Saturday, June 27, 2009


Saturday mornings are almost as good as Sunday mornings. There's a little more bustle from the neighbors and a little more traffic...but Mojo and I are still the only ones awake at our house (the joys of 20-year old house guests!) and have time to experience the morning hours in the garden the way we don't when I have to head to work.

For instance, 8 o'clock-ish is a good time to examine the Mexican Petunia. It's a slow waker in the morning...and it goes to bed pretty early. But at 8 AM all its flowers are open and it's quite stunning. My sister tells me that two or three of these made a massive hedge at her former Florida abode. I've no idea how big it will get here (in Clearwater they make hedges out of hibiscus and I am jealous every time I think about that) but even smallish, I think it's striking.

Also, we have a new friend in the garden. I admit it. I have a weakness for funky animals scattered about. Also for chickens and tall skinny birds. Yesterday, my mama gave me this perfectly perfect tall, skinny chicken. His name might be Roger...but maybe not. It's early yet. Watch for him in new places, too, because I also like to rearrange things.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I love being out in the garden early in the morning. Everything looks its best...ready to greet the day. There's a whole lotta optimism right before the sun finishes coming up and I like to wander around and try to soak some of it up and take it with me out into the world.

The agapanthus are blooming....I just love those lily-ish flowers and I thank my friend Marta, again, for identifying them for me. They are not your every-day-run-of-the-mill agapanthus (at least not in these parts; I see a lot of a smaller variety with their tiny purple flowers that make perfect round bunches) and I wonder about the woman who planted and tended this striking speciman. I hope she'd be pleased that it's moved and divided and having a second chance at being the star in someone's garden. The plants themselves still look a little ragged from their move. Marta advised chopping the leaves to a third of their length to give them more energy to settle in. I think it paid off.

And here's a shot of the new garden plot right before it started to rain. There are flowers on all the new cherry tomatoes and the sad little bargin-bin romas are recovering nicely. (Notice the last of the marigolds are inside the garden...I finally decided my nasturtiums weren't going to sprout. Next year, I'll plant them earlier.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Growing Things

Let's just talk about the garden, shall we? I think we should.

This weekend I found some beautiful marigolds that Britt would have loved. Here they are, marching around the edge of the new plot. Notice that the peas are still crazy...and the second set have sprouted. Madness. And the zinnia's have sprouted...but I have no idea how long it will take them to flower.

There's also a Beginning Eggplant. Eggplant in training. Yum.

I also found a lovely salvia, called Black and Blue...because it is. I like it when things are called just what they are.

And, there are buds on the agapanthus I moved...and that's a good sign, yes?

Finally, I am am saddened by Ed McMahon's death. Years ago (1996/97-ish), we lived next door to his sister-in-law (sister to his current wife, Pam) and her daughter. Amanda was a member of my Brownie troop and she adored Britt in the way that all younger girls did. About two years after we moved to the burbs, Amanda's mom passed away (she'd been in serious motorcycle accident a few years before we met them and had many complications) and Amanda went to stay with Aunt Pam and Uncle Ed. Somewhere, I have a beautiful picture of Britt and Amanda and Amanda's mom, Deborah Hurn, taken at our Christmas Day Open House ca. 1997; I'm not even going to look for it, though. It's too sad. Britt and Deborah both gone and little Amanda lost to us through the passage of time. I hope she's well today, and surrounded by enough love to see her through another loss.

More Evidence of Random Chaos

I've talked a little bit before about my ever increasing surety that the Universe is governed by nothing but random chaos. Attempts to find order or reason in things that happen just make my head hurt.

For instance, this headline that was sent to my in-box from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday: Mother arrested for locking 4-month-old twins in car while shopping.

REALLY?? THIS woman gets to have not one, but TWO, children?? I don't have the words to tell you what I think about that. Seriously....WTF??

So, I am happy to report that a passerby heard the babies crying, saw them, and called the police. The babies were checked out at a local hospital and released to the their father and the so-called mother is cooling her heels in the jail house. I was nauseous for two days and am reminded, again, while I gave up watching and reading the news.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Short Tour on a Long Day

Today is Midsummer's Eve, one of Britt's favorite days. She liked to be outside for as much of the daylight as possible and on into the night. In years past she'd have a bonfire and invite her friends to hang out and dance and sing and celebrate the changing of the seasons and the coming of the longest day of the year. It's going to be a very long day in more ways than one, I think, and one that requires keeping busy.

I've mowed the grass in the back yard (what's left of it) and done a little weeding and trimming in the places the mower won't go. I've taken some pictures to document the eggplants that are forming now that they can breathe and the pepper that's growing and growing but refusing to turn red. Also the second set of peas which are beginning to sprout, right on schedule. (Still amazed by that, I am.)

Also, for those of you who are far away - which I think might be everyone except my mama - (Hi, Mommy!) here's a short video tour of the backyard. It's not fancy, but it's home and I love it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Victories and Disappointments

First, lets talk about disappointments. Sometimes, as I know all too well, things don't work out as planned. Sometimes it's big important things and sometimes it's just squash. The squash are, as Britt would say, no more. They are former squash. I'd like to blame their demise on the copious amounts of rain that fell in May (20+ inches!) or the aphids or, you know, anything but me. But, since honesty is the rule here, I am compelled to tell you that I simply planted the original garden plot too thickly. I choked the squash out...and today, in an effort to keep the eggplants alive and to save the peppers which were being threatened by the leaning eggplants, I was forced to rip out both the zuchinni and the crooknecks. They were never going to bear and they were taking up entirely too much room. It was a little nauseous-making and I am trying to take comfort in the knowledge that they would soon have rotted where they sat. Let's all hope the eggplant will be happier, shall we?

In better news, the peas are off to a most amazing start. Pictures really are the best way to get the full effect, so here you are:

Friday, as the seeds begin to break ground:

Saturday morning, before I left for the beach (10 AM-ish); you could watch the seeds popping out of the ground:

Saturday afternoon, when I got home from the beach (2 PM-ish), there were 4 hours !! This picture was taken early Sunday morning.


And, finally, this morning before work:

You'll notice I managed to get the permanent edging around the new plot (thanks, Dave!) and bought a few solar lights to test them out in the garden. Also, the Buddha Frog has migrated again. He's a mover, that guy. The peas are in need of thinning and I'm still waiting to see progress of any meaningful sort from the other seeds. They are starting to come up, but nowhere near as hurriedly as those peas. Those peas are a little crazy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dirt...Plus Some Stuff

So, the new garden is coming along. Definitely a work in progress, but we have tomato starts and seeds are in the ground. The paths are dug and waiting for mulch. The boards are a temporary boundary until suitable fencing can be found. The Buddha Frog has migrated. A storm came through last night, which accounts for the leaves and debris...but soon I hope to see all sort of green things sprouting.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just Dirt

Right now, it's just a big patch of dirt. Roughly 17' square and a little wobbly around its edges. But soon, it will be an actual kitchen garden. It will have tomatoes and lettuce and white acre peas. Also some flowers, just because they are pretty. There will paths to walk on and - eventually - some sort of fence around it. Hide and watch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Time Passes

...and carries us along with it. Indeed.

Then (4/25):

Now (6/5):

Also, there are cucumbers. Well, there were. We ate them.

tempus fugit

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fits of Unreasonableness

Do you remember being young enough to say 'it's not fair!' and really believe - while you were saying it - that fairness mattered? I truly don't. Being one of the youngest of seven children I don't remember fairness having much to do with anything. Being older and bigger counted for a lot. Being the littlest counted sometimes. I wasn't either of those and I remember realizing at a pretty young age that sometimes you win or get or have, and sometimes you don't and that's the way life worked. I do remember Britt's struggles with fairness, though, and I think of them on days like today when I'm searching for some small measure of balance in a tilted universe.

Most days, I find the balance, usually only in my head and usually only after giving myself a stern talking to along the lines of 'life's not fair, Deb' or 'no one ever promised it was going to be easy.' Some days, though, I just don't feel like lecturing myself and I allow myself to wonder out loud if perhaps the universe doesn't think it's heaped enough huge piles of crap on my has to also do things like make parking near the bookstore impossible while it's storming (I've seriously considered asking my doctor for a handicap tag for my car but I don't think emotional handicaps count) or infest my garden with aphids (really? What's next? Locusts? Hmm?). In the interest of fairness and balance shouldn't I - just occasionally - get a pass? Shouldn't I be able to ask the world in general "Are you KIDDING me?"

Well, of course not. And I know that. If things worked that way, well, life would would be a whole lot different for all of us. So, I don't give in to fits of unreasonableness often, or for long, but I do occasionally have them. I figure I'm owed that much.