Yep, I’m slacking again. And once again it’s not that I don’t have anything to blog about, just that I haven’t had time to sit down and do it. Believe it or not it’s not even that I don’t enjoy this – I do, typing is quite cathartic for me. Which is kind of the problem. I enjoy it too much and tend to zone out while writing. As a result I end up spending more time than I planed on it and instead of feeling unburdened when I’m done I end up feeling guilty that I spent so much time at it when I have so much more I should be doing. It also doesn’t help that WordPress 2.5 broke the smugmug and lightbox plugins I was using so posting photos is a bit more arduous than I really care to deal with. The new built in gallery in WP 2.5 is excellent, but I really have little interest in using it as I prefer to keep my photos on my smugmug site, uploading them twice annoys me.
But Amy’s most recent duet of posts on her blog seem worth of mention. So read on for my thoughts about the fickleness of freebies and whatever else I manage to bang out before accepting I’ve spent enough time and need to get back to using the keyboard for something more productive!
I don’t think Amy is trying to turn her blog into a mini-craigs list, it’s likely just a coincidence that several things in need of new homes showed up at the same time. It started with her plea to steal this tree from our front yard. There’s nothing wrong with the tree in question, it’s just not in a very good location. Directly under a 4″ diameter branch of a nearby larger tree is not the kind of place most people would think is an appropriate location for a palm tree. Or at least so I would assume. The man we bought our house from however is not one to follow such norms. So we have a quite lovely 5 or 6 foot tall palm growing directly under a main limb of our palo verde tree in the front yard. Were this the only example of such questionable arbor abuse I would not think much of it … but for the previous owner of our house it seems to have been a common theme.
You may recall the case of the superfluous ficus that I mentioned in passing just after starting this blog. That tree is now growing quite happily in our Friend J’s backyard – which is quite an improvement over it’s attempts to cling to life in the combined shade of our RV shade and primary Ficus. Being hastily planted and poorly staked so the winds which have been quite frequent this year often left it leaning at rather un-treelike angles something had to be done. But it’s not the only victim of over planting in our yard.
No, we have a number of questionably placed trees. The euclyptus next to our shed which has developed a 90 degree bend in it’s trunk in an attempt to reach the sun. The plant which may be a tree or perhaps a woody shrub which has grown far larger than one would usually classify as a shrub at the end of our driveway (just this weekend we discovered that it has lovely purple flowers) which much like the superfluous ficus and bent eucalyptus is overpowered by the alpha ficus. And another similar tree between my office and the rv shade – a location which all but ensures it never sees any direct sun.
But most poorly placed of all of these is the small braided tree growing outside our living room window. Planted in a small opening in the driveway it is located under both our front porch and our carport. Yes, there is a 4″ or so gap between the two which the tree may someday manage to escape through. But overall it seems to me that it’s a horribly poorly thought out planting.
We’ve offered these trees up to our cadre of friends but only the one lone ficus found a home so far. The palm has had some interest, but not enough for anyone to take up a shovel and free it from our yard yet. So Amy put out a public offering of “Free tree” on her well publicized blog. Followed quickly (possibly the shortest time yet between two posts by Amy) by an offering of free kittens found in her offices AC system.
This has taught me a valuable lesson. While one would assume that the week which includes earth day would be an ideal time to give away a free tree – it seems small and fuzzy is still far more popular. In a little under 3 hours the cute and fuzzy kittens all had homes while it wasn’t until just a few minutes ago, 3 days after the offer was made, that someone decided to take us up on the free tree. Of course they won’t be back to dig it up until sunday, and with the history of tree home offers I’ve hard recently I won’t count this tree as saved until there’s a hole in our yard waiting for me to fill it with something. Perhaps if we put fur on the tree trunks it would make them cute enough to be adoptable.
In other news my experiments with home coffee roasting continue. As I type this I am preparing to try my first cut of the Eithopian beans I got in my initial order. I’m trying to sample each of the growing regions with my first few batches. I started with the very common Columbian. It was a good cup of coffee, but didn’t really stand out in any way to me. Very fresh and tasty…but kind of seemed like it should be in a white can with black block letters spelling COFFEE across it. Wanting something more exciting I next tried an Indonesian (Sulawesi to be specific) which I found to be VERY enjoyable. Quite a few interesting flavors in the cup yet in some ways also milder. For my 3rd batch I tried a batch of beans from Peru which I also quite enjoyed, more like the Sulawesi than the Columbian but still very unique.
So for my current batch I continent hopped over to Africa, the only African bean included in this batch and Eithopian. I haven’t finished the cup yet, but have sampled it. I’m finding it to be more enjoyable than I expected based on it’s description and the smell of the roasted beans. Incidentally I’ve been roasting everything to a full city roast (or as close as I can get with my limited experience) so that the flavor of the roast won’t overpower the flavor of the beans. The cup is much less bitter than I expected from it’s description – but it doesn’t seem to have the depth of flavors that the Indonesian and Peruvian offerings did.
I still have photos and info to share about our yard projects, but those will have to wait for another time. I’ve covered enough territory in this post and really need to get back to work.