Spring comes early in the desert of central Arizona, and is typically well underway by mid March. This year it stayed mild and free of summer-like 90+ temperatures through to the end of April - a real pleasure for Paul who is not fond of the heat no matter how dry it may be. This long period of pleasant weather allowed us to complete many outside tasks that might otherwise have gone undone until next winter's visit.
Indoor organizing was a must. Many (maybe most) men would not be interested in how the contents of kitchen cupboards and drawers are organized. Paul, however, kept house for himself for 30 years and likes to have everything efficiently located. Not everything got moved, but Kitty thinks that the changes Paul made after we discarded or gave away items not used for years (nor likely to ever use again) are definite improvements.
One task had to be completely redone. On the morning that we opened the garage door to drive up to the Phoenix area to have our blood work done, we were greeted with a sight that immediately sparked concerns that we had been the victims of vandalism. A drainage pipe for the water exiting off the SW corner of the almost flat roof portion of the house had been ripped up out of the ground where Paul had carefully placed it the evening before and was all the way on the other side of the cement pad. On close examination of the pipe itself, teeth marks could be seen and there were no human footprints where the pipe had originally been located. It is logical that a rabbit was chased up the open-end pipe by dog(s) who then proceeded to try to get at it. Paul replaced the pipe the next day and covered the draining end with a slotted cap to prevent anymore animal visits. (An opening found 2 days later in a neighbor's fence revealed where 2 large dogs (that had been seen frequenting our yard) had come from. County Animal Control was called and the fence was fixed within a week.)
Kitty had purchased a park bench for the front porch back in about 1992 she estimates. She had refinished the wood once during the ensuing years, probably after about 4 years. In the Arizona sun and heat, even coated wood dries out. The bench slats were in pretty sorry shape and there was even some rust on the wrought iron.
It was a time consuming task to sand and coat the wood - six thin coats of urethane after a good soaking coat of preservative - but the wood then looked and felt really nice. The metal was sanded and repainted also; the former horse railing was put to use supporting the side pieces. The next day, wood pieces propped the wrought iron and the three metal ties were suspended from the railing while all received the final spray coats.
While Kitty painted, Paul gave the chest freezer a much needed thorough cleaning. We don't have much use for it and have shut it off for now; we just might sell it next winter.
Since Kitty took the bench apart and did all the painting, Paul volunteered to put it back together several days later.
The finished job just had to be tried out immediately. It looks - and feels - real good!
We debated over a couple of weeks what we should do about the roses that lined the front of the property along the dirt road. (All in this immediate area are dirt but are scheduled to be paved by the county this summer; lots of preparatory work was done February through April.) While the roses are on an irrigation system, no timing mechanism was included by Kitty's former husband, who had been the originator of the rose idea, planted them, and installed the irrigation piping for them. (Kitty would have preferred leaving the far front natural desert, but didn't protest their planting.) The roses could not be included on the automatic timer we installed for the plants closer to the house as the water was from a totally separate system. Since we were delayed in returning to Toronto for unrelated reasons (and our east side neighbors told us how much the roses were admired), we decided to go ahead and install a timing system to ensure that the roses would be watered regularly and deeply, something that had not been done since they were planted 5 years ago until this February, by us manually turning on the water. This decision also meant work related to the plants themselves now and for the future; we decided that they were now worth the time and effort - and the money to keep them watered. They really are quite lovely.
We took an inspection tour deciding on how much work on the plants themselves needed to be done during and after we installed the timer and before we returned to Toronto. Many of the branches had grown through the chicken wire encircling each bush, resulting in a very difficult job - and even painful from the scratches incurred - of removing the wire. Paul endured like a real gardener ;>) Kitty snipped branches, but major pruning will be next winter.
Digging down to the existing PVC piping for the water out to the roses at the tap-off for the corral (not used by us) was a 2-person operation that we did the day before.
Paul removes large power outlets from the circuit. The timer was successfully installed. No photos of the PVC splicing were taken - we were just too busy and somewhat concerned that there might be problems. None occurred and the entire system works like a charm.
Paul is smiling here because the work has been completed for several days now.
Completing the automatic timing for watering of the roses ended the tasks that we decided needed completion before returning to Toronto. The rest of the tasks during our stay were simply maintaining - plants always seem to need pruning - and fine tuning the flow on the water emitters for the various types of plants. Next winter we'll add a few more plants near the house - trees and shrubs; maybe some ground cover on the front slope.
With the outdoor tasks for the season completed, Paul could then devote the majority of his time to writing on the Internet - the majority philosophical at the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, while not abandoning the life-extension/anti-aging areas.