Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Work in the Garden

It's getting cold here all of a sudden. I feel like I should be lamenting the end of the summer, but it seems way too soon. Way too soon. I'm not ready for summer to end.

The kids and I started our First Day of Discussions and Agreements today, even though we've been reviewing and finishing left-over work AND discussing what various pursuits they had in mind for several weeks now. I like having a formal agreement with my kids. In the Agreement we discussed today, we all agreed to keep to our bargains, which in Max's the kids' case means to do their work with an open mind, to keep negative remarks to a dull roar, and, most importantly, to help out around the house. In my case it means to be patient, to provide enough food for the boys (an exhausting task if there ever was one), and to refrain from shouting "Ugh, I am surrounded by idiots" at various moments in the day. I find this helps when one of us is grouchy or being really irritatingly unhelpful or obtuse. Not that that ever happens around here, though. (Sheila coughs ostentatiously, while glancing pointedly at her eldest child)

I also made out a Work Chart for their bathroom, something I've avoided in the past as being both too prim and anal (for my flaky self), but there seems to be no other way to get everyone helping out without me constantly reminding them, so I've caved - momentarily. I have my fingers crossed that this chart will get me off my NagMobile, a ride I seem to be taking a lot these days. I hate housework but I also hate the chaos a messy house brings. When we came back from vacation a couple of weeks ago I did a massive laundry, then spent the rest of the week wondering why Dominic could find no clean underwear - until "we" discovered that he hadn't unpacked his suitcase, just stored it in his closet, filled with underwear, t-shirts and shorts, in varying stages of filth. Plus, I really hate the constant remarks I find myself blurting out during the day: "Who dropped jam on the floor and then walked in it? And where is the sock that now has jam on it?" "Can we all stop leaving huge globs of toothpaste on the counter?" "Why is there Lego on every single surface in this house?" "Max, can you PLEASE feed your guinea pig before he becomes a former pig from Guinea?")

So we discussed, and chatted, and laughed, and talked, and snacked, and everyone had their say about our new Modus Operandi. I felt pretty pleased - the kids seemed both glad and determined. I felt as though my concerns had been taken seriously.

"Boy," said Max at the end of what I thought was a mature, cooperative discussion, "you sure like to lecture."


So I decided that we needed a Change of Venue. Or, rather, I did.

I billed it as Our First Field Trip of the year (no groaning now, any of you). I didn't tell them we were going to a plant nursery because I didn't think it would go over very well in terms of its Fun Field Trip quotient. But I knew if I could lure them into the car and out onto the winding rural roads, dotted with deer, blueberry stands, and fields of ripe corn, they would quickly be lulled into having fun, no matter where we ended up. And I was right.

When we got within 100 yards of the place, the penny dropped for Max. "Oh, we're at ______. Is THIS the field trip?" he said, a not unenthusiastic tone in his voice.

"Yes!" I said. (I think I might even have trilled a bit, nervously)

"Oh," they said. Not terribly enthusiastically, but much more enthusiastically than I expected.

"They're having a sale on fruit trees," I said. "I want to get another fruit tree."

"Oh," they said.

So in we went. We went by the roses first, because they too were on sale. And there's nothing more wonderful than a big clear bowl with fragrant roses floating in it. Some of us strolled, some of us sniffed the hybrid teas and floribundas, some of us counted to 200 by 3's, and some of us flung our Lego men around the stock while shouting "Watch out!"

Very pleasant.

Then FDPG discovered a nest of lizards in the logs. Even more pleasant. They peered and peeked and whispered and poked and laughed and shrieked, while I wandered among the fruit trees. I picked a lovely multi-graft pear: Louisebonne and Bartlett (from a William bon Chretien). The Louisebonne, as I later discovered (while researching it online), is considered the best dessert pear there is. It has slightly pink flesh, is not grainy in the way pears are, and the flesh reminds some of muscat and some of the most luscious of rosewaters. (oooh, I was impressed!) The nursery staff waxed oh-so-eloquently about it. So I bought it. We won't discuss how in my on-line searches later I came across a site that mentions how William bon Chretien and Louisebonne's are not at all compatible in terms of pollination, though, because the thought that that particular nursery is doing something WRONG pains me too greatly to contemplate. Besides, I remain firm in my belief that one has an awful lot of leeway when it comes to pollination. I have a one year old Gravenstein with 10 apples on it out back to back me up on that.

I also bought a rose. A Granada. Also known as a Donatella. Parentage: Tiffany x Cavalcade. Extremely fragrant, winner of the AARS in 1964 and the Gamble Fragrance Award in 1968. For some reason I really adore knowing this kind of detail when it comes to the garden. The thought that my Granada is also known as a Donatella fascinates me (as long as I can quell the sudden image of Donatella Versace that pops into my head), as does the knowledge that it's a cross between a Tiffany and a Cavalcade. I've no idea what either of THEM look like, but if I ever come across one of them in a garden centre, it'll be like meeting an old friend, I just know it.

1 comment:

Vivian said...

Thanks for making me laugh with your description of the field trip.

Happy gardening!