In other news

A few other odds and ends:

The trees are coming along nicely. Everything has leafed out (the peaches were a bit slow) and looks pretty healthy. We lost a few of the sugar maples (not sure why) but the others look happy. Emily took a string trimmer inside the fence a few days back and beat back the grass which is coming up quickly.

When Joanna was up we painted the trunks of the new trees to ward off borers. Per Fedco instruction, we mixed interior white latex paint with wallboard joint compound, and painted the resulting yogurt-like stuff on the trunks. Apparently the bugs don’t like chewing through gypsum, and it has the added effect of showing the holes more obviously if they do get through.

Back in Lebanon, I’ve got a decent small garden going maybe 20 feet square. It was hard going to cut the sod into foot-square chunks with a round-point shovel and flipping them over, but the soil underneath looked good. Our neighbor used to own the house we’re renting, and he said he improved the lawn at one point by bringing in some silt from the rock plant down by the river. One of Alexis’ classmates stables a horse at a nearby farm, and she invited me to get some manure, so I went down there and loaded up a ton or so of well rotted horse manure which I spread on top. The neighbor lent me a nice old snapper rototiller which I used to incorporate the manure and lighten things up. I’ve got tomatoes, corn, eggplants, peppers, broccoli, summer squash, and basil going, as well as an earlier bed with chard, beets, lettuce, and bok choy. I’m not expecting a huge amount out of it, but it’s fun to watch it grow.

I’ve also been playing more fiddle, mostly because of a Sunday afternoon contradance music class that a guy named Jeremiah McLane has been organizing over in Vermont. I’ve been playing on Thursday evenings with some of the same folks as well, and we’re improving. Last night we had our first “gig”; we played waltzes for a group of about 8 old-timers and random hippies in a little restored schoolhouse in Thetford, VT. There were four of us – me on fiddle, a clarinet, a guitar, and a cello. I don’t think we sounded professional exactly, but we played and they danced, so I expect it was something of a success. Definitely good incentive to keep practicing.

Alexis takes her first big licensing exam on Wednesday; when she passes she will officially be half of an MD – pretty exciting. She’s been studying hard for the last three weeks or so. After that she starts her rotations with Family Medicine. So far it’s a pretty quiet summer planned; we’ll probably get up to Maine a few times, but no plans to go west so far, though the folks will.

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