Days Are Just Packed

I tend to think I don’t do much, but lately I’ve had to revisit that thought. Ever since gardening weather has hit, I spend a couple of hours outside every day, either watering, transplanting, weeding, mowing, or whatever catches my attention that day.

Although it’s hard work, I enjoy having the excuse to be outside. I don’t like to just sit for more than a few minutes outside with nothing to do, and I get too distracted to read. I’m also not one for playing outside. Even if I wanted to ignore my age (and sometimes wonky knees), I don’t have anyone to play with, so I appreciate having an excuse — even if it’s work — to enjoy my yard, especially the watering since it’s easy and gives me a chance to see how each plant is doing. I don’t yet have a lawn (and haven’t decided if I will have one, though I am thinking a small patch of grass might be nice) so I don’t use a sprinkler but hand water my bushes, shrubs, and flowers. All of these things are still babies, but I’m hoping as the summer progresses, I’ll have more things to enjoy seeing while I play at gardening.

Today I spent my outside time digging up prostrate knotweed, an almost hopeless endeavor, (though I have been told it makes for a good lawn in these parts; it’s just not good in a garden).

Afterward, I walked to the hardware store to see if they had any plants left. Though the pickings were slim, I did get a couple, as well as a bit of a discount because of it being so late in the season.

On the way home, I met a friend out walking her own errands, so we visited a bit.

Then I went to check on the house I’m looking after for an absent friend.

And to put a cap on my day, a worker came to start painting my basement. Admittedly, I wasn’t the one doing the work, but I can’t really relax when someone else is in my house, so it felt as if I were working.

Yep, days are just packed!

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What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

The Cycle of the Seasons

Despite all the snow that fell here this winter, we’re still in a drought situation. The snow was the light, airy kind that couldn’t hold together to make a snowball. Not that I wanted to make snowballs, but a couple of people in snowless country wanted me to make a snowman or snowwoman or some kind of snow creature. Apparently, the sort of snow we got didn’t hold much moisture, hence the lack of snowballs.

I don’t imagine the lack of winter moisture will make much difference to me and my garden. When the ground dried between storms, I made sure to water my greengage plums and a few other prized plants. I’m hoping that will be enough to give them a good start this spring.

Spring? Wow, that’s not so far away — only nineteen days! We generally have late snow storms and late frosts, so planting time isn’t until May, but maybe I should start thinking about what I want to plant when the weather becomes optimal. Or not. Since I don’t want to drive a long way, and don’t really have much luck with mail order plants, I’ll be at the mercy of the local hardware store. I suppose I could buy the plants early and keep them inside to give them a better start, but that decision is still many weeks away.

Meantime, I am enjoying the sun and the warmer weather. And I certainly will appreciate the lower heating bills!

One of the odd things about having lived so many years, is that time moves faster in relation to one’s time here on Earth, and so it’s easier to feel the seasons cycling from one to another. Which, of course, is a good reason to enjoy whatever the day brings because before you know it, arctic temperatures will return. But perhaps, with a bit of luck, not until next year.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God

Thrilling and Not-So-Thrilling Developments

The most thrilling new development is that my contractor came with a couple of his workers yesterday and finished framing my sidewalk and stoop. He’d hoped to have the sidewalk poured today, but apparently, all the concrete guys are up in the northern part of the state installing or re-installing windmills. I’m not really sure what the story is. All I know is that no one could come do my job until Monday. Meantime, I can enjoy the esthetics of the framework, especially since, as you can see, it used up a bunch of scrap lumber leftover from other projects.

If all goes as planned, sometime next week, I will actually be able to go out the backdoor. Even better, I will be able to go directly to the garage. Yay!

Now I just have to figure out what I want to do with the island between the sidewalks. Plants of course, but do should I fill in the hilly area with dirt and then do some sort of ground cover? Do I do a container garden? (I will be doing a container garden between the house and the ramp at the bottom of the photo, so perhaps that will be too many containers.) Should I put in a bush or some sort of fancy boulder? Or do I leave as is, and just plant whatever and see what happens. So many choices!

On the middling thrilling front, I should be getting a few plants next week that I’d ordered from a desert nursery, in an effort to see what will grow in this alkaline, dried-out clay soil. I could put some of those plants in that island, but I think I’d like to something less haphazard since it will be the most visible and visited garden spot in my yard.

On the not so thrilling front, I’d ordered some protein bars to add to my scant emergency food supply. (As of now, that supply consists of a couple cans of beans, a couple cans of tuna, and three freeze-dried meals leftover from my camping days.) The bars were supposed to be low carbohydrate, but it turns out they were high carbohydrate. Apparently, they did some sort of shady math to subtract out the carbohydrates. They didn’t subtract out the carbohydrates themselves, you understand, just played around with the numbers to get a “net” figure. Luckily, I hadn’t paid a lot for these bars — they were a sample pack that I somehow got for half price. And anyway, they are just for emergencies. (You notice that I use the full word — carbohydrates? No “carbs” for me!)

But truly, those bars are a minor non-thrill. Greater by far is the thought of finally getting some of the necessary work done on my back yard!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

A Garden of Sorts

A friend is planning on stopping by later this month to visit for a few hours on her way east, and she mentioned that she is especially looking forward to seeing my garden. I had to laugh at that — she’s already seen my garden. And so have you. At least what there is of it, which isn’t anything, really, but a few isolated flowers that bloom then disappear. What I mostly have is dirt, dead weeds (you know how bad the drought is when even the weeds are dead), a few baby lilac bushes and some transplants that are struggling.

What I also have is an appreciation for any bit of color, even a single flower, and a good photographic eye, which makes it seem as if I have a garden.

Someday, there might actually be a garden of sorts. I still have to wait until the garage is finished (high winds and rain the past couple of days and now mud today have delayed the work again), dirt is brought to fill in around the garage and the big depression where the old garage was, the sidewalks and pathways laid down, and the ornamental gravel arrayed around the house and garage. Then, maybe, if it’s not too late, I’ll try planting some things.

I did get a large planter and some potting soil, but I haven’t yet decided what to do with it or what to plant in the pot. It was supposed to go on a tree stump to add a pit of color to a dead spot in the side yard, but the top of the stump isn’t level, and I worried that with the high winds around here, the planter would be too unstable.

I’d also planned to get a couple of hanging plants to go on either end of the house, but I’m glad I haven’t yet done it. The wind the past couple of days was scary enough without having to worry about damage from flying planters.

Today’s bit of color: trumpet vines that found their way into my yard. Such welcome visitors! I’m glad they decided to settle in.

I might not have a garden to show off to others, but I must admit, I do love the flowers that show off to me.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Holes!

I dug holes yesterday. Lots and lots of holes!

I’ve been told (and I’ve read) that one needs a plan when gardening, and my plan was to plant as many bulbs as I could as quickly and as easily as possible. There’s no real design to my holes — I just dug where it was easy to dig; if my shovel hit a hard spot where I planned to plant, I moved to another spot where the soil was softer. I don’t really care if there is any discernable design. I just want some color mixed in with the mostly brown grass. Also, once the flowers die and the leaves turn brown, the whole thing can be mowed, which seems like an interesting idea.

I’d gotten a bit carried away when ordering bulbs, and as it turned out, for the holes I dug, I got the right amount since the holes were big enough to house more than one bulb.

Of course, now my muscles are stiff and my throat sore, but it’s good to have it all done.

Now it’s a matter of waiting for spring to see what I have wrought!

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.