This morning I met Lou’s sister, Marie. We drove over to her house in the Black Forest at 7:30 A.M. to help her with the arrival of a new refrigerator. The fridge situation was rather complicated and didn’t turn out too well. However, after this slight ordeal, we got to enjoy Chile Rellenos and sausage for breakfast.
I also got to meet Lou and Marie’s father and enjoy a walking tour of Marie’s beautiful gardens. All of the garden landscaping was done by Marie, her father (Lou Sr.) and her brother (Lou Jr.). In addition to being beautiful, this garden also helped protect Marie’s house when a devastating fire swept through the Black Forest and destroyed many of her neighbors’ houses several years ago.
Long before the fire, homeowners in Marie’s area had been advised not to allow trees to grow close to their houses because of the fire hazard they posed. Because of Marie’s garden, there were no trees close to her house and there was instead a well-watered border of green plants to discourage the flames from reaching her house.
By the time we headed back to the Mansion, it was afternoon. Lou, Louis and I got working on the backyard. Today, our task was to survey the land. Lou did all of the brain work and I just tried to follow instructions. We set one stake at the top of the slope and one at the bottom, and we used those to measure the proper distance for each row of steps. At each row, we hammered stakes into the ground and used a surveying scope to make sure we set them at the right depth. Going forward, we will use those stakes to tell us where to place the blocks for our steps and how deep to dig.
In the middle of this surveying work, I took a break. I had made an appointment to take my car to a Goodyear tire store today. I needed the slow leak on my tire repaired and I wanted to get an oil change as well.
I took the car in and Valli brought me back to The Mansion. I worked for another two hours, then the shop called me. They said that they were able to fix the tire, but not to change the oil. They thought the plug was cross-threaded and they did not want to risk stripping the threads. Instead, they wanted to change the entire oil pan, which would cost $512.
That was silly, so I just told them to just forget about the oil change. I will just have to do it myself somewhere along the road. I picked the car up and was happy to see that the tire was indeed fixed. Thankfully, I won’t have to use my air pump for awhile!
Back at The Mansion, I helped to finish up the day’s work and put the tools away. We’d put all of the stakes in that we needed, but Lou didn’t seem quite happy with the way they looked. It appeared that he would need to buy a lot of dirt to make the path level, when he had wanted instead to dig back into the hillside and avoid the need for new dirt. As I said though, I’m not the brains behind this project, so I’ll just wait to see what he decides to do.
We had a yummy vegetable and chicken casserole for dinner and a mud pie for dessert. The mud pie made me think of home – it was from Trader Joe’s, and my family and I had enjoyed the very same type of pie several times.
After dinner, it was time for bed, and I was ready for it!