Monday, May 26

How I Spent My Long Weekend

We haven't had many good weekends this spring. In fact, it's been a pretty soggy mess for the last few months. I'm one of the lucky ones that didn't suffer any flooding, and for that I'm thankful. But there was a ton of stuff that needed doing around the yard and not enough good days to get it done. I did a few things on the occasional nice evening, but most of what needed doing took more time. For instance, pruning the tree in the front yard. It's a beautiful flowering cherry, but it needs upkeep or the branches grow out of control. When we got a lot of rain, as we have, the branches would get heavy over the outer sidewalk. So that was one thing that needed attention on what turned out to be a perfect spring weekend.

Meet my friend the pole trimmer thingie. I highly advise anyone with a tree to get one of these. Makes pruning back branches a snap. Literally. That rope you see dangling attaches to a sharp set of pinchers and one good tug on the rope snaps off small branches as easy as you please. If even I could do it, you know it must be easy. I had to pass on the highest of branches as I wasn't brave enough to get up on a ladder while doing this. I also didn't use the saw blade on bigger branches. But even so, the tree looks much nicer now.

Other things I did included putting in pepper and zucchini plants. Which the rabbits found very quickly. *sigh*. They also found the new flowers I put in. So I picked up this spray stuff that I call the bunny blaster. In theory, Peter, Thumper and the gang don't like this stuff (it does stink) and will avoid the flowers. Not that I don't believe in their advertising, but I also made an attempt to block their more obvious exits and entrances. In this I had to get creative. A few large stones wedged between fence slats, a long metal thing (I have no idea what it was doing behind the shed) wedged into the fence behind the shed, and (I got creative, here) a metal grill from an old bar-b-que grill in front of the more ominous looking gap. Looks tacky and probably won't work. But at least I'm being proactive.

My butterfly bush bit the dust this year. They are supposed to be virtually maintenance free; not mine. Mine needed special attention every single year and last year it was just pitiful. This year, there was an initial attempt at new growth before it just gave up and died. Well, I did have a few good years out of it. I replaced it with a Persian lilac. You might get to see pictures if I don't kill it off. I also got the grass in the back yard cut (hint: lawn mowers start much easier when they have enough gas in them) and even weedwhacked the edges. It looks pretty good now. Except where Bambi's buddy went after the flowers. FYI, they are fond of scabiosa and osteospermum (which is not a seed with a bad back). Who knew? Okay, I'm moving on now.
I also got out the leaf blower and tried to clean up the old patio a bit. Oak leaves had piled up along the foundation and between the house and the shed. Curiously there are no oak trees on this side of the house. At all. It's all flowering cherry and pine. So where did all the oak leaves come from? I have no idea. It was pretty bad, though, and we've been having problems with ants so I figured getting the dead leaves away from the foundation was a good start. Following which I went along the wall and patio with my trusty bug blaster. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 20

Look Out!

I have control issues. I've talked about this before. It's the reason I don't volunteer and the reason I won't be in charge of anything. Put me in charge and I'll turn into a tyrant, screeching that people are doing it wrong, wrong, wrong. This is not only unpleasant for people around me, it's also not a whole lot of fun for me. My blood pressure skyrockets, steam comes out of my ears, my heart races ... and I don't like feeling that way. So I try to avoid putting myself into those situations. It's best for everyone concerned. What does this have to do with the title of my post?

Sometimes avoiding those situations is very difficult. There are people in my life that I care a great deal about, and it pains me to watch them make bad decisions. My concern for them meets up with my control tendencies and it's like this double whammy hitting me. If I saw someone was about to step into the path of an oncoming bus, I would naturally yell out a warning. When I see people I care about making choices that I know will just create more problems down the road, or that will make their lives more difficult than necessary, that same instinct kicks in and it's all I can do not to jump in front of the speeding bus of their decisions and knock them out of the way. And they wouldn't appreciate it. People never do. I'm pretty sure I would feel the same way. So what am I supposed to do?

One sure-fire solution would be to eliminate the problem by eliminating the people. From my life that is. Okay, not really; but it's a recurring fantasy I have. My other little dream is the one where I just start smacking people upside the head until they stop screwing around and start doing things my way which is the right way IF THEY WOULD ONLY ADMIT IT! Which would probably bring my first fantasy to life.

Again, I ask you, what am I supposed to do? I don't know if it's the right answer, but I have developed a philosophy. All I can do is remind people to look both ways before crossing the street, advise them to take care not to trip and fall, and then back away and hope for the best.

It's a hard-won philosophy and doesn't do much for my peace of mind, really. Sometimes I still need to vent, to talk to someone who will listen and understand that my words are not an expression of criticism but of concern. If you happen to be one of the people I've vented to, thank you for listening. I'm blessed to have a few people like that in my life. And just smart enough to know how lucky I am.

And that's why, inspite of the lure that first fantasy still has for me, I haven't actually resorted to the second. But please, for me, when you go out into the world I would really appreciate it if you would be careful. Look both ways; don't run with scissors, and call and let me know that you have arrived safely.

Monday, May 19

So what do you think?

Oh, come on, tell me honestly. Do you like it? Isn't it gorgeous? I feel happy just looking at it. This is what a garden is supposed to be. I love the little bench at the end. It's very peaceful. Looking at this just makes me feel all happy inside. I love cottage gardens. I love the wild look of it with color spiking up here and there.

*sigh* Wish it was mine.

Or this one. I'd be happy with this one, too. These are what I want my garden to be. But I think that gardens like these takes a lot more patience than I have. My problem is that I want it all to look like these pictures NOW. But gardens like these take years. I think most of these plants are perennials. Translation: they come back every year. This is great in theory, but in practice it takes a few years, and a strong back, before you actually get that look. I did say I was impatient, remember. Which is why I always give in and purchase annuals. Instant color and pizzazz, but lacking a bit in the charm category.

These photos are what I want my back yard to look like. I think, though, that the only way I'll ever have it is if I'm willing to spend the big bucks to have professionals landscape it for me. Heck, my grass doesn't even look that good. Maybe someday. And maybe someday I'll get a new deck with graceful steps that lead down to a quaint brick or stone patio. And maybe I'll throw in a water garden, too. Something small and tasteful , like this

Or maybe I'll just buy a bench.

Wednesday, May 7

What's Your Excuse?

I was late to work this morning because of an obstruction in the road. More specifically, five obstructions. It's probably my own fault because I know it's spring and I know what sort of "road hazards" I've encountered in the past. But this is one traffic jam that doesn't usually produce road rage. Quite the opposite.

Oddly enough, my local subway station in the 'burbs is a popular hang out for geese. I don't know why. There is a tiny stream that bisects some of the parking area, but otherwise it's not a very waterfowl friendly location. The geese in our area are, I think, supposed to be transplanted Canadians but they are around pretty much year round. Even when you don't see them, you see evidence of them. Usually on the sidewalk.

Seriously, though, it's not uncommon for traffic on 4 lane roads to come to a complete stop at this time of year. This little guy is trying to figure out how to make it up over the curb, which is taller than he is. He managed.