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Come join us for some Fiesta Friday fun!
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Altaira
Superuser

Jun 9, 4:06pm

Post #1 of 38 (1303 views)
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Come join us for some Fiesta Friday fun! Can't Post

Hello and happy Friday to everyone!

I hear our Tornsibs in the northeast U.S. are finally getting a bit of a reprieve from the smoke from the fires in Canada. I hope so! The pictures look horrible. We had it here in Colorado for a bit, but not as bad. Then the wind must have shifted because it's perfectly clear now (and still rainy).

I had a fun week (not) working on a property tax valuation appeal. Property values have gone up so much it was inevitable taxes would too. However, they use comparable sales over a certain period, and I suspected many of them had some amenities our house doesn't (finished basement, more bedrooms and bathrooms). Thanks to our real estate agent I prepped a spreadsheet with pictures and submitted it online, but it did cause some brain damage, lol. Fingers crossed that it helps.

I hope you've all been having an excellent week! Do tell what you've been up to and/or what your plans are for the weekend as you order up your favorite beverage and make a pass (or two, or three Angelic) by the piled-high buffet.

*puts quarters on juke box* play us a summery song and have a fabulous weekend!! CoolLaughHeart




(This post was edited by Altaira on Jun 9, 4:07pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 9, 4:37pm

Post #2 of 38 (1245 views)
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It's getting better here! [In reply to] Can't Post

We had two days of keep-the-kids-indoors recess, then yesterday it still smelled like campfires but the sky was clearing. Sadly the smoke isn't dissipating, just moving elsewhere. Prayers for those affected by the fires up in Canada!

I noticed around here that the guys doing property tax evaluation tend to not bother going into a house, they just walk around it - so how do they know what's been renovated, or even inside? Town records aren't always accurate! Good luck with the appeal!

We had a wonderful retirees party for the school last night, at an herb-garden-turned-venue with an old barn for the reception. There's eight retiring, and former staff from even a decade ago showed up to congratulate them, and give them words of wisdom on how to spend their retirement. Laugh Each one received a gift selected especially for them (like Tibetan singing bowls for the one who practices yoga), and a rosemary plant.

Let's see...might I have an iced mocha, please, Altaira, and I'll snag a couple of empanadas. I'll be raking and weeding around my plantings this weekend, and will keep away from the garden shop, there's too much temptation to buy more - even though they're advertising sales on blueberry bushes...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 4:41pm

Post #3 of 38 (1246 views)
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Britpop minty hedgehogs [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, the wildfires and the terrible smoke sound awful. I'm so sorry for everyone. Heart


As to music, the Reading Room has been rather Blur or Amy Winehouse as we discuss the character of Saruman in Tolkien's book. But neither of those artists are particularly summery.


Maybe I should pick Damon Albarn's later band, the Gorillaz "On Melancholy Hill", which always sounds summery rather than melancholy to me (recommend listening out for that perfect temple bell at the end; and please don't ask me what the video is "about" Smile) .


In the Reading Room it has been an amazing Saruman discussion so far - we're not yet at the end of the second week of four (or maybe five) and already my eyes are turning into Gollum-like saucers from the reading, and my hands into orc-like claws from the typing.



That is to say, we're having a great time. Well, I am anyway.

I think Saruman is a fascinating character. But perhaps that is my evil and twisted nature Wink

Easier to do the drink than the music - if anyone fancies some mint tea, the mint is going bonkers at the allotment, and I have enough for the whole forum (or, possibly, the whole Shire). Using it all for mojitos woudl probably be a more risky idea....

Very dry still in Southern England, but maybe we have some rain on the way over the weekend. In the meantime, despite putting out water in the garden for animals to drink, we had to decide whether to rush one of our hedgehogs to ...er.. hogspital with suspected dehydration this week. It's a bit of a judgement call - 'hogs out in the day are not automatically in distress. But they should be moving about at a clip. Ones that are groggy or inactive are unwell.


I think the expert advice on when to intervene with hedgehogs and when to leave alone boils down to the easy to remember "If there's a bustle in your hedgehog don't be alarmed now."


Of course if you think you see a hedgehog in a bustle, I would recommend being alarmed, and no more mojitos for you.

The weekend...?
...weekend?!

....wait it's the weekend already?

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


Altaira
Superuser

Jun 9, 4:49pm

Post #4 of 38 (1239 views)
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Good news [In reply to] Can't Post

Glad to hear it's improving there. Poor folks up in Canada. I hope they get the fires under control soon!

That sounds like such a wonderful party and venue. I wonder what you'll get when you retire? If it's the same time of year as this party, you could drop some hints about sales on blueberry bushes. Laugh

Enjoy the iced mocha and the weekend!


Altaira
Superuser

Jun 9, 4:55pm

Post #5 of 38 (1242 views)
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I can say with some degree of certainty [In reply to] Can't Post

That you're the only person to ever have used that subject line on TORn, possibly even the entire history of the world. Laugh

I'll take some of that mint! As a child we used to suck on mint leaves from the garden. As bartender for the day, mojitos are now on the menu!

Sound like a great discussion in the RR. I'll have to pop by now that I'm free of property taxes, wheee!

And, yes, it *is* the weekend, so have a wonderful one!


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 9, 5:15pm

Post #6 of 38 (1242 views)
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that title was a bit "what3 words"? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure whether folks have heard of the app, and web service What3Words - it gives a three-word address for any 3-metre square of the Earth's surface. It's handy of you ever needed to give that to an emergency services operator (not least because you can text it if your phone battery is low or it is hard to be heard). Aso useful if you want to specify somewhere to meet where there aren't many landmarks; or just be sure you can find your parked car again.

Anyway, some of the 3-word phrases are amusing or apt. For example part of Tolkien's old house at 20 Nothmoor Road seems to have the location ///mixed.towers.tamed (which is not a bad LOTR plot synopsis, if you ask me).



Turns out my post title is nearly a location: or at least ///tiptop.minty.hedgehogs is a place in Mexico. Hopefuly the vet was able to fix up our poor hedgehog and it is 'tiptop' by now.

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Jun 9, 5:16pm)


Annael
Immortal


Jun 9, 7:26pm

Post #7 of 38 (1240 views)
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I plan to be lazy this weekend [In reply to] Can't Post

unless you count going to a dog agility trial for Samoyeds any kind of effort. My Sami-loving friends are coming into town for it and I love watching agility trials so I'm going to join them. Otherwise I plan on doing very little. It's rainy today & tomorrow so the garden won't need tending and I can justify a day of sitting with a good book.

Speaking of books, I just heard that I have a book job coming to me in July, which is perfect as I should be finished with my present book coaching job by the end of June, and this means the exchequer will be able to fund my trip to a myth conference end of July. I'll have a lemon-blueberry scone and a London Fog to celebrate!

I never contested a tax bill but when I refinanced my last house, I had to challenge the assessor's valuation to get the refi okay'd. They'd sent out a young guy who didn't know our town and picked "comparables" from one of the sketchier streets in town - houses that not only were in much worse shape but did NOT have the mountain view of my house, nor the full basement, etc. etc. My realtor provided me with a list of what she would consider comparables and fortunately the bank accepted it. Sometimes you gotta be the squeaky wheel.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Ataahua
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 9, 8:47pm

Post #8 of 38 (1239 views)
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A celebratory plum margarita, please, barkeep [In reply to] Can't Post

It's finally been sunny here! Six days of it! In a row! Sure it's cold but blue skies and sunshine are such a mood-lifter.

The video of the fires is incredible. Huge best wishes to our TORNsibs in Canada and the northern US states affected by the smoke. The pictures are reminiscent of the Aussie bushfires that turned NZ skies yellow in Auckland and Otago, back in 2020.

I hope everyone has a fun and rejuvenating weekend. Cheers, all!

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Altaira
Superuser

Jun 9, 9:31pm

Post #9 of 38 (1231 views)
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Ahhh...planning to be lazy [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't you just love those weekends?

The dog show sounds like fun! Years ago I was staying with our Roheryn over a convention weekend and attended a dog show where she was showing some of her dogs.It was fascinating as there were many different breeds, though it was a traditional dog show, not any agility. I had caught a bad cold and was sick as a, well, dog, lol, but it was still enjoyable.

Congrats on the new book job! They seem to be coming along at a good pace: enough to keep the bank balance up, but not too overwhelming. Enjoy your lazy weekend! Smile


Altaira
Superuser

Jun 9, 9:50pm

Post #10 of 38 (1228 views)
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Here comes the sun! [In reply to] Can't Post

So glad you're finally getting some sunny weather! Sun outside is awesome, but sun shining in through the windows is also nice to see. I hope it keeps up and you have a relaxing, sunny rest of your weekend! Heart


Greenwood Hobbit
Valinor


Jun 10, 3:47pm

Post #11 of 38 (1194 views)
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*applauds* [In reply to] Can't Post

You win the 'most innovative use of Led Zeppelin lyrics ' award for this week! Very true about unbustly hedgehogs though - this weather is very hard on them and on other wild things. I just counted - I have 8 containers around my garden providing water, including a small pond and a shallow pebbly tray for bees etc so they don't drown.


Greenwood Hobbit
Valinor


Jun 10, 4:08pm

Post #12 of 38 (1192 views)
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Late this week - [In reply to] Can't Post

I went away camping for a few days, came back Thursday night but was still tired on Friday night so decided to come to Fiesta when I was making a bit more sense! As it happens it's really hot here today (by my standards anyway) pushing 30C so I'm not making THAT much sense! We are all hoping fervently for a nice thunderplump later; some clouds are building up, but those showers are so localised that it's anybody's guess whether or not my gasping garden will see any benefit. Everything is tinder-dry. Nothing like the horrendous wildfires across the Pond though! That must be awful.
Property tax valuation sounds like our Council tax valuation, which has a Band A to G system. My home is Band B, so fairly modest (semi-detached, living room, dining-kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, no garage). The estate was originally built as RAF married quarters for a training camp, so there are three different designs. Other houses like mine have been added to considerably where there's space; my friend started off with a house the same as mine but extended to the side and up, to provide a proper dining room, utility room, bedroom and bathroom. I must ask her what her Band is these days!
My trip away was to Shakespeare Country. I didn't go into Stratford itself as I only had two full days, but I visited Anne Hathaway's cottage, in which one room has the original (uneven!) stone-flagged floor on which Anne and William would have walked. I also visited an exhibition of British Folk Costume at a gallery called Compton Verney, and spent a happy few hours wandering round Hidcote Manor Gardens, which - despite the dry weather - were wonderfully flower-filled!
Cool drinks are the order of the day in these temperatures - elderflower champagne would go down very well, I think! failing that, cider. Cider, for me, is a hot weather drink for some reason. That and sandwiches in the shade of the tree on the lawn will make me a happy Hobbit! Good luck to you all with whatever the week ahead might bring you. Cheers!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 10, 5:19pm

Post #13 of 38 (1182 views)
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Hedgies? [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't know your hedgies were "tame" enough to be handled and taken to the vet if needed! I've a local skunk and turkeys, but we leave them well alone. We do keep our two birdbaths clean and filled, fortunately it's not been too dry here. What's the word on your ailing hedgie?

And my peppermint is finally overflowing its pot. Never thought of crushing the leaves for tea, ought to try that! Now, there's nothing wrong with sipping a mojito while reading in the RR. Or maybe two...


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 10, 5:25pm

Post #14 of 38 (1179 views)
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That will be a fun day [In reply to] Can't Post

Watching those handsome dogs in action!Cool

Congrats on the next book job coming along in timely fashion. Where's the myth conference to be?

And how are the veggies coming along?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 10, 5:29pm

Post #15 of 38 (1178 views)
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You can finally dry out! [In reply to] Can't Post

How's the recovery going, in the areas that were devastated by the flooding?

The yellow skies and campfire-smell were so weird, but lasted only a couple of days here. I remember those unbelievable Aussie fires! Unsure


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


noWizardme
Half-elven


Jun 10, 5:45pm

Post #16 of 38 (1178 views)
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inofensive hedgehogs [In reply to] Can't Post

Hedgehogs normally roll into a ball for defence (though some more urban ones have learned to try and run away). So not hard to catch if needed (which aside from some research project done under the appropriate licence you would not do unless the animal was ill). This poor creature was in no shape to resist, anyway. So easy to pick up with thick gardening gloves.

I imagine more precautions would be needed for skunks! ... but we don't have those in Europe.
I'll probably not find out how the hedgehog emergency ended. The specialised animal rescue centres were full, so we had to take it to the local vet. They'll not need to contact me with the bill, because they handle such emergencies under their professional ethical code. And if it does recover, they will probably just release it in some suitable local place. Hedgehogs aren't territorial, so it isn't felt to be important to return it home.

~~~~~~
"I am not made for querulous pests." Frodo 'Spooner' Baggins.


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 10, 5:56pm

Post #17 of 38 (1178 views)
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That's far too warm! [In reply to] Can't Post

Anything above 25C starts feeling uncomfortable, especially if the humidity is high. Did that thunderstorm finally materialize?

Your house sounds cozy and comfortable! I'm curious, how do you and your attached neighbor know where your yard boundaries are?

That was a pleasant camping trip, had you ever visited that area before? I imagine those Gardens are carefully watered during the dry spells!

Now...when you mention "cider", is that what we Yanks call "hard cider" (alcoholic)? For us, "cider" is sweet apple juice, preferable freshly pressed, and an Autumn staple!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Greenwood Hobbit
Valinor


Jun 10, 7:45pm

Post #18 of 38 (1172 views)
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Sometimes they have debilitating infestations [In reply to] Can't Post

of fleas and/or ticks which, combined with the hot weather and difficulty finding food, makes life difficult for them. Hopefully this one will be much better after food, water, rest and some medication to deal with any 'passengers'. I'm really glad we don't have skunks in the UK!


Greenwood Hobbit
Valinor


Jun 10, 7:56pm

Post #19 of 38 (1173 views)
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Yes it did - yippee! [In reply to] Can't Post

We've had lots of good grumbling and a couple of decent showers this evening, not torrential, the kind that will actually sink in not run off, which is good.

As for property boundaries we're packed in pretty close here and everyone knows where their patch ends. There's a diagram in the property deeds too. Woe betide you if you overstep the mark! The estate was built 1950-ish, so everything's well established. I have fencing on two sides and a privet hedge on the third at the back and fencing on either side at the front, so there's no room for confusion.
I hadn't visited that precise area before; it's typical English 'Shire' countryside, fields, hedges, trees - a green and pleasant land. Apart from the acres of glasshouses, the busy traffic etc! Yes, I'm talking hard cider definitely. The other stuff is just called plain apple juice here.


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 10, 11:53pm

Post #20 of 38 (1161 views)
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Well done! [In reply to] Can't Post

I finished our annual tax returns recently, which gives a similar sense of satisfaction at getting a fiddly job out of the way.

It's been a mixed week. On the plus side: the lovely sunny days Ataahua mentioned, all the more welcome after the run of nasty weather. On Friday we felt like an outing, and as heading towards the city (or even the nearest town of any size) means battling the awful traffic and never-ending roadworks we took the road less travelled down some byways, and found a lovely wee cafe. We'd been to it before, but it's changed hands recently, and is much improved. We had delicious Turkish coffee (the real thing) and cake, sitting outside in the sunshine overlooking green fields.

That helped make up for an irritation earlier in the week. I've mentioned in the past some occasions when the neighbours' beef cattle have broken into our property. I haven't actually mentioned the most recent (until this week) incursions, which happened when the neighbours were home and could help us round up their stock. Well, this week the beefs smashed a fence and came through again - once again at night, but this time with the neighbours out, and unable to help. (We picked them up on our security system, in case you're wondering how we even knew). If you want an exercise in futility, try looking for black cattle in dense forest at night some time! The forest is dense (and very lovely) precisely because it hasn't been grazed in the 30 years we've owned this property. We had to give up and let them roam till next day. Around 2 a.m. they returned to the garden to do some more damage. We've been very understanding and good-natured every time, and managed to stay pleasant again, but it really is a bit much to put up with. Every time they say they intend to re-home the animals, but somehow...

Anyway, enough of that. In other positive news, I made guava jelly (from the guavas I was sharing with the kererū (wood pigeon), and oh, it is nice. We're currently having it with scones. The kererū have tired of the guava bush, but the remnants of the crop are being enjoyed by tauhou, which are very sweet to watch. Last night in a fit of indulgence we had chocolate fondue - a rare treat (it's been at least a couple of years, and the fondue set took some finding), and so very rich, but a lot of fun.

A bit bleak and chilly this morning, but the sun has just made an appearance, as has Mr Kimi's pizza. So all is well.

Wishing everyone a pleasant weekend (what remains of it).


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


(This post was edited by Kimi on Jun 10, 11:54pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 11, 12:49am

Post #21 of 38 (1154 views)
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You have a beef with the beef! [In reply to] Can't Post

Those cattle must weigh a tonne, what a nuisance to have to repair fence (and garden)! Hm...have you considered lining the fence on the neighbor's side with barbed wire?

You've had an amazing guava crop! Guava jelly on scones? I'll be over for tea! Laugh So what all did you dip into the chocolate fondue?

Now Mr Kimi is making pizza! Dare I inquire about the toppings?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 11, 1:39am

Post #22 of 38 (1149 views)
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Literally! [In reply to] Can't Post

The larger one, anyway - he's huge. But also quite gentle (though a bit scary, as he's taller than me and has horns), and if we can get him pointed in the right direction fairly amenable. They currently have a calf, though, and it is possessed by a spirit of disorder, running about in circles and refusing to be caught.

The neighbour (with no prompting necessary) said he'll repair the fence. I'm fairly sure he won't put them back in that paddock until (whenever it might be) that's done. There's barbed wire along most of it, but that part is (or rather was) a little ornamental, so was wooden. It's just very hard to fence such heavy animals with such thick hides - they don't even take much notice of electric fences. Which is one of the reasons we stick to sheep.

The jelly is deliciously sharp, and a beautiful clear ruby in colour. For the fondue we had a few marshmallows, but mostly ginger and mandarin segments, which provide a nice contrast with the sweetness (though this was very dark chocolate, so not overly sweet. The pizza was our usual: red capsicum and mushrooms on a tomato paste. Very nice with a drop of rosť in the sunshine.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


(This post was edited by Kimi on Jun 11, 1:40am)


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 11, 1:48am

Post #23 of 38 (1143 views)
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Hasn't it been lovely? [In reply to] Can't Post

All the more welcome after so much rain and wind.

The yellow-orange skies from the bushfires were unworldly and quite unsettling, especially when you think how far away the fires were. Fortunately that distance meant not much effect on our air quality, so we were much luckier than in the countries currently afflicted.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Kimi
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 11, 1:51am

Post #24 of 38 (1146 views)
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So hot! [In reply to] Can't Post

We'd consider that much too hot, and we're a fair bit closer to the equator than you are. Such temperatures were unheard of when we lived in England way back in the 1980s.

I'm very glad to hear the storm gave you some relief.


The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View


Greenwood Hobbit
Valinor


Jun 11, 8:15am

Post #25 of 38 (1126 views)
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It knocked the temperature down [In reply to] Can't Post

by 10C, which was a relief! Everything looks fresher this morning. There's a possibility of more thundery showers later today, fingers crossed one lands on us!

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