but eventually some of the kids started competing for the best canonball and belly flop. It was during this activity that I learned something. If you don't give kids a path on which to run and from which to jump, they will make their own. And it may not be in a good place. It may be in a very bad place, or at least, a place that has high potential for harm, not only to themselves, but to those with whom they are sharing the pool.

Somewhere in there is a general lesson for parenting.

And I am going to buy a good quality, smallish, non-skid diving board as soon as we come home from Family Reunion.

Friday, July 30, 2010

No Picture- 'Cause We Ate It All

I am learning to appreciate the capacity of the solar oven to make something good out of partial failures. A tray of freezer-burned round steak, some out-of-date mushrooms that were on sale at the grocery store, a bunch of nearly-gone-to-seed onions from the garden, and a can of generic cream-of-chicken soup, sliced up and stewed together in the solar cooker for most of the day, made some darn good stroganoff today. It was even good over the food-storage noodles I used, which really were getting a bit stale. If I were the sort of person to have a few ounces of red wine lying around to have added to it, I think it would have been nearly fantastic.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pomegranate Espalier. Gesundheit.

When we remodelled back in 2005, we had to cut down a lovely if somewhat overgrown old pomegranate tree. I missed the fruit, so when a neighbor up the street offered us a cutting from his abundantly fruitful pomegranate tree, I happily looked forward to the return of homemade pomegranate jelly.

Five years later, I am still looking forward to it. The cutting grew quite nicely into a small (so far) tree. I planted it against a south-facing wall where it stays nice and warm, and gives some sun protection to the house in return. It even flowered this spring. But that was as far as it got. The flowers all dropped and there is narry a fruit to be found.

Maybe it doesn't like being irrigated with laundry graywater. I don't think this is really the issue, though - pomegranate trees are adapted to desert and saline soils. Maybe it doesn't like all the trimming I do to keep it fairly flat against the wall. The main family entrance to the house is just to the left of this photo, after all, and Jon usually parks here at night, so the tree has to be well-behaved. Or maybe I just haven't given it enough time. Having invested this much effort into its well-being I am not likely to give up in the next few years. But Jillian, who by virtue of her gap-toothed smile and big blue eyes gets a few pomegranates from the neighbor up the street every year, is getting impatient.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pretty Sure Everyone is Gone By Now

I don't actually expect anyone to read this. I'm pretty sure everyone has stopped following this blog by now. Even if you are reading, this is a cheater re-post so I don't blame you if you skip it. But if you do read it, and can get through the massive list of comments at the end, I'd like to hear your take. This is as close as I have seen anyone come to expressing my own sense of my place within the Mormon church.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still Here

I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I just don't have a camera right now. I loaned mine to Ben so he could take a kid's digital photography class. Technically he only needs it during the a.m., but he fills up the memory card, and I don't want to get in the way of whatever he is working on. So to keep y'all interested, here are some of the things I have every intention of blogging about once I get my picture-maker back:

Wall planter update
Solar oven update
Madsen Bucketbike: don't hate me just because I'm green.
Plums, Nectarines, and enough Jam to bathe in
Pomegranate Espalier: Fail? Succeed? Meh.

I hope to avoid posting anything like "How Green was my Swimming Pool," but we'll see about that. It occurred to me this morning that the Cub Scout Pack Meeting/Swim party here on Thursday will be for not just the cubs, but their whole durn families. Not sure how that escaped me before. I think I need to go tidy up the back yard. And padlock the greenhouse.