Monday, May 21, 2012

ten good things - almost Summer edition

1. An up-close view of a cardinal sitting on her nest.  Just over our heads. We could see her red  beak sticking out one side, and her reddish tail stick out the other. 

2. Coffee houses where one can buy a single drink, and study and concentrate for hours at a time.  I had less than 8 weeks to prepare for the GRE, so we shall see how I do.  But the study spaces are so niiiice.

3. Cute bunny rabbits, even though they eat my greens and dig holes in my yard, dammit. So THAT's who's living in the backyard condos.

4. The little girl running mellpell across the backyard. This must be what expanses of lawn were meant for.

5. The little girl cutting and pressing play dough shapes completely independently.  Today, she was cutting skinny triangles out of orange to make... carrots!

6. Cute thank you cards from my Sunday School kids at the end of the school year.

7. Organic whole wheat bread, freshly baked at home several times a week. It's fresh, it's tasty, and it saves us money. My husband The Daddy rocks, yes. 

8. A long-lost professor coming through to provide a recommendation by deadline - woo! I have a chance of getting into my program of choice for this Fall after all!

9. Fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, fresh melon, with mint from the garden.  With a sprinkle of sugar, or a squirt of whipped cream, or over sweet biscuit, or just plain naked.

10. The sound of wind through the trees on a sunny morning. Peace and harmony.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spring Busting Out All Over

Last year, it was infernally dry, one of the hottest Summer seasons on record.  My tomatoes bloomed and grew, but put forth no tomatoes.  It was just too darn hot.  I planted a hydrangea last year, a fancy variety planted strategically to screen my neighbors and ourselves from each other. It died.

Then over the Winter, the oregano exploded in growth.  It took over almost an entire plot.  The lavender has been looking happy instead of half-dead and sending out new growth. The lemon verbena started its Spring growth early and mounded up very prettily.  Certain patches of lawn were looking very perky.  All of a sudden I notice, holy cow, Spring is excellent and it's almost over!  

One advantage to all this early rain and warmth is that my lawn has been feeling happy.  All Fall and Winter, I raked and seeded, weeded and seeded some more.  Now the front lawn actually looks green. Considering the sad, long- neglected state of our property, that is an unusually excellent state of affairs, believe me.  All that incremental work has been paying off.

Not only does the front yard look inviting rather than scruffy, the backyard is looking more and more like an enticing expanse for play. Whenever the little girl passes by, she is drawn to it.  We hear an "Eeeeeeee!" and before we can stop her, she has jumped the border, and is running down the hill, to the back fence, making loops over the lawn, and collapsing into the grass.   That just wasn't possible until recently.   Never mind that there are still whole swaths of lawn she is not allowed in yet - persistent poison ivy and whatnot - this looks like a playground to her.  The family of rabbits who live in our backyard think likewise.  Here, hawk, hawk! Nice tender rabbits over here. 

So I keep weeding and pulling vines, and picking up endless numbers of sweet gum balls (hundreds!) courtesy of a neighboring tree, raking old sticks and debris, pulling ticks off myself (sorry!), reseeding any patch of mud or bare ground, spritzing the poison ivy - persistent buggery seedlings! - and keeping ahead of the rain schedule.  I still have much, much, much to do, but we can see the progress, and it heartens us.

Of course, part of regrowing the grass means cutting it regularly to keep it neat.  I can't cut the entire property on one charge (we have an electric mower), so I do it in sections. One day I trim the edges with the weed whacker and mow the front.  A few days later, I pick up sticks and those infernal sweet gum balls. A few days later, I mow the back and whatever of the side yard I can stomach.  I pick up more sticks and pull some vines.  I mow the side yard in its entirety.  I zap new sprigs of poison ivy I've noted.  I pull weeds, and rake and seed bare spots.  Then I start again on the front yard.  It looks good!  Now I just have to distribute that mulch from the tree work we had done two years ago.

This weekend, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother's Day.  I said, "Plant the garden!"  Luxury.

I put in some heirloom tomatoes, interspersed with marigolds and basil.  I finally planted the dill and new parsley.  I contemplated where I'd plant the annuals. I plotted digging up the dead hydrangea and planting a new one.  Then I picked up seed balls and sticks, etc, spritzed and weeded, etc, reseeded, etc.

Just in time.  More rain is on its way.  Hi Spring - I hope you're having fun! It's Garden Time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ten good things - Late Spring Edition

Here's a list of 10 good things I've been appreciating recently.

 1. Surprise iris blooming in my front garden. They have not been happy for years. I had forgotten what color they were, honestly. After I transplanted them last year, it hardly rained, and so they continued to not bloom. But this year, all this rain and early warmth are letting them really show off!

April Iris

 2. Looking out on my freshly mown lane. So pretty, so lush, so neat. Ahhh. Except for the patches that haven't been reseeded properly. We'll get to that.

3. An impromptu Morris dance enacted by a friend of mine and three little kids with light sabers. You had to be there, but it was truly entertaining. Light sabers are swords, aren't they? Sure they are.

 4. Wind noisily moving through mountain forests at night. It sounded like a downpour, but no, it was wind. What a way to wake up.

 5. The little girl adjusting well to her toddler bed. This is a great thing, despite the increase of night wakings and increased mobility. My baby girl in her own bed! Wheee!

 6. New plans and ambitions stretching me. We've got preschool lined up, and so now we embark on job searches and career moves, and going back to grad school, and all those supporting pieces of wordage and connections one must compile. It's crazy-busy but exciting.

 7. Paying no attention to those voices of doubt. It's not that they are NOT bugging me, but I'm getting better at pushing past them on the way to what I want to do. It helps to have references responding enthusiastically.

 8. Getting appreciation for my ukulele playing. I am not much good at playing, but I keep at it. See: Practicing practicing

9. Calling a dance weekend and getting to work with awesome-fun bands and dancers.

 10. Edy's Thin Mint ice cream. Thankfully this is a limited edition, or I'd eat this all the damn time!