Saturday, April 24, 2010

WORK, WORK, WORK

WORK, WORK, and more WORK... the story of springtime.
So far, the only one to really enjoy the “new” and improved patio seems to be Spook. He really seems to love it out there, though he still doesn’t like having his picture taken. See him? He thinks he is invisible. I do sit out here every once in a while to catch my breath or give my back a rest. As you can see, things are blooming here at Possum Lane. And what is not blooming, hopefully will be. The first beans are up and recognizable as real plants, not just green lumps! I am trying another experiment in gardening… so far it is just home to plants waiting to get planted… the cucumbers are in the ground with a fence to climb on, zucchini, strawberries, Progress! I moved the new composter… not sure if this is a better idea than the old way, but I am willing to try. So far the raccoons have only gotten in it twice. Amazing little critters, aren’t they? The house plants, for the most part, are outside waiting to get cleaned up, cut back, and situated for the summer. The lilacs outside my bedroom window have been especially beautiful this year. And both Buddhas seem, well, content, in the midst of the azaleas around them.

AN AMAZING GIFT!

THIS MORNING, I was given a gift I never would have believed could happen. Some of you might remember my long distance shots of the pileated woodpeckers that live in my woods... the shots were not very good, the color lost in the distance, and if you didn't know what they looked like, they would have seemed like just another bird in the tree. I have never managed to get a pic of them in flight - the color pattern from underneath is spectacular. So, here I was, dutifully working on my Sunday Musings, when I saw something move in the redbud right outside my window. Spook had been running up and down the tree already this morning, so I expected to see him. But, this is what I saw instead. One of the woodpeckers was right outside my window having breakfast! Now how exciting is that!? OK, so maybe I am only one of a few that find it exciting, but let me have my moment. In a couple of shots, his head is blurry - as I mentioned, he was having breakfast! Also, I did not get the camera very close to the window. I did not want him to get scared before I even got a shot off. Anyway, here he is. You can actually see his bright red head. Save the comments about the dirty window! I will wash them again after the pollen eases up a bit more.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A BUSY TIME AT POSSUM LANE

IT’S A BUSY TIME AT POSSUM LANE

SPRING IS ALWAYS a busy time. Just some years it seems busier than others. This year, it is with huge amounts of gratitude that I report that I am getting some stuff done. I, as in ME! So far this spring, my friends have not been up here bailing me out, doing my chores… one has called twice asking if there was anything I needed him to do – plow the garden, help lay stones on my patio… but I know he has tons to do for himself. How many times have I mentioned the wonderful friends I have? May I do it again????? And I do thank you guys. I go to sleep with a sense of security knowing I have you for neighbors and if I ever need you, you will be there.
Again, my apologies for not being on here… but every spare moment I have has been outside trying to get caught up.
Years ago when I first decided to “build” a patio – or at least do something to keep my ancient Adirondack off the ground (this chair is over a hundred years old – it is one of the few things I brought down here when we had to dispose of the little house in the Poconos…) I basically just plopped a bunch of square cement blocks down… and the number grew, I added another chair… and a Beautyberry Bush… Well, the Beautyberry bush, in spite of being cut back severely, GROWS so much each year, it would come out and hang over the chair. So, now that I am better able to DO THINGS for myself, I decided to redo the patio idea, moving several rows of stones from the southern end to the eastern Buddha-side. Better than that, I decided to actually do it with the ground cloth and sand to make it level, due to all the moles that seem to like this place and have tunneled under the stones.
I actually had to go to Salisbury to buy decent ground cloth. The stuff being sold today is like gauze. No one has the good old heavy stuff of just a few years ago around here. Sam’s had 4 foot rolls of the good stuff. That should last me a few years. I found Roses had 50 lb bags of sand. I figured I could handle 3 bags at a time. Truth is, it was a little too much for me. But, I managed. I figured I would need 9 bags – 3 trips. However, I made a mistake, I told a friend the sand was on sale, and he bought it all, so I was 3 bags short. The good thing is, our local building supply place had sand, bigger bags, so much heavier, but better quality sand – the weight was in the sand not the moisture IN with the sand like the stuff from Roses – and the best part – they deliver – FREE! So I got some 4x4s that I needed that won’t fit in my van, some metal fence posts I need for a friend’s garden, and I did not have to beg someone for the use of their truck, and I got another 200 lbs of sand.
The “patio” is far from perfect, still not as level as I would like it, but no blocks uneven enough to trip over – that’s a plus! And I also picked up a plastic Adirondack style yard chair that is light enough for me to move easily, versus the old one that takes a strong man or a steady wheelbarrow. At any rate, I am as satisfied as I am going to be. The cats love sprawling out in the middle of it and it is comfortable for several people to sit and have a glass of tea.

Probably the other big news is my hair “cut”… a friend is undergoing chemo and a bunch of us promised her that when she lost her hair – we would shave our heads in support of her. Well, I did not SHAVE it, but it is beyond just short! We left a little fuzz in the front because I get a rash from synthetics touching my skin – like the threads they use on the binding on hats – so we left a little buffer for that. The back did get shaved pretty close… fortunately it grows back in fast, so it doesn’t really look as bald as it is. I was shocked at how dark the back is – the hair around the front is white! Go figure! Bald heads are cold!

There is much gardening going on here. Beans are thru the dirt in the Stand Uppity garden. Other things are potted waiting to germinate, or in little pots waiting until we are sure of no frost. The strawberries are in full bloom, the asparagus is slowly popping thru the ground – so far never enough for one meal at a time. Onions are up about 5, 6 inches.
The azaleas have opened this week. In another couple of days they will all be open and magnificent. I wonder how many people will stop and tell me how much they enjoy driving past my little acreage? I think that is so cool. Makes all the work worthwhile. I usually offer them a job weeding. So far, no takers.
The lilacs are beautiful this year. How I love to smell them. I planted one bush outside my bedroom window. It has been a long struggle, but it survives. I do believe it is my favorite fragrance. I told that to one of my tiny visitors one year. She said it was nice, but not as good as chocolate. The Bleeding Hearts made it thru the winter. This is the first year for the white one on its own. I planted it last year. The redbud was a bit pitiful this year, not nearly as full of blooms as in years past. Probably so much wind damage over the winter – the little twigs and tiny branches were all over the ground.
It is grass cutting season – though I must admit, it is more like weed mowing and driving over huge patches of moss. But, we have had an almost dry couple of weeks and so it no longer squishes when I walk in the yard, and the Deere no longer leaves ruts in some places. I am hoping I can get some mulch moved this week and use the tractor, not a wheelbarrow.
If you are in the area, come by and have a sit down on the patio… have a glass of tea… enjoy the quiet serenity of the Buddha and the beauty of the flowers. Soon I will be able to share some veggies with you – In┼čallah!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

SERIOUSLY SPRING (AT LAST!)

This has been a slow spring getting here after an amazing cold snowy winter, but all of a sudden, everything started to bloom at once. The red camellias that usually bloom off and on all winter did not get a chance to bloom in December, January or February, so they are really doing their thing now... but the strange thing is - they last camellias to bloom, especially Red Emperor (12 feet tall) that doesn't bloom until April as a rule, are blooming right along with the earlier ones - and they are over loaded with blooms! The white camellia bush which is over 10 feet tall now, is just loaded with blooms. This one is up over the roof...I keep cutting the peppermint camellia back - it is in front of the electric meter - but it too, is big and loaded. My favorite, Pink Perfection, is just getting started. I was afraid it was going to drown this winter. It often was standing in a lake. But, the camellias are awesome! Likewise, the daffodils all opened at the same time except for the very late ones, and I don't know when I have seen so many blooms at once in my yard. Last year, Bobbie gave me 5 flats of pansies... i put them in and they disappeared under the snow. I was sure they had frozen to death - but not so! I have bunches of pansies in bloom all over the place. What a joy! But, one of my greatest delights is having vases and vases of flowers in the house. I love to smell them when I walk into a room and see their brightness on a table. Meanwhile, at our place in the Poconos - they had - SNOW! Yep, this was last Tuesday from the webcam a few miles from our house. Here, we had another 2 1/2 inches of rain. It has been so wet, our fungus is growing fungus. Go figure! But, get ready - the azaleas and iris will be opening soon! And I think I see little purple bumps on the Redbud out the window. Next week the veggie garden gets started. Oh MY!