Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Barrister, Banister, Baluster, Bermuda-A Spelling Bee Soliliquy

OK, admittedly, I have a word problem.  It's not near as bad as some other proclivities I have entertained myself with in the past, and it really isn't harmful to my health.  My mind maybe, but not my physical well being.  Well, up until the point I annoy someone enough that they hit me upside the head with a plastic pink flamingo.  Or a 2x4.  Whichever was handiest I suppose.

A barrister, I see, is an attorney, primarily with chops in the Grand Marquee.  That would be the Courtroom, you see.  There are attorneys who are very knowledgeable, but they lack that certain chutzpah and vernacular that allows them to roam with the greatest of ease through the parables and pitfalls of the courtroom.  Their strength is in legal knowledge, not courtroom theatrics.  In another life, I knew both.  More intimately than I would have liked, probably.

In this life, I still know a few.  Fortunately I have not had to utilize their expertise, but good to know they are there, just in case.  If anyone out there in Northern California has suffered a personal injury and needs a true barrister, let me know.  He is an old, dear friend and does not advertise his services.  All his clients are from word of mouth.  His prowess is legend.  Denny Crane has nothing on this litigating lion.

I also know someone fairly high up in the County Public Defenders office.  His criminal defense jabberwocky is also legendary and he definitely does not fit the the typical inept public defender mold.  You could pay a criminal defense lawyer thousands of dollars and not come anywhere close to his legal acumen.  The riff raff he defends on a daily basis have no idea they're in the presence of Perry Mason's mentor.

While I'm on a roll, if you're in need of an estate planning attorney you can't go wrong with Lenhart Legal Services.  Gabriel is a fine young man who is quite knowledgeable in his chosen legal field.  If you are anywhere near my age and you don't have a will or estate plan, YOU NEED TO DO THIS, especially if you have anything to pass on to heirs.  Otherwise the government's gonna get half.  Don't they get enough already? If you lost all your money in the 2008 crash, don't bother.  But if you've got five figures and more in assets and don't have a will then you need to call Lenhart Legal Services NOW!!!

OK, now that I've plugged my buddies and have a small credit just in case, let's move on to Bermuda.

Ah, Bermuda.  My first thought is the island with warm turquoise water and white sandy beaches.  Resort wear everywhere and tropical rum drinks.  But then my mind tends to wander a bit.  Words.  What about the Bermuda Triangle?  Bermuda shorts?  Bermuda onions?  Bermuda grass?   It's never ending.  What's wrong with me?

Bermuda, the island, was first settled in 1609 by shipwrecked English colonists headed for Virginia.  Self-governing since 1620, Bermuda is the oldest and most populous of the British overseas territories. Vacationing to the island to escape North American winters first developed in Victorian times. Tourism continues to be important to the island's economy, although international business has overtaken it in recent years. Bermuda has also developed into a highly successful offshore financial center. A referendum on independence from the UK was soundly defeated in 1995.

I got that little tidbit off the CIA website.  They've got lots information on just about every country and island there is out there.  They've probably got lots of information on just about every person there is out there too, especially you.  And me.  Probably me more than you, but, you know, hopefully you more than me.      

Bermuda, the triangle, has never really been  figured out or discovered.  It's just sorta out there.  Or not.  If people knew what it was all about then they would have probably figured out where all them things went to.   It's not even noted on the CIA website, and they have information on everybody, every place and everything for crying out loud.

Bermuda, the shorts, are a clothing item named for the place where they first became a popular fashion. They are a style of trouser shorts that are cut to just above the knee. Being short pants, they are considered semi-casual and are usually neatly tailored with cleanly cut lines and a clean hem. 

I did not get that little tidbit from the CIA website.  If they have become concerned about short styles then I think we've taken the term "fashion police" to a whole new level.  The next thing we'll know is they'll be locking up people like Richard Simmons and Lady Gaga at Guantanamo.   

Bermuda, the onion, can be, apparently, just about any gosh darn color it wants to be according to the thousands of so called knowledgeable sites out there.  What is distinguishing though is that it is round and flat.  And sweetish.  NOT Swedish.  Otherwise it'd be called a Swedish Onion.

Bermuda, the grass, apparently can be a troublesome weed or an excellent lawn grass. I suppose it depends on whether you water it or not.  Mow.  Fertilize.  Stuff like that. 

Now let's mosey on to Banister, which is essentially a handrail with supporting posts.  It can run along a porch or down a staircase.  It can also be called a Balustrade.  Which brings us to our next conundrum, Baluster, which is a decorative type of spindle or stair stick that sits underneath the handrail and in between the supporting posts.

And now you know. 

So one day not so long ago while I was enjoying the sunset view, I happened to look down and noticed a little wear and tear on the banister balusters.  The entire balustrade was looking war torn and weary.   Not only was paint flaking, but cracks were starting to appear in the wood.  Dry rot was also beginning to show where  many of the balusters met the lower rail.

See, aren't we glad we had our earlier lesson?  Otherwise you would have had no idea of what I was talking about, and neither would I more than likely.   Whatzit and thingy work just fine for me.

Our front covered porch, of which I prefer to refer to as Veranda, faces West.  It is wide open to the setting sun, and also wide open to those wayfaring westerlies that blow on nigh from time to time.  Even with a two foot overhang, the entire balustrade gets wet quite often.  I mean, rain certainly doesn't always fall vertically.  And every once in a while we get a storm that soaks the entire porch and really belligerently blusters over our balustrade.  Yeah, real fast-ten times.

The overall exterior paint job, while entirely the wrong shade of yellow, is actually in fairly decent shape.  And Lord knows, there's enough stuff to do around here without entertaining the thought of an entire exterior paint job.  We did the entire interior before we moved in, the outer can wait.  Except for the balustrade.  I'd much rather scrape, sand, caulk and paint than replace.  Anyday.


So that's what I've been doing these last couple weeks.  I've been scraping, sanding, caulking and painting. 

Have you bought a gallon of good exterior paint lately?  Holy Schmoley.  Almost $50 for a gallon of nice, white semi-gloss.  I mean, what are they putting in paint these days?  Unicorn urine?

So I've been doing that as well as bucking firewood.  Yeah, this 'ol dude carried down off the hill a couple cords of logs and sticks that I cut down in My Gym...  That got stacked and now I'm working through it, bucking it down to 18-20" lengths.  I typically switch days, just like the gym.  One day is back and knuckles, the next forehead and chin.  Hey, what can I say?  Somehow it all works for me.  

We recently had our first harvest of peaches off a 2nd year tree, which you can read all about at Eat a Peach.  More recently we just harvested a bounty of apricots off a more established grafted tree.  The first 3 years we were here both sides of the tree blossomed abundantly.  And then snow lightly fell upon all the dainty little blossoms and froze their naked little hearts.  We never saw any fruit.  I plumb forgot what kind of tree(s) it was.

This year they both blossomed abundantly again, and they were alive with happy little buzzing bees.  I was hopeful they would go to fruition so that not only would we get some fruit, but I could remember what the heck kind of tree(s) it is.

I did meet with the previous owner before we bought the place, but he went over about six thousand things in the forty minutes we spent together.  So pardon me if I forgot a few of them.

At any rate, look at this sweet little bucket we got from the apricot side of branch town:
That was the first one.  We pulled another about twice that size.  They're pitted and in the freezer right now.  I'm thinking Apricot Pie ala mode for the 4th.  Mmmmmm.

And just so's you get an idea of what I'm talking about as far as the graft is concerned, here's what the trunk looks like.  By the way, that's one of the outdoor watering holes for the animals, not some weird, whacked out watering scheme for the tree.
To the left is the apricot side of the equation, whose top looks like this:
To the right is the plum, whose top looks like this:
I've pulled about 6 plums so far this year, but in the next week or so it looks like we'll be picking about 60 more.

And the apple tree, well, the apple tree is off the hook.  The first year we were here there were a few apples that we harvested.  But then the next two years I worked on getting the tree down to a manageable size and pruned the heck out of it, limiting the amount of apples to just about zero.

But this last year I barely trimmed it, and we have  a couple hundred on the dang thing.  And that's after I thinned the herd, dropping off at least 50-60.  This year we'll be making some applesauce and apple pie to be sure, and maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to figure out what kind of apple tree she be.

Have a safe and happy 4th!