Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rock throwing Lawnmowers

When Felita was old enough (I’m not sure how old that was), Mother would make her treks to town or to do community/family errands leaving us at home with chores (always with chores)--under Felita’s supervision. As soon as that old blue station wagon disappeared over the eastern hill, the chores were abandoned for some sort of play, if not mischief. Felita was all about having time to herself, listening and dancing to the tunes on the radio with her friends and our closest neighbors, Nancy or Debbie, allowing us to do what we wanted...until something went wrong or the time was drawing near for mother’s return.

On one summer day we were left with the chore of mowing the two-acre lawn--not foreign to us, ‘twas something we had done since we were big enough to push the mower. One day, my two younger sisters and I were romping in the summer sunshine and decided to play hide-and-go-seek. Beverly and I had our turns at seeking and eventually Pauline was ‘it’. Beverly and I ran off as Paula was counting out the time for us to hide. Contemplating the best of hiding places, Beverly and I decided that we would really throw her for a loop and hide inside the house. We ran around the house and into the back patio door, locking it behind us, laughing all the while. [Our doors were never locked!] Just after we entered the house, Paula was on the prowl. Ducking below the windows we gleefully watched as she searched all around--for quite some time. Eventually, exasperated with the hunt, she tried to enter via the patio door, found it locked and knew we were inside the house. She started around the house and Bev and I immediately headed for the front door, arriving a moment before her, locking it as she shrieked. Whew! Ah! Then we remembered that Felita’s bedroom window was open and ran down the hall into the bedroom and slammed it shut--laughing--just as Paula appeared outside. The unjustified scorn delivered by Beverly and me was just a bit too much and that little feisty squirt of a sister began pounding on that window, demanding that we let her in. All of a sudden there was a clash, glass flew our way and it looked as if something had been thrown right into the middle of that window. Felita is suddenly jolted from developing the proper choreography to Cher’s “Half-Breed” playing on WKAC.

When mother arrived there was a wee bit of grass cut--a path in front of the house. In that path, right in front of that broken window, was one-half of a hard clay rock and the other half was inside on Felita’s desk with all that broken glass.

I truly don’t remember how the idea developed yet, it was collective-sister minds and a memory that stays. We did eventually tell Mom and Dad what had happened--later in life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Strolling through the garden

While watering the plants and enjoying my coffee on the upstairs deck this morning, across the neighboring rooftops, on the next street over I noticed huge clusters of bold yellow flowers extremely high in the treetops. In my many years of living here, I had never noticed them before. Curious, I went for the field glasses, not satisfied with that magnified view, I then went for the digital camera. Combining the optical and digital zoom lengths still failed to satisfy my curiosity. After a delicious sushi spread for lunch, shared with Stephen and our friend, Gert, Gert and I took a trek over to the base of that unidentified vine. With some debate, we finally decided which of the various leaves on this vine-laden tree belonged to those bright yellow blooms that towered above us some 30+feet. We yanked on the vines, took a few cuttings, shot a few pictures and retrieved a lone blossom that had fallen to the ground. With loot in tow we headed back to the abode to apply a few different rooting methods to our clingy vine.

After our rooting efforts, we took a stroll through the garden admiring the colourful blooms, looking for signs of new growth on plants damaged by the winter freeze (which is not common here), checking the oleander for aphids (which I had super-sprayed from the plant yesterday), looking for signs of seedlings in newly sown beds and discussing possibilities in life.

We found the recently sown lavender, cilantro, chives and chamomile perching above the soil and a few sprigs of self-sown dill from last season. The garlic chives, some of the cuban oregano and the lemon grass made it through the unusual winter. I redesigned my herb beds this year and am just a wee bit anxious to see it all come together.

We spied a few more aphids on the oleander then discovered they were also on the mandevilla. Yikes!

The flowering maple made it through the winter and is blooming as well as the lady bank roses, the shamrocks and the jasmine. The Meyer lemon and satsuma have healthy blooms as well. The wisteria and Japanese lantern blooms have already come and gone. It seems I may have lost two hibiscus plants yet, others that are putting out new growth. I haven’t decided if the red ornamental banana tree will come through but, the green ones have new leaves opening up already. I moved a few of the baby succulents from pots into the ‘cactus bed’ while we were out roaming around. There’s new growth all over the garden, it sings of spring.

I was thinking the bright yellow flowers on our mystery vine would look fabulous in the tall pine cornered in the garden so, I did some research. Turns out the vine is cat's claw aka, yellow trumpet vine, extremely invasive and not well liked among gardeners. Though the bright yellow display is quite dramatic, it’s short lived and not worth the efforts it would take to control. I might try a bit in a pot just to study it’s growth for a season but, don’t think I’ll be planting it in the garden.

The sun’s down now and time for me to apply a soap treatment to the aphid infested plants.

Maybe I’ll get back to another post before too long. Until then...