Friday, April 26, 2013

Slug Control

Photo courtesy Flickr

When I moved into this house in 1980, the garden was full of strapping slugs. I happened to read somewhere that slugs follow each other’s trails and crawl into the wind. In a spirit of nothing to lose, I began to tap the slugs I ran across with a gloved hand to make them curl into a ball. I then tossed them further upwind onto the parking strip to interrupt the trail. At the end of the first summer, there were no trophy-sized slugs left in the yard.

Our first house was in a neighborhood where many teen-agers lived. It was not unusual to find a beer can on the parking strip now and then. Most of the cans I picked up in the morning had small dead slugs floating in the remains of the brew. When I drink in the garden, I deliberately conceal a horizontal can under a plant to make a free, organic, disposable slug trap.

I seldom see a slug or snail now, because the birds do the pest control.

-30- More after the jump.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Rain gear photo courtesy Flickr

A Japanese painter visited Seattle in the late Seventies and introduced an arts group to the specialized painting discipline known as haiga. Haiga were described as structured works with a prescribed sequence and direction of strokes. What I took away from the presentation was the description of how these beautiful paintings were archived: they weren’t.

In the monastery where the work was done, a monk came around and collected it for burning after the painting session was finished.

A family visit is in progress, and as I make the rounds of the house tweaking this and that in response, I realize that very little of the inventory is of lasting importance to the clan. It is getting easier and easier to let things go when no one can use them.

I happened to visit a friend’s daughter the day after she moved her grandmother to a retirement home. Marion said there were only six cartons of business papers left in the house, and those went to a shredder. The move was accomplished in a compact sedan.


More after the jump.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

May Day

Photo courtesy Flickr

Here’s the Seattle old school version of a charming custom: fold a May basket out of a piece of colored paper, fill it with flowers, and leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep to be discovered first thing in the morning. A paper cup would keep the posies in good condition.

-30- More after the jump.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shifting The House Toward Summer

Photo courtesy Flickr

Back in the day, housekeepers would roll, cover, and store carpets after the ordeal of spring cleaning, substituting light matting as a floor covering. Ponderous ornament would be stored away, cotton would replace silk and wool soft furnishings, and the place would be generally lightened and simplified. In the deep South, housekeepers covered mirrors and paintings with cheesecloth veils to protect their gilded frames from corrosive flyspecks.

Low-maintenance strategies arrive one by one and add up to substantial relief of the maintenance schedule. Where this house once took three hours to vacuum, I can whip through the spaces in thirty minutes. I can see a day when nothing remains but the paint on the walls, the computer screen, a few furniture legs, and the Christmas lighting that I enjoy too much to remove.

-30- More after the jump.