Working on newsletter.

No question about it – today HAD to be newsletter day. So that is what I spent most of the day doing. I still have some uncertain and missing content which I will have to wrap up tomorrow, but most of the rest has been completed. I had a good session this afternoon with the subject of this month’s Royal Palm Spotlight, so  that interview is done.

It looks like I will be removing two pages from this issue, making it 22 pages compared with last month’s 24. I will know better when I get the final content tomorrow.

Boxed into a corner. Rock shopping. Social Club meeting. Breakfast at Denny’s.

Once again I have boxed myself into a corner! My schedule calls for the Royal Palm newsletter to go to the printer on Monday and to be distributed on Tuesday. I still have several pages not complete and have a couple of ads to get, and I need to give the reviewers a day for their work. Why did this happen (again)? I simply lost track of time and spent my efforts on something else instead (our front yard project). Grrrrr! I will again have to move the printing and delivery days one day forward.

We want white rock for the ground cover in our front yard project. But can we find it? No! I have searched a number of web sites for local landscaping supply firms and have talked with 2-3 companies directly. Today we drove to the yard of Pioneer Landscaping Materials on N 7th Street, out near Deer Valley Airport. They did not show any white stone on their web site but I thought it was worth a try to ask; perhaps they had something that was not shown on the web or could help us locate what we are looking for. The young men on duty were very helpful: no, they don’t have any stock there but they knew of a material called Sierra Mist that might meet our needs. One got on the phone to another of their locations in the Valley and sure enough, they do have it. The other fellow texted a photo over to the caller so we could see it. It was not exactly what we were looking for – it seemed to have too much grey in some of the stones in the mix. But we can at least drive to that other location to see it. Tonight when walking the boys I noticed that a neighbor four lots down from us has a stone in her front yard that looks very much like the Sierra Mist, and it seems to have less of the grey than in the photo, so perhaps we can use that material. At minimum we could pick out any grey stones to leave more white. Once the newsletter is out we can work on the project again.

Our monthly Social Club meeting was held this morning, and we both went of course. Elaine is Secretary of the Social Club and I am Editor of The Palm Press, so we are on the agenda. The meeting was short – about 30 minutes or so – since there was not a lot of business or issues to discuss. While usually lasting for about an hour, some have gone for 1½ hours.

Our Saturday morning breakfast out was at the local Denny’s today. Elaine had suggested that we try the Breakfast Sandwich at Schlotzsky’s, but though the sign on the door said they opened at 7:00 AM and it was about 7:45, the door was locked. Denny’s is next door. We were not happy with the Denny’s, though; the table was not clean, the menus were dirty, the floors had stuff on them, and there was a napkin on the windowsill beside us. I will register our complaint at their web site.

Front yard and planter work. No stones. Board meeting.

I worked on a lot of little things today related to our front yard project.

I cut some 1×1 pieces to use for corner reinforcement on the planter and to use to mount a sign we will attach to the center of the planter, and I painted them to  match the planter color.

I modified the drip system for the hanging pots on the front of our awning. We added a hanging pot so I added a tee for a drip line to that pot.

I attached the post cap on the last post recently installed. Continue reading Front yard and planter work. No stones. Board meeting.

Plants done. Crash Plan. Card class. Fire Storm outdated.

Andy Goodhart got the remainder of our plants set in the ground this morning and did some smoothing and leveling of the excavated dirt. Since we had to add water to soften the ground for digging, much of the excavated material was wet and lumpy so he spread it out to dry and will do final smoothing another day. At this point, our next step is to lay the landscaping fabric and put the stone layer on top of it. That will happen next week. Once the fabric is down, I will expand the irrigation system for the new plants before the stone is added. I added the white chain to the post put in yesterday, so that part of the project is done.

The recent cyber attack over the weekend made me check to be sure my Code42 Crash Plan software was up to date and working, so I was dismayed to find it wasn’t! Apparently it became disabled when the Geek Squad did the work on my computer last week. This is the program that does data backups for my laptop; one backup regime goes to an online backup store with Code42, another does a backup to my local external hard drive. Should my computer data become held for ransom it would probably affect both the internal and external hard drives but would not affect the online backup since it is kept on a remote server and does not show up as a drive letter on my computer. Once I made this discovery I immediately went to and looked for a fix, and ended up doing a regular uninstall and a reinstall. Everything was working at that point.

Elaine headed over to The Paper Collage in Sun City West today for a card class, and came home with some good projects. She also went to the Scraps of Love store in Peoria to do some shopping, and found the paper she was looking for along with some other items.

I started to cut some aluminum angle for part of our planter project only to find out the only metal cutting blade I had for my Black & Decker Fire Storm reciprocal saw was too dull. I went to Ace Hardware this morning to get a replacement, only to be told they do not stock them. Back home I did some web searching only to find out that none of the other stores (Lowe’s, The Home Depot) carried them either. But I was able to find those blades on Amazon, only they were listed as Black & Decker Navigator, not Fire Storm. Further searching at the Black & Decker site showed the only Fire Storm results were the 14.4 volt batteries that system uses. The Navigator blades are for a corded saw, not cordless. However, as long as they fit my old Fire Storm I don’t care, so I ordered a package. If they work I will order some more. I hate to have to replace my old Fire Storm 14.4 volt cordless tool set; I bought it back around 2003 when it was the latest thing. I have that reciprocal saw, a jig saw, a sander, and a drill from that system.

Plants planted, post set. Dental work done.

Andy Goodhart was here after lunch and dug the hole for the eighth post in the front yard as well as for several of the plants we bought recently. So the last post is set and three plants are planted. Elaine and I worked out the start of the plant arrangement for the front yard, which includes the two lantanas, the sweet pea, and the ruellias. He’ll be back tomorrow to plant the remaining items and to spread the excavated dirt smooth to make it ready for fabric and new stone cover. Continue reading Plants planted, post set. Dental work done.

Plants, chains, and caps.

Three lantana plants for our front yard garden

So as to keep me from continuing in an untruth, Elaine today bought another purple lantana plant! Yesterday I had reported that she had bought two, but it was only one. I was fooled because she had set it next to the one we already had that had been blooming in whites, yellows, and oranges, but has now started blooming in purple! Trying to fit in, I suppose. You can see them in the photo: the one in back and the one to the right are the new ones, while the one to the left and in a square pot is the old one. Continue reading Plants, chains, and caps.

Mother’s Day lunch. Shopping at The Home Depot. Front yard work.

at Smashburger
Elaine at Smashburger. She’s talking on the phone with Destry.

It was her choice, so we had Mother’s Day lunch at Smashburger. Smashburger is Elaine’s favorite burger place, and she especially likes the Avocado Club Burger (Fresh avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing & mayo on a multi-grain bun) with Veggie Frites (Fresh green beans & carrot strips, flash fried). I had a Buffalo and Blue Cheese Burger (Frank’s® RedHot® Buffalo Sauce, blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato & mayo on an egg bun) with Fried Pickles (Garlic pickles battered & fried). The was our first time trying the Fried Pickles; they were OK but not an outstanding choice for me.

new plants
A hanging basket of portulaca and some new plants in the planter beyond.

Earlier this morning Elaine, Kerby, Gizmo, and I had gone shopping at The Home Depot for some front yard stuff. We needed some additional plants for one of the planter boxes and Elaine also wanted some for the ground level. She picked out a couple of purple lantana pots for ground level; these shrubs grow well in Arizona and will expand and spread. You can see them in the photo below.

white chain
My first try on attaching the white plastic chain to the black posts. There will be two runs of chain between each pair of posts.

We also got the base hardware for the eighth post, and bought the white chain and hardware to attach it to the posts. We bought screw eyes for one end of each chain segment and screw hooks for the other end. The chains will be permanently attached to the eyes but can be removed at the hook end for whatever purpose. When I first experimented with the attachments I was not happy with the screw hooks because of their length; they stood out to far from the post face. But I realized later that all I have to do is screw them in further! Duh!


Potluck supper. Breakfast at Kiss The Cook. Nails for Elaine. Newsletter.

People lined up for potluck foods

Tonight had the monthly potluck supper event at the Clubhouse here in Royal Palm. There were around 25 people there, much fewer than when the winter visitors are here, but still a fun size group. As usual, there were some great selections of food. I always like potlucks because there is so much from which to choose. I have learned to be very cautious at the start of the food line and not overload with the early items only to find some equally great ones further down. Elaine made a garden salad and an apple pie. The pie plate came back empty. Continue reading Potluck supper. Breakfast at Kiss The Cook. Nails for Elaine. Newsletter.

Posts are in. John is off. Glasses fixed. Newsletter.

I went to Nationwide Vision this morning to get the screw in my glasses fixed. The screw holding the left lens has loosened three times now, letting the lens fall out. They replaced the screw with one that has glue on it, hoping that will stay in better. She also suggested that I use two hands to take my glasses off and put them on.

mixing concrete
Andy mixing concrete in which to set the post bases

The next step in our front yard project is done – we now have seven black posts, two feet high, around our front yard. The next step is to add solar post tops and two rows of white chain hung between the posts. Andy got the job done in about two hours; I had the posts ready to be installed. Andy used a posthole digger to make the seven holes in some tough ground. I had been soaking the surface for a couple of days but it had not penetrated far, so he had to add more water as he dug to help soften the soil. Continue reading Posts are in. John is off. Glasses fixed. Newsletter.