Grokking the Fullness

I’m trying to “grok the fullness” of everything around me that I’ll never see again, each beautiful flower or tree I planted, the friendly neighbors we’re just getting to know, the way the property is starting to take shape, the tangible results of all our labor.  My work is still cut out for me, though, until we leave.

While I’m concentrating on landscape maintenance, E is busily working on several house improvements at once, to bring the place up to speed.  At least we’re more motivated to get it all done, now that we plan to move.  It keeps us focused and prioritized.  No more buying plants or making plans for this property, just cleaning up what’s here.  Probably for the best, but it’s still sad.

Here are some highlights of what’s blooming now, some of my favorites.



Keeping It Together

One by one, we’ve been ticking off all the maintenance/ repair boxes–human, house, auto, and feline.

Yesterday was auto–my poor old 2004 Subaru has been sounding like a hillbilly hot rod for months (exhaust broken in two behind cat converter).  It’s not long for this world, but we’ve been patching it together until we can resettle elsewhere and then trade it in.

We were dreading the bad news, and it was worse–after waiting for hours at the dealership, they quoted a figure of (gasp) $3,000 to fix it right!  But, since we just needed a bandaid to get us through for now, they sent us to Kar Kare muffler center down the street, who were able to install a flexible pipe coupler thingie in a few minutes, for under $150!!  When you don’t have thousands of dollars to throw around, a cheap but effective quick fix is a huge relief.  So that was some good news, for a change.  Back to stealth mode!

And now back to gardening.  I’m going to highlight some of my plant successes, now finally emerging just as we’re planning our exit.  Bittersweet, but still encouraging.  I do hope a plant-lover will move in and just stand back and watch for a while, before plowing it all under.  This place is a flower pageant just waiting to happen.

I can’t say it too many times–I’m thrilled with how all the CA poppies wintered over in the rock garden and came back with a vengeance, and how the native red columbine (Aquilegia) took over the front shade garden and multiplied.

They don’t look like anything now, but here are my hops finally growing, and native passionflower (Passiflora) vines coming up everywhere.  Maybe they’ll even bloom this year, before I go.  I’m trying to be optimistic.

The native conifers and deciduous trees I planted (many from my son’s place) over the past few years are now taller than me.  Which isn’t saying much, as I keep shrinking, but still.  Surely a future owner will have mercy and leave them to become a beautiful green screen.  I’ll especially miss the “R&B dogwood” that The Bobs gave me, which is finally taking off.

Here are a couple of perennial cultivar ferns (“autumn”, and “Japanese painted”) coming back from dormancy.  Now I’m glad I didn’t go ahead and order lots of native fern plants, as I had planned.  Or other natives, for that matter.  Maybe it was a premonition?

I’m slowly coming around to accepting the inevitable, but I’ll get there.




Seeing the Big Picture

The good news is, I’ll probably get to see many of my plants bloom before we move.  But many more I’ll never get to see.  Maybe someone will.

I’m going to include more vista shots from now on, so as to remember the big picture, as well as the close-ups.  I think if I were house-hunting, I’d be interested in this place, at least based on the photos!

Still, there’s a lot more work to be done, so back out I go.





Goodbyes and Downsizes

Photos are back up, so first off, here are some from days ago, including the columbines.  This may be the last time I see most of these blooming in TN.  At the same time, my son’s big moving van came up his hill to take away their belongings, before they headed out for their new beginnings.  I couldn’t even get to see them off.  I wish them well.

While out mowing yesterday, we saw our friendly neighbors working out in their yard, so we gave them the sad news, so they could be the first to know and pass it on to family/friends who might be in the market.  We’ll be able to give them all kinds of equipment, plants, and misc. items when the time comes, so that’s a good thing.  We had the best, in-depth conversation we’ve had with them since living here, which is kind of sad.  They’ve been good neighbors, and I hate to leave them with the uncertainty of who or what could replace us.  Hopefully it will be decent people who appreciate the work we’ve all put in here.

We’ll be pretty busy finishing projects on the house and garden, while sorting and packing things up, in the coming months.  But the Almanac will go on for now, as this chapter winds down.  From there on out, wherever we land won’t “belong” to us to improve as we see fit, and I’m not sure I’d even have it in me to start over again after this.  But of course you can’t take it with you anyway, including gardens, so it’s probably for the best.  You know it’s serious when I’m even willing to part with some of my books.  It’s another chance to downsize and travel lighter, which I’m all about.


Moving Stories

Since our new plan is to sell our house and move back to Ohio by the end of the year, my garden schedule has taken a drastic new turn.  Now, it’s just a matter of getting all the bulbs, plants, and seeds I already have into the ground as soon as possible, and cleaning up the landscape.  I doubt I’ll be able to bring many or any plants with me to Ohio.  Whatever I’ve been able to accomplish here is coming to an end.  I really hope the next owner will appreciate their ready-made garden, and not just mow it down.  But that’s no longer up to me.

There’s still a lot of work to do.  Today I planted a long row of liatris bulbs along the side fence, and cleaned up that bed more.  I also planted some pretty Dutch iris bulbs under the front maple tree.  I brought all the tomato, eggplant, pepper, and other plants out to the back porch to harden off.  I planted some miscellaneous plants here and there.  I only wish I could stick around long enough to enjoy the fruits of my labors.  But maybe someone will.

My son and housemates are about to set out on their final trip to St. Louis, which is why we’re also moving on.  Yet another major crossroad in our lives.  I will miss them.  “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”

Still, nature doesn’t stop for human foibles.  Unfortunately, human technology does, at the most inconvenient times, thus my photos once again refuse to upload.  Just picture lots of flowers, including the first native columbines blooming.  I’ll try again later.



Hitting Home

Life the Universe and Everything.  Just when you think you’re home, or at least staying awhile, you’re not.  It seems we will be moving back to Ohio for the foreseeable future.  Long story, won’t bore you.

What’s hitting home the most for me is, all my plantings.  I’ve spent the last few years working hard to turn this barren wasteland into a sustainable wildlife-friendly habitat.  It’s just starting to show results of all my labors, even despite the pandemic lockdown.  Some of these flowers and trees are like my family.  I’ll have to leave them all behind.  That’s becoming a familiar refrain.  I know the buyers (whoever they may be) won’t care about all my work.  They’ll probably pave over it and turn it into a trailer park.  That’s life, I guess.

Anyway, we have a lot of sorting and downsizing to do in the next few months, not to mention finding a rental in Ohio.  Still, I’ll continue to garden and enjoy what I’ve done.  Who knows, maybe the next owner will appreciate flowers and trees.  I guess the point is to leave a place better than I found it.  It won’t be my problem, but I’ll still mourn the loss of each one of my plant babies.

For now, here are some of them.  My poppies (from seed from “The Bobs” in CA) are really thriving!  I don’t know whether to be happy or sad.  The crested irises are blooming now.  I just planted some bare root bleeding heart (Dicentra), and have a few other flower and bush bulbs to dig in.  I still have veg and flower seeds to direct-sow soon, and veg plants to transplant to the garden.  Maybe I’ll even get to see them all produce.


I woke up to find “Skunkbunny” parked under our carport next to our car.  Apparently s/he has moved in.  Then s/he went under the car.  I keep updating my online found pet report, but so far no claimants.

It seems once again we dodged a southeast tornado bullet.  All we got is rain, and now it’s another sunny day in the 80s.  It’s a flowery spectacle out there.

Spring Prime

New business first.  I’m happy that my son will probably be able to visit us in May, after we’ve all had the second dose!  We have a lot of in-person catching up to do, and beer to drink!  I can’t wait to see him again.

Next, this huge rabbit showed up in our yard, and seems to like hanging out here.  I call it a skunk-bunny; at first I did a double take, thinking it was a strange-looking skunk!  It has plenty of food, water, and shelter out there, but I’m hoping the owner will respond to my sighting report and collect it.  Meanwhile, actual rabbits have been doing their spring fertility rites right outside my window.

It’s now azalea season, and the first poppies are starting to bloom.  Fern fronds are unfurling.  The columbines are about to go crazy.  Tulips and others continue to open.  We’re seriously into spring primetime.





Bittersweet Spring

First some more good news–my son got his first (Pfizer) vaccination!  His second dose will probably be in St. Louis, where he’ll now live.  The bad news is, I’m very sad to not even be able to see him off, knowing he’ll no longer be in TN, which is mostly why I moved here.  But he’ll be happy, anyway.  I’m glad we got to have some good times together before the pandemic.

Today it’s almost 80°, and supposed to be even hotter tomorrow!  OK, now it’s summer?  I made the most of it by hoeing and raking the whole top part of the fence bed, and then sowed it with many varieties of lettuces, salad greens, and onions.  Now it will be one big salad bar!  The lower part of the bed, which I just expanded, will be all kind of flowers and other veggies.

Meanwhile, E continued to work on the porch.  When she’s done, it will look like an actual porch.

The first CA poppy is about to open!  All colors of violets are covering the ground, and other perennials are spreading and blooming.

Misu likes to keep an eye on us from the comfort of her windowsill.  She is one decadent cat.

Spring, the New Summer

Just to add to my fun vax facts, you can still get COVID if you’re vaccinated, you just won’t die of it!  Also, you can still transmit it to others if you don’t continue to wear a mask and distance.  And if you’ve gotten the virus and survived, your immunity won’t be sufficient and lasting if you don’t then get the vaccine.  If you get the vax after contracting COVID, your reaction to the shot may be more pronounced, because your immune response may be greater, but you’ll have better immunity going forward.  So far, all three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J, appear to be adequate against the latest stronger variants of the virus.

Back at the fort, it’s headed for 75º out, and very conducive to getting stuff done.  I re-tilled and edged my new expanded fence bed, and did other gardeny jobs, earning myself an IPA.  Soon I’ll sow salad greens there, and later, lots of annual cutting flowers.  E continued to work on the side porch, which is coming along nicely.

Lots more flowers are blooming.