Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lingering Iris

In a shady corner of the garden late irises linger.

This variety was named Autumn Splendor or Fall Fiesta or something like that.

But I think of it as French Vanilla and Cinnamon Toast... Wild Honey... Nectar and Whipped Butter, Croissant, Baguette... something French and gourmet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Sunny shower's never last half an hour..." or so I am told by an old children's book. I have found this bit of nursery wisdom to be true. Sunshine chases rain away, a cheery smile disarms the tear and tantrum. "Rain, Rain go away" or so the rhyme goes....
And yet, the world can sometimes be made more beautiful by a brief shower. Sparkling drops of rain like natures diamonds glitter on green leaves, the air is cool, and the gardens drink deeply to feed their blooms.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rose In Bloom

"Not a remarkably gifted girl in any way, and far from perfect; full of all manner of youthful whims and fancies; a little spoiled by much love; rather apt to think all lives as safe and sweet as her own; and, when want or pain appealed to her, the tender heart overflowed with a remorseful charity which gave of its abundance recklessly. Yet, with all her human imperfections, the upright nature of the child kept her desires climbing toward the just and pure and true, as flowers struggle to the light; and the woman's soul was budding beautifully under the green leaves behind the little thorns." -- Rose In Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Classical World

Over hills and in "hollars" I find myself searching for new radio stations around every curve of the road. Not many will stay tuned in.

Gravel back road. I find a classical music station, and instantly I am transported to my childhood and the back of my parent's Datsun station wagon. Seat belts not yet required, my sisters and I flolloped like amoebas listening to stories in the music.

Wordless classical music floats on humid air, and I can hear my mother's voice from long ago weaving tales of castles and dragons into violins and oboes. The clash of the knight's swords. Percussion. Brass. The crunch of gravel under my tires.

The present reaches through the music and touches the past.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

But They Are Still LOST

I just finished watching (thanks to hulu) the final episode of LOST. Since my sister is tired of hearing me rant about the sociological and spiritual ramifications of the, to me, disappointing final season of this TV show, I thought I would share my opinions here.

Accordingly in no particular order I shall now list my chief irritations:

Christian Shepherd -- Yes, Kate, they were kidding you. Anyone who is a Christian Shepherd in more than just name would have had a few things to say about that stained glass window for one thing. How many faiths can you fit into one "church"? Although the show borrowed from Christian Scripture an understanding of Christian theology was conspicuous by it's absence.

How many tunnels of light can you cram into one afterlife?

The "man in black" -- I am still trying to decide whether he was meant to be Johnny Cash, Esau, or the archetypal stereotype bad guy. Since he was written in such an obvious way I'm going to go with: bad guy. After all why leave out the "evil twin" myth?

Did I miss the part where they explain why they spoke Latin? Or why The Others stole the children after the first crash. I'm still thinking of the Island of Lost Boys after all Alpert could have been a Peter Pan figure... my vote for Tinkerbell? Clap if you want Jin and Sun to live. Come on, clap harder.

Or maybe it was meant to be the Island of Misfit Toys... all those flawed people searching for someplace to belong and someone to belong to. Even Jacob -- the flawed man in white. The good guy with his pseudo-god role and his smug air of mystery.

I knew it was a bad sign when the statue of Anubis showed up and I was not wrong. Play mythological sudoku with world religions and from the jumble what emerges is still a false religion. It's still the same nine numbers -- out of order they create an interesting puzzle and that's it. While amusing to solve what emerges is a hodge-podge faith bereft of any numeric or intrinsic value.

Sitting in the church of multiple faiths these characters face the "next life" with no certainty of salvation and no clear picture of who the Lord really is. For all intents and purposes they are more Lost now than they ever were before.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Comfrey and Siberian Iris

The large comfrey dwarfs the Siberian iris, but the play of the graceful bell flowers and broad leaves against the verticality of the iris leaves and flur-de-lis flower shape is quite nice. I have always loved the look of comfery in bloom -- there is something so very 1920s-ish about it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

California Poppy

This cheerful annual self-seeds and is an easy addition to any sunny garden spot. I have a rash of them coming up in my "long bed" a few of which are starting to bloom.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Silver bells and cockle shells I must leave to the contrary Mistress Mary. However, my garden is growing along quite nicely (marauding groundhogs aside).

Today being eighty-something degrees and our last frost date (zone 5/6) I decided to plant out some of my indoor starts. They've been hardening off for the last couple weeks and I'm getting tired of hauling so many trays of plants in and out.

Here's what went in today:
All of raised bed #1:

Back in March I started more than I needed, mostly extra tomatoes and basil -- because you can never have too many tomatoes or too much basil. Unless you have a small garden, but back-up plants are a good precaution with as many hail storms as we seem to get here, and once I am sure the plants are surviving I'll give my extras to family and friends with larger gardens.

I'll also have extra celery -- maybe. No one in the family has ever had much luck with celery, I'm surprised to have gotten mine past the seemingly inevitable damp-off. The celery and onions went into raised bed #3:

I re-planted some sugar pumpkin seeds as well, those had not come up yet but the Butternut Squash (planted May 5th) are already up and growing. The beans went in April 14th and are managing to survive.

Some veggies can be planted out quite early, they actually like the colder weather. Like the peas, carrots, and lettuces which I direct sowed into raised bed #2 March 28th. The cukes want a slightly warmer soil so they went in April 14th while I was planting the beans and the dill.

The only thing left to plant will be the Ronde De Nice squash. But I can't remember if they might cross-pollinate with the pumpkins, so just in case I'll be waiting another couple weeks to try to offset bloom time. The Ronde De Nice are a heirloom variety and I was going to try to save seeds... maybe... we'll see.

Also exciting to note in the gardening department, I think I might get apples this year. Of the six dwarf apples I planted last fall FOUR of them seem to be setting apples (the Yellow Transparent, the Pound, the Washington Strawberry, and the Cox Orange Pippin).
Yay little happy trees !

Friday, May 14, 2010

Groundhog Day

When I glanced out the window he was standing on his hind legs demolishing my sugar snap peas. Broad daylight, brazenly gobbling down my plants.

By the time I grabbed my camera and returned to the window he was hiding behind the raised bed pretending he was a bit of lettuce. But I know a groundhog when I see one.

I'll be picking up the Have-a-hart Trap tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spice Filled Beaks

Back in grad school we studied the black plague as part of a western civs survey course. I had great fun finding images to illustrate my presentations. This is one of my favorites. Medicine being what it was back then, spices were thought to ward off the plague and doctors wore head-to-toe black rubber costumes complete with spice filled beaks.

Is it any wonder that black birds became a symbol of death?

Breathing the herbs and spices packed into that beak was said to keep the doctors healthy... I don't know that it was really effective in preventing the plague but it probably did help with the smell of tenement sickrooms and the pustuleous unwashed.

I was reminded of this plague doctor image today as I snapped a photo of yet another fledgling bird in my yard -- this one in the thyme bed of my herb garden.

See what I mean...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reasons I'm Not Mowing the Yard

1. The battery on the electric mower really ought to be charged fully before I mow.

2. The bulb greens from the Siberian Squill could use a few more days of photosynthesis before I mow them down to a proper lawn height.

3. The momma and poppa birds would freak out. They screamed at me for just taking this photo.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lessons in Lawncare

The key to a low maintenance lawn is loving dandelions. To begin with.

Embrace the weeds.
Learn their names.
Use them. Boast about them.

"Yes, that's white clover. It's a nitrogen fixer. Allowing clover to grow in the lawn means I don't need to fertilize as often (or ever)."

"A white blooming creeper? Oh, that. That's chickweed -- it makes an excellent anti-allergy eyewash."

"Dandelion pancakes anyone?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Seeking Rest

Rest Area Ahead.
Next Rest Area 67 miles.

The blue signs along the side of the highway gave warning: Miss this rest stop and it'll be an hour to the next one.

I started thinking about the places of rest in our lives. The moments when everything is okay, everyone is happy and healthy all at the same time, job stress is low but the checking account is high... the times when we know God is walking beside us and for once we don't have a laundry list of prayer requests, we aren't distracted by our own plots and plans, and we can just focus on being and praising and thanksgiving... those times. Wouldn't it be nice to have signs to tell us when the next rest stop will be?

Spiritual Rest 2 Miles Ahead.
Next spiritual rest 6 or 7 days from now.

Then I realized, maybe we do get signs... we just don't always choose follow them.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
~ Matthew 11:28

Turning in at a highway rest stop is a matter of choice. As I drove along I chose to drive past several rest areas without pulling in to stretch my legs and take a break. That was my choice.

Rest Area Next Right

It is also my choice to decide to obey God's word or to disobey. Should I be surprised that choosing disobedience means no rest, or choosing to obey means finding rest in the Lord? God has provided places and days of rest for us in our lives. Are we choosing to drive right past those spiritual rest areas?

With whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?
~Hebrews 3:17-18

Rest Area Next Right Choice

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
~Psalm 62:7-8

Tomorrow is the Christian Sabbath, Sunday, a day of rest. Tomorrow will we choose to seek God's rest? Will we turn in at that rest stop in our week? Will we take the time to focus not on our own plots and plans but on our Lord?

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest...
~Hebrews 4:9-11