Really, Really hot

Tom and Tina hosted a fourth of July party in conjunction with Olivia’s 23rd birthday. Fourth of July festivities at Tom’s. As usual the food was awesome including the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. Tina identified it as Kathy’s cake highlighting that the recipe had no eggs and incorporated some vinegar and baking powder. I’m sure there’s lots more in it but it was perfect in my opinion. It was ultra hot as it has been for the past few weeks but poolside helped and most of the guests participated in the pool volley ball game.

The heat is breaking and we’re finally getting our normal summer afternoon rains. Typical temps for us this time of year is in the upper 80’s/low 90’s until after 2PM when the rains move in and cool it all off. We’ve been in the upper 90’s with no rain through most of June. When it does rain, it’s really hard, short duration rains. The lake is doing fine, maybe a little high and really clear. You can easily see 4’-5’ in the water. The beach has been nice too with low surf, mild water temps – low 80’s – and nice cooling breezes. I wade out knee deep to fish the surf and couldn’t be any more comfortable. There were a couple of guys fishing down from me the other day who practiced full immersion casting. They literally waded out up to their neck and cast really long casts beyond that. I’m glad to say they weren’t catching anything spectacular so I wasn’t at all tempted to mimic their strategy. Not sure what I would have done if they had been catching more than me.

Got an interesting thing going on in the lake. I keep a rod on hand down at the dock with a productive lure attached – Rapala. What’s been happening is there seems to be an extra large population of very aggressive soft shell turtles who are more than a little interested in my lure. So far I’ve managed to keep a sharp enough eye on the lure to see these guys coming – they push a large wave in front of them so it looks like a torpedo charging the lure. I’ve caught a couple in the past but not on lures – rather on live bait intended to catch bass. I’m afraid one of these guys is going to catch the Rapala and will be a real mess to land and retrieve the lure. These are edible turtles, locally called “cooters”, but I’m absolutely certain I want nothing to do with catching or cleaning these rapacious critters.

Haven’t mentioned the pineapple crop this year. It, along with the sunflower crop, are the only items that are really thriving. I have 6 producing plants that should produce pickable fruit from the end of this month on into September. I have a total of 17 plants now so next year could be a monster.

Deeper in the jungle

The washing machine gave up the ghost last week. I think that’s the last of the original appliances to go – 18 years. The good news was that I wasn’t involved at all in the replacement process. Nancy and Esther had a day shopping planned and just added Lowes to the agenda where Nancy made the choice and broke out the credit card. Simple as that. If it suits her, it surely suits me. The real problem is that this means we have to prepare for the delivery and carry off. To me that means making sure there’s a clear path between the front door and the washing machine but for Nancy it means a major cleanup in the utility closet so it will be perfectly clean and organized for the moving guys – translates to a couple hours of work since we store lots of stuff in that closet which will have to be moved to new, permanent quarters and the floor etc scrubbed to shiny perfection. As it turned out, some of the things stored in the utility closet now need to go in a kitchen cabinet and some to the shed. So the kitchen under cabinet gets totally reorganized to handle the new stuff and some of the stuff in that cabinet goes out to the shed. Lots of washing and oiling too. This side project will probably take 10x the whole process of changing out the washing machine.

The new machine was delivered exactly as promised and within half an hour was cranking out it’s first load of wash. It sounds different so that will take some getting used to and Nancy has to learn how to find the right buttons but it’s close enough to the old one that she’ll have no trouble.

I’m doing lots of jungle clearing work this summer. I’ve been negligent in keeping it up to snuff and it shows now that the dock work is complete (kind of complete). It’s mostly pulling out jungle vines which are incredible plants in terms of growing and climbing. Some of these guys I’m pulling down are 50’ with multi vining branches. By the time I’ve worked on them for a couple of hours, I’m pooped. The nice thing is that I can just do as much as I want and then come back later. No one but me can tell the difference so I’m not under any time of deadline or criticism. It’s shaping up nicely. It also turns out that pulling wild grape vines is like dope to me. Once I get started, I have trouble stopping so my 10 minute jobs turn into 2 hours. I have an area down by the dock that I haven’t touched in at least 10 years and it’s dense, dense jungle. It will probably take me a week to get it back in shape at my rate of 2 hours per day. Seems like it would make a lot more sense to do this in the winter. My first foray into the jungle netted me a nasty wasp bite on the neck.