Home Opener, Yard Work, etc.

Red Sox Home Opener
The first payoff of my baseball good fortune (see previous BLOG entry) occurred this week – Megan, Audrey, family friend Robert, and I went to the Red Sox Home Opener. The day didn’t start off too well – the Alewife parking garage was full when we arrived around 11:30, so we decided to drive all the way in to Fenway Park and take our chances with in-town parking (later reported to hit a high of $90 for the game in some places). We started our search for a place to stash the car at Fenway Park, and worked our way out along Comm Ave. until we found something. All the parking lots were full until we got out to the BU Harry Agganis complex out about two miles away from the park. A good stiff walk for sure, but we had time. We arrived at the park about 12:30, time enough for sausages on the benches by Gate B. Our seats were in Right Field Box 88 – just fair of the Pesky Pole and about 20 rows back.  The day was almost perfect – hazy sun, low 70s.

With it being the home opener for the Sox, there was more ceremonial activities than usual.  First off were the introductions of both teams – the Toronto Bluejays and the Boston Red Sox. And they introduced everyone – the entire team, the manager, the coaches, the trainers, the masseurs, the fitness trainers, the bat boys, the janitors, everyone!

Then they had three color guards (one at each base) and a line of what looked like air force cadets along the “Green Monster” wall in left field.  The Boston Children’s Chorus sang the Canadian National Anthem (accompanied by Red Sox utility outfielder Adam Stern – a native of Canada), and a 5-year-old Jimmy Fund patient in a wheelchair sang the Star Spangled Banner, with a fly-over of four A-10’s from CT and the unfurling of the giant American Flag that covers the entire Green Monster wall (click here for a panorama photo).

After that, they had a moment of silence for former Red Sox announcer Curt Gowdy, who died this year, and then they introduced six of the seven surviving members of the 1946 American League Champion Boston Red Sox on the 60th anniversary of their Championship and World Series appearance. These old-timers threw out six ceremonial “first pitches” to start the game and the season.

Then we had a baseball game! Josh Beckett (2003 World Series MVP) pitched for the Red Sox, and Josh Towers pitched for the Bluejays. A lot of interesting plays but the Red Sox prevailed 5-3, including a David Ortiz home run right in our direction, but 20 or so rows in front of us.  Lots of photos from the adventure are here.

Winter’s Over – The Yard Work Has Started
Winter’s officially over – I put the snow-blower away (with a bit of trepidation – it’s early yet) and broke out the lawn mower for my annual spring lawn torture.  Each spring before the grass starts growing much, I put a Power Rake ( a blade replacement that has two heavy spring-loaded tines hanging down) on the lawn mower and run it over the lawn. It digs down deep into the lawn and pulls up all the dead grass from the winter and the previous summer. It’s effectively a thatcher for the lawn, but it does a far better job of thatching and getting the dead grass up than any device that was actually designed to thatch a lawn! It’s unbelievable how much dead grass gets removed.  First I power-rake the entire lawn, then I (or this year, Jake and Audrey) rake all the dead grass up, then I put a regular sharp blade on the mower and go over it one more time with the grass-catcher bag attached, to effectively vacuum up all the stuff that the rakes missed – and it misses a lot! This process makes the lawn look like crap for about a week, but soon enough it starts growing in thick and green and lush!  We were scheduled for (and got) a decent rain late Wednesday night and most of Thursday, so Wednesday evening after work I spread the first tratment of lawn fertilizer so it could soak in the next day.  The lawn is ready for the summer!

Next comes edging, which I usually do every two years (this is the year). The nice sharp edges of the lawn at the borders of the gardens get grown in and mushy over the course of the two years (even though I periodically use a power edger to try to keep the edges crisp), so I cut new edges every few years. It takes a bit of time because I pound out the loam from the removed grass clumps (there’s a lot of good dirt in there!), but once it’s done, then we can spread mulch (also done every two years) to keep the weeds down. Boy, that retirement condo where the grounds are kept by someone else is sounding better and better every year! 😉

This year I also have a fair list of bigger projects to tackle (it remains to be seen how many –  if any – I get to!):

      • Finish the second raised bed out by the pergola
      • Add loam and level off the back yard
      • Work on the curving raised bed out by the sidewalk
      • Rebuild the deck stairs out back
      • Reroof the house and garage (this one’s a hire-out job)
      • Rebuild the retaining wall by the apartment door
      • Build and pour a concrete walkway from the driveway to the front step

As I said – a longer than expected list!

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