June 2016

Posted on July 19, 2016 by

There were a few early June photos tagged onto the end of my last photoblog post, so this one starts a week into June.

The small town we moved to/bought a house in, which is just outside of West Philly where we’ve lived the past five years, has all sorts of little community events and I’m all in. I love that stuff. I grew up in a small town and I like the idea of being part of our community. The first week of June they showed an outdoor movie at one of the parks, A League of Their Own.
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It was a beautiful night, actually a little too cold, but still nice anyway. It was nice to see an outdoor movie where it was actually quiet enough outside and the sound system was good enough that the movie was actually audible. I’ve been to so many outdoor movies in Philly where you had to really strain to hear the movie.
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Out for brunch at the restaurant we go to once a week in our town. It’s a struggling small town. Half the store fronts on our one main strip are sitting empty, but we hear it’s on an upswing? People from West Philly, y’all should come out and go to The Avenue Delicatessen. They have my favorite vegetarian reuben in Philly (not vegan though, sorry.)
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At the Lantern Festival in Philly, pretty in pictures but it was really crowded and full of people stopping every few feet to take selfies.
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Pat and Gabby at Lauren and Lou’s housewarming party (who we didn’t really even get to talk to the whole time we were there!)
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Out to the Franklin Fountain for ice cream to celebrate being done with Whole30, which we did with Pat and Gabby through the month of May.
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Chelsea came too!
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A quick weeknight visit from Daniel when he came to town for a shoot. I really need to get up to NYC to see this bud but our conflicting schedules make it pretty impossible to find a weekend.
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One weekend in mid-June I went down to Baltimore to see the first night of a weekend tour that Mikey did with our friend’s new bad, Bad Moves. Here’s Mikey setting up his merch. Have you heard his band?
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The band that played before Mikey, setting up. I can’t remember what they were called but they kept getting shocked by the mics.
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Mikey setting up, after the figured out the cause of the mic stuff, fortunately!
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Bad Moves
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I drove back home that same night with no real plans for the rest of the weekend while Mikey was out of town. I settled on doing a big project – setting up a self-watering system for my garden. After a lot of youtube videos and reading several tutorials, I figured out a plan-ish and set to work. My garden is at the back of our yard, away from our house – both because that’s where we get the best sun and because they say there’s less chance of lead in your soil if you locate your garden away from the house (I had the soil tested in my garden location and we’re all clear.) So the plan was to try to figure out how to set up a timer, run a hose of some sort to the garden, and attach a soaker hose set up.
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After a little more research, I realized it wouldn’t be that hard to run a PVC underground to the garden so that I wouldn’t have a hose running across our lawn all summer (which would’ve been annoying for mowing and also because there’s a good chance Maple would’ve tried to play with it), so the project got a little bigger at that point.
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But I love projects, so so it goes.
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Learned about all sorts of things, like the many many many different types of adapters, the importance of using washers and teflon tape, how deep to bury pvc so it won’t crack through the winter, etc.
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I admittedly took about five different trips to Lowes and made many returns before I got exactly what I needed (with no help of Lowes employees who kept assuring me they didn’t have things or certain things didn’t even exist, only for me to return and find it myself somewhere else in the store).
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Maple, my handy sidekick, overseeing the project.
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Adding a level of complication is that our yard has two levels so I had to figure out how to step the piping down. I still haven’t exactly resolved this corner because the pipe isn’t buried as deep here. I need to figure out how to cover the pipe so it’s winter proofed.
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Digging the trench. I really took a gamble on the sod coming back after digging it up but at this point, a month later, you almost can’t tell that I dug these trenches.
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How it looks coming out of the ground, on either side. The garden is now set on a timer and waters itself – a dream come true. Watering the garden was the part of gardening I was worst at.
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Freaky red-tinted clouds during a full moon.
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One of the bigger gambles of buying a house is having no idea what your neighbors will be like. Fortunately, we lucked out all around! Immediately to the right of us is a house split into three apartments. That’s the biggest wildcard on the block because you never know who we will get each time it turns over, but so far, so good. The house immediately to the left is a couple in their 30’s with their first baby, who I’ve already started babysitting for. Meet Alora! She’s a super sweet little gal and we regularly talk to her parents over our fence. About as ideal as could be as far as next door neighbors go. The house directly across the street is a big multigenerational family with people constantly coming and going, but because I’m always out in the front working on our yard, I’ve slowly gotten to be friendly with most of them. One of the older sons is a landscaper and we regularly talk about yard stuff, and his mom has been asking for advice about doing their front yard. Yardwork and shoveling snow really are the best way to meet neighbors.
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The last week of June, we heard about a group called Wild West Philly that is teaching kids from the Southwest Philly neighborhood about native plants and animals in their neighborhood and helping them becomes stewards in the organization. We went out to one of their nature walks at Mount Moriah Cemetery, a cemetery in West Philly that stopped functioning in 2012 and became really grown over with invasive plants. A neighborhood group adopted the cemetery and have been slowly restoring the grounds. The nature walk was really fascinating and we learned a lot from it –
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Like that starlings, one of the most common birds in the area now, were introduced when a guy brought 100 of them to Central Park around 1900 because he wanted to introduce all of the birds mentioned by Shakespeare to North America. They spread like wildfire and crowded out a lot of the native birds in the area. Pretty wild!
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Eating mulberries
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Overgrown cemetery grounds that haven’t been restored by the friends of Mount Moriah yet.
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A bonfire in our backyard with some buds. We’ve been trying to do a lot of summer things this summer and have been succeeding pretty well. Last summer we were so focused on saving and starting the process of buying a house that we didn’t really do a lot of big summer stuff.
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We didn’t know how Maple would do around a fire but she seemed to at least sort of get it. She started out as a really anxious pup but has slowly getting better and better at meeting people and being in social settings. She seems to be especially anxious about meeting people in our house but she’s making strides.
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A no-work weekend. The weekend after Mikey’s tour and my big irrigation project, we decided not to do any ‘work,’ (meaning no illustration stuff for me, no music stuff for Mikey, no house or garden projects) and just had a nice time around Philly. We went out to eat a lot, read books in the park, went to a movie (we saw The Lobster which was very dark.) It was a great weekend.
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We’ve had a lot of 90+, very humid, days this summer so we got a little kiddie pool for Maple to play around in in the back yard. She’s mildly into it. She has never laid down in it but she’s tromps through it happily.
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She also loves to catch bubbles, so that’s an easy way for us to wear her out without us having to expend a lot of our own energy on a hot day.
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Maple has a personality that is like Rover in a lot of ways, loves being around people, is already very loyal, can be very quiet and calm now that she isn’t such a puppy, is very expressive, but she’s also the opposite of Rover in that she loves doing things – she likes to swim, she loves to play fetch, she will let us pick her up, she loves other dogs and the dog park, etc. Rover was totally fine being a solitary dude. I would take him to the dog park when he was younger and he couldn’t care less about the other dogs and was pretty hit or miss about whether he would be grumpy or not. He didn’t play with toys. We couldn’t pick him up. He didn’t like to swim. Etc. He was happy just being around but he liked to be doing his own thing. He didn’t even like to cuddle very much. He liked to be near but he liked his space. Maple loves to interact.
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A summer storm – which we’ve been getting a lot of. Good for the garden at least.
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And I’ll just leave you with this.
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Overall, a pretty good June.

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