Late-summer shotgun update

We had a great time at the beach, hanging out in the little beach cottage, eating cereal on the screen porch, etc.

I didn’t touch a computer all week, for the first time since 1996. To maintain my Ridiculous Geek status, I helped Lydia to swim in the ocean using an orange Pelican case as a flotation device. An orange Pelican case with a video iPod in it, just to make things interesting. After an hour of splashing around in the waves, submerging the case and sitting on it, clubbing sharks on the nose, etc., the inside of the case was clean, tight, and dry. Whew! My near-religious faith in Pelican cases was justified.

We’re going to plant a vegetable garden in the back yard. It’s gonna be awesome. We’re turning our attention to the yard, now, which needs plenty of help. Like we have to cut the privet hedge down from twenty feet, for example.

To prepare, I’ve started reading William Cobbett‘s 1818 book in which he tries to introduce gardening to the American gentleman farmer (“at a dollar a day, the work needed to turn the earth [in your 150×300-foot garden(!)] should last forty days, costing forty dollars…” — Cobbett, like many from the Old Country, was excited about the potential of All That Space, I guess.) Kate continues to read Beverly Nichols, as well as modern books that are actually of some use.

Also, we need to build a fence to keep the rabbits out. Fortunately, we live near Longwood Gardens, which is of course a really amazingly incredible resource for garden projects of any kind. Kate, Lydia, and I made a bunch of trips to Longwood’s Idea Garden. We have frequent-visitor passes, which makes me feel like a big shot: “stand back, tourists, we’re here to evaluate the squash! Pint-size pumpkin inspector coming through, move aside all you day-trippers!” I really like Longwood’s varmint fence, so we made lots of measure drawings.

An exterminator came out to look at our porch columns, which we thought might have carpenter ants living in them. They did. Did they ever. This was one of those times when natural remedies wouldn’t have sufficed to correct the problem, unless “natural remedies” means “building a giant, purifying fire and burning the porch down.” When he sprayed, thousands of ants came boiling out of the bases. Ick. No tea parties on the porch for a while until the Talstar is gone.

I’m a marathon runner now, too. My sister and I have been talking intermittently about running a marathon together with my dad, who has run Boston many times. And my great-grandfather C.D. Young was a track athlete, apparently, and took a fake name to decrease the spread on him (track and field was a gambler’s sport back in the day, I guess.) So from now until April 2007 I’m going to work on excercise and getting down to my fighting weight, and then I’ll be Officially Training for the Portland Marathon in October 2007. Being a dedicated athlete is awesome; I feel focused and relaxed after only, let’s see… 22 hours of being a marathon runner, now. Great!

Oh, and my Ultimate Water Gun article came out in MAKE 07, on page 111, with a teaser slug on the cover. It hits newsstands on 8/21. Hurrah!

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