Archive | February, 2019

Oh, Wonderful . . .

28 Feb

We just received a notice from the Maryland Transportation Authority that they are closing the road near us to widen I-95 and rebuild the bridge.

They are notifying/warning us that “activities or equipment you may notice will include: Pile driving, Milling or Grinding machines, Cranes, Backhoes, Back-Up Alarms, and Night Work”.

If you follow I-95 through Maryland, we live within a half  mile of where it crosses the Harford-Baltimore County line. Back-up alarms and nightwork is such lovely combination. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Oh, Deer!

23 Feb

Last Thursday morning we woke up to find a deer had been hit and was in the ditch in front of the house. The Squire called the County to have the critter picked up, and they told us they’d be here “when they had a crew in the area”. It’s been a week, and frankly, there’s nothing left for them to collect.

By Saturday, the vultures had found it, and there wasn’t enough left oDSCN0641n Monday for the County to worry about. Now, the birds have decided to drag what’s left of the carcass onto the lawn, so they don’t have to worry about being hit by cars themselves. The deer was originally in the ditch by the mailbox, and what’s left of it is now about halfway between the road and the pond. The Squire walked out to get the mail, and said there is nothing left but the spine, the ribcage, and what looks to be most of the pelt. And, like Lazarus, it stinketh. Lovely. Just lovely.

All we need is for Blazer to discover the joys of rolling in the carcass.



21 Feb

So, Ms. Garfield suggested out weather might be “fickle”. Huh. Imagine that.

It snowed yesterday, and we got about five inches. Places a few miles north of us got up to eight. It reached 56°F today (13 C) and the entire county is awash in puddles and slush. There is a chance of snow tomorrow night.  It is a mighty wonder we don’t all have pneumonia.

The snow was bad enough, but the cretins out there who were driving without headlights added to the “fun”. You might as well be inside a milk bottle, and some fool comes hurtling toward you out of nowhere. And stay on their own side of the road? Ha! They can’t see the lines. When I get to be in charge of things. . .

ficklefingerThe old Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In show had an award they called The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate.

Welcome to Maryland

Thirty Pieces of Silver

17 Feb

Last Sunday evening a young man who lives in our town was shot and killed while he was delivering pizza. The police do not know if he was targeted, or if somebody saw him and figured they could make off with his money or his car.

Several local businesses have set up fundraisers for the young man’s fiancée and young son.  Our rector announced this morning that we would be making a donation from the church’s discretionary fund, and if anyone wanted to add anything, he would be grateful.

Three males were seen running from the crime scene, but they managed to elude the police. Based on the number of deliveries in the area, the young man was probably carrying about $100. Three crooks, and all they got $100.

It seems a man’s life is still only worth thirty pieces of silver.

Oh, Verdun!

15 Feb

Have you ever seen pictures of the mud in the trenches during the Battle of Verdun? Sticky, viscous mud that sucks at your boots and steals your work gloves. Men actually drowned in that mess.  That was pretty much the way the front yard looked today. The Squire and a young man from church who goes by the moniker “Jason the Mason” started at the well, and dug a little over thirty inches deep for ten feet until they finally found where the pipe had been repaired in 2007.

Which wasn’t leaking.

We have no idea where the leak is. At this point we are completely stymied.

In other news, The Squire had to remove the top from the well to locate the outlet, so they knew how deep to dig, and discovered there are a LOT of fine, hair-like tree roots in there. Isn’t that a revolting development?

We also found another spring in the front yard, bubbling up near where the walk meets the drive, at the top of the hill. Other people have springs at the bottom of their yards. Only the Rice Paddy gets them halfway up the hill.  Jack and Jill went up the hill, and so, apparently, will we.

My mum often remarked that she did not want to be buried at sea. “I’ve had so many water problems in my life, that would be the ultimate insult.” I know ‘zactly how she felt!

Oh! And we have a mosquito in the house. It got up to 65°F today, and apparently that was all that critter needed. Argh! We also have ants again; the rain and warm weather have awakened them.  Well, it’s supposed to go back down to the lower 40s tomorrow and snow again on Sunday.

Low Bridge, Everybody Down

12 Feb

Coming back from a meeting this evening, I – along with dozen other cars – was greeted by a huge tractor trailer (articulated lorry) blocking the road between Joppatowne and Beautiful Downtown Bradshaw.

The driver was backing up and pulling forward, obviously trying to back into a lot on the side of the road. After waiting what seemed to be ten minutes, but was probably only one, I got out of my car and asked what the problem was. The truck was too high to fit under the railroad bridge. Lovely.

I asked if he’d stop dancing around long enough for the cars behind me to see if they could go around him. He was sort of “Kitty-Wumpus” but there was enough room on the shoulder for me to get past in my little Nissan. I walked back and told the man in the car behind me, and then drove off. I did roll down my window and called to the people on the other side that “he’s too tall to go under the bridge” and let them make their own decision to “turn around or go around”.

It is, as Roseann Rosannadanna said, “always something.”

The Lake Under Our House

12 Feb

The fellow we’ll call the “inside” plumber came out on Friday, looked the place over, and made some suggestions as to how we might avoid trouble in the future if, indeed, we have a leak inside the house. He did not offer to help with that part of it, but left his phone number so we could call if we needed his help.

The Squire unscrewed a section of the bathroom floor, and found that while we do, indeed have a lake under there, it is not from leaking pipes. Oh, that it could be that simple! We have crayfish, and they have dug tunnels into the crawl space (Yes, there was plastic down there. Did you really think it would stop those bloody buggers?)  and we have lots of water down there. We’re going to need a mini-sump pump, but that is all. That is enough, frankly.

Saturday, we removed everything from the corner cupboard, piled it on the dining room table, and then unscrewed a section of the dining room floor and poked around under there with a mirror and camera. No leak there. The Squire also pulled up another section and we looked under the china closet to see if the pipes were leaking. Nada.

Now came the real fun. Trying to get the corner cupboard back into place without ripping the wallpaper to shreds. The cupboard is solid chestnut and weighs a ton, and was NOT made to be moved around. We will draw a veil over the rest of the afternoon.

Yesterday, Monday, the “outside plumber” stopped by. At this time, the only place left for the pipes to be leaking is between the well and the house. The fellow measured the distance, fiddled with his calculator, and smiled broadly. He should be happy! The estimate he came us was for over $6,000. I didn’t ask The Squire for an itemization, but suffice to say, that amount of money is simply out of the question. If things ever clear up enough to work outdoors, he will ask a likely young man from church if he’d like to earn a few shekels digging a hole in the front yard.


Chess, Anyone?

10 Feb



Water, Water, Everywhere. . .

7 Feb

. . .And not a drop to drink.

For the last week or so, the pump has kicked in just about every hour, on the hour, whether we were using water or not, and run for about five minutes. Today, the pump ran for over half an hour before either of us caught on. The Squire turned off everything, and waited until the pump casing had cooled down.

Tuned it back on, and still no pressure. The pump has lost its prime. We will be using jugs of water we have to haul from the well to wash dishes and our hands. Water from the pond will suffice for flushing. This is serious business. He called the plumber and they will be out tomorrow around noon.

I don’t want to think about what this is going to cost.

Life in a Swamp

6 Feb

One of my readers asked me if we really live in a swamp. It’s not (yet) an actual swamp; I suppose a bog is more like it.

You’ve hear the song We Got Married in a Fever. Well, we bought this place in a fever. It was do-or-die.

I was living in a two bedroom place in Section 8 housing, and I would lose my certification when we got married, as our combined income would be well over the limit.  I was, essentially, going to be evicted; nicely, mind you, but evicted, none the less.  We had to find a place to live – and soon.

We had three girls between us, so we really needed three bedrooms. The two younger girls were the same age (eight), so they could share, but the older one, who was twelve,  needed her own space – and so did we! We spent a lot of time looking at townhomes and condos, but none of them really suited. (God was looking out for us, as two of the places we looked went downhill in a hurry!)  A friend from the bank found this house, and we decided to take it. We had absolutely no money for a down payment, but the price was W-A-Y below market value (That should have been a warning!) and the bank gave us a really good deal. I had recently left the bank (dating an auditor is a no-no when you are a teller) and The Squire was a long term employee who was not looking to leave any time soon.  A small loan from my brother-in-law and we were on our way. We settled and moved in the early winter.

The ground was frozen. When it thawed out, we were in for a big surprise! There were six – count ’em! six – springs in the front yard. It is not possible to walk from the house to the mailbox without treading water. We ended up having a pond dug, which encompassed three of the springs. There are two others near the house – one is the well we use, and the other is a sort of “reserve”; the overflow from both of those wells goes into the pond. We have a flow from the pond of three gallons a minute.  Another spring is in the middle of the front yard. There is one more spring in the middle of the flower bed outside the window.  This is a new development.

We live in a valley, and very, very close to sea level. The water is rising, whether Trump believes it or not, and this newest spring is probably due to that. There are also a number of soft spots in the front, where water simply pools.  These are also new.  I have become a bit of an expert on bog plants. Bog plants that like shade. Bog plants that like shade and the deer don’t like.

The back yard is a bit higher in elevation, and tends to stay dry, but when it rains, we get everybody’s water. There is a ditch between our property and the electric company’s right of way (what we call the Back Forty) and two people run their sump pumps down there. Nothing to be done about it, as water does tend to flow downhill, and technically it’s not on our land.

We call our home “The Rice Paddy”. I’ll let you figure it out!