Monday, November 14, 2011


I want you to be happy. You know, with the kind of happiness that sneaks in around the edges so that you don't always realize just how happy you are, but every time you get a quiet moment it floats in your soul and lifts you up, leaving you to recognize that no matter what goes wrong, no matter how hard life gets, you're still at the heart of it filled with happiness.

That's my wish for you.

That's the kind of happiness I feel. I don't always realize it; the pain takes all my concentration so much of the time, and the worry takes so much of it as well... but in the quiet moments when I sit peacefully, the happiness bubbles to the surface again, a gentle reminder that the real me is still here inside myself.

The house is a mess, the garden desperately needs attention, the bills are expanding to take every cent and then some. It all adds up to huge worries, fueled no doubt by the pain, but then there are moments, wonderful peaceful moments.

Saturday I stood outside between Grandfather and Grandmother Maple trees in the midst of the wind, singing the Autumn in. The song just bubbled up out of my soul like an artesian spring.

Tonight a friend posted that she wished everyone happiness and as I smiled at her post I remembered my own happiness. Gryph doesn't see it often enough anymore, so I'm posting it here: at the heart of it all, I am a very happy person. Life is good. I am beyond lucky.

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Gryph}}}}}}}}}}}}}} Thank you for being my love.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

After this long brutal summer....

The cukes have given us one last fruit; it was invisible until the vines died back.

The tomato bin has proven surprisingly resilient; I expect being two thirds oak leaf compost means it holds a lot of water. Really, that bin has the nicest soil on the property! It's been subject to squirrel depradations lately and I rather think there may be nut trees sprouting come spring. I smoothed the soil back out, broadcast carrot seeds over the whole bin, and dumped half a big trash bag of mixed dried leaves over the top. So far the squirrels are leaving it alone and the tomatoes seem to have perked up even more. There are two pepper plants on the right hand end and they're just loving having their feet covered. No fruits from anything yet, but there are blossoms on all the plants.

A closer look. I am so sold now on planting in leaf compost! If there is ANY way I can manage it, I am going to be steali---errrrr, I mean SAVING, yes, saving---bags of leaves wherever I find them this fall!

What's left of my gardens after summer's brutality. The pots are mostly empty, the garden about half empty. The weeds and the sprawling tomato vines, plus the honeyvine milkweed on the fence all make it look better than it is. I never got green beans and the plants were the first established garden plants to burn out this year. The cukes produced--we had to pull them half-size, but they produced until they also burnt out. The tomatoes did not produce but have only died back by about a third. The eggplant has been a modern marvel; small seedy fruits with bittr skins but the plants just keep on growing. The peppers have been lackluster, half-dead, and the lilac pepper did die. The strawberries and snow peas died out at the beginning of July and the snow peas I planted to replace them died in mid-July.

In the pots, the herbs and rose bushes have all died, except for one mint plant (Mint Julep) and the itty-bitty remains of the bronze fennel plant. Four strawberries survived, and the kohlrabi survived. The chrysanthemum seems okay, but the geraniums have all died mostly back. The red-veined sorrell was doing GREAT and jusssst before I went to harvest it a squirrel took the whole doggoned plant, right back to the roots!!

The lilac and the blueberry died--I swear, that lialc is the queen of resurrection, because this is the third time in two years it has leafed back out again. The blue-ray blueberry has green stems yet, but no leaves at all. I cannot tell if it's just dormant or if it truly has died.

Most of the pots just need to be replanted, which is why we put them in the back yard today. Autumn sunshine and the close proximity of the hose will, I hope, work an autumn miracle and give me a good garden over the next couple of months.... once I figure out the squirrell-proofing.

The experimental garden is flourishing in late summer and early autumn. What you cannot tell from this pic is that the squirrels have already made off with the first and biggest sunflower heads; those are the secondary buds from low down on the plants. The morning glories bloom every day into the midafternoon, deeeeeeep purple beauties, Grandpa Ott's (an heirloom). That's an eggplant dangling out the side there behind the sunflowers; it has a compadre on the other side of this garden.

The pinto beans have scaled themselves way back. During early and mid-August they were lush and overpowering, sprawling all over the garden and into the yard with leaves as huge as those on the morning glories and just COVERED with white blossoms. Now they are small again and have a couple beans. Sheesh.

Did I remember to mention how brutal this summer was??

There is purslane in there.


This is the eggplant in the main garden, which has finally caught up with the eggplants in the experimemtals garden. That's quite a testamonial to Dylan's Microbe Booster because this eggplant is a month older than the others and was ahead of them for quite a while, but it just didn't weather the heat as well as they did. Now it is gifting me with nodding lavender beauty and ruffly huge gray-green leaves. I think it will probably do well for the rest of the autumn.

Are they not gorgeous? I'll try to catch a picture when the morning glories are open. I love the way the purple and gold complement each other.

I started this post with what's left... here is what's coming, more snow peas. I planted them in patches around the pepper plants at the far right end of the main garden and overseeded them with parsley and cilantro, then dumped the other half of the big bag of mixed leaves on top. So far no more squirrel depredations in here, either, and the peppers in here perked up as sis the luffa. Might have had something to do with the compost I spread around pretty liberally before I broadcast the herb seeds--that huge bin of sticks is finally giving me REAL compost!

All in all I'd say we survived summer okay, if rather bruised and battered around the edges. Now to see if we can flourish in autumn. Wishing you a long gentle season of recovery and/or new growth as well!

Bright Blessings,


An August Diversion

My water bill was $167. I almost fell over. But yanno, I said all summer that I didn't care what it cost, I was GOING to keep my trees and my gardens alive. I did it. It was brutal; I think Wichita set a record for the number of consecutive days over 100. At least once we hit 114 with a heat index at 122. I put a thermometer on my shady front porch and day after day after day I came home from work to see it registering at 110. I was sick from the heat constantly, our air conditioner ran constantly, my plants wilted constantly, my hose ran 24 hours a day sometimes. The plants on my front porch couldn't take it and started dying back.

And then one day I noticed I had parsley sprouting in the jog-out of the main garden. This tickled me, since I had broadcast an enormous number of herb seeds there and only gotten tree seedlings (ailanthus, thou art NOT my friend!). So I was looking forward to a long autumn full of parsleyish goodness.

And then, yanno, I saw something.... something intriguing... something busily decimating my parsleyish goodness. Oh what can I say? I can go buy parsley at the grocery store, yanno? But a swallowtail butterfly, well, it has to eat what's there.

So it did, ate both plants down to the nubbins, but I just couldn't bring myself to mind.

Isn't it gorgeous? Black Swallowtail butterflies are not as colorful as the caterpillars. They are actually black, with yellow or orange spots along the edges of their wings. The females also have blue iridescent spots on their hind wings. This link has pictures.

The parsley, btw, is growing again.

Catching Up In the Garden: End of July

At the end of July, I transplanted tomatoes and herbs from their pots on the front porch into the gardens. Two tomatoes and a chive plant were moved into the jog-out of the main garden. Cucumbers are growing at the back of this jog-out, and Mexican Mint Marigold has been transplanted near the right front. I transplanted other herbs but they died immediately and I cannot remember now what they were... oy. It was brutally hot.

Looking across the yard past the Oops tree to the main garden. You can see it was pretty green, but still young.

A tomato set! This is the ONLY tomato this garden gave me all summer.

This tomato set and ripened on the front porch. I picked it before I transplanted the tomato vines.

The Potato Bin gave us so very little, but it did leave me compost. My neighbor mixed in a 2 cubic foot bag of potting soil for me after I pulled the potatoes (no soil in the tub, though), and I transplanted several tomato vines from the front porch. I also planted pumpkin seeds but they never sprouted, and I planted borage and nasturtium which sprouted poorly only to be immediately eaten but something. I repurposed a bed sheet and some dirty clothespins as a shade cloth. It worked pretty well for almost a month but was finally blown completely off the plants in a storm near the end of August. By that time the tomatoes were well rooted, so I left it off.

The experimental garden. Remember I said last post you wouldn't see the purslane again? It's in there.... somewhere....

This garden gets watered by putting the hose in the compost bin near the edge, so it not only had Dylan's Microbe Booster working for it, it also gets regular drinks of compost tea. This is probably one reason it survived daily wilting all summer.

One of the cucumber vines and the only two luffa gourds that sprouted. See the dark leaf veins in the luffas? They're hungry, really hungry... only me, I was still thinking everything had gotten a virus from the black walnut leaves and I FORGOT that dark leaf veins are a sign of nitrogen deficiency. Duh.

I worried when the luffas sprouted that they would cross-pollinate with the cukes but my fears were groundless; they STILL haven't bloomed and the cukes are burnt out now.

Next Up: An August Diversion

Catching Up: Mid-July in the Garden

Here is the Experimental Garden. You can see my friend Dylan's Microbe Booster has the plants growing well, despite the heat. This garden lived longer and performed better than the Main Garden; it is as a matter of fact, still going strong now in September despite wilting in the heat nearly every day in August. Notice the purslane in the center of the garden--you won't see it again.

The Experimental Garden from the front, no purslane visible. Those tiny heart-shaped leaves at the back left are Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory. Pinto beans are in the front, sunflowers at the back right, eggplants on each side.

The Potato Bin, growing slowly in oak leaves but mostly making compost. Next post, end of July.

How I Know It's Autumn

The morning glories are still open at 3 in the afternoon.  It's lovely, just lovely.

Big catch-up post coming today; have some photos to edit first.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

busy and tired

Whoa, this heat... it has me exhausted lately! I kinda left y'all hanging with my two experiments, the Potato Bin and the New Garden. I am sorry to report that the Potato Bin netted me two new potatoes and a bunch of knobby lil things the size of tater tots and diced taters--nothing more. BUT the new Garden, with my friend's microbe mix, is doing GREAT! The plants caught up to the original garden in only two weeks; it was amazing. The stems are sturdier, the plants are lusher, the leaves are larger!

Well, here's the other reason I haven't posted in Blogger for quite a while--it's broken. Not only can I no longer answer comments, but I now I cannot copy and paste. Aaaarrgghh. I'm going to have to get this fixed! But I'm usually so worn out from trying to keep up with watering the garden and dealing with the housework that I don't remember to search out the help and support for Blogger.

On the other hand, I finished a doily last week, a much simplified version of the Yule Star that I did a couple years ago. It's nice to be able to do that again. And I have a commission for a dozen glue-burnt ornaments! We'll see how that goes--first I have to find my blanks and see how far I got on them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where are the fireflies?

It's mid-June... why aren't they out yet?

I confess, I am always worried for them. You know how frogs are disappearing everywhere? I worry that fireflies will be next.

Maybe it's been too dry... if so, we had rain a couple days in a row, so maybe they'll be out soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Can't leaves comments, sheesh...

Rivenfae, I cannot leave ANY comments now, blogger won't even sign me in as anonymous, sheesh.

To answer your question, no, I don't think Grandfather Maple was trying to tell us anything. There were very high winds in the night and huge branches are down all over the city. I never knew before that people who live with 90 year old trees have a constant supply of free firewood!

Um.... oops?

It's not a tree, oh no indeed... just a branch. Grandfather Maple lost his central leader... and we have lost our clothesline and part of our fence.

That had to be an amazing wind to throw the branch sideways out of the tree and toss it across the yard. I am SO GLAD it didn't hit the roof! It didn't hurt the tomato it landed over, either, but alas, my fence, my clothesline!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My new garden experiment!

Hi, y'all! This blog post is for my friend Dylan, who very kindly sent me a free sample of his Microbe Booster! Dylan is an organic gardener and landscaper in North Carolina.

My new garden is next to my old compost pile. Now I'm not the kind of gardener who does the six-weeks-to-black-gold kind of speedy thing. I'm the kind of gardener who says "what the HECK am I gonna do with all these bazillions of STICKS?!" after the tree trimmer is done and the logs are cut up, and has the fabulous idea to throw them into the as-yet-empty new compost bin. And as the sticks pile up, and pile up, and PILE up, I say to myself with a certain amount of regret and dismay, "Wellllllllllll THAT'S gonna take a while..." and then I throw in what I can, a bag of leaves here, a bag of grass there, kitchen scraps and coffee grounds and last year's jack o lanterns, and let the snow sit on it all winter.

Eventually, the sticks receded below the top of the bin, compressed down until at this point the bin is actually about half full of compost ingredients which we have continued to add to.

You notice I did not say, "compost." I don't honestly know if there IS any compost, lol.... we can't stir the bin for the sticks which someone *furtive look* keeps throwing into it. I can still see the paper plates from last year as well as last week! Although the jack o'lanterns aren't visible now, so that's progress.

So. Now that you are warned about what kind of composter I am, you will understand that this new garden is on the site of the "new" compost pile, which was all the leaf remains and grass remains that got raked out of the yard before my neighbor mowed it the first time this spring. That compost pile sat there long enough to kill the grass--serendipitous, I assure you, lol--and then got moved to the new bins at the fence line.

The grass did not come back. The gardener eyed the space, and waited....

The grass did not come back. The gardener eyed the space, and waited.........

The grass did not come back. The gardener eyed the space, and waited...............

The grass did not come back. The gardener got out the garden claw! And then, yanno, she hired the neighbor to break HIS back tilling up the space and bordering it with concrete blocks. *cheeky grin*So you see the new garden as it begins. Yes, the Big Black Garden Galumpher was considering his Galumphetry. Yes, the gardener was... firm... about the garden being off limits.

No, it didn't work, and I had to smooth the soil out again. *rueful smile* But I digress. What you see here is the garden space clawed up, raked smooth, half a hundred bermuda grass roots and stolons pulled out and tossed willy-nilly on the lawn to dry up and DIE, and the microbe booster sprinkled evenly on the soil. I tried for a rate that was approximately the equivalent of one tablespoon per four inch pot, which used about half the bag. Then I raked it in and started planting: a cluster of Grandpa Ott morning glory seeds in the southeast corner of the bed, to climb on the compost fence; a few sunflower seeds in the southwest corner to shade the bed. Two "Classic" eggplants at approximately the middle of the bed, one each on the east and west sides. Two banana pepper seedlings in the center on the north side, flanked by Giles van Hees speedwell that Gryph rescued from the hardware store sans pot (and I repotted) on May 19. Yellow onion sets along the southeast and southwest sides, and "Frijole" pinto bean seeds all across the middle of the bed behind the peppers and speedwell. Garden purslane seed in the center of the bed.

Here it is, planted and watered. What an effort it took on this doggoned hot dry day!

You can see the plants better in this shot, the two eggplants and the speedwell, plus a bonus shot of the bulging compost pile fence. The peppers may or may not grow. At this point they are an entire MONTH old and yet have never done more than get their seedling leaves, so if anything happenes, I will DEFINITELY think it's due to the Microbe Booster! I had four more pots of them and when I realized that many pepper plants wouldn't fit in this garden, I decided to get all experimental about them. Two are now dusted with Microbe Booster, and all four have been watered again. I have no idea where I fit in four more pots of pepper plants--especially since I have two hot pepper plants to put in also!--but hey, at this point I will be surprised if they live at all, so I think they're a good candidate for the test.

Because I am so desperate for garden space, I've decided to use the compost pile as a raised bed, so I watered it. The run off filtered down through the pile and into the New Garden Experiment; the water was dark! I find that quite an encouraging sign. Maybe somewhere down in there, somewhere in the middle of that pile, compost is slowly happening after all! Tis a good and hopeful sign for whatever I plant in it.

The Big Black Garden Galumpher has come to lick my elbow and wag his tail, and gaze at me endearingly out of his big brown soulful eyes. It's suppertime for dogs. Good night to you all, and may you find new dreams to bring to fruition as I hope to bring my mine to frui---er--vegetablition?

Friday, June 3, 2011


This is Oklahoma, the first blooms. They took a LOT out of the shrub and it will need time to recover.

Monday, May 30, 2011

That Garden, May 30

Hello! Time for another garden update! I've been focusing on the back yard so much that I thought I'd best take the camera out front for a change. This geranium just makes my heart sing; she's been through a lot but look how she keeps on going, look at those big leaves, those bright blossoms!

This is Raspberry Corner, where the steps meet the porch. There's a persistent redbud tree to the left of the raspberry vines; we keep trying to evict him but he refuses to go. Many weeds seem to like it in Raspberry Corner also.

The raspberry leaves are turning yellowish, and the plants need fertilized--but look at the raspberries! Pretty darned exciting!

These raspberries are fall-bearing (also called ever-bearing) and so this is the first crop this year; another will come on the new growth in the late summer.

These are the plants on the front porch steps, and also--ta daa!!--the wall our mason rebuilt for us. I like it MUCH better than the painted brick. From bottom to top, the plants are pansies with garlic and peas; Nick's lilac with pansies; the blueberry bush (also in need of fertilizer!); and another pot of pansies. I have pink petunias and pink geraniums in the wings, waiting for a chance to share space with the pansies.

This is plantain, the wonder weed. It's growing on the north side of That House, came up right through the woodchip mulch we covered the mud with. When I harvest the plantain (and there's lots more of it), I'll wash it pretty thoroughly and then dry it, so I have a good supply to get me through the year. It is a true wonder on venomous bites and stings, as well as on poison ivy--a true gift of healing from the Earth!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Mock Orange

This is a volunteer, a young shrub that I guess must have been bird-planted. It sprang up next to a tree on the south side of the yard where, paradoxically, it gets more moisture than the very old mock orange on the north side of the yard. This is only the second season for its blooms. I'm just thrilled that it has so many this year!
Hello there on this hot and sticky May day! Do you see my pea plants, sprouting amongst the leaves?

Here are the bell peppers on either side of the teensy pea patch.

And here is my garden, not completely dug or planted yet, but all blocked off! A very nice job my neighbor did, too!

Here's what's blooming today: Philadelphus, also known as mock orange. The fragrance is overpowering in wet years, but this year it's a tease, very soft unless I water the bush that day. This makes sense to me; when I lived in Phoenix I told someone my irises were blooming and he asked how I liked the scent.

What scent?!

Then he told me that daffodils ALSO have a scent. Coulda knocked me over with a feather! Now here I am in Kansas, discovering for myself that those "scentless" flowers are actually two of my all time favorite fragrances.

The difference is water, both the amount the plants get and the amount that is in the air. In Phoenix it just isn't humid enough to allow irises and daffodils to have a noticeable scent, even if you water them a lot; but here in Wichita there always seems to be enough rain and enough humidity--probably from the rivers--to allow such things. So it makes scent--errr, sense--to me that the mock orange will respond similarly, and the more I water it, the stronger scent it will have.

More blossoms: potato flowers! Who knew they were so pretty?

This was a hard day's work in the sticky heat for the neighbor. After he finished laying the blocks in place for my garden border, he wired up the three pallets to make the dividers in the bins, moved the bags of leaves to keep the dogs away from the tree (where the fence is not as secure), moved the small compost pile and part of the big one to the middle bin, and moved a pile of sticks to the last bin. By that time he was pretty much done for the day!

In the process of moving the compost, he unearthed some of the potatoes. I reburied them afterwards, and found---ta daaaa!!!---
Our first harvest of new potatoes! Not enough to be more than a morself, but hey! here they are!
May you also find small treasures in unexpected places today.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dogfight!! Aaaaccckkk!!!

Well, it was bound to happen; I forgot to look before I let Troop out the back door, and Deagan was out with his people (next door). Troop was off like a shot, flying low, and Deagan was practically shouting, "bring it you bastard!!" They went at it through the fence, which is seriously dented now where Deagan slammed into it, and I confess that since I didn't think they could get to each other, I worried more about my new seedlings than the dogs.

Unfortunately, they DID connect. Deagan's mouth is bloody from the fence wire and Trooper's face has holes in it from Deagan's teeth. He clamped down hard and refused to let go; Troop was screaming. Deagan was holding him there so the Alpha Male could come and finish off the enemy, yanno? Imagine his surprise when the Alpha Male pried his jaws open, yelled at him, picked him up like a puppy and carried him inside where the entire rest of the pack yelled at him! Troop (who was still bounding about demanding a chance to go for it again) was dragged inside and washed up, then crated while the rest of us went back outside. One tooth hole is pretty deep, at least a quarter inch. We're keeping antibiotic ointment in it but I might have to take him to the vet tomorrow for stitches.

So I've pulled the rigid fence wire panels over to the garden fence to reinforce it from our side, and the neighbors are going to get hardware cloth to reinforce it from their side. That way there won't be any more mouths coming through the mesh to bite each other.

Trooper is VERRRRRY lucky that he only mangled one eggplant leaf, and the rest of the garden is unhurt. Mama does not take kindly to misbehaving dogs, even if the dogs don't know they're misbehaving. Mind you, they know we don't like what they're doing! They just think we aren't very smart dogs, is all. *eyeroll*

Lady was not stupid enough to get involved in the dogfight. She actually for once managed to keep out from underfoot. Do not think she wouldn't have fought if she could, though; she routinely puts both Trooper AND Deagan in their places. She may be small and blind, but she is MIGHTY.

I was going to make a garden post but I think I'll wait until tomorrow when I have new pics for you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardenage! We have achieved Gardenage!

Well am I ever happy this evening!! At long last we have started our garden!

It happened like this, you see. I went to the pots on the front porch to get sage and French tarragon on Sunday afternoon, and could not for the life of me FIND my French tarragon! This, my dears, is a disaster of EPIC proportions; I waited almost a year to get that plant, and I clearly remembered bringing it home and I was preeetttttty certain I planted it *doubtful look* well I must have planted it, right? Because it wasn't still in its pot, so it must have been planted....

.........but I. Couldn't. Find. It.

EPIC proportions. It kept me awake, fretting, for part of Sunday night. I mean, it's not like one can just zip out and get a new plant whenever. The season will end soon, the hardware store will sell out, and THEN where will I be? And you can't grow French tarragon from seed, because it's sterile; you have to buy the plants from a nursery. And it's already mid-May.

Did I mention the season will end soon, and the hardware store will be out of plants?

You might remember that we don't have a car. There aren't any nurseries on the bus route.

It was my only chance.

So Monday afternoon there I was, groceries bagged and in my Old Lady Shopping Cart (I love that thing!!), and I mosied on from the grocery store to the hardware store and riiight into the plant section. Now ya gotta know the plants are outside, and so here I am pushing my Old Lady Shopping Cart half-full of groceries (including perishable cheese, ooops, lol) in and out of every aisle of plants even though I KNEW where the herbs would be, just dreaming my way through the garden.

It was doggoned hard to walk away from a plant called Two-Row Stonecrop, a kind of Sedum. You see, I was wearing a green shirt and pink sweat jacket (with sequins, no less!)... and the Stonecrop was green with pink edges! The pink almost matched my sweat jacket!

Oh well, I was good, I walked away. Eventually, after much dreaming through aisles, I came to the herbs. Aaaaack!! They didn't have it!! But then I found the last two plants tucked away on the back side of the rack (see I told you they were gonna run out!!)...... and son of a gun, French tarragon doesn't look like I thought it did! It IS on my porch, snugged up against the lavender plant!

So I had been to the grocery store, right? And Gryph LOVES bell peppers, had asked specifically for yellow and red bell peppers, and I went to the produce section to buy some-------------and they were $3! *faints dead away* Can you imagine, $3 for ONE bell pepper??!!!!

And there, right across from the herb rack, are--ta daa!--bell pepper plants.

Well, you know what happened next. I pushed that Old Lady Shopping Cart home with four bell pepper plants, one each of yellow, orange, red, and (of all lovely things!) lilac. And two eggplant plants. AND four strawberry plants, because they were half-price.... all of them perched on top of my groceries. *cheesy grin*

The flower pots on the front porch are already full, yanno, and there are still three tomato plants left to pot up. What was I going to DO with four bell peppers, two eggplants, and four strawberries?!

So the back yard is newly fenced this weekend, and it's a giant thrill to the dogs to be allowed to run free. After I got the groceries put up I took them out and hooked up our new hose so I could water the rose bush and the mock orange... the BARE ground under the rose bush....

Here's the thing. No matter how disabled a gardener might be, if you hand her too many plants she is GOING to find a place to dig.

Here is the beginning of our garden. The rose bush is on the right. Monday evening I watered the ground (thoroughly, I thought), started weeding, and then dug four holes and planted the strawberries. That's when I discovered that all that water I poured onto the ground only penetrated half an inch, and also when I discovered that my soil--that I thought was the nicest in the yard!-- is hard clay! How the plants are rooting through it is beyond me, but root they do, ailanthus (I call it stink tree, lol), dandelion, grass and even a few violets.

Today I made a HUGE discovery. Gryph likes to dig!! Wooohooo! This very sore gardener was thrilled to turn the chore over! That's what you see in the above photo, the area that Gryph worked on, pulling weeds and tree roots, digging out grass, and then using the Garden Claw to loosen up that hard clay soil. I had watered again last night and then this morning too, and Gryph kept the hose available.

You can't see it, but there's much more than strawberries, eggplants, and peppers planted in that garden. I also planted seeds: Grandpa Ott morning glory, Tendergreen Burpless cucumber, Bloomsdale long-standing spinach, early white Vienna kohlrabi, melting sugar snow peas, and Oregon sugar pod snap peas. Then I watered everything in, really thoroughly. If any of them come up, I'll be thrilled, and if they all come up, well, they'll look like a little jungle and maybe the squirrels will leave them alone.

Or not. I swear, one of these days I'm gonna get a t-shirt that says "Official Squirrel Hater." But in the meantome, I have plans!!

See the bamboo lined out to mark the shape of the eventual garden? That's native bamboo, by the way, from a friend down the street. It's also called rivercane. When you read about a canebreak, that's this stuff.

Here's another pic. You can see that this side of the back yard is really a work in progress, and what a lot of work it is!

And here is my hero, the Digger of Gardens and Vanquisher of Weeds, Gryph. She was actually sorry to stop digging for the day! Am I lucky, or what?!

So now, from That Garden in That Yard of That House, good night. May you sleep well and may your dreams bring you happiness and peace!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is this blog on?

Ohhh how life has taken me away from Blogland! And now I see that I left y'all hanging. Yes, the wall got fixed, and my mason Kevin is one of my favorite people. He also repaired my porch pillars and rebuilt one wall by my porch steps, plus rebuilt the leaning chimney. Eventually, we plan to have him rebuild the entire outer wall of That House. He flipped the bricks for me on the porch step wall, so that the unpainted sides are out, and ohhh it looks so nice! So when he rebuilds the walls, he'll flip them all and we'll be back to a red brick house like it was always supposed to be.

In the meantime, I'm gardening in yet more containers. In the yard, my mock orange and my dunno-what-it-is rose are blooming, along with the funniest little ornamental allium. It has purple starburst flowers that look like firecracker bursts. The surprise lilies have sent scads of foliage up, long and lush, and are now dying back. The redbuds are long since gone past, but the raspberries are just starting to bloom.

The rose is going by quickly. I don't think I'll let the hips set this year; the birds don't eat them and neither do I, and I think the plant could use more energy for root and top growth.

This is a volunteer mock orange with the most wonderful scent, but you can hardly see it for the tree sprouts! I have to clip them back so I can take care of the shrub.

This is the mock orange which lives along the north side fence in the back. This and the rose and possibly the allium (if that wasn't bird-planted) are all that's left of the original border. It was a BRUTAL summer and a dry fall; there isn't much to the mock orange this year, and again, I'm not going to let it set seed.

My herbs and roses are in pots helter-skelter on the front porch right now, awaiting water, fertilizer, and arrangement. I have seven tomato plants, all different varieties, and lots of peas tucked into various pots here and there.... I confess, I cannot remember whether they're snow peas or sugar snap peas. Both packages are open! But it's okay because eventually both packages will be completely planted out anyway; we love snow and snap peas!!

This is a pic of my Potato Experiment. It's a metal utility shelf, sans shelves, with old cedar fence boards closing the sides. I filled it with oak leaves and a couple weeks later planted potatoes--not seed taters, but old kitchen taters left over from Thanksgiving, lol! Approximately ten sprouted and now they're blooming so I have NO idea what I'll get, if anything--but hey, I can't lose--even if they all die I'll still get compost.

My art and craftwork are on hiatus because my carpal tunnel syndrome is badly flared up.