Tuesday, May 17, 2022

I Can't Feel My Hands

The wind that has been raging through our valley finally subsided over the weekend, giving me time to bust out the power washer to clean off the porch. I'm happy to report: it is now 99.99% livable. I just have to clean the rug and hang the curtains.

Getting to this point required eight hours of wielding the above-mentioned powerwasher, which, left me physically wrecked, hence the title of this post. When I set out to clean the porch, I knew it was bad; I just didn't know how bad.

The wind had deposited an entire field's worth of dirt onto the porch, onto the siding, into every nook and cranny, and; the feral cats that a neighbor down the road insists on breeding had made use of the siding for what appeared to be an epic pissing match, quite literally.

I shudder at the memory of the smell that arose when the water hit the walls, not gonna lie.

Anyhoodle, let's clear that picture from our mind's eye with a reminder of the final product, shall we? We shall.

Although I was completely numb from the elbows down by Sunday morning, I managed to rally just long enough to get all of my planting done in the new garden beds. I am hopeful that all of the seeds, seedling, and juvenile plants will thrive, multiply, and produce a bounty of beautiful vegetable, herbs, and fruits. I would cross my fingers, but, they are still loathe to follow my commands.

Since I wasn't completely crippled, I also replanted some of the succulents in my succulent planter; a vast majority of them wintered over in the garage this year and I only had to pull a handful of dead plants out, but it created enough gaps that it looked awkward, hence the replenishment.

I also planted petunias in two of my porch boxes, which, for whatever reason, I failed to photograph. The large petunia pot pictured below was a splurge at a pop-up location of one of the better nurseries in Hooterville and it was totally worth the money because it looks, and smells, amazing and I didn't have to plant it myself.

It was a very productive weekend and I can't wait to share the details with Hugh once he gets back from Michigan later in the week (he helped a friend move). I'm also hopeful that I will have full use of my hands by then. Goals!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Plot Thickens

We've got dirt! Like, a lot of dirt! It took Hugh several trips to the soil dealer and cost more than I can admit without wanting to throw up, but, we've got dirt!

We also have a fully functioning irrigation system, which will be both convenient and cost-effective. Plus, we will be able to conserve water, which is pretty darn important in these times of historical drought.

The system runs through the large PVC pipes that Hugh drilled holes into; once the pipe fills up, the water slowly seeps into the soil, from the bottom, up. All I have to do is insert the hose into the intake pipe and wait for the water level to hit the drainage pipe on the opposite side of the planter.
Because the planter is lined with plastic, the rest of the water will be retained, leaving no waste.

The small planter that catches the run-off will be full of zinnias, which will help entice pollinators to the garden; I am planning to plant those seeds this weekend, along with the other seeds that I have gathered and the vegetable and herb plants that are currently residing in my garage.

The only thing left for Hugh to do is to construct the wire arch that will serve as a trellis for my climbing plants, but; that doesn't need to happen for a while, yet. He is also going to lay some cement pavers on the ground, next to the shed. This will create a level space where I can set a small table and chair, for days that I feel like coming to the garden to enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine while the birds and bees visit those zinnias that I mentioned a minute ago.

At least, that's how it goes in my dreams, anyway. Time will tell, but, in the meantime, we've got dirt!


Monday, May 09, 2022

May Is Trying To Accomplish What April Failed To Do

Kill me, that is.

I racked up even more overtime in the first five days of the month, which is why I finally threw in the towel on Friday and took a partial day off. 

I scheduled a relaxing Swedish massage at the float center in Hooterville (the massage is part of a package that I purchased a while ago; the float and facial that round out the deal will be scheduled in coming days, which is a cool way to use a package when you can't commit to a full day of pampering).

After the massage, I met Kristi at my house; we were blowing up the balloons for Erin's surprise party on Saturday (she is graduating from her Masters program this month!). As I pulled into my driveway, I was greeted by a FedEx driver, who had a special delivery for me, all the way from Mexico.

The Man-Cub has been vacationing with Mama Jill and Co. for the past eleven days or so and, if their Facebook posts are any indication, they have been having a banging good time. So, for the Cub to remember Mother's Day was a pleasant surprise.

While he's away, Shanti has been minding the apartment and the kitten, so I invited her to come and help with the balloons. Then, she took me out for dinner, which was so sweet. I wish she had let me pay, but she was insistent. She's a keeper, that one.

On Saturday, I loaded the balloon arch into my Tahoe (minus a large mylar #2, which had ideas of it's own) and headed to the event center in Pixler, where I met Kristi for what would become rapidly evident was an exercise in frustration. Our assigned area for the party was in an outdoor patio area, despite our best effort at decorating with the items we had brought; the wind was not having it. The balloon arch lasted all of ten minutes before every single balloon popped, the paper lanterns that we planned to hang from the pergola covering the dining tables were soon a tangled mess, and the foil fringe curtains that Kristi hoped to use for a photo backdrop were knotted up worse than a toddler's hair after a nap.

Plan B rapidly emerged, with the party decor evolving from High School Prom to Tuscan Chic real quick. Luckily, the event center is part of a large nursery, with a fabulous gift shop attached. I purchased wooden charcuterie boards, metal lanterns, and small potted plants and we created lovely centerpieces then called it good. It was a fabulous solution and actually went better with the food selection that Kristi had ordered than the black and gold shiny decorations ever would have. So, saved by Mother Nature, I guess.

The important thing is; Erin was not just surprised, but SHOCKED. Kristi has never been able to pull off a surprise, so it was a great evening, all around (also, I got an emergency call from work, which, I actually delegated to my staff. I'm learning to be better about maintaining boundaries. Plus, I have allll that overtime, so I was more than due for a break).

Sunday, Hugh and I picked up Oscar and Emily and went to Mother's Day brunch at the local Elks Club, where, by virtue of 80 being the median age of those in attendance; I felt like a youngster.

That is not a bad way to celebrate motherhood, at all.

Hugh was hoping to have my raised bed ready for planting, but, the wind made it basically impossible to get the rest of the dirt transferred from the trailer to the garden, and, since we spent good money on it (whoever came up with the phrase dirt cheap has never purchased garden compost, clearly), we definitely didn't want it blowing into the next county, so, I took a raincheck on that particular gift.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing on the couch. Again, not a bad way to celebrate motherhood, at all, especially after the week I'd had.

Which, brings us to today. Please, for the love of all that is holy, May; cut me some slack.

I'm begging.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

This One is For the Birds

Earlier this week, I stopped by the park on my way home from work; the weather was just this side of nasty so I guessed that the park would be empty, and, I wasn't wrong.

With no humans to scare them off, the Blue Herons were hanging out around the pond and I was delighted to spy three of the birds fishing along the banks. I did my best to be as nonintrusive as possible and was rewarded with some decent photos.

Last year, the most birds I saw at one time was two, so, it would appear that the population is growing. If that is the case, I should have an even better chance of getting good pictures throughout the summer. My excitement at that prospect further cements my growing reputation as a crazy bird lady.

This is what being an empty-nester does to you, kids. Heed my warning.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The Raising of the Beds

Garden beds, that is!

Yesterday, I pulled the trigger on the purchase of several bedding plants.

 It will be a while before I put them out since the weather is not yet optimal for gardening and my new raised beds still lack dirt, but! It's happening!

The beds are awesome! Truly a labor of love for Hugh, who never half-asses a project.

He had a little help...

Once he had the beds constructed, he moved them, section by section, into the garden, where he connected them, sprayed the wood with linseed oil to seal it, lined them with heavy-duty plastic, and added the irrigation system that will allow me to water from the bottom, up.

Hugh still needs to construct the trellis that will go over the back of the beds for all of my climbing plants, and, of course we need dirt, but; I'm this much closer to realizing my dream of having a flourishing vegetable garden again. And, it all started with this sketch...

...stay tuned!