Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just Hanging

The clematis finally took off this year. Yippee!
 So, over the weekend, we invited my former garden nursery colleagues to brave a full-moon bonfire in the backwoods of Flat Top. Three came. Three really cool people, who brought two more suckers, who are really cool people, too. And we had a lovely time.

While here, one asked us: So how do we spend our days? Under the influence of a few homebrews, I'm not sure I answered properly. But I can't tell you how easy it is to be a bum.

Today, for example: Lie in bed for a hour or so in the morning, reading the news on the smartphone and listening to NPR.  Then, homemade pancakes and breakfast tacos with spinach from the garden. Wash dishes, water the veggie garden and new grass-seed patches. Walk the dog. Then I launched into weeding the veggie garden, while Mason began all the prep work for bottling beer. Then we bottled beer. Made lunch, ate lunch and did lunch dishes. Hmmm, kinda tired by then, so up to the loft to lie down with a book and maybe, OK, yes, catch a little nap. Then it's up again to do some garden pruning and hand-watering plants with collected rainwater, while Mason worked on the tractor motor. Then Dog Walk No. 2, on which we brought loppers and trimmed up some of the trees leaning into our walking paths and roadway. Hot shower, "Jeopardy" -- don't call us at 7:30-8 p.m. -- then make dinner.

See? And we just repeat it the next day, and the next ...  Hmm, I'm not making any new friends with this post, am I?

A Scarlett Something Itoh peony. I need to write these names down.
I'm working on building a 6-foot bear like I had in Minnesota. It's a work in progress. Need more moss.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Blur of Spring

Siberian Iris, my all-time favorite for spring.
A blur of springtime activity has sprung on Flat Top. Most important, everything’s green! Two days ago, I woke up and it was as if someone had popped open an umbrella of a million leaves overhead.  Gorgeous. And we’ve been graced with baptisia, iris and hardy geranium blooms, and my favorite: new plumes of needles on all of the conifers! Love me some conifers …

The former maple 5 feet from our cabin. I have an art project planned for that stump.
Mason woke up with a burst of energy that same day, and we launched into the last tree harvest for the season. We saved the hardest, or at least the most nerve-racking, for last: a 65-foot maple that was leaning over the cabin.

But first the 70-foot pine tree blocking its path to the ground had to go. And the pine’s first limb was way, way up there. So Mason tried to slingshot a golfball, tied to a “Twisted Mason Line,” aka string, over that lowest limb. But it wasn’t powerful enough to launch the ball high enough, so he just went with his manly brute strength: He flung it up there; it took a few throws (maybe 11). We use the string to tie to a stronger rope, which attaches to a steel cable, and then the Jeep (used to be the truck, but she died last month) puts tension on the cable, so that -- hopefully -- the tree falls away from the house.(They did.)

Before lunch, we had the pine down and cut up. By dinner time, the maple was down and sectioned, too. Phew. Several trees are still within striking distance of the cabin, but at least they aren’t leaning toward the place. And so ends the Winter 2016/17 firewood harvest.

Things are also hopping in the vegetable garden, with spinach, lettuce and arugula already on the dinner table. Each day starts with a list of my garden chores; I rarely get to all of them. One recent task was planting a ton of annual flower seeds, the frugal gardener’s best friend. Zinnias and cosmos, make my summer!
My pal Terry gave me all these irises. Above them is my wisteria.
A hardy geranium, called Espresso.

I've got columbine coming out of my ears.