The weather here has just been plain screwy. The first of last week I turned the heat on, now it’s above average and the ac is on. It will be close to ninety later in the week. I finally mowed the lower three acres for the first time this year and mowed three times to get it down to normal height and it still doesn’t look like it has been mowed. My second planting of corn hit with two inches of rain the day after sowing thickly didn’t make it up. I went by the Co-op and bought some more. Whenever it dries up enough, I’ll try again. Third time is the charm I hope.
I spent a Friday afternoon and all day Saturday at the Recall Lagrange photographing Union re-enactors taking part in the 150 year anniversary of a dark time in the area’s history. On April 28, 1863 Lagrange Military Academy and the surrounding homes were burned by Union forces under Col. Florence Cornyn as part of Sherman’s march to the sea. It’s not understood why the area was burned as all of the cadets had left to join the war effort. The town was never rebuilt and the college was moved to Florence to become the beginning of present day University of North Alabama. Those participating in the recall set up camp at the site of the college, but after almost two inches of rain, moved the horses to the bottom of the mountain to a pasture and most abandoned the tents and set up camp inside the pavilion. The re-enactors have thousands of dollars invested in their equipment (much like photo hobbyists), and go through a lot of nasty weather to bring these historical events to the public. Friday night they didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, having to take the horses down to a pasture from the tent camping area. All except one tent moved to the picnic pavilion and had to put tarps up on each side opening to keep the rain and cold out. These events are family affairs. Probably some will complain about little ones toting a gun, but its family togetherness which you don’t see much these days.
When I arrived at seven, tarps covered the openings and fires were going in both fireplaces. I know they didn’t get a whole lot of sleep that night. I carried a load of them down the mountain to bring the horse back to camp, only they didn’t want to be caught. After a few chases around the barn and pasture, one thought my camera bag looked like a feed bag and allowed me to catch him. Soon most were haltered and being led up back up the mountain. Oh course there is always one who refused to play. Eventually Bolt was corned and led up the mountain. We lucked out and the rain stopped just before the activities and didn’t start back until that night. Children as well as adults enjoyed brooms being made the old fashion way and some of the old timey games. Historical lectures were given by various speakers through out the day along with a gentleman’s duel demonstration. Tim Kent had to be the one who was killed each time as the other duelist had a rented suit.
Then the Yankees attacked, pillaged and did a symbolic burning of a couple of faux buildings to end the day. After the Yankee invasion, a cemetery pageant was staged, with some of the characters buried at the historic cemetery. Vandals have done a lot of damage to the cemetery and applications for grants have been turned down.
Now I have four weekends worth of several thousand photos to weed through and convert to JPEG formats for sharing with the various groups involved. Next event is the Helen Keller Festival at the end of June, so I have a few weeks to get things organized.
My old screen porch was showing its age and replacing the screen and woodwork was in the back of my mine. The contractor who built the house made the back steps too steep, so they weren’t usable with my bad knees. I’d rather walk around to the garage instead of trying to climb up Mount Everest as I have come to call them. A few weeks back, that thought came to the front as my hooligans ripped up the screens trying to break into the house during a severe storm. Last year someone chased them around an old home site and location of a meth lab, and when they couldn’t run over them shot them with a shotgun. Since then they have been terrified of storms. Usually I’ll give them a melatonin to calm them just before a storm hits, but I was at work when the first storm hit and lost the screen in my new screen door and a window and a sliding screen door over the French doors. They want to be near Momma when storms come. I nailed a piece of plywood over the screen door and somehow during the next storm, they tore the screen up off on either side of the screen door and climbed in. I still haven’t figured out how that feat was done. The destruction was pictured in my last post. I had wanted to glass the porch in when I built but it wasn’t in the budget. I decided to check the cost of re-screening versus putting in windows and building a deck in front to move the hot tub out to make more room. So after comparing costs and the amount of use I would gain by creating a garden room, it was a no brainer.
The deck is up, the window openings are framed up and the windows are ordered. Cement board was installed over the flooring waiting for me to lay the tile. Now each box of ten tiles weighs around 50 pounds, or so it seems. We calculated that it would take around 21 boxes and three bags of mortar to do the room. Now to get the 21 boxes of tile and three bags of mortar up seven steps to the top of the deck and into the garden room area. I told myself one you get the truck unloaded you can eat lunch. I’m standing there counting steps and thinking about bad knees going up seven steps with a fifty pound load twenty four times on a bad knee when Mom comes over and says something about using the loader.
I get the John Deere out and pull it up to the back of the truck and load nine boxes of tile and the three bags of mortar in it. I drove around to the back side of the deck thinking I was going to lift it above the rails. Nine times fifty and three times fifty lifted up as high as the loader would go, brought visions of toppling over into the deck. Bad idea I told myself, so back around the barn over a plant stand back around the barn to the steps. Only there’s the septic tank to worry about breaking the lid and caving in. I was able to get one side of the tractor off to the side of the tank and got as close to the steps as possible and lifted the load up to a height to avoid bending over when I lifted out the boxes out of the loader, across the deck and into the garden room area. With the gate open to the deck, the Hooligans used the opportunity to explore forbidden territory. First load, piece of cake, now for the second load and I can have lunch.
Twelve boxes of tile remained in the truck. The first six were lifted into the loader, the seventh took a little more effort and so on with the rest until the twelfth box really took some doing, but finally was in the loader. Back to the steps to unload twelve fifty pound boxes of tile. The top row of four boxes were slid off of the loader and carried across the deck and stacked in the garden room area. Rest a spell and think about lunch in a little bit, after all it’s almost 14:00 hours and that bowl of cream of wheat is a distant memory. Back to unloading and finally there’s only three left in the loader, piece of cake and you can have lunch. Rest a spell and tackle box number three. By this time my knees and back are asking what, why? Down to two boxes, back and knees are revolting, stomach says come on, piece of cake guys and you can have lunch. I tried to slide box two out of the loader and it’s been super glued to the tractor. Finally after a little tugging and talking to it, I’m carrying that hundred pound box across the deck and into the garden room. One box left, come on now everyone work together and we can do this, only this box weighs a hundred and fifty pounds. Oh neat goldfinches and cardinals are at the feeder, get camera and take a few pictures and back to stare at the box.
Finally the last box is hoisted into the garden room. I’m looking around at all the boxes so proud of myself until I realized that I had stacked a couple of towers up in the middle of the room where needed to mark the diagonal to start tiling.