Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Rockin' Life Style Part I

This is what Bob and I do for fun: we dig.
Specifically, we decided to redo the white quartz border alongside the house- permanently. Once or twice a year, I'd spend a day to two weeding the stones. Bob would point out the futility of this enterprise, as the weeds inevitably grow back and the whole thing looks like hell again. His solution made sense (remove all the stones, weed and level the dirt, layer on mulch fabric and replace the stones. Permanent fix!
But did it happen? Who had the time and energy and dedication?
Well... we do! We started yesterday (just another fun activity on Bob's birthday) and got about half way done before we had to leave for the Matthew Barney film "Redoubt" screening at Yale (it was great but very draining!) Today it's raining so we're sort of on intermission but at least it's underway...

We waited to start this process because there were dandelions blooming in the stones and we left them for the pollinators. Now that there are many other flower choices (crab apples, daffodils, tulips, magnolias etc) removing the dandelions and assorted other weeds seems not so onerous.
There are a lot of rocks! If you remember, when we moved to this house, we moved several tons of stones and rocks (Other people may move furniture...) Some were larger, but much of it was buckets and buckets of white quartz rocks that Bob uses in his sculpture. I also continue to pick up pocketfuls of small stones on my morning walks so the border by the house is pretty full, even when Bob harvests rocks for extracurricular projects. Clearing the dirt was a major undertaking.
But that stage is complete and if it ever stops raining, we'll lay the mulch fabric and reinstall all the white quartz. Maybe next week?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Bruise is a Bruise is a Bruise

Isn't she lovely? Don't ask me where I got a thigh shiner from!
Yesterday, I spent the morning planting and then shopping and then planting again. This entailed at least four wardrobe switches. I change my clothes a lot; I will not go to the store in gardening clothes (as discussed previously, I am a slob and attract mud and filth. Alas.)
So you would have thought I would have seen the above blight on the milk white loveliness of my upper leg... but no! I was changing (for the fourth or fifth time) when I spied what I thought was mud. But it didn't wipe off and in the harsher light of the bathroom, I thought it saw it was discolored and pretty damned gross. I immediately thought of my friend Laurie who had a gigantic bruise appear on the back of her knee and it got all infected and awful and her doctor put her on antibiotics and said it was probably a Brown Recluse Spider bite! I immediately thought, "WTF!!! We're going away to new Bedford for three days and I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night sweating and feverish and hallucinating because I've been poisoned by some infernal arachnid!!!"
So I asked Bob to look at it and he agreed that it was pretty horrific and didn't scoff when I asked him to accompany me to the new medical walk in clinic that opened up the road. I was relieved that he didn't say, "For what? Your leg doesn't look that bad" (which would have made me feel like an alarmist or hypochondriac) but alarmed that he shared my concern. (Which made me more alarmed!)
To end this tale quickly, I'll say the doctor on call at the clinic took one look at my thigh and said, "Looks like a big bruise to me". She then asked my if I'd blacked out recently, to which I demurred- I think I'd remember that! But I also admitted that whether at work or home, I tend to run around and move heavy things (like tables, picture frames, hay bales, wheel barrows and the like) and even run into them. So we agreed that's probably what occurred to cause the above contusion.
But it was still a mystery! I guess I could have done it earlier in the week at work, where "the management" seems to delight in leaving large, heavy items of furniture in doorways, often with pointy ends and edges sticking out at just about thigh level. In any event, it looks better and it is fading to an attractive yellowish purple (with a hint of blue) and it doesn't feel raised up or hot so I think I'll live. And we had a lovely time in Massachusetts where I managed to get to the Cape for the first time in my life!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Good Fences and Neighbors- Again!

I was so excited to get this project underway that I plum forgot to take pictures or document it until too late! But see all that nice new fencing? Five whole panels (at 8 feet a panel that's an additional 40 feet of coverage!) that weren't there yesterday morning...
Last week, I announced to Bob that I was considering hiring our good friend Joe to assist me in erecting more fencing. Bob eagerly seconded my idea as he has been super busy with metalwork orders and he knew how anxious I was to get this fence section completed. It is right next to my famous Lilac and Shrub Departments... new additions as of the last couple of years, and in need of a bit of privacy. I felt exposed and self-conscious while gardening down there; sometimes I'm covered from head to toe in mud (or worse!) and wearing my gardening clothes- short hand for my weirdest and most expendable outfits... ripped, torn, and filthy. So I was sparing our neighbors (very nice people) from the cringe worthy spectacle of the soiled, cursing crazy lady lurching around and stumbling over half unearthed tree stumps and poison ivy brambles.*
Even my daffodils look happier now that they are a bit more protected!
So Joe cheerfully agreed to meet me for for a day of digging, nailing, hauling and hoisting fun. He arrived at 9:00 and we lugged drill, extension cords, shovels, crow bars, electric chain saw, fence sections and saw horses into place only to realize there was a bit more "clearing" that needed doing before we set up any fence. It took us a good hour to chop, saw and haul trees, wild rose bushes, barberry and scrubby choke cherry growth away. And then we were ready to start the actual joy of post hole digging. Our soil is reliably rocky...
At some point early in our efforts, we required a ladder so that Joe- despite being heroically taller than myself- could pound the posts in. (In a moment of engineering brilliance, he thought to sharpen the ends of the posts so that they would drive in more easily) I went to Bob's studio and requested a ladder and Bob helpfully asked "how many sections we had gotten up". Hahaha! He was surprised- and concerned- when I said, "None!" I think he thought we'd never get on with the job.
But we did! By coffee time (typically about 3:00 or 3:30) we were well on our way and had completed the job by 5:00. It looks great! Even our neighbor next door suggested that we needn't have put the "good side" of the fence towards them; I'm sure they're glad to be spared my weird hijinks and wardrobe crimes AND they get the "good side" of the fence! Deal! Good neighbors!

*Additionally, we no longer have to stare at their dozen or so parked cars and snow mobiles.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

But Ossifer!

The other night, on our way back home from visiting with friends and enjoying pizza, we couldn't help but notice that the car behind us was swerving all over the road, as well as tail-gaiting us in an unnerving and annoying manner. Bob was going the speed limit (he's a much more law abiding driver than myself hahahahahahaha!) and being cautious. We passed a police car parked to the left side of the road and both of us exclaimed something like, "Good! Hope he pulls that guy behind us over!" Yes, lights and whistles blaring, the police car pulls out and gives chase.
And then we see that the police officer has passed the car behind us and we say to one another, "He must be on his way to an emergency"... until it dawns on us, with all lights flashing and sirens whooping and bleeping that he's pulling up behind US.
Bob steers to the edge of the road and the car that's been weaving and swerving zooms off ahead. We exchange "WTF" looks and Bob maneuvers his wallet out of his pocket to access his license. I attempt to wrestle the large plastic pot full of plants that our good friend Bob gave us up off the floor of the truck and onto the seat so as to allow me to open the glove compartment and get the registration out. (No easy feat!)
The officer approaches the truck and says something about how we were swerving on the road and Bob answers, "That wasn't us: that was the car behind us." The police person then says, "Yeah, I noticed that. I thought he was trying to signal that YOU were driving oddly". !?!?!?!??!!?!?
So the police man says, "Oh, and you've got plants!" !?!?!?!?!?!?
He then states, "I guess I pulled the wrong car over", gets back in his police car and pulls out and speeds off, not even having checked Bob's license or insurance or registration. Needless to say, we were perplexed.

(And I will add that both Bob and I simultaneously remarked to each other, "It's a good thing we aren't black!" How sad is that? We'd probably be arrested or dead!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Random Vernal Bits

So I've completed my taxes... yaaaay!!! Always a source of stress and weird eruptions (like I have this zit forming on my chin; I KNOW that's from tax preparation!), it grants me peace of mind (as opposed to a piece of my mind. Yes, large chunks of it break off whenever I'm forced to do financial things which is why I'll never master balancing a check book. How can anyone in their right mind commit to sitting down and spending time and more brain cells on something so numbing and futile?!?!) So taxes accomplished, I'm on to more valuable time consumers.
Like Spring garden clean up. This, of course, entails hauling 80 large tarp loads of soggy leaves and spent ornamental grasses off into the woods. The grasses inevitably torque sideways while attempting to navigate through any one of our garden gates, which leads to major events of cursing and re-wedging the grasses back onto the completely twisted!
At least the garden looks better, freed of last year's desiccated stalks and seed heads. I feel like I got the clean up well under way earlier than I sometimes do. I'm ready for things to start growing!
And I am happy to report that things ARE growing. (Nice shot of the over-wintered indoors plants that didn't die. The begonia that our good friend Bob gave us is blooming it's pants off.) The lilacs have actual flower buds and the daffodils are all budded and starting to burst. A few species tulips managed to not be eaten by (the mother fucking) squirrels and are in hesitant flower. (I think they're cringing and afraid to be singled out and then devoured). But it's shaping up to be a pretty spring.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A Few Days of Birds Behaving Oddly

To address the title of this blog post- in which I am cramming all sorts of tidbits- let's first look at the duck above. I was hanging out laundry and saw this brown lump on the other side of the fence. First I thought it was a small pile of leaves, as the wind was  blowing ferociously. But I kept thinking there was something sticking out to one side. As I approached slowly and cautiously so as not to scare it, it became clear it was a duck, it's beak being the thing sticking out. We do have ducks that land on and hang around our tiny pond, but this duck was just sitting there, looking around. I actually had enough time to go into the house, score the camera and snap this picture. It stayed for a while and then apparently flew off. But I thought it was strange that it hung out on the grass.
And the other day, Bob and I were standing outside by the side gate when Bob said, "Look; it's a Goldfinch sitting on the grass." On closer inspection, it wasn't a Goldfinch, but a parakeet! I tried to get near it, talking to it in a cheerful, friendly to birds kind of way (I thought!) but it flew off. I was reminded of how when I was young, my family adopted a small green parakeet who just appeared out of no where and landed on my mother's ("Mommy's") shoulder. Our parents (Mommy and Daddy) ran an ad and sought his owner, but none claimed the bird, so he found a new home with us. Charlie the parakeet was a character and sang and talked and whistled; I thought maybe history was repeating itself, but the bird flew away. I hope he found his way home as it was cold and they can't live outside here in New England.
The last "bird" under discussion here is Lil' Robin the Good. Maybe it's the Spring and the high wind and things beginning to grow or the changing light and lengthening days, but I've thought that Robin has been a little more needy or clingy than usual. She is a funny sensitive soul (and prone to nuttiness like when she's chasing shadows and leaves...) but she has seemed preoccupied. And I think she's put on a little weigh. AND THEN IT STRUCK ME: what if she'd taken matters into her own hands (paws) and gotten knocked up??!!? It seems unlikely: we've kept an eagle eye on her when she went out into the yard during her last heat.(*1) There are no intact males around that I know of (except Chops (dumber than a door nail!) next door. Dear goddess! Please, if Robin got impregnated, don't
let it be Chops!!!) Anyway, as there are no at home dog pregnancy tests, and it's a month ago that
her heat cycle ended, I guess I'll just pinch myself and wait another month to see if "anything
happens". (*2)

1.) Although I did kiddingly say to Bob one day as I went the door to work, "Keep a close eye on Robin and don't let anyone near her... unless he's a really fluffy attractive English Setter, Irish Setter, Golden Retriever or maybe even a Bernese Mountain Dog".

2.) It's harder than you think to find the right partner for your dog. Purebred dog owners are the worst and are terrified that their breeds purity will be sullied by mixing with mongrels. They would never willingly permit interbreeding! (Despite the unhealthiness of inbreeding and line breeding and all the nasty hereditary messes that purebred dogs inherit.) It would be the final irony if Robin found herself a "boyfriend" after all the unsuccessful work I've been doing to hook her up.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

World's Tallest Amaryllis!

Just when I had despaired that our purchased amaryllis bulb had decided not to bloom (and we were stuck with figuring out what to do with a couple of strappy leaves and no flower) our friend Bob (one of many Bobs) gave us another bulb. This one was already promising to flower...
It's really out done itself. As you can see in the picture, it's a full 36" tall (that's a yard stick next to it) and has four large siren-like blossoms. AND it had another bud stalk rising form the pot!
It has made me so happy to see color and leaves as outside remains grey/tan/brown and bleak. It is a bit warmer (not over night!) and things are beginning to grow (not fast enough for me!). I guess Spring will officially arrive. I'm so eager to see how all those tulip and daffodil bulbs did.* And the lilacs! My infatuation with lilacs continues: I already have a short list of ones I need to find this year, like "Monge" and Charles Joly" and "Katherine Havermeyer". I guess this keeps me going when it still seems like warmth and flowers are so far away.

* I am a bit concerned as it's been so damned wet, and then we had a sheet of ice with water sort of trapped underneath. I'm afraid some of the bulbs may have rotted as they prefer a drier situation.