Sunday, April 20, 2008


...Unday, unday, undae...

Well, no hot-rod races but not so bad a day. Slept late, my own cookin' (bacon and egg sammiches, built on Tam's "everything" bagels), intarw3bbing, an' then...we gardened. Neither Tam nor I happen to be especially gifted that way but we do have high hopes.

We don't have to be all that good -- the front yard is alive with tiny violets and some nifty little while flowers; I shall be sorry to mow it. They appear to have strangled the dandelions, at least so far! (My sister-in-law thinks wild violets are a weed. Perhaps they are but I like 'em. Harmless little critters).

We cleared out the front flower beds, in which I have been keeping even more Autumn leaves and a fine assortment of fallen branches and twigs, broke the wood down to chiminea size, cultivated the dirt and planted Scotch Moss and an assortment of flowers and some catnip. We have a little herb patch in the back yard, with garlic and chives and some dill. Hoping to add cherry peppers, if we can find some starts. And we filled up another bag of dead leaves, hoping to sneak it into the trash.

That done, Tam set to write (see her blog!) and I bicycled over to the auto parts store, to pick up some carb cleaner for the Manco Matrex, a change of oil for the Chetak (1 quart of 15W40) and a quart for the Hot Needle of Inquiry, known to mere mortals as a Hyundai Accent and just the least bit thirsty for oil.

That done, I ran up to the market on the Chetak to warm it up, picked up some this and that (some of which I am enjoying now, boxed herb salad with plenty of dill and orange bell and Anaheim peppers diced in). It seems they are, after at least a dozen years, remodeling our neighborhood supermarket, one of the smallest outlets of a major chain. There's a new competitor slated to open up this June or July where the (greatly missed) Atlas market once stood, so perhaps that's put the fear into 'em. ...And it should; the new guys have built a huge building on a tiny lot, with parking atop the structure! Seems like they're in "take no prisoners" mode. Suits me; grocery competition hereabouts is as much about who can offer the widest variety as it is about prices, so it is us consumers who win whenever they do battle.

The scooter oil change was, well, a scooter oil change: cross lawnmower maintenance with watchmaking and there you are. The Chetak's not too awful to get to -- one pops off a fairing on the right side, unplugs the sparkplug wire, takes out a half-dozen bolts to remove the motor cover, and then carefully (aluminum block!) loosens and removes the drain plug, with a old cake pan to catch the used oil. With most of it drained, another plug-type bolt in the side of engine comes out and the plastic-mesh filter under it is cleaned. Next, the scary part: the oil goes in through a valve cover, a great big aluminum threaded thingie, sealed by an O-ring, that is very easy to crossthread. It comes out, drain plug and filter go back in, in goes a quart of oil (through a long funnel if one is as clumsy as me), the valve cover gets hand-threaded back in, everything gets reassembled and then, if you're me, there's a trip around the block and a check for leakage and oil level before putting the fairing back on. Whew! Looks okay so far. (The used oil goes back into the bottle the new oil came out of, though another funnel reserved for that purpose; it'll end up at a local oil-change joint. They get real irked any more if you use it to keep weeds out of the driveway...).

And that brings us to the supper mentioned above. Yum!


Jeffro said...

Sadly, Hyundais and General Products don't have much in common....

Roberta X said...

No, but my very first one (I've owned three Accents, one right after the other) can fairishly close to bein' a Kzinti torture device!

Carteach0 said...

Culinary, mechanic'en, Larry Niven, and gardening... all in the same post and it was a good one at that.

I bow in your general direction!

HTRN said...

You named your car after a fictional alien torture device/revolutionary starship(General Products #2 hull, IIRC)?

I knew there was a reason I read your blog. :)

og said...

Is that a sheet cake pan, or bundt?

phlegmfatale said...

omg - aren't you two just the very picture of industry?
I think I need a nap just from reading about all your Sunday activities.

I commend you for jumping right in on the gardening thing. I think you'll find it richly rewarding, particularly when you start adding the herbs to your cooking. I think you'll do quite well.

I love the wild violets, too. I wouldn't mind an entire yard of the things.

Rob K said...

Eat those violets! They make a great addition to a salad. I wish some grew in my lawn. Dandelions make good cooked greens too. Tam's from the South; she should like that. And don't throw away those leaves, put `em in a big card board box in the corner of your back yard with a bit of dirt and worms. It'll make a good soil amendment.

Roberta X said...

Rob, Tam's pushin' for a compost pile, too, We're working on it.

Og, a sheet cake; the use of bundy pans is permitted only to owners of Sundapp Bella scooters. :D

Eating violets? Goodness, will wonders never cease?

...And after bein' such a marvel of industrivieousity Sunday and puttin' in a long day Monday (teeth-cleaning at 0840, followed by a normal workday run long), I came home, ate a snack and zonked out on the couch for a couple hours; then went to bed and slept late.

Jeffro said...

Roberta: Hyundais in action! Check out the tire change.