Sunday, April 26, 2020

In the Land of 'Just One More Weed to Pull'

It’s raining………again.

Distant thunder from the southwest moving in, and Dustin dog is by my feet shivering.  The cats could care less.  Lacey and Charlotte are snoozing on cat trees at opposite ends of the house, Zoe’s in La La Land in the middle of the hallway, and Austin is lounging on my bed primping before his nap.

I’m snacking on multigrain crackers covered with Manna Butter amaretto almond spread with a dollop of St. Dalfour black cherry preserves, a cup of Assam tea brewed, dumped and brewed again with same bag to cut down on caffeine, and a handful of vitamin pills.  Old age…I recommend it with caution.

Caught off guard with panic shoppers wiping out inventories left and right, it was as if we were hiking up Mt. Everest to get the freezer and pantry stocked, and enough kitty litter to keep the floors from becoming potty pans.  It was mentally and physically fatiguing.

A crisis in the back yard a few weeks ago found me prying the Chickadee bird box off its pole and removing the nest so husband could hose out all the black ants.  I had to calm myself out of panic mode and into clear thinking mode.  Moss on the bottom of the nest fell off each time I moved the nest from one spot on the patio to another spot (about every 5-10 seconds), leaving a pile of swarming ants on the concrete with each move.

It wasn’t important at the time, so I don’t remember the number of featherless baby birds opening their mouths as if it was feeding time.  The parent birds where complaining loudly, and I feared abandoning the nest might happen; but the dropping of ants out of the nest with each move never subsided much.  Finally, I had to give up and hope for the best.

I scraped off some new moss from a log and the concrete walls to put in the bottom of the box to replace what fell off the nest and give some room for the remaining ants to not cannibalize the babies so easily.  I was pleasantly surprised when all the babies quietly fledged about 1 ½ - 2 weeks later, and left the box empty except, of course, for the ants.  That box is in the trash.  The next box will have a better way to hang on the pole.

Monitoring nest boxes is never ending.  I’ll wrap sticky tape upside down around the poles and carefully use insecticide on the bottom of the pole, but it all must be replaced every time it rains.  This year the woodpecker box was trashed after a carpenter bee adopted the box and chewed a hole too deep before I discovered it.  Birds don't nest with bees, and bees will re-use the box for years to come.  

Throughout the history of these gardens, the bird houses will be outdoors for a few years; and then when wasps, bees and aggressive birds become a problem, they are moved into storage for a few years until the cycle of enemies is broken.  It’s the only way I have been able to give baby birds a fighting chance of survival in their nest boxes.  

It's a dog eat dog world in nature.  Creatures have no hospitals, police, or 911 centers; so while I may try to do all these things on my own at one level or another in my gardens, it isn't feasible to think I can save every creature.  To look out my window at the waning day, is to look at softness and harshness as one.  Life...death...its the nature of things living.     

I’ve finished cleaning the gardens.  They’re still messy, but the rabbit I flushed out of the totally gone wild clematis vines near the back fence needs shelter, and if I keep cleaning, I will obliterate all safe places from its life in these gardens.  That would be the opposite of all that I try to accomplish.

I'm tired, and I've taken way too many breaks while trying to finish this post.  Started at breakfast and now it's past bedtime.  Creativity's not my forte these days, as I seem to have passed through that timeline of vintage into being an antique.

I have a cat who has caught up to me in cat years, so I can empathize with her plight these days.  She has added blood pressure medication to her growing list of pills, and it's becoming easier to take care of myself than taking care of her...poor baby.       

So…………………………………….................what’s new with you?

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Cats in the House...Spring in the Gardens

Broccoli Bolognese with Orecchiette will be dinner tonight.  It's a madhouse at the moment in the kitchen with my family of cats.  The moment they smell broccoli roasting in the oven all hell breaks loose.  It takes all the mustering up of patience I can eke out of myself to not scream bloody murder and run for the hills.

Lacey racing back and forth meowing a thousand times in one minute; Austin yowling at the top of his lungs rubbing in circles around my legs like Indians coming in for the kill; and even Charlotte, around the corner and down the hall in my studio, joins in when the aroma of roasting broccoli tantalizes her nose. 

Zoe yawns, moseys over to the hassock under the window sill and jumps up to dream of a dinner of fresh little cardinals, as she watches them pluck seeds from the hanging feeder.  She doesn't get it.  All this frenzy for some foul smelling green stuff.  What gives?

It's enough to drive anyone bonkers when in the presence of begging cats, but like the cool lady I really am :) my mind dreams of my happy place and leaves me only half bonkers.  They will be appeased when a small dish of those succulent roasted greens is placed on the floor to be gobbled up by furry little piranhas.  Who knew roasted broccoli would rival fried chicken in this household of kooky meowzers.

Blackhaw Viburnum

'My Mary' Azalea 

Native Honeysuckle

My gardens are a personal expression of what lies in the soul of my being.  Transforming Mother Nature into an artistic endeavor of personal pleasures is a road only the foolhardy travel, as it's a work grounded in everlasting heaven and hell.

Mother Nature is always redesigning my designs, winning out more often, as I lose out more often.  I'd like to say it's a compromise, but I'd be lying.  It's more like competing with a little bully with one hand tied behind my back.

I've found going with the flow works much better.  I give a little, she takes a lot.  She's happy with that arrangement.  I, on the other hand, moan and groan as I constantly cut off the heads of all those pesky weeds she seems to love with a passion.

Will it ever end?  I think only when I am no more.  Will my gardens live on?  They'll fade into oblivion, as one person's passion is rarely ever the next owner's desire.

Sad...happy?  It's all a matter of attitude.  I may bitch a little at times; but there's no place I'd rather be than in my gardens, where I can enjoy heaven and endure hell all at the same time :)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

An unpretentious kind of rainy day ~

An insightful gardener :) I know plants don't care what the catalogs or magazine's opinions are about themselves.  These free-spirited leafy individuals do as they darn well please, and it's my lot in life to manage their well-being in my gardens on that endless roller coaster ride that teeters ever so slightly towards hell at times.  It's wearing me out a teeny bit a lot.  Help!

Alright, already, Austin!!!  I need to feed a meowing cat who's driving me crazy with five minutes of pleading feed me feed me feed me feed me feed me feed me feed get the jest.  I'll be back in half an hour or so.






Today it's raining cats and dogs, with the wind and a few hippos thrown in.  If my photo below could talk, it would chat your little head off for the next two hours; but alas it can't, goes.  Dashed out the back door and lowered the umbrella canopy halfway to prevent the wind from reducing it to shreds.  Soaked in the process; so, after a change of clothes, I sopped up the water on my rain drenched head with a roll of paper towels...all good :/  

I would have closed the umbrella tight, but as you can see, it's protecting a cardboard box and its inhabitants.  Wanting to recycle their pots to use again, I moaned a phrase somewhat like "what the hell" when I looked into that opened box from I won't mention where, at four large clematis root balls wrapped in plastic bags with no pots.  This only works if the day is sunshine and the soil two days dry when received.  Have you ever known the weather to be that cooperative?

My ancient body isn't any more cooperative than the weather, Friday, one of the Arabella's was planted out back.  Yesterday the other Arabella was planted in the huge pot behind the deck table.  Today the yard is a swimming hole.  Saucy Alice is stewing in her prison, while Vinacea is chilling out like the laid back sort of plant she is.  Meanwhile, I'm visiting my happy place for the rest of the day.

What happened to extraordinary?

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