Top ten reasons to use a reel mower

Submitted by Ben on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 21:23

My landlady in Fairfield had an old rusty reel mower in the garage, and I tried using it once before giving up -- it just wouldn't cut worth a darn, so I assumed it was dull, and I asked around to see if anyone would sharpen it, but no one would.  But then just before I left Fairfield, a friend told me that he used a reel mower, and he was the first person I'd ever met who did, so I asked him how he sharpened it.  He said, "You don't need to sharpen it.  You just adjust it right, and it sharpens itself."  Well, that got me intrigued, so I tinkered with t

Fulfilling childhood dreams

Submitted by Jessie on Sat, 12/27/2008 - 23:42

Earlier this year Ben and I listened to the book The last lecture by Randy Pausch. In this book the professor, who was dying of cancer, talks a lot about the importance of fulfilling childhood dreams, no matter how big or small. I can certainly say that having Ben in my life and planning the rest of our lives together has fulfilled and is fulfilling many dreams for me but recently I fulfilled a childhood dream without him. In November, my friend Dareth and I went to the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) concert in Kansas City, Missouri.

Happy 2009 from Ben and Jessie!

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 12/24/2008 - 09:40

I traditionally call my holiday letter a "newyearsletter" because I rarely have it in the mail before Christmas, and this year is no exception.  However, if you don't mind viewing it online, you have that option!  See Jessie's beautiful photo collage and read about our 2008!  Note that our street address and phone numbers have been removed from the online version.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

Conservation (is how green living) begins at home

Submitted by Ben on Mon, 12/22/2008 - 09:31

A friend of mine was looking at this site a few days ago and commented that while the back yard is torn up, it would be an ideal time to install "geothermal" -- a ground-source heat pump.  I see where he's coming from: he's had his house for years and has probably already done all he can with insulation and so forth.  But we're not there yet... we're still at the efficiency stage.

Attractive Nuisance

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 12/03/2008 - 12:54

When we put a thick layer of leaves on the front yard (sheet mulch for next year's gardens), we knew there was a risk that kids might play in them.  When we got a big pile of dirt in our back yard, the neighbor kids delighted in walking up and down on it.  But it wasn't until we got a 5-foot-deep trench in the side yard for days on end (and an equivalent amount of dirt piled 2 feet high all over the back yard) that we started to have problems.

The life of the new university professor

Submitted by Jessie on Thu, 11/13/2008 - 14:02

So the first semester is quickly winding down. Graduate classes are over in just over 4 weeks and I will spend almost all of next week at a conference (with the company of Ben--I am so glad your work is flexible my love!). So I have spent much of my time grading the last two weeks and I find that I feel I am either being too hard or too soft--have not yet figured out the balance!

We have curtains up!

Submitted by Ben on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 08:49

When the previous owners of our house moved out, they took more stuff with them than we expected.  Our contract specified that window treatments were included in the sale, but they took all the curtains and curtain rods with them, leaving only tacky roller blinds.  They also took the face plates from many of the outlets and lightswitches, for reasons we cannot fathom.  We asked our Realtor about the curtains, and he passed the message to theirs, who passed it to them, and the word came back that they had put the curtains into storage along with the rest of their stuff while they looked for

belated birthday report

Submitted by Ben on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 09:25

Lest I forget, here's how we celebrated my 33rd birthday...

October 26 fell on a Sunday this year.  On Saturday, Jessie put herself "at my pleasure" for yardwork.  We did a number of things we'd been meaning to do for some time, including cleaning the garage so we could put the car in, checking out the attic and getting the plants put to bed for the winter.