May 15, 2005

Around The House (With Pictures)

Shelby already mentioned that we finally filled up our spa a few days ago. The water has finally calmed down to the point that it looks like something I'd want to sit in; however, testing shows that our 'floating brominator' has not yet transferred any measurable amount of chemical to the water. Hopefully extreme measures are not required. I know that spa chemicals shouldn't be a difficult thing; still, I worry about striking a balance between not burning off our houseguests' skin with caustic chemicals, and not having them lose it to some mysterious skin-eating bacteria that we've been incubating in the pipes underneath the spa . . . am I being paranoid?

But the spa isn't the only thing that's been happening around Chez Hogan recently! First -- the bounty of the natural world:

My rose pruning back in March seems to have paid off; the entire front of our house is lined with roses, unbelievable in their quantity and diversity. And other than watering them regularly (see below), I haven't done a single thing to them since then. Everyone else on the block covers their flowerbeds with mysterious stuff and pays an army of illegal-immigrant gardeners to show up every week and cut/trim/weed/edge/blow/sweep their yards into perfection; I just go out with our push mower every now and then once the grass starts looking a little ratty (like it is in this picture). And despite the lack of individualized attention, our yard just keeps on keepin' on ...
Peaches! They have been tried and verified as good-to-eat. Finally, one of our other fruit trees besides the two lemon trees starts producing fruit. Why is it that the lemon tree is always the most prolific tree in the garden? Once you've made a few lemon meringue pies, and had a few pitchers of fresh-squeezed lemonade, and provided a slice of lemon next to every seafood dish, that's it you're all lemoned out for a couple of months. But yet the tree keeps producing. If I were a geneticist, I'd make a tree that only grows ten lemons at a time, or produces on a one-month-off/one-month-on cycle ...

And now on to lighting:

We jazzed up a couple of our single-bulb-pendant light fixtures by replacing their Home Depot bargain-bin shades with a couple of shades that we bought at Omega Too in Berkeley.
Shelby's way from the house to the garage is now lit at night by a set of solar-rechargeable blue LED lights. I was a little nervous when I first bought them, because when I was standing in line at Costco, some little old lady appeared out of nowhere, slapped the box in my cart, and said "y'know, we bought a set of these lights last summer, and they didn't work worth a damn. Had to take 'em back". (Someone suddenly materializing to provide unsolicited public criticism: how German!

My reply: "Well, I'll be sure to save my receipt, then!"

They work fine. They're not mini-spotlights, or anything as bright as you'd get from stringing cable and setting up a traditional low-voltage lighting system (which is maybe what that lady was expecting), but they keep the path lit up.

And the big one: in our dining room, we replaced this: . . . with this! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Miscellaneous Geekery:
As previously mentioned, we took advantage of a county rebate program to replace our previous sprinkler controller with a WeatherSet WSR8, which uses a sun/rain sensor to adjust watering cycles according to local weather conditions.

It's got a user interface that only a hardcore geek could love, but it seems to be working great so far.

Posted by Kevin at May 15, 2005 09:28 AM
Comments

Wow, those are some beautiful roses! It's like something out of a classic British novel. Isn't house-sprucing fun? ;-)

Posted by: Annastazia at May 15, 2005 05:42 PM

Wow. Nice place. :)

Posted by: JJ at May 18, 2005 05:34 AM
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