On the upswing

Gratitude!

Neighbor’s yard. April 1, 2020.

After 20 days of not feeling well, I’m regaining my health. Still have my morning cough episodes, but yesterday I walked the neighborhood (2.25 miles, yo!) and today did yard clean-up for three hours and then took another walk. I’m tired now, but not to-the-bone-fatigued. Whatever illness was dogging me, it’s on the way out. Woot! Woot! Woot!

To celebrate, here’s a beautiful little bouquet I photographed in my neighbor’s yard.

Springtime in the Rocky Mountain foothills

Yesterday, the forecast said it would start snowing this evening. Instead, I woke to smothered flowers and shrubs in my front and back yards. I spent more than an hour outside with a broom, clearing snow from collapsed lilac bushes and apache plume shrubs. I’m probably going to lose my iris display this year. Again. And forget about the poppies.

Sigh.

The finches are handling it pretty well. We’d already called it a season and brought in the long extension cord that heats the bird bath, so that’s a bummer. I filled the dish with hot water this morning and the water has already turned slushy.

The snow’s supposed to continue through Friday and then on Saturday? This:

 

Tenacious R Us

I’m a perennial gardener which means that the flowers I’ve planted are supposed to come back every year. Some, like the coreopsis that once bloomed long and bright throughout my beds, suddenly stopped blooming. All of them, at the same time, disappeared from my garden. The same thing happened with the exuberant clumps of blanket flower that used to bloom next to my driveway and were the the envy of my neighborhood. Here today, gone tomorrow.

But those are exceptions. The vast majority of my flowers come back each year which is great because I’m lazy. And cheap. I don’t like having to plant year after year and I don’t want to pay a bunch of money for flowers that will only be around a few months.

For a number of years I did plant annuals in clay pots and place them around my patio and down the steps. It was a lot of work and cost a bunch of money, and I had to remember to water them all the time because it gets extremely hot out there in the late afternoon. So I just kinda allowed that aspect of my gardening to fade away and left the empty clay pots stacked in my basement.

However, one huge pot remains outside year-round.
_MG_0202 Petunias

This is a photo from yesterday and the petunias blooming there are the result of the last planting which was 2-3 years ago. Those petunias haven’t gotten the memo that they’re annuals. They keep coming back. They refuse to give up.

They’re tenacious,
they prevail,
and I feel an undeniable kinship with them.

 

 

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That Smell

Ooh, that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Ooh, that smell
The smell of death surrounds you, yeah

Thank you, Lynyrd Skynyrd, for penning today’s theme song. Allow me to explain.

Last fall while researching Build a Compost Tumbler, I learned all sorts of good stuff that helped me reinvigorate our composting process here at home. In fact, to Zippy’s absolute delight, we now have three compost bins (one free-standing and two tumblers). And one of the biggest changes to our composting method is that we no longer put weeds in our trash where they end up creating methane and carbon dioxide in the landfill.

Unwelcome plant aka WEED.

Unwelcome plant aka WEED.

The prickly lettuce, the bindweed, the thistles, the grasses gone to seed, all those things go into a lidded garbage can full of water.

You see, I learned from Bob Flowerdew** that weed seeds and roots will die if left submerged in water for two weeks. (Weeds are valuable compost materials that are often left out because of the fear that the invasive weeds will spread via the compost.)  But you know what else happens after those two weeks of submersion? The water is transformed into one of Mr. Flowerdew’s favorite things: vile liquids. He loves them because vile liquids are great additives to your composting piles. Vile liquids accelerate the composting process.

Early stages of the tumbler Zippy and I built before I wrote the book.

Early stages of the tumbler Zippy and I built before I wrote the book.

But if left too long, vile liquids will, oddly enough, give off the aroma you’d expect from a vile liquid. (Think farmyard plus death plus your next three least favorite smells). It’s imperative you wear old clothes and shoes while handling vile liquids, especially when you’ve allowed your weeds to marinate for a month or longer. (Oops.) And woe to you if you happen to splash any on exposed skin.

Ooh, that smell

So yes, I did handle vile liquids today. And yes, despite the latex gloves (you want one-use gloves for this chore), I got vile liquids on my hand and now all I can smell is that horrifying combination of stink. (The stink does go away, just never fast enough).

Lynyrd Skynyrd is playing on a loop in my head as I try my best to think ahead to the rich compost I’ll someday be adding back into the earth.
Spring garden shots 018

**best compost-guru name ever!

Tiny House Dreams

I live in a house with an upstairs and a downstairs.
There’s stuff in every room of the house.
Some of that stuff I use each and every day.
Some of that stuff hasn’t seen daylight in years.

I live in a house surrounded by a large yard.
There are trees and shrubs and perennial flowers in every part of the yard.
In some places, the flowers are growing out of control (day lilies, I’m looking at you).
In most every part of the yard, weeds are growing out of control.

I try to stay on top of the clutter inside the house.
I attempt to keep the weeds at bay.
But it’s a losing battle and I often feel a sense of overwhelm.
Such as today.

I’m dreaming of a tiny house and one pot of geraniums.

Wind River Bungalow

Wind River Bungalow