It's the Little Things... (Dark Side Edition)

...that irritate me enormously.
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Snails, for instance. Individually they can be kinda interesting with their spiral shell and retractable eyes, and all. But when FIVE THOUSAND of them spend the cool, dark hours munching the heads off of marigolds and attacking baby green growing things, well...collectively, snails are disgusting and annoying.

Mr. Last is my fearless Snail Hunter. He has been going out each evening after dark with his trusty Night Vision Torch and gathering 44 oz. cupfuls of hissing, spitting, sliming, gross snails and disposing of their carcasses. I suppose if we were French we would be thanking heaven for our good fortune and sauteing oodles of garlic in obscene amounts of butter and feeding cornmeal to the buggers getting them ready for our feast of escargot. But we are not French. And we despise snails.

Also, aphids. On my budding ROSES! Yes. I've become the Gardener Who Complains About Pests. I spent the morning soapy spraying all my tender rosebuds and cursing aphids to death. The only upside to aphids are ladybugs. Ladybugs love to eat aphids and I have noticed a few of them coming around. Ladybugs, unlike aphids, are among the Little Things That I Love.

My final irritation this rant is bermuda grass. I have an irrationally intolerant rage against the opportunistic, aggressive, invasive WEED that insinuates itself into cracks in the pavement and every other place it has no business being. I pull it up constantly. When I have to dig down and curl my fingers around a particularly tenacious granddaddy root I snarl, "I hate bermuda grass!" and I think the darkest, meanest thoughts I can muster. Hate is a strong word and an unhealthy emotion, but the dark passion that I experience while removing the tough roots is cathartic, and I do feel much better when I'm through.


If I were an oyster, you'd have a beautiful string of pearls. My irritations are not large, but unfortunately they are plentiful. I guess that's the duality of the world in which we live.

Oh! Have you done everything you wanted to do in March? Like eradicating snails and aphid and bermuda grass? Well, you better get crackin' because tomorrow the Fools are kickin' off April.

Stay tuned for more fun and adventure with...

Oh My, Oma!


Kid Knit

I finished one.

And in the immortal words of Stevie Wonder...

 Isn't She Lovely?


Dancin' Shoes

After we wore out our Garden Helper (he likes to collect dirt clods) on Saturday afternoon, my Dream Date and I got cleaned up and put on our dancing shoes to celebrate the birthday of a good friend.
After meeting some new friends at our table (it was a dinner/dance benefit for the community college) and enjoying a fine meal, the band took the stage and it was none other than our hometown rockers... Run 4 Cover!

Someday firstborn daughter may tell the story of playing an orphan in the community theater production of "Oliver Twist" shortly after we moved to Visalia about 20 years ago. That was our first introduction to a couple of the players in the band, and several of them continued to weave in and out of our lives over the years.

It tickles me to think that the kids are grown now and probably believe we old folks should be living the quiet life, but in fact some of us are dancing the night away to the rockin' music made by some of the others that taught them in high school drama and choir. It also tickled me to hear Mr. Buenefe singing the lead on "Play That Funky Music, White Boy." And Mr. Wilson doing Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean". They also covered a tune by Pink, and one by the Black Eyed Peas. This band knows how to keep the party alive.

Incidentally, those gorgeous yellow Adirondacks were auctioned off for a pretty penny earlier in the evening. I kinda woulda loved to see them brightening our back yard, but the bidding went way beyond our charitable contribution budget.

So, kids, don't worry about the old folks at home. We are entertaining ourselves just fine since you've grown up and gone away. And when we are not singing and dancing, there's always gardening to keep us happy.


40 Percent Chance of Rain

Somewhere I'm sure there is a forty percent chance of rain.

But not here.

That's our weather forecast for today.

And 60 percent chance of rain tomorrow.

Forecasting in an inexact science.

Here and now 40% today and 60% tomorrow looks like this:

Remember when they were empty boxes? Progress happens. Especially when the sun shines.

Look at the other side of the yard:

The Peas of Sweetness are in bloom:

And the Poppies of Remembrance:
Chollie has two baby teeth and he's crawling with intense purpose these days. It's delightful to see him growing and developing and soaking it all up like a sponge, but when I saw it for myself on Skype last week I had a little twinge of longing and sadness. And then a few days later the California poppies bloomed. And I talked with Mom and they are blooming in her yard, too.

Dad loved the poppies. He finally had success in recent years getting them established in the back yard. The photo above is his. One of his beloved poppies. Now blooming again in the back yard. He's not here to see it. But somehow the love and attention he focused on the poppies is transmitted to me when I look at the photo now hanging near my back door.

Oh. Maybe the 40% and 60% forecast teardrops instead of raindrops. Well, no matter. I've always said water is good for every living thing.

I don't always know where I'm going when I start writing these blog posts, but I end up where I am supposed to be.

May we all end up where we are supposed to be.

I'm going out back into the sunshine now and perhaps I'll stretch and grow a little along with my garden.


It's the Little Things...

...that make life Really Good.

Grandchildren, for instance:
  • riding a bicycle
  • sharing Knock-knock jokes
  • rolling and smooshing Play-Doh using her "muscles"
  • sprouting baby teeth and crawling with intensity

Or blog posts "Embracing the Tiny" in celebration of wee goodness.

Or a Thank You Note Every Day for things you might not otherwise notice much less think to be grateful for.

Or a book recommendation that inspires a fresh and new More Love Letters project.

I love the Little Things.


This is NOT a Garden Blog


But it could become a Garden Blog.

We've got a whole lotta gardenin' goin' on.

Flowers are waking up. We found a little surprise lilac bush in one corner of the yard. It bloomed last week. Today the first sweet pea and the first California poppy bloomed. Shortly the yard will be a riot of color and vigorous growth.

The sunflower garden along the front walk is sprouted and growing like gangbusters. Baby gangbusters. But dontcha just love enthusiastic sunflowers?

Little round-leafed nasturtiums are growing in the raised vegetable boxes. Along with young tomato plants and bell pepper plants and onions and beets.

Additional vegetable seedlings in the kitchen window will likely be transplanted in the raised beds and other pots next weekend.

And the Tater Tower is an experiment that could turn out to be a glorious success or a pitiful pile of dirt. Springtime is a hopeful season that tempts us to try things that look promising. Not all of Springtime's promises turn out as we hope. 

Try anyway, I say. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Baseball season is coming right up, too. Not really related to gardening, but definitely related to hopeful Springtime. And sunflower seeds. We watched "A League of Their Own" tonight as a sort of celebratory anticipation of Opening Day. I think "Sand Lot" might be up next. And/or "Field of Dreams".

This is not a sports blog any more than it is a garden blog. But gardening and baseball are a couple of consistent Springtime pleasures in my life.

And to that list I will add frogsong.

The one or two voices we've heard complaining in the backyard have recently multiplied into a veritable Mormon Tabernacle Chorus of Frogs singing praises to their Creator every evening when the sun goes down.

Or maybe they are just a bunch of randy amphibians signaling their happy availability to potential mates. 

What ever.

Sounds like music to me.

And, on that note...

Thank you and good night.


Bizzy Town

Been a whirlwind of activity around here lately.

Oma the Great came to town to help us with yardwork and to attend the 2nd Anniversary Celebration of Miss Bee's Birth:
 Apparently it takes a village (or four generations) to feed magic bananas to Baby Alive. Good thing we were all there to assist Ms. Bee with baby feeding:
A little bit later the Empty Nesters took the Spring Breakers
to hug the World's Biggest Trees:
Good times.
Perhaps the pictures don't reflect the level of bizzy, but trust me, we've been bizzy.

Just the way we like it.


Simple Pleasures

 A few weeks back folks were being pressured to get a dozen roses and a bunch of pink and red wrapped stuff to give to some beloved as a pure demonstration of love. I'm all about Love, but may I suggest waiting a couple of weeks beyond Balentimes and getting a dozen plants for the garden and a new sprinkling can? I'm pretty sure they are at least as sweet and meaningful as all the pink and red stuff that's been consumed and/or discarded as retailers get all hot and bothered about the next commercial sales opportunity. Round here, anyway.

I was already feeling good when I came out of the store with the seedlings above, so imagine my delight when I was greeted with this great big beautiful rainbow stretching all the way over to the other side of the sky.

Country Waffles makes me happy, too, because of some happy meals there with my Baby Boy (who is now a Man). He isn't as difficult to feed now, but back in the day he didn't like salads or sandwiches or soup, but he loved ham. And Country Waffles serves ham breakfast any time they are open, and they also have sandwiches and other menu items for the rest of us who don't require all ham all the time. So, yeah, I get warm and nostalgic when I see Country Waffles.

Happy First Day of Lion and Lamb Month!