Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Army Worm Lawn Treatment

Late today my lawn service company came over today to treat our backyard for the army worm infestation. 

The owner of the lawn service company came with his employee (the employee speaks very little English) to check out the damage. He said they're still trying to "figure out" how to deal with this latest parasitic invasion. He said the Army worms are acting differently on different lawns, sometimes stopping at the border line between neighboring lawns. He said the worm appears to like wire (Bermuda) grass. Hey now, that worm can eat ALL OF MY WIRE GRASS that I've been trying to get rid of for years. Wire grass, also known as "rope grass" is very invasive and takes over a lawn. I've tried, unsuccessfully, over the past years to get rid of my wire grass only to see it come back like Jason in "Halloween." 

I told the owner of my lawn service company to do whatever possible to rid with parasite from my lawn. I used to have such a beautiful lawn which was a wonderful source of serenity for me at this time of my life which I'm home all the time as full-time caregiver of Bill. To have my lawn die almost over night (less than a week my lawn went from a lush green to a desolate brown), only adds to my sense of despair and isolation. But as Pat always reminds me "This is only a first world problem" and indeed it is. At least I wasn't one of those poor Afghan souls seeking to escape their country from brutal religious extremists who only goal seems to be brutal to anyone who doesn't subscribe to their interpretation of religion. 

Hopefully after this application my beautiful lawn will return to it's proper place in my little corner of the world here in southern Delaware.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Army Worm Infestation

Here's proof, I have an Army worm infestation. 

I'm sick about it. It gives me little solace that others here in southern Delaware are victims of this parasitic infestation.

I called my lawn service company this morning to request a treatment. 

These worms in my backyard are not long for this earth. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Lawn Fungus Infection August 2021

Here at Casa Tipton-Kelly we have a disaster this summer. All the money I spend in lawn care went down the drain with the continuous, excessive heat and humidity. Basically the grass in my whole backyard is dead, succumbing to a fungus attack caused by the excessive heat and humidity of this summer. Right now the temperature here is 92 degrees and with the humidity the heat index is 108 degrees. And I said I would never move to Palm Springs California full-time because of the heat? What about southern coastal Delaware which is where we live now?

Now of course my situation is small potatoes (one of Pat's phrases) in the big picture of what is going on in the whole world today. If it were not for the luck of my birth, I could of have been one of those Afghans at the Kabul airport attempting to flee their country that were victims of a suicide bomber yesterday. I always have to temper my situation with "it could have been worse" situation.

What am I going to do about my lawn? I could do what my brother John did (he lives in Greenville, South Carolina). He cemented over most of his backyard and made it a parking lot for his church functions when he has company. No more Slave To The Lawn for John.

This is what I'm going to do, I'll sign up for the special fungus prevention program ($335 for three applications) and see if that gives me a nice green lawn. Already I'm spending over $1,000 a year for weed control and fertilization.  Those of you who are good at math know that I'm getting up to $2,000 a year now for lawn care. I spend NOTHING for lawn care when we lived on our almost seven acres of land in Pennsylvania. Yes, we mowed the weeds but the lawn was always green. Weeds are hardy that way. If this fungus control program doesn't work, I may just go back to a weed lawn. There are other neighbors here in our neighborhood who don't get lawn treatment like I do.  Right now their lawns are nice and green. Not this stinky, straw smelling, fungus infected lawn that is afflicting me now. 

One thing when I moved into this neighborhood and I saw the difference between those who had "nice" lawns and the "others." I didn't want to be "one of those others." I wanted a nice lawn. I'm telling you folks, it's hard work and expensive. I may not have a choice though. If Bill passes before I do, there won't be enough household income to support such a luxurious treatment of our/my lawn. 

Challenges folks, challenges.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Ron Medical Update

Today was the day for my health checkups.

This morning I had an appointment with my cardiologist. This is an annual appointment that I began ten years ago.  What prompted the first appointment (checkup) was the indication I had an extra heartbeat. I'm on medication for that condition. Once a year my cardiologist checks me. I'm stable. Good news!

This afternoon I had my annual appointment with my urologist. Just a coincidence that I had both appointments the same day but just as well. Get them both out of the way. As regular readers of this blog know I'm a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the late summer of 2013, right after I met Pat. He thought "Here I met Ron and he's going to die!" Well, I didn't die (obviously) but I did have surgery for my prostate cancer. Seed implants. So far they seem to be working. My PSA score is creeping up albeit slowly. This year it is .6. Last year it was .5. And the year before it was .4. As my urologist says "That cancer is looking for a place to land. Fortunately for you it's going slowly." That was the same year I had a series of kidney stone attacks which resulted in several surgeries. So far my kidney stones haven't returned. Maybe it's because I drink a LOT of water now. A LOT.

One of my biggest fears is that I will die before Bill. He's stable now but slowly fading. I see it every day.

I ended the day with good news. My John Deere Zero Degree Riding Mower conked out on my the other day. I've been trying to get in touch with my repair guy. He's so busy like all good service people, that he was having problems getting back to me. He was supposed to be here yesterday to look at my mower but he said he got "hung up" on another job. I understand that but I did lose my afternoon nap yesterday which throws me back at the end of the day. I wind down like an old wind up clock if I don't have my two hour afternoon nap. Well, the good news is today he showed up on time and checked out my tractor. Turns out all I need is a new battery. I asked him to haul it away and do annual maintenance on the tractor now. Of course that leaves me with our almost one acre of "football field" lawn/backyard to mow.  I called Jose Sierra, our local Mexican landscaper. He'll be over tomorrow to do the job for only fifty dollars! That's a good price. Of course I couldn't afford to have him mow our lawn all summer and besides I like to mow our lawn myself. I find it relaxing. As long as I'm riding the mower and not pushing it.

I've been upset lately with the developments in Afghanistan. We're leaving all those Afghans who helped us. I am very disappointed in my summer neighbor and president, Joe Biden. He better get on the ball and have a Berlin Airlift type moment and get all those Afghans who helped us out of the way the murderous Taliban.

I know I just went way off subject here in this blog posting, something which I try to avoid doing as a good blog posting protocol but I had to get that off my chest. 

A good day here folks, a good day.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Update On Bill


Bill with his hospice nurse this afternoon

This afternoon we had a visit from a representative from Delaware Hospice. She certified Bill continuance in the home hospice care program Bill has been in Since February. 

Bill has been in home hospice for over six months now. His blood pressure is consistently below what he recommended. When he was on home health care, his low blood pressure always triggered the home health care weekly visitors to advise him to go to the emergency room. We did that once and it solved nothing other than exhaust us from waiting around the emergency room all day and increasing both of our blood pressures. We couldn't continue that routine that's why we opted for home hospice care instead of home health care.

The goal of home health care is to keep the patient alive. The goal of home hospice care is to keep the patient comfortable.

This is what I explained to Bill again yesterday as we returned from our biweekly trip to BJ's Wholesale Club (always a big "event" for both of us here in Lower Slower Delaware). I pointed out the vehicles that were passing us and told Bill "We're all going to die. Everyone in those cars is going to die. No one gets out of this life alive. Fortunately for you you're probably going to die in the comfort of your home." 

Bill and I often have this life and death conversation although he doesn't to have it. He says his biggest fear about dying is leaving me. I've told him over and over again that I'll be just fine. Actually I won't, at least for a while but eventually I'll manage. After you've lived with someone for fifty-seven years, then one dies, that is difficult. But of course I won't be the first person who experiences this loss. 

I try to comfort Bill by telling him that when he dies he will have earned a well deserved rest. I remind him that death is probably like when he went under anesthesia, he doesn't remember going under and doesn't remember that blankness. If there is an afterlife it will be like that scene in the Robin Williams movie where he dies and wakes up in a field of flowers and realizes he's in Heaven when he hears his long departed dog romping through the flowered meadow to him. Wouldn't that be wonderful if that's what happened if we die?  Of course none of us knows what happens but it's nice to think of that scenario. But that was just a movie.

Neither Bill or I believe in the conventional Christian scare stories about Heaven and Hell. That to us is just man made threats for those in power to keep others subjugated. It is not my intention to disrespect those who have conventional religious beliefs. I've always said that is your religious beliefs gives you comfort, I'm happy for you. My only problem with some religious people is that evangelism, seeking to convert others to their beliefs. What really offends me is when a friend tells me they're "concerned about my soul" and that's why they're trying to convert me to their religious beliefs. Their arrogance is breathtaking. I tell them in the nicest way possible "You take care of your own life and I'll take care of mine." I'm slipping into a religious discussion which I don't want to get into here so I'll get back on the main track of this posting.

Bill and I have settled into a routine here. He still needs help dressing, bathing, eating and taking his medications. His blindness is a big part of the problem. But he's not in pain and knows who I am. And that folks is how we are so fortunate. 

Saturday, August 07, 2021


 Here at Casa Tipton-Kelly, we live on not quite an acre lot (.98 acres). 

When we moved to our development which contains fifty-seven homes, I noticed immediately some lots had "nice grass" and some had, well, just weeds. I decided that we weren't going to have one of those lot that was "just weeds" cut short. Yes, I would pay for a lawn service to have that green carpet of grass. Yes, I would be a slave to my lawn.

And what an interesting journey it has been these past fifteen years since we took up residence. 

Bill seeded our lot with Kentucky fescue blue grass. That was a big job.  Bill did a lot of big jobs like that when he was in his prime. 

The first couple of years I employed a well know local lawn service company.  They were also the most expensive but they were good. The grass was so thick and green, our lawn mower would often jam up when mowing. 

Later on, to save money, I discontinued that lawn service company and hired another. One my neighbor was using. I noticed his grass was "just about as good" as mine and he was paying less than half of the $233 an application (five applications during the season) that I was paying. For the next thirteen years I used that company until I had a falling out with them over a disastrous wire grass removal application that almost ruined my whole lawn. I went back to my original lawn service company. Yes, I would be paying over thousand a year "just for the lawn" but having a nice green lawn is one of my few pleasures in life. It was worth it.

Then last month, when I was mowing our lawn I noticed huge swaths of brown patches. What happened to my nice green thick carpet of a lawn? My lawn service company told me it was "Brown Patch Disease". Oh wonderful. Below was the explanation he left on the back of the $233 invoice:

Today I noticed Brown Patch Disease, which is a disfiguring fungal disease. Disease an develop rapidly when daytime temperatures are warm (85 to 90 degrees F) and humid, nighttime temperatures are above 65 degrees F, and there is an extended period of left wetness. Thunderstorms, high relative humidity and poor air circulation are ideal conditions for brown patch Tass fescue, the preferred turf species used in Delmarva lawns is highly susceptible to brown patch and can be expected to develop the disease most summers. In many cases affected areas are able to recover but tall fester lawns less than a year old can be completely killed. In tall fescue lawns the disease appear as circular patches of brown and blighted leaves. During early morning hours a smoke ring of fungal mycelium may be seen on the outer edge of patches. In lawns mixed with tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, the disease is more diffuse and does not usually appear to discrete circular patches since Kentucky bluegrass if more resistant to this disease. To diagnose the disease it is best to inspect leaves for lesions. On close inspection you will find variously shipped, chocolate-brown lesions. Where the lesion meets green tissue there will be a brown band. We offer a preventive fungicide program to manage Brown Patch Disease.

Well, we certainly have had very hot and humid weather here on the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia; the peninsular we live on) this past summer. This summer perhaps the worst since we moved her in 2006. Our beautiful lawn looked terrible. Ah, I remember our "lawn" at our home in Pennsylvania in the middle of our wooded 6.875 acres on the side of a hill in Chester County, East Brandywine Township. No expensive lawn service, just au natural grass which looked just fine. But of course an "au natural" lawn won't do here in our fou fou development.  

The decision was easy.  As I looked on with envy at some of my neighbor's lawns during my morning walks who obviously have availed themselves of the fungicide treatment and those who haven't, I decided to take the plunge so to speak. I called my lawn service company to sign up for the treatment next year. I was gobsmacked when she told me the cost:

$335 for three applications

After a few minutes of weighing my options I signed up. So now I'll be paying almost $2,000 a year for my nice green lawn. I'm reminded of what my good friend Pat (who lives in a penthouse condo in a converted fou fou hotel in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) tells me whenever I whine about my lawn expense:

"What has your lawn ever done for you?"

Well, actually my lawn does a lot for me. To relax I often walk around our back yard, checking out the progress of the flowers and other fauna that I planted this year. Our backyard is my palette, always a work in progress. I just wish it didn't cost so much.

Note: The "boom boom" music that you hear in the short video I took of our backyard late yesterday afternoon was not added by me. That was in real time. Across the road (Route One, Coastal Highway) from our lot is Hudson Fields. They were doing a sound check for an outdoor concert today which is going on right now. Yes, the  "boom boom" is going on right now, vibrating the very foundation of our house here at Casa Tipton-Kelly. This is a subject for a future blog post. Little loud don't you think?

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Dame Edna In The Royal Box

Whenever I get a little down there are a few videos that I turn to to uplift my spirits. Here is one I recently discovered that never fails to cause me to smile so hard my face hurts. By the way, did you ever see Prince Charles smile so genuinely as he does here when he discovers that Dame Edna has entered his Royal Box?

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...