Warm Novembers

The warm weather we’ve been having, while unseasonable, is not unprecedented. I remember another such November — I was young and becoming more in tune with my surroundings as I became more in tune in with myself. I walked miles and miles that November. I remember walking the five miles from my apartment to my parents’ house to celebrate Thanksgiving. It felt so good to be out unburdened by a coat or a sweater, it was if I were dancing all the way.

So much of my distant past is lost in the shadows of time, but I distinctly remember that walk, and how lighthearted I felt.

Here I am, decades later, enjoying that same sort of warm spell. This year, Thanksgiving won’t be as warm as the one I remember, but these recent days sure have been.

I feel almost as lighthearted as I did then — apparently, this weather has that effect on me — but I feel leaden footed without a hint of dance to my step. Of course, that is probably due as much to age as to the hours spent working in my yard earlier today.

I decided to dig up the lily bulbs I planted too shallowly, so I dug up the entire lily garden. To my surprise, I could only find about half the bulbs. Even the ones I clearly remember planting were missing. It’s possible I planted some deeper than I thought I did, especially since I did dump more dirt on top of the garden, but still, I should have found more of them. Well, I’ll have to wait until spring to see what happens, and if necessary, I can order a few more next fall to fill in empty areas.

After that, I planted a couple of dozen tulip bulbs, then I watered the lawn. Not exactly a day to remember decades from now, but a lovely day nonetheless.

I keep telling myself that this will be the last year I do this sort of planting, and that might be true, but I realized when I was out there earlier that the place where the shingles for my gazebo are being stored (they were actually dumped there, but saying they were stored makes it seem less haphazard) would make a perfect daffodil garden — a bright spot for the spring blooms, and yet out of the way for when their season has passed.

Even if the weather is back to normal or unseasonably chilly next year, I should be able to manage to plant one small garden.

Meantime, the next two days will be much like today, which will give me a chance to finish planting the tulip bulbs before the temperature begins dropping again.


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.

Planting Day

Since this was going to be the last warm day for a while, perhaps until next year, I’d planned to spend the day planting the bulbs I’d ordered.

And I did . . . spend the day planting bulbs, that is. I am utterly exhausted, but the problem is, I only planted half the bulbs I ordered. The rest are lost in the black hole of the Denver postal system as so often has happened since I’ve moved here. Apparently, getting mail to the hinterlands is not a priority. And it’s not just the postal system. UPS recently lost a package, too.

I’m sure the bulbs aren’t lost, just waylaid, but by the time they get here, we’ll be in the midst of a rainstorm, according to the weather forecasters, so there’s no telling when I’ll be able to plant the bulbs. The sellers always urge haste in planting, but since there doesn’t seem to be much haste in getting them to me, I’m not sure how critical it is to get them in the ground right away.

According to the seller, “After arriving on a cargo ship and then clearing customs, the bulbs were transferred to a carrier service for delivery.” Considering the current cargo ship problem, the bulbs could have been in transit for months. I do know they’ve been in the USA for over a week, and it will be close to two weeks by the time I get them.

None of that indicates urgency to me, so when they get here, I’m going to take my time planting them. Luckily, despite the coming cold spell, the ground shouldn’t freeze, so that won’t be an issue. What could be an issue is my soreness — I probably overdid it today, and I am moving like a movie version of Frankenstein’s monster, but since I can’t do any work until the bulbs get here, I should have plenty of time to recuperate.

It was worth it, though, getting these bulbs planted. The lily trees take a few years to get established so they can grow to their full height, but someday I should have a lovely lily forest. (The lilies aren’t really trees, just very tall plants, a cross between trumpet lilies and Asian lilies.) And I planted tulips along a part of my path that’s out of the way so it will be a surprise seeing them when I turn the corner. I was particularly careful to plant them the necessary depth, so I have a good feeling about my chances of having tulips next spring.

Meantime, if I get antsy, am not hurting, and want to do some work outside until the rest of the bulbs get here, there is still a small section of the garden that needs to be prepared for wildflower sowing before the snows hit.

To be honest, I am stunned by the work I’ve done and am doing. I never planned it, and I certainly didn’t think I had the physical capability to do the work even if I had wanted to plan such a project. Still, by taking one step at a time, digging one shovelful of dirt at a time, clearing one foot of weedy grass at a time, I accomplished more than I ever imagined.


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.


It’s amazing how sore a person can get doing a bit of gardening if it’s at the beginning of the season and she is not yet used to digging holes.

This morning when I went outside to see what the day was like (still the most accurate way of checking the current weather), I noticed that a few of my tulips were budding, and one was in bloom!

I was so thrilled with the discovery that it gave me the energy and inspiration to transplant a couple of lilac bushes. The bushes I planted last year from the Arbor Day Foundation all just stared at me when I watered them, and though they greened up a bit, they never grew. And this winter killed them. I was able to get a couple of “volunteers” from a neighbor to replace the poor moribund twigs.

It didn’t take me that long, and I thought I was outside for a short while, but now? Oh, my. I am sore from head to foot.

So tomorrow, whatever happens inspiration-wise when I go out to check the weather, I will simply enjoy the tulips and resist the urge to do more.

The tulips that flowered are those I planted this past fall. Considering the massive failure of the previous fall’s plantings, I was very careful to prepare the soil and measure the proper depth and distance to plant each of the bulbs. And they did well.

Many of the original bulbs are growing leaves this year (to my surprise and delight), but very few are budding, which according to one gardening site, could mean they weren’t planted deep enough. So next fall, I will have a choice — pile more dirt where the bulbs are, or dig them up, spread them out, and make sure they are replanted at the proper depth.

Or, of course, I could do nothing and see what happens.


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.