Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Daily Doin's, First Week Of May, 2015

This is one of the Rugosa roses that I bought in 2011.  Thank you, Glenda, for recommending High Country Gardens.  They sent my rose plants at just the right time for my location and they all lived.  I wanted Rugosa roses because they make rosehips.  And rosehips are high in vitamin C and make wonderful tea.  They are no slouches when it comes to scent, either.  That purple is Dame's Rocket.  It smells like lilacs and starts blooming after the lilacs are done.  Mine have self-seeded several years in a row now so this is a biennial I never have to think about, as long as I don't dig out the short mounds of leaves that are in their first year.  Now I find myself having to thin out the second-year plants, however.  Not a problem, really. 

It's such a joy to look out over our land and see how things have grown during these past five years.  We have busted our chops to get things to grow here, and sometimes we've gotten pretty discouraged.  It's sort of like that old Ray Charles song that goes,
"Them that's got are them that gets is somethin I can't see.
If ya gotta have somethin, before you can get somethin,
How do ya get your first is still a mystery to me." 

That applies to shade and moisture retention as well as the money to which he was referring.  I think back to how barren the land was, and remember how we literally baked during that first summer, and several summers afterward, pouring water from jugs and buckets on young plants and trees, just trying to keep them alive.  Finally, we can see our shade trees from a distance and our fruit trees are finally big enough to bear fruit.  Our neighbors go on and on about how wonderful it is to look over here and see things blooming.  Last summer, the woman who delivered our newspaper told us that she looks forward to delivering our paper every day. 

We didn't really plan to ever leave the Ponca House.  Oh, we certainly had our problems what with Neighbor From Hell next door, and Snoopy Cathy across the street.  But we'd spent a lot of money getting the house in shape for when we would retire.  And then this place just sort of fell into our hands.  It was expensive, but once we sold the rental house and our house, we almost broke even and everything just worked out.  We were meant to come here.  It was A God Thing, for both us AND for the young couple who didn't want to live here anymore.  When something is right, things just fall together, problems solve themselves.  It's only when something is NOT right that the roadblocks appear and you start banging your head on them.  We've lived most of the latter part of our lives by heeding these signs.  Road block?  Then back up.  Take the detour.  Or maybe even go all the way back and start over.   It wasn't always this way.  I was "a mover and a shaker".  What I mean by that is that I was always moving and shaking something, trying to MAKE things happen.  WHO did I think I WAS?  GOD?  I bet God was just rolling His eyes over me, bloodying myself up trying to bust through those road blocks that seemed like sprung up at every turn.  Because, hello, I was supposed to be going in a whole different direction.....  Sheesh, what a long time it took for me to learn.  Yeah, I'm a fast learner, but I'm stubborn, and so I'm a slow acceptor.  Do what you can, leave the rest to God, or whomever is the high power in your chosen religion.

Once in awhile we drive past our little house on Ponca Avenue, and it looks so sad.  The blue paint is fading badly (and that was Lowe's expensive paint!), the yard needs mowing.  Not very much else growing besides the grass.  Neighbor From Hell's place next door still looks like hell, but there's less contrast now, if you know what I mean.  And oh, those tiny spaces between the houses........  I'm so grateful we ended up out here, it's been worth every rock we've excavated, every jug and bucket of water we've toted, every dollar we've spent, every redecorating project we've undertaken.   Thank you, God, for making it all happen.

A dove has made a nest on top of the grape arbor.  Such a poor nest, just a little "doily" of small sticks.  There are white eggs, and I can't go out there without the dove scaring the bejeezers out of me when she takes flight.  How are the babies going to keep from falling through it and to the ground below?  I can only hope the grapevines will fill out fast, to add support to the nest.  Everywhere we look, birds are flying around with worms or bugs in their beaks, on the way to their nests to feed their little ones.  But there are no further pics of the Robin's nest.  Last Saturday, noticing a long period of Mama Robin's absence from the nest, I looked into it and the babies were gone.  All that was left was the one egg that hadn't hatched.  What happened?  The nest was in a bad place, too low really for safety.  And the tree that was it's host was dying and therefore had very few leaves.  I noticed last Friday, which was a very warm, sunny day, that those little babies were getting some pretty concentrated sunlight.  Did they die from too much exposure?  Did we frighten Mama Robin by too much activity around the nest?  I've been trying to keep my distance, by using the other gate and not going to that end of the yard any more than necessary.  But it's on the way to Hubs' workshop, and he mowed around there on Friday before I could catch him and remind him to "honor motherhood", so to speak.  I've heard sometimes the mother bird will throw her own babies out of the nest if she's threatened.  I looked around on the ground for their little bodies, but there wasn't anything there.  Maybe something came along in the night and got into the nest.  It would've been easy with it being right there almost even with the top of the 4' fence.  I've seen Mockingbirds dump baby Robins out onto the ground, but they also tear the nest to smithereens.  And the nest is still intact.  I took the nest down, just in case Mama Robin, or some other bird that doesn't know any better, might lay some more eggs in it, and then Hubs and I took the tree down on Sunday.  It's trunk had absorbed the chain link, and the wind caused the trunk to rub back and forth across the top rail, which wore a big chunk out of the trunk.

Isn't that sad?  We moved here in July of 2010, and these pictures were taken that fall.  We knew there'd be no real future for this tree.  But we left it because previous owners had allowed it to grow and the damage was already done.  It still leafed out every year and gave us shade where otherwise there would be none.  Then last summer, it suddenly dropped all its leaves.  Hopefully Mama Robin will find a better location, build another nest, and have a successful brood next time. 

The fence guy dropped by last week.  There is still not an estimate ready, and now he says, instead of seven weeks out, they are ten.  Two or three weeks have passed since he first came out here, and he said he put us on the schedule on that date, so that translates out to seven weeks, or so, from now, before we get our new fence for the yard that will be the same height as the garden fence.  And probably allowing ten weeks from today is more realistic.  I know that contractors can't work when it rains and storms and of course every day they can't work puts them more and more behind.  But it just seems to me, considering the length of time people have to wait to get anything done by contractors, that there must be a desperate shortage of these guys.  When we had our new septic system put in, we waited for weeks and WEEKS, and then every time someone had an emergency, we waited some more.   And yeah, I understood that.  I was only having to go to the laundromat to do my wash, so I wouldn't have denied folks who were having back-ups to step in line ahead of me for anything in the world.  The guy that poured the pad for Hubs' workshop took such a long time to actually show up that I began to wonder if he was going to at all.  He blamed the delay on the weather, but we were in a drought and it hadn't rained the whole time we were waiting.  When we had the patio cover built, it was ridiculous how long we waited past the projected start date.  Just ridiculous.  Start date came and went with not even the courtesy of a phone call.  You try to be patient, but you can't be gone when they finally do arrive, or they don't remember exactly what it is they're supposed to do, so you can't make any plans.  You need some kind of information from them about when they're NOT likely to show up, so you can live your life.  But calls to THIS guy went right to his voicemail and then he would never return the call.  You try to be nice.  All you want to know is, "When"?  It must be nice to have that much work that you're booked that far out.  I don't have to wait that long FOR SURGERY.   Maybe people should skip college and get an education in the trades.  But I'd guess training in customer relations must not be included in trade school.

All that said, we like this fence guy, he's a young family man that bought an established fencing company with a good reputation.  And the longer that he takes to get started, the better the chances are of things I have growing along the fence being able to come to maturity, or my having more time to move them, or the chances of their being damaged will be less if they have to be cut back. Hopefully we are assured of getting the fence replaced before fall.

Permanent places have been found in the garden for most of the plants that I started during the winter.  And that's a relief, as most of them had become pot-bound and required daily watering.  I was at the point where I was spending so much time caring for them that it robbed me of the time I needed in which to get them planted.  Last night we got over an inch of rain, and there are chances of rain in the forecast every day in the coming week.  It's not likely we'll get rain every day.  But it will be cloudy and overcast every day and hopefully not with the constant wind blowing as it has been.  Spring is always so windy here.  As soon as the iris flowers start to open, it seems like every day that there is not rain beating them down, there's gale-force wind. 

I'm still in the process of moving iris around.  There are still "different colors" coming up in the Indian Chief bed, but nothing that I don't already have somewhere else now. 

A couple of little joys to share:  I thought I'd lost the Ground Nut (Apios Americana), and the rabbits ate the growing tip and all the leaves off the Possum Haw last winter.  I was pretty sure it had died, too.  Seeing these two sights made my day.   Hopefully by next winter we'll be able to keep the rabbits out of the yard.

Oh.  And for the first time in five years, after having been moved from one (apparently) unsuitable place to the other, the Peony is finally happy and has bloomed.

This is something else the garden teaches you: Patience.   Patience, Piety, and Persistence.  Also sometimes known as,

Rock on.  Hugs, xoxoxo


  1. There is no comparison between how things look now and when you moved in. It was barren place. You have done a great job.

  2. Glenda, you have been with us since the very beginning, haven't you? You started following 'way back in 2008 or so, back when I was growing veggies in raised beds at The Ponca House and posting on the Grandma blog. You've been a faithful reader ever since. I always knew I could count on you to comment and I have so much enjoyed your friendship all these years. Many hugs to you.


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