Wednesday, July 13, 2016


It's amazing how, sometimes, the Universe provides exactly what you need.

For example, back in May I wrote that I was having my own kind of money problems: in particular, extra money is starting to come in faster than we're spending it, and I have to figure out a way to deal with that.  Well, just earlier this week, the Universe gifted us with a $32,000 home repair bill.  See?  Problem solved! Life is good.

That home repair bill turns out to be not quite as large as $32K after all --- what really happened is that my husband had been noticing our basement drain has started smelling increasingly . . . um . . . sewage-like, and so he called in a plumber to check it out.  The first plumbers he called in are a local firm with a reputation for up-selling.  In fact, the day before, when we'd asked them for an estimate on installing a hybrid heat pump water heater, they pushed hard for including a water softening system (and we don't really need that).  So, when  their diagnosis of our smelly drain pipe included massive excavations of the front yard and such (to get at the tree roots that are clogging the pipe), we were impressed by the size of the estimate, but guessed there might be a more reasonable approach.

When they left, we sort of basked in the thought that we're at the point that a $32,000 drain-pipe repair bill would be hard-but-not-impossible for us. But we're not total idiots: we also called around for other estimates.  We found a guy we like --- with good credentials, a lot of good online reviews, and a  bounty of in-person helpful advice --- who can do both the tree roots and the water heater for less than the first group could do just the water heater.  We'll probably go with him.  At any rate, more provision: we need to get rid of hydrophilic oak roots, and now we think we have a way to do so.

Here's another serendipitous shower of wonderfulness raining down on me. Last weekend, our host daughter Y and I had a conversation to figure out some of the best ways to have her help out around the house.  She suggested that one thing she could do would be to help chop up the CSA vegetables we get once a week, since chopping vegetables is one of her not-so-secret superpowers.  And since, every Tuesday, it takes me about an hour to cut up everything we get, I was very happy to take her up on this offer --- in fact, I suggested we do it together, because (a) spending time together is fun, (b) she has admirable taste in music, and (c) I was sure we could both learn something about vegetable preparation from each other.
Y chopping some of the food

Well, little did either of us know what *perfect* timing this would be.  Because this week's CSA box came stuffed to the brim with wonderful food.  Somehow, the chopping, packing, and labeling the vegetables (with the assistance of Chris Thile and his mandolin) took us two hours.
Some of the food that still needs to be chopped.
So, gobs of good food, and a fun person to cut it up with (not to mention bangin' bluegrass music to round out the experience).  Provision indeed.

And finally, for your provisional viewing pleasure, here is a photograph of my basil in the garden where the stone cat likes to soak up sun. 

I planted basil early this year, and it didn't grow, and so I decided to dub this spot the Persistence Garden, and plant the basil again.  And look what a profusion of plants are there now!  Enough that I chopped most of the plants in half (leaving the bottom halves rooted in the ground to keep growing), used the top halves to make 8 cups of pesto, and still have profusive amounts of basil remaining in service to future culinary projects.  

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