A Weed by Any Other Name

What makes something a weed?  Interestingly enough there is no botanical definition for a weed.  Instead, it is a term that is generally used to describe any plant that is growing where it is unwanted.  Usually the plant is growing in a human controlled setting, is fairly aggressive, and is a nuisance.  Just about anyone who has a lawn or garden has identified one or more plants as weeds, even if they did not know any other name for them.  And there are some plants, like dandelions, that are almost universally identified as being a weed. Grape Hyacinth But not …

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The Joys of Being a Slumlord

When we bought our house 24 years ago it came with an attached Mother-in-law apartment. We have kept this apartment rented out with only brief periods of vacancy between tenants. It has generally been a nice extra source of income with a minimal amount of work; an occasional stopped up sink being the most common maintenance.

Raccoons & Squirrels & Deer, Oh My!

I live in a residential part of town but have a fairly large backyard. It has not been uncommon over the years to see deer and raccoon foraging in the backyard, and more recently squirrels. There was a time when I was excited to see these animals come and pay my yard a visit. But more and more they are being relegated to the role of pest.

Building a Shed

This was the year we finally decided to put up a shed big enough to hold all of the garden and lawn tools needed to care for half an acre as well as store the lawn furniture during the winter. We had been making do with a couple of little sheds and leaving the furniture out all year, where it aged quickly. After looking at sheds for a while we decided, with his construction background, to build one from scratch instead, one that ended up being larger and nicer than initially planned.

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Cranky Old Neighbors and Fences

Like many other people I have neighbors, defined as people whose property is adjacent to my own. Since my lot includes the middle of the block I have a lot of neighbors, some that I know and some that I don’t. But in general I have gotten along with them for the most part. But that has apparently changed.