Thursday, May 28, 2020
There was a frost a few nights ago and it killed the basil... you know what that means! Happy Non-Anniversary to Bob and me! Okay, so the fact that our non-anniversary typically lands towards the end of September or beginning of October means nothing when you get a bizarre and unexpected frost that obliterates your only-just-planted basil but every other tender annual you tenderly started from seed... Oh the horror! The horror!
I lost two full flats of zinnia linearis (from my own saved seed!) which are impossible to buy at nurseries nowadays. A full flat of heliotrope (that I started from seed) and a number of individual "premium" annuals that I'd secured for filling containers succumbed, too. I was pretty much devastated but then Bob and I decided to celebrate 31 1/2 years...
So I had to re-purchase the plants that I could (tomatoes, peppers, basil etc) and simply mourn the ones I couldn't (whole flats of odd ball annuals). I lucked onto a slew of calendulas (in the same color range as the zinnias I'd planted) and bought enough to fill the bed that empty. It will look fine by mid-summer but I really LIKE those zinnias I lost!
Here's the replacement calendulas... all things considered, they'll look pretty good quite soon.
So other things going on...
And I know you can't smell it from there, but the Abelia is amazing! Loaded with blooms- top to bottomus- and just great:
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
So the picture at the top represents my initial foray into container planting. It's so much fun gathering all these colorful and seductive annuals and arranging for them to spend the summer together. Sometimes my head spins with the possibilities. Here's a shot of some of my raw material:
So forgive me if it's another few days before I post again; we're both busy in the great outdoors. We've also started grass seed in the horse field, mowed the lawn, Bob's planted his birthday present azalea (Delaware Valley White) and peonies (Festiva Maxima, Scarlett O'Hara and Do Tell) in a completely new display garden by the driveway. That way, when people pick up their metal plant supports (mostly peony rings!) they can see his work in action. It looks terrific! No wonder we're tired!
Sunday, May 10, 2020
I have begun the lovely task of assembling annuals, perennials and shrubs and vegetable plants to populate our many gardens and beds but I had to hustle them all back into my studio so they didn't freeze to death last night. And what of the hummingbirds?! There have been a bunch of them- right on schedule!- flying around and landing on our feeder; I may have to install a nectar heater! But where do they spend the night?
So I had an exciting adventure yesterday morning. I called our local hardware/feed store and ordered and pre-paid for the horse food I need so that I wouldn't have to enter the building. As is typical protocol now, they said they'd leave the two bags on the rear loading dock. I drove our trusty car (running like a top!) to the back of the store, put it in reverse and hoped for the best. I say this because the driveway leading up to the loading dock is seriously narrow and surrounded on both sides high concrete walls and a chain link fence too boot. Add to the already trying circumstances is that I have my sunglasses and face mask on so that the mask was causing the sunglasses to fog slightly. I carefully calibrated that the right passenger side of the car was the trickier side to gauge my proximity to the imposing wall and backed up... BAM!!! Oh, I hit something!!
I pulled my car forward, exited and went to survey the damage. Trusty the Car looked fine but when I turned around, I realized that I had hit the corner post and it had caused the chain link fence to bow out. Yikes!
Needless to say, I was mortified and knew I had to do the right thing. So I gloved up- already in my mask- and entered the store, which of course, was packed with customers and there were no sales people free. I exited and instead confessed by cell phone what I had done. I also walked to the back of the store and found three (3!!) male employees on the loading dock (all wearing masks) shaking their heads and... LAUGHING! Like "hahahaha; dumb blonde!!" In this case, I really didn't care as I confided just how stupid I felt and offered insurance information if they needed to press charges or put in a claim. But they were great and made plans among themselves to straighten it out. (In truth, it wasn't that bad!) They actually asked if I had gotten my two bags of beet pulp okay (yes, but need I remind you, these weigh 50 pounds apiece!) and told me to "have a nice day". I told Bob that the next time he went to our hardware store, he should view my signature "Damage by Rita" installation. I may avoid the store myself for a while as I'm certain they'll all be giggling at me when I come in...
Friday, May 1, 2020
I remarked to Bob that I'm sort of a junkie. I started itching and scratching and twitching and generally behaving in unpleasant and unattractive ways because I (and I'm assuming many others) am experiencing a spring in which I can't do one of my very favorite things: go to nurseries.
So I called around. Many garden centers/nurseries are open- but only if you pre-buy and pick up at curbside. This really cannot work in the horticultural arena. I need to look at and mentally combine combinations and colors. Also, I need to pick out my own plants; how can anyone else know which
specimen I think is best suited to my purposes?
I did locate one garden center in the next town over that said as long as you wore a mask and practiced social distancing, you could wander around and get your fix. Needless to say I was in my car and barrelling towards nirvana in a matter of minutes...
This is why I'm craving warm, sunny weather: I need that time outdoors to move plants around and remake and remodel garden beds that have become chaotic and weedy. Just to dig in the dirt. Even our perpetually sunny dog Robin the Good has been melancholy and not sure she really wants to go out. (Lots of standing at the door but not moving when the door opens. Sigh.) My mission today is to cheer her- and me!- up.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Happy Earth Day! I guess our present to the Earth has been diminished travel by airplane and car and decreased factory production leading to an all around cleaner environment. Something good had to come out of COVID 19! We're all breathing better if we've been fortunate enough to NOT contract Corona Virus.
But Earth Day dawned majorly cold and windy so quick strolls sufficed for any outdoor celebration. My one big effort yesterday was mixing organic Holly Tone with a wheelbarrow full of compost and applying this to the rhododendrons. I hope they enjoy as they're covered in buds and need nourishment! But I also had to yell (yes, YELL!!) at "the dog" (otherwise known as Robin the Good (ha!) who liked the smell of the Holly Tone and wanted to try and eat it. I hate to yell at (or otherwise reprimand Robin- who can generally do no wrong) but I was so afraid she'd get sick.
So here are pictures of all the lovely white daffodils, surrounded by vinca:
I couldn't be happier with my Spring Garden! The lilacs are all budded- even the small ones. Even in the midst of pandemics (you will notice that I haven't mentioned that mess) I am trying to be upbeat, happy and yes! "positive" in this time of plague and pestilence. Again, I stress how lucky Bob and I are that we have a yard and an outside to run around in.
Also, I continue to acknowledge how lucky we are that we both have studios. I've been creating up a storm... well, a few of my new works allude to the COVID 19 pandemic and how fucked up things are in general...Here's a quick view of two pieces in progress in Atelier Rita:
And I'm also playing with this beauty:
*(1) A "typical Philip Guston looking Philip Guston.
*(2) In case you missed poop emojis somewhere along the line.
*(3) Boy do I like foot-noting my blog posts!
*(4) And why did my formatting go hay wire?!??!
*(4) And why did my formatting go hay wire?!??!
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Anyone else suddenly sick and tired of COVID 19? It's sort of like the Donald Trump of pandemics. Every time you turn on the news or look at the Internet... or decide it would be a nice afternoon to visit a museum or go shopping, there it is, being awful and you wonder what did we ever do to deserve this!!?!?!?
And it's been a boring slog having to wade through unemployment applications on line, arranging for simple shopping trips that used to be a cinch. Wanting to go some place else, but having no place to go as most destinations are shut down. And going to the store is scary stuff: everyone masked or now wearing those plastic face shields*2.) and furtively eyeing each others carts to see who got that last roll of toilet paper. Some odd price gouging going on: ice cream (for which I've had a hankering) is over $5 a pint (fuggedaboudit!!) and eggs are over-priced and tiny. But gas is ridiculously cheap! I marveled at a sign advertising $1.89 a gallon and then saw another station offering gas for $1.79. Those cynical rethuglicans again. There's some price was going on in OPEC and we have no where to go so our prices come down. We're no doubt bailing out EXXON and Shell...
Bob and I finally got around to cleaning (a few parts of) the house today. I keep reading about people who claimed to have immediately set to cleaning their apartments once the quarantine was announced. I kept feeling like I had better things to do, but today- maybe in advance of the holiday to which no one can come, we cleaned.
So tomorrow is Easter, a good pagan holiday of earth reawakening and fertility. It will be quiet and I miss my family members not coming. Hell, I miss everyone right about now. Talking on the phone is one thing but I wish friends and family could see how nice our gardens look. (I promise to post pretty flower pictures next time.)
*2.)But there are a few cavalier, no-doubt-rethuglicans striding through the stores with no protection of any kind, wearing a disdainful "look at the bunch" of pussies expression. They make me so angry, but their fearless Orange leader has decried he will wear no mask!
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Other than us working in our studios, Bob and I seem to be holding up just fine. We've been working out doors, still cleaning up from that crazy tornado from two years ago. We're hauling off piles of brush and opening up new areas- it'll look great once we're done. But it's been chilly so I haven't really begun to garden; I need to transplant some things and move a few other things and clear yet more leaves (a refined detail clean-up. I already did the rough clean!) We have plenty of time so it'll all get done. Today is sunny so far but very windy so forgot those leaves!
But this is all seeming a tad like one of those cheesy sci-fi movies; surreal images of people shopping in masks and gloves and tractor trailers being turned into morgues. The quiet continues on our road and in the sky over our house, except for our returning ducks quacking up a storm. Our neighbors are not to be seen; not sure why they're not all outside enjoying the sunny weather. I start picturing them all turning into zombies or vampires inside their houses. Probably not a good mental image to have!
Here's a funny coincidence: A friend Facebook messaged me a funny song about "Staying the Fuck Home" (thanks Bill!!) and I kiddingly said, "Sounds like a new piece for me!". He responded with a thumbs up and then I got to thinking, why (the fuck) not? I also went to work on this as I was solicited to be in an on-line art show of work created while quarantined and what could be more appropriate? (I'm hoping to finish this piece this morning if I could only get off the computer and get some real work done!!) And then we turn on the Jimmy Kimmel show and he's talking to Samuel L. Jackson who reads from the new book, "Stay the Fuck Home"! Talk about synchronicity!!!
So take that advice- Stay the Fuck Home!!!
*See? Same sort of painterly impulse. Thank you Mr. Johns!