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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Day of verbs

Today started off bright and early with a funeral. It wasn't really that early, or that bright; my uncle was buried in his wife's family plot in Hanover Township (just outside of Wilkes-Barre) after a graveside ceremony that started at about 11:00 in the morning under gray skies and a light drizzle. He died last Sunday in Maryland, his funeral service was held there on Thursday, and his body was transported to Pennsylvania for burial this morning.

Afterwards we had a luncheon at a local restaurant - the same restaurant where my aunt and uncle had their wedding reception. The photo album that my cousin Dena and my friend (and friend of the family) Darren put together from scans of photos and newspaper clippings that we retrieved from my grandmother's old house was the hit of the day.

After that I went home, changed, and went up to my cousin's house for an informal after-lunch get-together. I was able to sit still for about five minutes before I decided that there were a few things at my new house that needed my attention. Nothing major - checking the mail, assembling the second of two steel chairs I bought on sale at Kmart, and trying to power up some of the clocks I just bought for the house (I need to remember to take a Phillips-head screwdriver over there next time to remove the clocks from their packages.)

While I was there my cousin's boyfriend came over to have a look at the items on the 30-day list. The front porch he figures can be repaired in a matter of hours, once he gets the supplies, and the broken kitchen window is actually a sort of storm window held in with clips and can be removed easily. The cracked garage window - the upper left non-movable window rather than the lower right movable window - will be more of a trick. The glass is held in place by decades-old putty, and the window cannot be removed from its sash without potentially demolishing the garage. Can the glass be replaced with the window in place, without severing any major body parts? That will be quite a trick.

We looked things over until it was nearly time for 4:00 Mass. Fortunately my new house is just down the street from the church, so we made it there no problem.

After church I returned to the house to address one of the issues with the grapevine.
This grapevine has been in existence for as long as there have been pictures of the house, and not long ago it stretched from one side of the lot to the other. In recent years disease, neglect, and intentional destruction have reduced it to a single remaining group of vines of white grapes - the purple and the red are gone. (There is another vine in another location with what may be the same sort of purple grapes, so I will be doing a little bit of propagation in a few weeks.)

But there was another issue I wanted to address immediately. The remaining vines were under attack by something that was trying to crowd them out - several somethings, actually, three of them, though I was only able to identify one.
This vine with five-lobed leaves resembles some sort of horse chestnut, but I have no idea what it is. Was. I pulled it all off, cut any vines I could find, and uprooted it where I could. I did the same thing with the other, finer vine that seemed intent on strangling the grapevine, not merely smothering it. Same also with the Deadly Nightshade, which I smelled before I saw it. Deadly Nightshade doesn't have an entirely unpleasant smell, but it's a smell you'll remember.

I had all this wrapped up by 6:30 or so, and now I'm tired. Tomorrow I want to do some furniture shuffling to get the house ready for the major painting and rewiring projects coming up in a few weeks. But right now I just want to go to sleep, and it's not even 8:00. Maybe next time I should wear gloves while handling Deadly Nightshade!

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