Posts Tagged 'garden'

Counting months

Timex watch next to a tiny flowering plant on a pebble planting bed.

While in this holding pattern, the world keeps shifting. I drove to the post office (the first time in 2 months) so that I could drop off my vote. Voting by mail is new, but positive — less stress, and no gauntlet of people to pass.

In 2 months,

  • A grade school was torn down, explaining the ever present, mysterious truck sounds and construction noise.
  • Several storefronts have shuttered.
  • The post office is again a hub of activity.
  • People are (mostly) wearing masks to shop.
  • The USA is in a cycle of protest (my heart is with the protestors, and here’s a link to student coverage of the protests).

The natural world offers daily surprises in the yard. An amaryllis we forgot last winter is blooming, our roses are more beautiful than ever, and poison ivy (boo) has come up from underneath the reclining chair in the yard. I go out for evening walks, to avoid groups of people and the sun. It’s lovely to wave at people in their yards as I admire the sunset.

So how about you? How are you marking the last days of spring sliding into summer?


We keep hoping things will get better, while we try to make things better. Double exertion/double exhaustion. I just have to remember that I can only influence what I touch, and cannot stop everything in the world to fix it.

Rose blooming in a yard.
Oh Texas rose, you are so thorny… you tower, queen of the yard.

Work has been busy (a good but exhausting thing), so I haven’t been online as much. And, we’ve made a few urgent visits due to older friends and family not doing as well as hoped. Although, other younger family members are improving their lives, or growing into adults step by step. So there’s this weird balance.

The garden is a source of delight — black headed vultures in the driveway eating their takeaway, hummingbird nest in one of the cedars, butterflies everywhere. A church nearby has created a monarch butterfly garden, and they’ve also been visiting the yard, along with the swallowtails.

Our two cats are sorting things out after 3 years (3 years, really?) of anger. The younger cat still has the crazies at specific times of day, and we just have to be prepared with a feather toy or a willow stick with leaves on it to distract her from scaling curtains and destroying the woodbound trunk in the living room.

English Ivy vs. weedwhacker

The ivy carnage was not pretty. A little, empty nest fell out of the shrubbery while I was pulling at some ivy to pull it off the shrubs. Luckily the nest was not recently lived in, but someone had carefully selected a section of hedge that had a plastic bag stuck in it, and built the nest on top of that. Meanwhile the red tail hawk patrolled the neighborhood, the crows kept tags on the hawk, and I tried to ignore the neighborhood rock band that was crucifying something by Midnight Oil.

Methinks if there is ever a sunny day on a weekend, I will be spending them attacking more ivy in the hedge. Crossed fingers that we can maybe get the jump on it and manage to get in a day of mowing too.

And on a topical note, Happy Thanksgiving! I may not get to see all my family and friends this holiday, but I’m thinking of all of you.

The figs are still green

… but the leaves on the forsythia are turning, I’ve switched to warmer clothing, and it looks like fall is upon us. Back on September 9th last year, we had lots and lots of ripe figs that were turning black on the trees. Heck, last August we had a crop we were harvesting. This season the ripening started later — we’ve had only 5 or 6 ripe figs to bring into the house (and we have 2 trees, filled with green little bullets).

Since there’s nothing I can do to make the figs hurry up and ripen, I’m drinking my coffee and musing away to myself. Wonder if the figs will ripen before hard frosts turn them to goo?

Saturday is so short

Here’s a goofy list of things that might be more worthwhile than mowing the lawn (which is what everyone else is up to, according to my ears):

  • Prepping a door for painting (apparently not enough of a break in the humidity)
  • Walking to the library (planning on doing this in a few minutes)
  • Going to a museum
  • Baking cookies (there’s a break in the humidity)
  • Go to a park — it’s SUNNY
  • Photography (the first sunny day in a week)
  • Sketching (ditto)
  • Knitting (this can be done in the evening)
  • Reading a shirt pattern (again — can be done in the evening)
  • Go on a mad and crazy road trip
  • Cleaning projects (UGH, but necessary)
  • Hacking at the evil shrub (yep. did some of this)

Some of these are limited by the lack of water pressure today. I’m reluctant to come into contact with potential poison ivy in the evil shrub if I can’t wash off the itch.  I nearly broke the glass coffeepot this morning with the blast of air as I tried to fill it (no worries, I do have a little bottled water for essentials), so I’m reluctant to start washing things.

If I prep the door for painting this AM, maybe I can do a quick bit of lawn mowing to appease the neighbors. (mowed the lawn) Eh, if you had a beautiful, sunny day after a week of thunderstorms, which would you choose?

Yellow Art Deco

theaterinteriorThis is an interior from a theater. Yellow walls, ochre curtains, and an amazing metal Art Deco motif.

I wish I had gotten some of the faux tortoiseshell torch light fixtures on my camera, but I had to leave and didn’t have time to figure out how to get the lighting right.

The only other thing I seemed to have done that is blogworthy is attack the krynoid-hedge that’s making the back fence into a horrible mess. And knit more on my PS4 project from the green cycle (the back is up to 8.15″ and counting). It looks like PS4 yellow cycle will be mostly photos, unless I manage to finish one of my projects that’s been on a backburner since I was first on Ravelry.

A sketch for Green

A quick sketch for Project Spectrum in a park

A quick sketch for Project Spectrum in a park

Just Call Me a Tinker

I just tinked back to the 2nd row of the pattern on the Honeycomb sweater. I couldn’t keep going forward without fixing my error. The only other vaguely interesting thing I did today was a morning spent cleaning up the yard and pulling out English ivy (darn invasive plant). So I’ve been filking along in my head with “Tink so good. C’mon baby let it tink so good. ‘Cause sometimes knits don’t go as they should so baby, rip so good.”

I know this is riveting stuff. 🙂

Gift Ideas For Gardeners

Specimen of a jade plant on the rocks

Specimen of a jade plant on the rocks

I’ve been shopping for the Gardener, and there are some gifts that are garden-themed (and not that expensive). Here are some ideas [NOTE: all links are shown as examples of the item, not a sample of the end-all and be-all of garden tools, plants, etc, so let the browser be aware]:

  • Dirt (well, actually potting soil) may be welcomed, if accompanied by fancy pots and seeds for a window ledge herb garden
  • Tools* — check your local hardware store or garden center for trowels; small hand pruners; whimsical, practical, or inexpensive gardening gloves; garden kneelers to protect the knees, and plant identification stakes (for an example of what these look like, check here — you can make them from wood, with hand printed labels in indelible ink)
  • Books — search used bookstores for out-of-print gems [I once found a huge tome on plants from the 1930s], or pick up something new on the plant your gardener is mad about (there are books that focus on grasses, salvia, bulbs, cacti, rhododendrons… you name it)
  • Pick up a green houseplant, like a jade plant or Christmas cactus
  • Consider geography — for instance, if the ground is frozen, the gardener won’t be able to plant roses** right away, but you can catalog order plants and bulbs for delivery at the right time and give a card (or just give a gift certificate)
  • Try this cute idea — get a flower pot mug, and place a chamomile seed packet or a small plastic liner with dirt and a mint plant inside (or fancy tea or coffee)

*Many companies make kid-sized garden equipment and gloves, too

**Apparently, January is considered a good time to plant roses in Tucson, AZ. Who knew you could grow roses in the desert? Not me. Guess that’s why I’m not The Gardener.

Bird Breakfast Bar

The latest attraction for the birds (beyond the starlings’ amazing capacity to scarf down figs) are the red berries on the yew tree outside the office window. Latest diner: a female cardinal who sat and messily ate her lunch in front of me. Yes, it’s a tree — two stories tall. The shrubs have this potential, after 50 or so years of no trimming.

So far, these berries are quite a draw for the nuthatches, finches, black cap chickadees, and sparrows. Yes, I’ve tried to get pictures. The birds are used to me in the office by now, but they can’t help freaking out over the eye of the camera (it’s a zoom lens). Which is a shame. Think of the holiday card I could make with a bunch of these visitors to the bounty in the green branches and red berries.

I think this is the first year the yew provided such a spread — possibly a reaction to some good rains this summer and some sort of care from the Gardener to cure the yellow leaves this spring.