In case anyone wondered, Jeffrey found the source of the rain in our basement. There was a small hole in the rock foundation (which was built for the first house here, sometime around the Civil War), and when it rained too hard and the drywell at the bottom of the downspout filled up, it overflowed into the basement. So he dug out about 20 lineal feet of the foundation, about 18" deep, put an inch of hydraulic cement on it, and filled it back in. He has reassembled the basement ceilling, and all is right in that corner of my world. Jeff also commented that it's remarkable that the coal chute wasn't leaking, but he cemented around that better, just in case. Yeah, we have a coal chute. No, we don't use it. Do I look like the kind of girl who would shovel stuff into her furnace?
I am amazed that we've been here just about 19 years (the closing was 19 years ago Tuesday, actually). I never lived anywhere more than 3 years growing up, and often less than 1 year. Not because my father got job transfers, but because he was usually bored, quit a job, moved, and hoped to find another. So I had no idea that living in a house for quite a while would put memories in every corner. This juniper is one memory. This was planted at one end of the garage our first full summer here, and a blue spruce at the other. The blue spruce is marvelous, skyrocket junipers, not so much. We have a terrace beside the garage, with a stone retaining wall. I also have a rodent-phobic husband (which suits me fine). So, a few years back, he was looking out a window, and thought he saw movement at the bottom of the juniper. He went upstairs, got a hunting rifle and some birdshot shells, loaded the rifle, and hollered for the boys, then 15, 14, 13 and 11. They arrived, and he barked at them, "Follow me outside." Our second son, years later, admitted that he thought he'd been mouthy to me one too many times, and now he was in big trouble. Anyway, my dearly beloved stood squarely in front of the bush, lined 2 boys up on either side of him, half a step back, in a semi circle, ordered them to watch the bush, and shot at the base of it. He then explained that he thought he saw a rat in the bush, and didn't want such a disgusting thing anywhere near the house. So "The day Dad shot the bush" is now folklore.
Anyway, last year, for some unknown reason, one of my daughters (she was MINE that day, hubby explained, not OURS), decided to scalp one side of the skyrocket juniper. Needless to say, it never grew back. So when Jeffrey was off getting planting supplies from one of the "big box" stores, he saw an Alberta Dwarf Spruce marked down to $25, because its bottom branches were thin. (Full priced ones were $100.) So Jeff brought it home, and announced it was Albert, A Dwarf. Albert ended up replacing the scalped skyrocket juniper this weekend, and the story of the bush Dad shot may fade. And, lest anyone fret, at the time, there was no other house within 1/4 mile of ours, and we've taught all of our children to shoot. One is in less danger from an item known and understood than from one forbidden, and therefore, likely more alluring.