Archive for May, 2012

Backyard Bonsai is a concept I believe I have created. I’ve read nothing about the art of pruning trees, not to fit a pot in a greenhouse or  sun room , but to fit the backyard. Most homeowners consider their “Ponderosas” in two dimensions: front to back and left to right. For my home, a third dimension must be considered: the dimension of UP. Three lines of only God knows what traverse the air from telephone pole to the upper floors of my residence, the second half of the duplex I own. This spring I decided that the four random saplings which, over the past four years,  had grown from seeds falling from maple trees in adjacent yards could not become entangled in those lines. It was time to  cut back, and I did

Hewey, Dewey and Lupe



Huey, Dewey and Lupe are the three young trees given the most drastic treatment.  Today they stand about four feet tall, and I aim to let the grow no more than six feet tall. I HOPE to prune them as they grow laterally. The three were well over seven feet when I trimmed them to this, and I won’t be surprised if they don’t live through the summer. I intend to pay more attention this year, to allow minimum growth skyward. 

Dorothy is not so close to the overhead wires, so I pruned less.

Also part of the backyard enterprise this year is something I like to call Natural Dirt. It is the return of wood to earth, not by sending it away in garbage trucks but by moving it to part of the BACK back yard and letting Mother Nature do her thing.

Natural Dirt, Part 1

Since moving my aviation collection out to the airport two years ago, I’ve found myself with a lot of wood from cabinets and shelves, totally useless at the airport or at home. To expedite this material’s return to its natural element and to avoid creating unattractive piles of old wood, last year I dug down no more than two feet in a little-wandered part of the yard and deposited it there, covered it with  raked leaves. and that’s where it is making Natural Dirt today. The other part of Natural Dirt involves branches and leaves.

The BACK back part of my back yard is where all plant surplus — trimmed green and long-demised — is deposited. From this effort, I intend to harvest natural dirt I can use in my gardens. The use of fuel and Springfield municipal employees and their vehicles to drive residential streets picking up large paper bags full of yard waste seems utterly ludicrous to me. When I first purchased my home, I was a contributor of paper bags of yard waste, but I decided to take care of it myself after asking myself why I was paying for a service I did not need.

In the meantime, spending up to 45 three or four times a week, mostly in the early morning, working on my yards has proven a blessing and sense of tangible accomplishment which I have not felt banging my head against a wall of overwhelming tasks SCREAMING for my attention at AeroKnow Museum. This is the first time in two years that I’ve spent more than two minutes on the back side of my home in more than two years, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I can see progress made. And since I’m not knocking myself out during any visit, I deliberately stop early so that I can look forward to coming back the next day or the day after.

Life goes on.

Live long . . . . . .  and proper.

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SCGJR-3w by Job Conger
SCGJR-3w, a photo by Job Conger on Flickr.
Springfield native son Jeff Rogers warms up before a concert April 30, 2012, sponsored by Springfield Classical Guitar Society. More pictures are published at http://www.flicker.com/photos/congermeister
Life long . . . . . and practice

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On my way to a gathering of friends at friend Tim’s house last night, I considered taking my camera, not for the gathering, but for the moon. It would not be an easy decision, in part because of my twisted outlook as I exited the airport parking lot.

Tim, and the people I was confident he was also inviting I have known since the 90s. They are the closest I’ve ever come to a “circle of friends.”  While there is reason to call the collective whole a “circle of associates” since I started throwing myself obsessively into my airport aviation museum, they have perpetrated no harm upon me, nor I upon them, in the interim, and on balance, I consider them friends I seldom see. The gathering was important to me. All I had to do was remember Tim’s address.

The rising of the moon — an event heralded on local and national news as though a religious event which even atheists  would want to see — was on my mind as I made for the door. What value was this colorless rock reflected in the sky. . . to me? NOTHING! What had it ever done for me or I for it? NOTHING! Where was the challenge of photographing what for all practical purposes was a static object? This was not like snapping the perfect picture of airshow wizard Skip Stewart rolling inverted just a few feet above the runway taking off in a cloud of smoke and glory. I could take all the time I wanted to “shoot the moon.” I could even take a tripod and make a big production of it . . . . . this white rock — pastel yellow if you want to romanticize it a mite –rock against a black sky.

“What the HECK,” I said to myself as I closed the museum’s office door. “I’ll let the experts take a better picture than I ever might, and I’ll savor (that’s pushing the term a mite) the results in the Sunday newspaper.”

After I had shut down my office computer and wandered out into the lobby, I decided I should  look it up in the phone book just to be sure. There are two important Tims sharing a common surname on the street where they live, and I remembered he is the one who lives further north. The phone book would confirm the address. Only problem: the counter person at Landmark (host of my museum) could not find a phone book. No problem. There’d surely be one in the pilots’ lounge a few yards away.

Problem: there was no phone book there either, nor in the meeting rooms adjacent to the lounge. When I mentioned I should just return to my office to look it up on the Google, Zach the Landmark associate offered to look it up on his computer at the counter. For three minutes, he could not connect to an address, and there was no point in calling around and inconveniencing the other local Tims.

“This should NOT be a problem to find his house in daylight,” I opined. I’ve been to his house probably eight times since meeting him, each  time at night, during the Christmas season. The place I felt sure I’d recognize was his front porch, since I had previously spent time chatting with die-hard smokers and others who  wanted to get some fresh air out there, to escape from the heat generated by the several dozens of guests lucky to call Tim and his talented and gracious wife friends.

I knew he lived on the street west of Walnut off of South Grand. But when I drove down the street in daylight, not seeing folks chatting on any front porch that reminded me of the house, I decided I must have remembered incorrectly. So I drove one street east. Nothing even close. I drove down the street one west as originally targeted a second time . . . total blank.

I drove HOME, all of four blocks away, pretty angry at myself for the continued delay; should have driven home first! Grabbed the phone book 10 feet into my front room and found his address. Getting there was a breeze. The only breeze of the evening. The wind seemed breathless in anticipation of the reflected rock in the sky.

The gathering was warm in more ways than one (heck, I was still dressed in business attire from work — DUMB; I should have changed at my house when I had the chance.) and restorative. Good people shared good conversation in a fine back yard, enjoying the significant labors of convivial host and hostess. I was the first to notice the moon ascending skyward through the trees, not unlike scenery parading by while the train seems to be motionless. My friends M and T talked about a romantic drive southeast out Route 29 — the perfect way to go — to savor the moon in all its glory. They’re a c0uple. They think that way, and that’s excellent. I counted to 257 and followed them down the driveway, taking time to thank hosts for the memorable evening, and I meant it. I had arrived angry at myself, and as I departed, I was no longer angry at myself.

Watching the rising moon off my left shoulder I drove to the video store than rents DVD movies two blocks away. The movie I proudly rented was “Last of the Mohicans” starring Daniel Day Lewis. The other two . . . let’s just say in another era, they might have been considered “drive in fare” for people who share the car with a box of buttered popcorn that occupies the passenger seat where a person ought to be. I bet I searched 30 minutes to find even those. Cost for the three was $8.75 including the fees for movies returned past due. Since I’ve started visiting the DVD rental store last December, I’ve watched FOUR movies I enjoyed. The rest were “drive-in” material (Nothing from the ADULT room, by the way. That room is embarrassing. Don’t get me started) and they all were depressing disappointments.

As I exited my car in my driveway, the door on my friend M’s white sports car was open, indicating he and T had just arrived across the street at M’s house. Just for the experience of seeing the reflected rock, they fairly high into the night sky, I walked out to the sidewalk to gaze up  to the south and slightly east. I considered calling “hello” to my friends, but I was drenched in perspiration from the heat of the night in a long-sleeve button-collar blue Oxford dress shirt, anxious to get inside where it was cooler.

And that’s what I did.  Soon I fast-forwarded through “Sleeping Beauty” on mute,  looking for memorable scenes and didn’t pause one frikking time. Another depressing disappointment.

I was not angry at myself. I was resigned to myself. I fell asleep during the second drive-in movie, awoke about midnight and drifted into my home office to check e-mail and Facebook. Several friends had posted excellent pictures of the perigee moon.

I genuflected to the sky and went to bed.

Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.


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