Sunday, May 3, 2015

less green

After church today, a friend commented that life might be too easy in this town.  We are never in traffic jams, there are a few cultural amenities, and reasonable employment situations happen.  When the temperature is 75 degrees with sunshine and no humidity, well, it's quite nice.  Thankfully, it's not like this too often, and there's still lots of work to be done.
 Not long after Grandma and Grandpa S came for a visit, the K grandparents stopped by for a long weekend.  As usual, that means a family portrait was found amongst the 10 or so attempts.  Silly kids!

My parents were able to peak into some of the crazier parts of our life.  They attended our small group.  I think that there are 12 kids 8 and under at our house (it's hard to count them all).  Preparing for the group and recovering after it can be all that we are able to handle.  So it's gotten harder to call on Sundays, as had been the usual plan.  We still need to work a better time for all of us to talk.

We've now been living in this house for about 4 1/2 years.  As the kids have grown, Jill is having more interest and energy to do some gardening.  Our neighborhood is filled with giant trees, so full sun areas are hard to find on our land.  So we started thinking.  Hmmm, there's a big evergreen in our yard that appears to be dying one branch at a time from the top and bottom.  If it were to somehow disappear, we'd have a bit more land to play with...
Well, a visit from Gus (and a big check!) later and voila, open space!  While I was at work, Gus led the count of tree rings on the stump.  It was about 40-something years old (fits with the age of our house).  Rings for the last 7 years were exceptionally narrow, suggesting that it had a disease of some sort.

Eventually we might have some raised beds in there, and hopefully a nice rainfall runoff management system.  But for now, it's full of dreams and potential.

While Jill was digging in the dirt, I was getting grease in my fingernails.  We bought a tandem from fellow townie Bonnie a few weeks ago.  She had all the parts for the kid-back crankset but they weren't connected.  So I hooked up all the chains, bolts, and such for a Janny-sized person.  Frustratingly, the kid crank length was 150 mm, or not that much shorter than adult sized (170 mm).  
When faced with challenges, one could get frustrated or spend $$ on new cranks or get aggressive with drills, saws, and taps.  I chose the latter.  The holes would have been a bit more accurately placed if I had a drill press.  But I used a cordless drill.  Since Janny doesn't turn the pedals over in anger, I'm not too worried about the 1.5 mm-ish offset.

So, now we're out there on the roads, bringing smiles and turned heads wherever we go.  15 years ago, we had almost the only bikes at the church rack.  Today the racks are full of single bikes.  Maybe in the future, more families will travel this way?  Who knows, I might have a couple for sale by then.
Today was the Urbana Criterium bike race.  I didn't race.  I'm not saying that I'm retired, but I'm not planning to do any races this year.

Softball season is underway!  We've won our first 2 games by a comfortable margin.  The first game almost doesn't count since the other team only had 8 players.  For my first at bat, I noticed that there was no shortstop, so I casually hit a grounder in the gaping hole.   We went on to score 17 runs that inning,and I batted 3 times.  Curiously, we scored 1 run in the remaining 3 innings.

This year, we picked up a new outfielder, Rob, that is better than both Matt and I.  How much longer until we're put out to right field pasture???