Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden Drivel - Part Two

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my Friday post.
It meant so much to me.
It was a bittersweet day.

I work hard at carrying my mother's spirit with me daily.
She taught me more by example than anything.
Those are the lessons that aren't easily forgotten.

Obligatory chicken photo.

More garden drivel ahead.

This is the stinkin' window box that I've planted twice.
Third time's a charm I hope.
Tomorrow it's back to the garden center to get a few more annuals.
Glen's fashioned a little screen to protect it until the Walk.

12 more days.

I take pictures of this angle alot. I like it.
I'm planning on making a garden that will ensconce the camper with shrubs and flowers, so that it doesn't look so alone over there, but more nestled in. The challenge will be to make it accessible to pull it out without running over all the plants!

Here's a photo looking north from the chicken coop.
That's a big patch of mint.
I'm always making iced tea with mint in it, and it's nice to have the mint to garnish desserts.
It gets out of hand quickly.
Every time I go to check on the birds, I'm surrounded by the smell of mint when I brush by it.
This area needs some tweaking in my mind - could be better.

This is where you'll find me in the evenings.
Watching the bees.
I love it that there is nothing north of me for miles.
Breathing space indeed.

This is also the area that is giving me an ulcer.
It's a low lying area, and supposed to be my veggie garden.
The Garden Walk description reads:
An organic vegetable garden brimming with heirloom veggies.
It's been so wet that I can barely get out there to work.
I have pumpkins, squashes, tomatoes and some pitiful beans.
I've replanted twice.
I plugged in four flats of zinnias, and all have rotted for the most part.
I think I'm just going to put caution tape around it.

Here's a couple of pics of the Squirrel dining table staged.
Cute dishes, no? Thanks Donna!

A couple of comments were left asking more about The Squirrel.
If you look under my labels, and find 'Vintage Camping in The Squirrel' you'll see the before and after pics and read the story of how we acquired this dollhouse.
Everyone should have one.
It's the equivalent of a grown up fort, treehouse, dollhouse, playhouse.
I heart The Squirrel.
Here's a photo looking north - the mint patch is in front of the bike - to help you get a perspective of things.
I'm not in love with this area.

The hat that I just bought at a yard sale a month ago has almost disintegrated.
Must be all the rain we've had.
Time to go to the thrift store and get her a new outfit in time for the Walk.
I wish the walk were at 5am, or at 7pm, cause that is when the garden truly looks lovely.

Here's a nice little spot in the yard.
I made pillows for the chairs yesterday, and I spray painted half a chair green.
I'm having a hard time finding a color that I really like.
I wanted them a tomato soup color.

I have a lot of yellow flowers, and have to constantly remind myself not to buy anything yellow.

Ok - let's talk about this blue pool.
I'll spare you all the drivel of why we even have such an eyesore, but it has to do with Aaron being a little fella, and it getting to 100 blazing degrees one day.
An impulse purchase.
A 'we'll use it for this summer' kind of thing, and it's just stayed.
I have to tell you that I hate the way it looks, but I love the way it feels.

It's just so - blue.
I thought of painting it, and in fact planned on painting it this summer.
Then I thought - what if it looks worse?
The chore of painting it overwhelmed me a bit.
I thought of building a lattice 'box' around it - but how cheesy would that be?
I don't like butt splinters either.

So I've decided to embrace it, and it's blueness.

When it gives up the ghost (cause you know ya gotta 'use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without') I'd love to build a brick oven there, and have another garden, OR get a more natural looking pool.

I'm really beginning to enjoy the garden, and relax about the whole darned thing.
I'm only working out there about an hour or so a day now.
It's in the 'fine tuning' stages.
When the Garden Walk is over, it will take me about an hour a day to maintain it.
The reason it was so much work this year is because I'd let it go for the last few years.
I'd really hate all my complaining to discourage someone from planting a large garden.
Some areas are truly maintenance free.

Here's a shot looking south from the veggie garden.
All the stuff that Glenco hides behind the garage is going to have to go somewhere.

One of the things I wanted to do for the Walk, and for myself was to make an 'Outpost'.
We have an acre and a half in the back that we just let grow up wild.
It's full of blackberries, Queen Anne's Lace, Goldenrod and other native grasses and plants.
We really encourage the Milkweed to grow, and in fact spread the seeds around.
Butterflies love it. It's a main food source of the Monarch butterfly.

I want to mow a meandering path through this meadow, and mow out a small area where I would make a tent out of quilts, and have my old binoculars, a picnic basket, and some books staged. Think Mary Jane's Farm.

I hope I can pull it off.

There are 12 days left, and still a lot left to do.
Power wash the back of the garage.
Paint the patio set and get new cushions.
Paint the plastic chairs.
Scrub the outside of The Squirrel.
RoundUp the driveway.
Replant the windowbox. )@#)$(@#$)(
Shampoo and blowdry the chickens.
Polish their beaks.
Ok - those last two are jokes - just seeing if you are still with me!

It's all a labor of love.
I seriously can't imagine a day without flowers.
I don't think I'd be able to breathe.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Remembering Momma

Helen Irene Dorsey Arp

Eight years ago today, I woke up and began preparing for my mother's funeral.

Eight years ago today, I was immobilized by grief.

I can still remember how I felt that morning, it's almost like it was just moments ago.

I still remember putting on my dress, and trying to put on makeup through tears.

I remember seeing relatives that I'd not seen in years, and realizing how bittersweet it was to see them under these circumstances.

I remember feeling terribly alone, despite being surrounded by people.

I remember the ride to the cemetery.

I remember the lump in my throat.

I remember the humidity.

I remember feeling the grass crunching under my feet in the hot Missouri sun.

I remember hearing the locusts.

I remember seeing my mother.

I remember the smell of the Stargazer lilies on the coffin.

I remember seeing her two remaining sisters, that join her in heaven now, weeping over her.

I remember after the funeral, hearing my relatives talking, and the forks hitting the plates as they ate, as I lay in the bedroom wondering how life would go on.

Today - eight years from that day -

I remember my mother's laugh.

I remember my mother's hands.

I remember how hard my mother worked.

I remember my mother's stubbornness.

I remember my mother's devotion to her family.

I remember my mother ironing our pajamas, and mopping the floor while Conway Twitty played in the background.

I remember my mom watching Hee Haw and the Carol Burnett show and watching her get so tickled.

I remember my mom mothering all the neighborhood kids.

I remember my mom's garden being the prettiest on the block.

I remember my mom cooking dinner every single night.

I remember.

I remember not to take anything for granted.

I remember to work hard for the things you want.

I remember to be stubborn when it's needed.

I remember to love.

I remember to laugh.

I remember.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gardening Drivel - Part One

Prepare yourself.
Drivel ahead.

This cement planter belonged to my beloved Aunt Jean.
This year I filled it with three different Plectranthuses.
I love the textures.

One of the things I'm enjoying so much, in getting ready for this garden walk, is the feeling that so many loved ones are with me.

Aunt Jean's planter. Flowers from friends. Cement chickens from friends (thanks Linda!) The camper table staged with dishes from my friend Donna, the clothespin holder from a faithful reader, Sharon.

Things like that make my soul happy.

These photos are in random order, no rhyme or reason.
It's the good the bad and the ugly, my friends.
It's been a weird season so far.
We've had some serious rain.
The perennials love it. They are chest high. The annuals haven't seemed to enjoy it as much.
The vegetable garden is hydroponic.

This is a photo of the back of the house, looking west.
Do you see that blue lagoon peeking out?
We'll talk more about that later.
It does not make my soul happy.

This actually hurts my soul.
Yes friends, this is in my yard!
16 days til the yard walk - and I've got this.
A few hours will fix it right up.
Mulch covers a multitude of sins.
I have a few shrubs and some daylilies to pop in there.
Fixin' some fences - it'll be good.

Standing on the east side of the back yard, facing west.
Are you as surprised as I am, that I in fact know East, West, North and South from my house?
You should be.

This is on the east side of the house, and it covers up some of the pool.
It doesn't look like much here, but in real life - it's quite lovely and tranquil.

Facing east in the front.
Bridal Wreath Spirea taking over.
Very moist shade.
Mosquito heaven.

Dahlia carnage.
I finally caved, and in the cloak of early morning darkness, applied some systemic insecticide.
I apologize in advance to any bees that happen to visit.
It was a cost/benefit analysis.
Bees lost this one.

More carnage.
More systemic insecticide.
I'm sorry world.
I'm sorry bees.

Full frontal view.
It's prettier in person.
I walk around criticizing this area all the time.
It's getting a complex.

Don't even get me started on the zinnias.
Half of them look like this.
Gnarly, blackened, twisted.
Sounds like a few people I know.

Another area that looks better in person.
Why do I keep apologizing for my garden?

Walking to the back porch.
Love this area - it looks awesome in 'real life'.
The Penstemon was a show stopper.
This is my 'free' garden'. I used starts from all over the garden to plant this.
Gotta love it.
There is still ivy residue on the house from pulling it off last year.
I thought I was going to have to wire brush the back of the house and repaint before the walk - and now - eh, I don't care.
Funny how fatigue and lack of time can change so many 'have to do's' isn't it?

Next to the garage - I love the Boston Ivy growing all over.
This area makes me happy.
A few weak spots - but all in all good.
I'm realizing that sometimes I have a tendency to plant too many 'onesies and twosies' of things - instead of doing a more dramatic mass planting.
Gardening is like life.
You learn as you go - and hopefully you grow.

Not sure what's going on with the annuals that I planted here to fill in an empty space - they just aren't growing, despite all the rain and fertilizer!

The back porch photo from the last post.
I liked it so much that I put it here again.
The cats love the window box.
I've planted it twice now.

I'm saving the rest of the pictures for Garden Drivel - Part Two, cause I have a feeling ya'll look like this now -

Monday, June 21, 2010

As the Coop Turns

I'm alive! I'm alive!

I'm in a good place with the yard - sorta. One or two more days like today, workwise, and I'll be sittin' pretty. I took a bagillion pictures of the yard today, and hope to share them with you tomorrow. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I've decided to take the advice given in Proverbs -

A relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life.
Proverbs 14:13

I'm really enjoying the garden.

If you would have told me that Scripture a few days ago -
I would have said -" in lieu of flowers, please give a donation to your local Chicken Rescue Shelter."

But today-I'm livin' it.

Who is this chicken?
Why do I blow dry her?

I just want to thank you for sticking around here, and waiting - and waiting.
I've been disheveled.

I'll be back on a pretty regular basis now with stories of:

Dog Poop.

A soap opera?
Nope, just a day in the life of the Coop Keeper.

Poor a glass of sweet tea and stay tuned.

for sticking about.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One of My Favorite Places

Nestled in the fabulous 'old home district' of Lowell, Indiana -
One of my favorite spots - within walking distance of Aaron's abode -
Glazes Greenhouse.
'The Girls Greenhouse'

You'll pull into the driveway of this fabulous old home.
There's something about old houses.
When you live in one - you have an instant kinship to anyone else that does.
It's like a secret sisterhood.

You'll walk past this porch.
Oh, if this porch could talk.
I want to languish on this porch.
Languish = 'to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity'

That's what a porch like that is for.

I didn't want to be too bold and get right up in the yard - but I did sneak this picture.

A fan and a glass of sweet tea is needed here.
I would wipe my sweaty, salty brow with the condensation on the glass of tea - and talk about the weather. I would languish.

As you walk down the lane to the greenhouse, you pass this wonderful patch of hollyhocks.
Anyone that knows anything knows that anyone that grows hollyhocks is a good soul.
It's a universal farmgirl truth.

This is Linda - the proprietor of this haven of mine.

What I love so much about this place, is that you feel the passion there.
You feel the passion of one that loves to garden, and has borne a business out of that love.
So many garden centers do not have that feel.
Linda and her husband started this business in 1987 doing semi hydroponics - five years later, they started selling flowers.

You'll find a great selection, and great prices.

Thank heavens I saw this sign.

On the path to the greenhouse, you'll also see this.
I believe it's her husband's tomato trial garden.
Don't you love it!?
They sell tomatoes that are in gallon pots, about two to three feet tall - all pruned and ready to go for $3.50.

Since I saw that sign, that said Glenco had called and said to get anything I wanted, I brought home this.

I cannot tell you how good this made me feel.
A drug for sure.
It's all happiness and sunshine.

You probably can't see it - but I bought this Gerbera Daisy - it's orange -
do you see it?

It was $2.50.
It was fabulous.

Even if it died by the time I got it home, it would have been worth $2.50 to even just look at it.
I know - I'm weird.

I'm taking that daisy camping this weekend to dress up The Squirrel.
(I should be preparing to go - and here I am blogging!)
Like I said - things are starting to get back to normal around here -

I hesitate to tell you where this wonderful haven is - but I must.
I think I've bought everything I've needed from there - so you are free to go.

490 W. Commercial Avenue
Lowell, Indiana

She's open from the first of May until the 4th of July
I didn't get the hours - but she's there anytime I go -
You might want to call first to make sure.

Completely unrelated to this post -
Claude and Maude
My fabulous ducks.
That I adore.

This is where they've taken to hanging out.
I don't mind the poop - I can hose it off
But look at Maude's plumpness, hanging over the chair -
I can't stand it.
I want to squeeze it.
But she doesn't like that.

Have a wonderful weekend!