It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cats, Critters and a Beautiful Summer Day

The garden is so beautiful right now.
We don't have to water much.
Everything is new and beautiful.
The heat isn't so intense that flowers wither from it.
Even the angry little Gerbera Daisy is happily planted with some friends. He has survived the other companion flower, the prettier one, possibly because he was a conjoined twin and has the strength of two. Two stems... one flower. He seems very happy now.
All is good in the garden.
All is right with the world.
******************************
Then, you look across the driveway and you see Annabel, the cat, playing with .....
OH NO! That can't be a small Rattlesnake!
Not yet. It's too early.
This can't be happening.
You grab the shovel and run through the gate and across the driveway... yelling at the cat to stop.
She ignores you.
You pick up a small piece of gravel and throw it at the cat to make her back away.
As you get closer, throwing another stone above the cat, you can see the snake tail twitching and the cat pawing at the critter as if it was a moving cat toy.You throw one more piece of gravel. This time you hit dead center in the conflict and Annabel backs away.
Yelling and getting between the cat and the critter, you close in on what you have to do.... but wait.
This is not a baby Rattler.... this is not what you thought was the end of the best  "mouser" you ever had.
Maybe you need new glasses...This is a very good sized Alligator Lizard...
and it's mad....
"You better keep that Cat away from me or I will give her a bite that will make her wish she was never born."
He was on the defensive. He lifted his head up and stared at me.
I said, " I'm sorry little guy. Annie's gone." (She wasn't really. She was sitting on the hillside watching us, but I continued the deception....) "You need to run and hide somewhere."
I reached out and touched his back. He didn't move.
"Go on now. I know the sun feels good and you're a bit shook up but you need to go somewhere else. PLEASE."
He looked at me for the longest time.
"Don't get any closer, lady."
He didn't move. He was really on the defensive and , I suspect, a bit tired from his wrestling match with Annie.
Finally I reached down and started to touch his back again. This time he was ready.
He'd had enough of this inhospitable farm. He gave me one more tough expression and then ran. I don't think he even touched the ground. He ran across the road and disappeared into a pile of  dry garden clippings. He was like GREASED LIGHTENING.... he was gone.
Annie was watching the whole thing.... switching her tail. She was waiting for me to finish off this poor creature and hand it to her, on a plate, for lunch.
"Oh Annie. Why do you do this? Next time it will be a Rattlesnake and I guarantee that you won't win."
She looked at me and walked away.....

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Place of Her Own

I went into the back garden this morning. This is behind the house near our bedroom. There use to be lawn here.. and then a small plastic pool... and then a pool made of plastic that had a filter. Now the lawn is gone and so are the pools, that were always nice on hot summer afternoons, but were forever clogged with debris and dirt... not to mention being a Bed & Breakfast for Mosquito's.
So the area has become a place for pots: Pots of blueberries,  containers of succulents, tomatoes... and my wonderful. sweet  Basilicum.. growing bigger each day in the early summer sunshine. Waiting for its transformation into Pesto. Can you smell it?
The tomatoes are somewhat behind this year.
This tomato will grow to the top of this wired cage and flow over in a month or so, but its been shivering in the cold and we even had to pinch some frostbitten, curled black leaves a few weeks back.
All of these pots will have to be moved around in the yard, soon, because this lovely, FLAT area is getting a makeover. It's going to share space with the little building of my dreams... A POTTING SHED.


I'm collecting ideas...
and reading serious books on the subject...
I would like this to be my own little place to pot plants and start seeds... but even more... this will be a place of solitude and reflection.
I want a table to write on and a comfortable chair to sit in.
and a wall for tools, baskets for gloves and shelves for pots. It will also have windows to see the view from and, maybe, even a pretty, old rug on the floor.
SO MANY IDEAS!
SO MANY PLANS!
This is something I have wanted for years. The Prospector is going to build it for me, bless his gold seeking heart. I will help.  It will be a simple structure and small. I will add the "Farmlady" stuff  later.
There will be flowers, garden art, and COLOR.
There may even be an outdoor table for really messy jobs.... like felting? Well, maybe but...
I should probably stick to garden projects.
And I want a bike like this...
A used up and retired bike, like this one, above, that is painted purple to match my French lavender and the joyful songs of the birds. Isn't birdsong purple?  Well...whatever it is... to me, it feels like PURPLE.

And why not a miniature faerie garden on a rusty iron chair. Who knows what little creatures might come to live here.
My wonderful little potting shed will settle in here somewhere between the Chitalpa tree and the Chinese Tallow. These trees will shade the little house in the dog days of summer and this is where we can tap into water and electricity at the corner of the house. Yes, I will have electricity... and maybe even a chandelier.
It will be a dream that is practical and yet where I can let go of life's irritations, plunge my hands into  good dirt or sit quietly doing nothing if I so choose. It will be a place of my own, my "man cave" of the gardening world.... my garden getaway.
A blogging friend that shares the love of gardens and nature says...
"I believe you have to look for the joy factor wherever you are and whatever you do." *
She says that having a sense of wonder isn't age-specific.
I love this statement.
Doing something that you truly love is so important.
This garden shed will be part of the "joy factor" in my life.

Quote is from an article in Country Gardens Early Spring 2011
Garden of Earthly Delights- author Sharon Lovejoy written by Debra Prinzing