Wack Job

Today was mowing and wacking day.  Weed wacking, that is.  Also pruning tree branches damaged by cicadas.  And lots of related yard maintenance jobs.  E has almost finished painting the back hallway, and will soon complete the “undeck”.

Our real estate agent is going to visit and give us an idea of how our house stacks up for selling.  I think she’ll be pleasantly surprised by its “after” condition.

Here are some random shots, including my first baby pepper, a bee on comfrey, and a cat in a bag.





From Heat Wave to Chill

Remember how it was a heat wave in the 90s?  Now it’s actually cold out, in the 50s with lows in the 40s, like a chilly fall day.  Also, the cicadas were silent this morning, apparently chilled into shutting up for a moment.  So strange to hear yourself think.

Here are the latest bloomers, including this delicate poppy and the first squash blossom.

I’ve been cleaning up and planting perennial flowers and ferns around the front of the house, to bring it up to speed for showing eventually.  Here’s some of it so far.

E has been painting the back hallway from ugly gun metal gray to light blue with white trim.  Here’s the “before”.

Rain Relief at Last

After t-storms, strong wind, and rain, everything looks refreshed outside, other than some broken limbs.  Plants have doubled in size overnight, and new flowers have bloomed.  Trees are breathing a sigh of relief.  I can feel it myself.

E continues to make house repairs and paint, while I’ve been chipping away at the paper mountain like a chipper-shredder.  I wish I had one!  But I think I’ve finally learned my lesson about saving crap and baggage.  I heartily recommend downsizing while you still can, so others won’t have to do it after you.

Here are some wet, happy flowers and tomatoes.


Rugged Survivalists

My plants and I are anxiously anticipating rain this afternoon and evening.  It’s been too long.  Still, various colorful natives, which tend to be drought-tolerant, are showing their rugged resilience in the face of adversity.  Something we all can learn from the plant and animal world.

And here’s Misu to show you how it’s done.  Such a hard life.


Planting it Forward

Today I gave the rest of my tomato plants and tropical houseplants to our nice neighbors, who are really sorry we’re moving.  They’re afraid, as I am, that some big developer will swoop in and grab up this property, and that of the other neighbors next to us who will be selling as well, and turn it into a horrible development.  Or some disreputable rednecks will move back in and turn it into a dump.  We’re hoping some trustworthy neighbor family or friends will buy it all instead.

I know how they feel, since we were so relieved when they replaced the drug dealers, and they appreciated having us as neighbors, and what we were trying to accomplish to beautify the surroundings.  All that was missing was the white picket fence, and they talk of putting one up!  They share similar unexpected misfortunes and losses in their lives.

Life can be a crapshoot.  You can never take anything for granted or get too comfortable.  Resilience is an acquired skill.

It continues to be unbearably hot and dry, but the flowers continue to bloom, and there may be some rain in the forecast.  All I can do is admire what I and others before me planted, and hope to pass it on.

The Crawling Mulch

It’s like 90º every day, hasn’t rained in weeks, air quality sucks, cicadas are shrieking and piling up…not very conducive to working outside, but we plow on.

E continues to work on the “undeck” project, which is a big improvement on the house.  It even has an adorable little door down below!  The wagon lives under there.

Mostly I just keep things watered, and listlessly putter around improving flower beds, dodging cicadas as best I can.  I know they’re harmless and good for the soil, but ewww.  By the way, that stuff that looks like mulch–cicadas!!  One more month or so of this, then their spawn go underground and start over for 17 years.

Meanwhile, out in the “prairie”, the trees and grasses are over my head, and a few flowers are starting to bloom.  It looks a lot more like a wildlife preserve.  Only, I’m not seeing as much wildlife since the cicadas took over the world.  I think they scared off the natives!


Letting Go and Being Here Now

The moving process is never for the faint-hearted, but if you find you must move, it does give you an opportunity to update your perspective and purge some baggage, which is good for both mental and physical health.

So, in addition to downsizing papers and possessions, I’ve revised and simplified my landscape plan to reflect letting it go and simply making it presentable for sale soon.  This leads to more “being here now”, and less being heavily invested, emotionally and financially, in a theoretical future which may never happen.  It’s a big compromise for me buying a few conventional perennials at Lowes instead of sustainable natives to restore habitat, but it’s freeing in a way.

I may or may never have another opportunity to resume my pursuits, albeit on a much smaller scale, but I know I did my best under the circumstances, which weren’t always easy.  Not to mention, I’m older and more tired, so I’m just being realistic.

The next owners may or may not appreciate or maintain the gardens I created anyway, so all I can do is leave it more aesthetically and environmentally pleasing than I found it, and let it go.  I know if I were them, I’d be delighted to discover all the beautiful flowers, trees, and edibles appearing each year, some of which even I haven’t seen yet.  Or it could become a big sterile development, but it’s no longer my problem.

So I’m just enjoying what’s here now, and new flowers finally blooming for the first time.  It never gets old.  The only things getting old are me and the hideous cicada swarms.  Between them and the extreme heat, I had to cut work outside short.  Here’s what’s happening with or without me.


Nowhere Safe

We’re in some kind of unseasonable heat wave that’s affecting the whole northeast as well, rising into the 90s for the next week or so.  I hear hurricane season is starting early again for the ?th year in a row, and no doubt will be worse than ever.  Extreme tornadoes are no longer isolated or limited to tornado alley, so I guess moving back to the midwest is no riskier than anywhere else these days.  No place is safe from climate change.  Or deadly viruses.

On the other hand, we in the southeast are the particularly lucky recipients of swarms of dead and dying cicadas piled up everywhere.  You can’t walk outside without cicadas crunching underfoot or dropping on you, and the stench is awful.  The continuous buzz gets louder each day.  In some places, you can’t see the ground.  It’s unpleasant just stepping outside.  It’s like a horror movie.  I think they’ve scared off most of the birds and other critters.  Misu likes them, of course.  No accounting for tastes.  I’m not going to treat you to photos of them, because it’s just too creepy.

Instead, here are the few cicada-less flowers I could find, and Misu doing what she does best (when she’s not stalking renegade cicadas).