Monday, February 16, 2009

Signs of Spring

It was sunny on the weekend, and since I had a few spare hours between watching Max do his speech for the 4H club, watching Max and Richard strip a bolt on a lawnmower Max is dismantling for his 4H project (oops), and doing 4,000 loads of laundry (absolutely hands down the highlight of my weekend, says Sheila the Diva Housewife), I zipped out into the yard to do some work.

And take some pictures.

And escape the laundry.

If I leave it all inside while I'm all outside, I can successfully ignore almost any household chore. Sometimes Richard even does the laundry. It's a Take Pity On Sheila Chore for him, I think, because he knows how much I hate doing laundry. It's just so darn repetitive. I have trouble with certain repetitive tasks. Eating, I can do over and over. Breathing, ditto. But laundry, dishes, and changing beds are way down there on the list. Gardening is way more amusing. Heck, almost anything is more amusing than laundry. Sometimes I wonder how I got into this SAHP role when I am so obviously not the right temperament for it.

I am trying something new with the brickwork around the herb bed. I'm sinking the bricks so that the lawn mower can roll right over them. I saw this in a landscaping book I have out from the library. I saw the picture and it hit me like a bolt from the blue. No more lugging that ancient, mouldering weed whacker around for this chickie. First of all, it's too heavy. Second of all, I can see the Popeye muscles bursting out as soon as I pick the thing up (seam threads FLY even). I don't know about you, but grotesquely defined forearm muscles aren't really my thing. I have my vanity to consider (which I tend to save for my teeth; they'll soon need all the vanity I can muster). And thirdly, well, I don't really have a thirdly, but I just thought the sunken bricks would be less maintenance. I even smoothed sand in the cracks. Fancy!

That ended up looking so cool that I repeated it under the Macintosh tree/asparagus bed next to it. This bed has a similar shape: a rectangular box with a half circle on the end. I thought this would impart some unity to my garden scheme, which up to now has been more in the Cheery Haphazard style than anything. A little unity would be good, I thought. It might even give me some organizational oomph.


Ah, who am I kidding. I think I was meant to have the kind of garden that all my neighbours could happily roll their eyes about, and say "It's quite the show over there, isn't it?" to each other at the same time.

After that, I got even more carried away and made tiers with some old double cinder blocks at the edges of the vegetable patch, after I'd extended it a bit of course. They look like little steps now. And I had to extend the garden: the strawberries got a little carried away themselves over the winter and sprouted madly everywhere, and since I'm of the opinion that one can never have too many strawberries, I'm being most accommodating about all this willy nilly procreation. I lengthened the bed by about 4' and nestled the new plants in with some compost and straw. I also noticed way too many slugs doing their own willy nilly procreating in the brick wall. Ugh. Guess I'll be doing some Slug Repelling soon. Me and slugs, we don't get along well. They're a little too, err, exuberant with my plants.

Then I hauled out some thyme plants and placed them in the cinder blocks. The concrete gets pretty hot in the summer; I think all that heat makes the thyme more flavourful. Plus, thyme doesn't mind being squished into those little squares.

Most amazingly, I saw the first bee of spring. Yes, I know it's not spring yet - try telling the bee that.
A Mason bee. A solitary fuzzy little body, intent on my chewed, bedraggled pansies (argh! the slugs strike again!). I took some pictures and hunched in the yard, staring. It seemed too incredible, too early, too strange and wonderful. A bee. In February!
Then there were the irises. They are just now popping up all over the garden. I planted 120 of them last year, and I think they might, just might, have multiplied a bit. Willy nilly, you might say.

I love irises. So, err, umm, so blue. (ooh, I'm full of profound comments today, aren't I?)

But really. The iris is such a gorgeous creature. So ephemeral. And such fabulous sharp contrasts between those yellows and blues and blacks. These dwarf irises were meant to be gaped at. No doubt about it.

I don't know why these crocuses (or is that crocii?) are so small. The package said 6" on it. I guess size isn't everything, though, is it. These are lovely, even if they are almost swallowed up by the ground.

They are tucked in between the lewesias. The lewesias that Dominic trod on when he was throwing a small plastic dinosaur into the pine tree. The lewesias that Dominic uprooted when he was trying to retrieve the small plastic dinosaur from the pine tree, after he'd thrown it there. He'd kicked them over in his haste to destroy the small plastic dinosaur. I saw them there, uprooted, upside down, three round green circles, like little green fairy dancers, lying there in the most undignified way. I stalked over, glared pointedly at Dominic, narrowed my eyes meaningfully, and very pointedly placed the lewesias back into the bed, where hopefully they will come back to life. I told Dominic, who was regarding me with an irritatingly fond benevolence (he never seems to take me seriously, a habit that both Max and FDPG think most suicidal but really, this is the essence of this kid because he lives on another plane from us all), that he would be providing me with new lewesias if my attempts at resucitation did not work, at which he finally took in my irritation. He stared, horror struck at the thought that he might have to part with some of his hoarded piles 'o' cash, and looked at the small plastic dinosaur. "How about I give you this instead?" he said.

Yeah, right, Dominic.


Heather said...

First of all I feel like weeping when I hear all the gardeny things you are already doing and see all the gardeny flower pictures. After I read your post about your garlic growing I actually trudged out to my garden and picked around in the snow to see if anything was all. Needless to say it wasn't. :-(
Second of all, I have a brick edging too, it runs the whole length of the backyard all along my side flower bed and it is very handy for mowing along.
And thirdly, oooh pretty flowers already. In bloom!! I don't even have anything poking out of the hard, cold soil yet. Next you'll be showing us your fruit trees in bloom and driving us all mad with envy. ;-)
Looks really lovely, Shelia.

Samantha said...

Wow, I can't believe you have flowers already! Thankfully, are gardens are still under a whole lot of snow. That's combined with below zero temps - I love it! I get to keep doing all my inside chores and not have to worry about things like the garden and being warm. And if you believe that...
Now I shall go and wipe my tears and stare at my seed catalogues a little longer. i mean, this mountain of snow and ice has to melt sometime. RIght?

sheila said...

Ah, you two can lord it over me all summer, when you've got peaches and nectarines and apricots and really really really hot temperatures! It'll be temperate here, with lots of cloud and the odd hot day, as it usually is here on the coast. I'll be reading about how you swam in the lake and then came home to fresh picked hot peppers and luscious tomatoes, while my tomatoes are still hard green lumps on the vine...and I'll try my best to restrain my envy at all your heat! Gosh, does that mean I might have to do some laundry then?