Sunday, August 17, 2014

August 17,2014

As always, it has been a very busy couple of weeks of habitat restoration, canning, garden clean up and Star Wars events. 

The vegetable garden is so-so this year but I was able to pickle some beets and some carrots.  I had to buy some additional carrots from the Farmer's Market to supplement my own pathetic carrot crop.  Also, the beets did not produce well again this year and I only got 4 pints of pickled beets from what I grew.  I think I might have to mix in a bunch of leaves again this fall. 

The epic flooding this spring is what I hope was the culprit.  I also managed a batch of "Whimpy Ass Salsa" from the first box full of tomatoes.  This morning I made Chokeberry jam from the berries from my tree.  God, getting those berries to give up juice took an act of god. 

Today will be more garden clean up.  I also have been trying to get more of my low voltage lighting back lighting up the garden path.  So many of them are burned out or shorted out.  I had to buy a new transformer because one of the two transformers in the yard has been burned out for a couple years now.  The new transformer is working but I can't seem to get all the fixtures to light.

I have been spending quite a bit of time at Hickory Creek Junction this year trying to do follow up on areas that have been cut the past two years and also trying to tackle some vast areas taken over by invasive reed canary grass and phragmites.  I have been down in what I call the "cesspool" several times the past couple of weeks spraying and it will take quite a few more visits down there to make really good headway.

I also led a hike for Wild Ones Of Will County yesterday.   Wild Ones is an organization that promotes native plantings instead of introduces species.  The walk lasted over 2 hours and I hope that the participants came away with something from the walk.  I do know that it was a great opportunity to showcase the work that all of the FPDWC volunteers have done over the past 22 years.  Much of the ground we covered was areas that the volunteers have worked extensively. 

I also paid a visit to Lockport Prairie to see the sign that honors Dick Wunderlich which was finally installed.  We waited 7 years for that sign, and it was worth the wait.  Whoever designed it really did present a total picture.

 I haven't done much in the way of Star Wars events this year but did have a chance to do a couple recently.

On 8-10-14 I took part in the Montgomery Illinois town festival parade.  Members of both the Midwest Garrison and Nar Shaddaa Base were on hand for this little parade in the town where our BCO lives.  It really wasn't a very hot day and the parade route was only about 1 1/2 miles, but I swear, I was sweating harder during that parade than I have at longer parades in hotter weather.  Don't know if it is just another case of "old age".  I am finding that the range of comfortable temperatures is getting pretty narrow these last years.

I took a half day vacation on Friday 8-15-14 to do an event at Advocate Children's Hospital.  Since there was no other R2D2 available, I did bring my Artoo.  I loaded up Artoo the night before and then drove into the Service Dept at work to assemble him.  While he was there, I took some photos of him in the shop.  They came out pretty funny.   If you bring an Astromech to a Service Dept and don't get photos....well...that is like missing half the fun.

I also got suited up in my new Jedi costume at work rather than at the Hospital.  At 10:00 AM, we loaded up Artoo in the back of the Parts Van and I rode in the back with him to make sure he was upright.  We arrived at the Hospital, met up with the others that were there that day and started to maker our rounds to the floors to visit the kids that are patients.  It is always a gut wrenching experience to see those kids and their families.  Some are just so sick, pale and thin that it is heartbreaking.