Sunday, April 20, 2014

Diary of a Weekend Gardener

There are times in the early rush of spring plant growth when the thought of apartment life with no yard for miles around puts a wistful smile on my soil splattered and sweat drippy face.  I dream of the up one flight of steps life I used to have with anguished longing even though at that time big momma psycho Barbie lived below me with her howling, screaming, crying, door slamming marathons to liven up the days and nights.
Tossed those grubby sweat limped clothes that started out the day so fresh and crisp into the washer, checked achy bod for stray ticks, then showered and soaped the hell out of myself just in case I missed a bug looking for a late meal.  I tire of this same-o, same-o routine, but I’m not a lover of blood sucking friends going to bed with me at the end of any gardening day.

I've laid my head over the edge of the foot of the bed and let my neck snap, crackle, pop back into place; and decided to throw a pot of water onto the stove, bring to a rolling boil, and plop in that lovely package of Buitoni Chicken Marsala Ravioli sitting on the fridge shelf.  I’ll just season with butter, salt, and cracked pepper…I’m tired…that’s as good as it’s going to get.

I’d like to look back over this weekend with fond memories, after all, it is a weekend that ends with Easter.  Hooray.  Warned that a leaking gas line on my car shouldn't be taken lightly unless I relish a brilliant ball of flames in my life, I found myself with the day Thursday off.  Didn't really fancy a barbecue taking up my time.  What does a manic can’t-help-herself gardener to do with all that time on her hands, the day's warming up, and the sun's calling her name to come play with the youngsters of green.

Mowed grass, weed whacked the hell out of the front garden pathways, dug up a dozen yucca plants, chopped, cussed and sawed up a three foot round clump of native grass taking over a beauty berry bush twisting my knee in the process, called it a tiring day that needed to end, changed, and then took pics for the last post.  Garage guy drove up the driveway, didn't have a good number for me, and my car was ready for its mommy.

Friday…my real holiday…crawled out of bed, drank a cup of coffee laced with cream and hightailed it to my real buddy…my chiropractor.  He’s going to the Caribbean next week courtesy of this gardening idiot and others, to snorkel with the creatures of the deep while I drag myself to work each day to serve with a smile :( the creatures who ask me if I was sleeping when they bang on the office door during my lunchtime, even though the sign clearly says I’m having lunch - please come back at 1:00 p.m.

Today…removed a bushel of stinky leaves from the pond, weed whacked the begeezes out of the back yard pathways accidentally beheading a clematis vine in the process, raked dead growth from the side prairie bed, and moved two plants that began immediately wilting.  Hopefully the cool evening air will freshen them up to survive, so I can see what they really are when they bloom.  New things taking up residence in my gardens sometimes become Rosemary’s babies in the end.

Waiting for husband’s daily call from Iraq which is late for me but early for him.  Poor soul called me once in his evening and I had a half minute conversation mostly saying running late for work…got to go…bye.  I guess boring is just the tip of the iceberg when you’re in a small compound with no gym shoes, so the gym’s off limits.  He reads me the embassy news when he has nothing to say.  Sometimes I could scream…but I control myself quite well :)

Baghdad Betty’s column is a bit FUNNY.  Not meant to be, I'm sure, but it is.  It’s really a bitch column that I think people abuse tongue-in-cheek like; at least I hope the guy complaining about having to wash his hands after using the restroom, siting all kinds of reasons why it was a bad idea, wasn't really for real.

It’s late, dinner’s but a thought in my head, and Lacey’s nibbling on my shoe.  Time to go.  Tomorrow’s a rest day, but knowing this gardener as well as I do, I’d say it will be another work day before my real work day begins on Monday.  Good night, sleep tight, and please, don’t let any bed bugs bite.

Love you, mommy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Trowel and Error





Growing up were the days of bare feet tickled by the grass between our toes as we sat in the middle of a sea of green in our front yard.  Our fears were of fire ants, horseflies, and irate bumblebees...small potatoes compared to my days now in the not so deep south.  It's never a question of shoes or shoe-less.  If it's not rock or concrete or winter, it's gear up for battle time...socks, lace-up shoes, long pants with legs that are tuck-able into your socks and a gallon of pyrethrins spray to douse said shoes and pant legs up to the knees.

With a lethal dog by my side and trowel in hand, I dare any tick to take a taste of my poison coated hound or wander up my poison coated gear...I dare you, dare you, dare you!  Ops! Forgot the poison coated hat for all you little ticksters that like to climb to high places and drop onto my head for dinner.  I LOVE the south.  I LOVE the south.  I LOVE the south.

Widows...more of an enigma of our imaginations out west, it was horror time when one was actually spotted and a day to remember in infamy.  Big fat black spider with red hourglass, right?  Well, sort of...not prepared for what the south had to offer, they lived quite comfortably in my garage for a season until a bit of education hit me squarely between the eyes.  I was living with the enemy!  My Bad.

Black widows, brown widows, big widows, little widows, red hourglass, red three dots...these buggers don't know when enough is enough in these lands.  Widow fighting gear...insecticide that slows it down so a shovel can bash it to smithereens.  I'm sad to say it's a worn out saying in these gardens these days...if a rock has laid on the ground for more than five minutes a widow will be living under it.  So true.

Brown recluse...more black than brown...looooong legs.  I don't know how else to identify one.  Saw a live one at a bug museum once, saw a live one on my living room carpet by the edge of the coffee table trying to get away from a clueless curious Lacey once.  That's two times too much.  I still can't identify one.  While it was in the small mason jar before I flushed it down the toilet it was a stretch of my imagination to say I could make out a clear fiddle on any of it, but it WAS a brown recluse.  The house reeked of insecticide the day after!!!

For this chick who's lived at the equator (bug purgatory) for a few years, anything the upper south throws at me is a piece of cake...


brown recluses,








Monday, April 14, 2014

Hi! My name is Lacey...

...and I'm a recovering kleptomaniac.


Okay, mommy.

Hi!  My name is Lacey, and I'm trying to be a recovering kleptomaniac.

I'm sorry mommy's eye shadow brush was too hard to find...ya, right.  I felt really, really terrible it took two whole days of crawling around on all fours on all floors before it was found under the linen closet door...thought I hid stuff better than that. 

What, mommy?  Something said under my must be imagining.

Okay, mommy.

I'm sorry your art gum eraser isn't on your desk anymore.  I don't remember, if I misplaced it somewhere...I think it's where I really, really want it to be. 

Who, me, mommy?  Cats don't talk under their breath.  We're not human...thank goodness! 

Poor mommy, so tired and hearing voices.  I'm going to be like a shadow on the wall and a good little girl...playing soccer with those pills you left on the counter. 

Love you, mommy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Winter Day in Spring

Waiting for the light to turn green, it’s impossible to ignore the prophesy written on those back doors of the semi-rig blocking the view in front of me.  The left door sports an enormous arrow pointing to the left edge of the back with the word LIVE following it.  The right door sports another enormous arrow pointing to the right edge with the word SUICIDE preceding it.  Choices…one gives you a chance to age, one lets you disappear for all eternity.

Life in a garden is a continuous procession of choices; of the plants themselves and of the entities that choose to disperse their seeds, whether by wind, bird droppings, clinging to a pant leg or shoe bottom, lodged in the fur of a beast, washed away by torrents of rain…its final resting place will determine whether it lives to maturity or languishes down that path of improper placement suicide.

Some hide in the shade, some bake in the sun, some love a downpour of rain, and some prefer almost none.  Acidic, alkaline, in-between…plants are a complicated group of survivalist in the extreme or sensitive souls that can’t fight their way out of a tattered paper bag, in the least.  Nonetheless, each growing season seems to find us practicing genocide to manipulate the playground until the balance is broken and pretty trumps ugly.

Grrru-tier, grrru-tier, grrru-tier, grrru-tier...the red cardinal sings high up in the ash tree.  Gregregregrek, gregregregrek, gregregregrek...another smaller bird, unseen, sings as the sun peeks through the grey clouds then disappears for the rest of the day.  Rains fall, winds blows, temps drop, and as a lonely tree frog sings for a mate on the far side of the pond; I finish up clipping and pulling the ugly until all looks pretty and I'm happy.

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