Saturday, February 26, 2011

With a View

Although I’m certain that this winter has been no longer than any other winter, it has seemed to drag on FOREVER. We’ve had an unusual amount of snow this year, and we’ve had stretches of very cold weather, both of which have kept most of the neighborhood kids indoors for a good part of the season. This has made for ambushes on the semi-warm days. Small squadrons of toy-gun wielding commandos who, at the slightest smell of baking cookies, will drop from the trees, come stumbling from behind the barricades (parked cars), or crawl up from the sewers for much needed rations. The day I baked for the annual holiday cookie swap, I decided to see if the urban troops were doing okay (this after listening to their yelling and tumbling and fake fire-fighting outside the kitchen window). The minute I stepped out onto the porch, Jace and Jesse stopped mid-attack to say hello (they are polite young men). I asked if they were doing okay (they were), and they asked if I wanted to come out and play. Because they are seriously just that polite. And they don’t believe in ageism when it comes to play. I politely declined their offer, begging off to bake. “What are you baking?” they asked. “Cookies for a cookie swap.” Jesse: “Oooo, my mom is coming to that swap!” “Well, I guess I’ll see her there. You guys want some cookies? Ya know, for tackling feul?” Their eyes lit up. Yes, they would like some cookies. What kind of stupid question is that. So, I went in and grabbed three gift bags of cookies, one for each of them, and one for Jace’s sister who wasn’t feeling well and had to stay in for the day. With a mouth full of cookie, Jace promised delivery of Memphis’ cookies. I know that he kept his promise because now, whenever Memphis knocks on our door for a band aid to cover a scraped knee or pinched finger, she also asks if we have any cookies…

The weather is just about perfect right now. Temperatures have been in the upper 60s/low 70s during the day, and the nights are quite cool. It is perfect weather for yard work, dining on the front porch, and taking strolls in the adjacent historic district. This will be our first full spring in The Bungalow (we moved in March of last year). The birds sing every morning. Unidentified spring blooming plants are busting their way through the soil (I am watching them very carefully so that I can identify them and record their names and locations for next year). I’ve worked on the back flower garden all winter (with Slim’s help), and everything I’ve transplanted or salvaged from other people’s yards seem to have survived (and even thrived). We have irises, roses and cannas from mom and dad’s place; more cannas from Douglas’ rubbish pile; cosmos and a small hydrangea from one of mom’s coworkers; red velvet yarrow & Russian sage from the seventy-five cent sale at Lowes; a blue fescue and several unusual irises (one black, one red, one yellow) from the Finlayson’s landscaping company in Southside; and a bunch of stuff that I’ve transplanted from other parts of the yard. I’ve just ordered some red sedum for the rocky part of the yard, some flowering thyme for erosion control around the pavers, a climbing blue rose (in memory of my gran and my uncle), and…wait for it…ten Crocosmia Lucifer bulbs. I’ve wanted Crocosmia Lucifer since I seeing a picture of them in a friend’s Facebook album. They will be magnificent...I may try to plant them en masse over Fancy’s grave (Miss Mildred’s beloved cat). Yes, I did locate her approximate burial site. And no, I did not disturb her resting place too much. I just uncovered the pieces of marble that covered her grave so that they could be part of the walking path through the garden (a walking path made of pieces of marble collected from all over the property…haven’t figure out why there are so many pieces of marble lying about). The path is in the shape of a question mark. Because of the great Why in the universe (a nod to George Emerson of Forster’s Room With A View).

All of our baby trees survived the winter, too. So, once we have the giant pines removed, we may plant either a crab apple tree or a Washington Hawthorne in the front. Both bear fruit or berries that birds find yummy. And we want to encourage the birds to stop by our place because we have lots of bugs. Why just yesterday, Slim and I were both attacked by swarms of gnats outside our front door…and in a couple of months we’ll have the plague of devil grasshoppers that thrive around here. I’m not looking forward to their return. They were bad.

The days are getting longer, which means that there is still enough daylight after work to get out and spread top soil, or lay stepping stones, or rake up mulch…Most nights, if you stand at our back windows overlooking the flower garden, you can witness a lovely occurrance. Through the trees of the woods, the western sky is visible. And although you cannot see the actual sun setting, you can see the spectacular colors that result from its descent. It can be startling and breathtaking, making us stop whatever it is we are doing at the time so that we can stand and watch it.

Listening to: Arcade Fire & Radiohead

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