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.


Springing Back

It feels so different to be vaccinated.  Not physically; we just experienced some localized muscle discomfort and other minor effects.  Mostly, we feel not quite as marginalized, more included and hopeful.  We weren’t sure we’d ever get there.  Just one more shot each to go.  Then of course we’ll still continue to take all the precautions, to protect others who aren’t vaccinated.

Not much else exciting to report.  E continued to work on the “deck” project, and finished mowing the property.  Lots of flowers and trees are blooming, with temps back in the 70s.

Today is the last day of Pesach (yay) and also Easter.  In an ecumenical gesture, I made these.

E is preparing to make the traditional end-of-Pesach pizza, and I’m looking forward to drinking some chametz (whiskey)!



Shot of Hope 4/2

As of this post, we will have finally gotten (Moderna) vaccine #1, with the second to follow April 30.  This is a momentous occasion for us, after all the waiting and searching for vaccine appointments.  They don’t make it easy, here in the confederacy!

Of course we will continue to take precautions as before, as even a vaccinated person can pass on the virus.  Sadly, we probably still won’t be in the clear soon enough to see my son off to his new state of MO in person, though not for lack of trying!  But at least some time in May we’ll feel a little safer to go out for essentials.  Yay science!  We are pleased.

Did I mention yay!!?


April Fools’ Year

We had a couple of sunny days in the 70s, then back to drenching rain day and night, now leaving us with a frosty Feb.-like front for April Fools’ Day.  All the tulips are hanging their heads with the chill.  On the other hand, it hasn’t fazed hardy herbs like comfrey, pictured.  In East TN, you garden on a climate roller coaster, when you can.

The other day(s), I cleaned up, expanded, and tilled the bed along the side fence all the way down to the shed (no easy task, with “soil” like concrete).  I re-tilled the front tomato bed, which had weeded over again.  I cut back the tomato seedlings again, and sowed cucumbers and bronze fennel indoors.  I transplanted hardened-off herbs to the herb bed.  After all this rain, all my cool weather veggies are coming up in the main veg garden.  Hopefully they won’t freeze.

Meanwhile, E has been working on the “deck” project, restoring it to an actual porch.  Whether or not we end up staying here, the obvious goal is to bring this hillbilly haven up to resale value in the next few years.

On Visibility

On trans day of visibility, I just want to say from experience that for many trans people, it’s still dangerous and risky to be visible.  Most are just average humans trying to make a living, go to school, access basic healthcare, or just go to the bathroom like the rest of us.  They’re not trying to stand out or be weird or bother anyone.  They don’t choose to be born with the wrong biological gender.  It’s not a choice or even an orientation.

They often get a bad rap from a minority who cross-dress on the weekend, or experiment, but haven’t gone through the long medical struggle to actually transition to their correct gender.  They continue to be discriminated against by doctors, employers, schools, businesses, and even their own families.  All they want is the right and security to live a normal life like others, without the risk of bullying, violence, or blind hate.

I look forward to a day when it’s safe to walk down the street while being trans, or black, or Asian, or however you were born, without being gunned down or denied essential services, or for that matter, singled out at all.  And I applaud all the brave people who educate the public and promote civil rights in any form.  They risk visibility for a good cause, so others won’t have to.

Here are some flowers, and some excellent potato latkes by E.



The Pesach Flood 2021

I don’t remember a Passover this stormy.  For what seems like 40 days and 40 nights it’s been continuous thunder, lightening, and heavy rains.  Another 2+ inches fell just in the last day and night.  So far we’ve avoided the many tornadoes and destructive winds that the whole southeast is experiencing, though we’re like a swampy island surrounded by flooding.  Parts of TN are literally under water.  It’s a bit nerve-racking, but we got off easy.

Well, back to “slaving in Egypt” (seder#2).  Somehow all this sogginess does not conjure up the proverbial hot, dry desert!  It’s more like the ancient worldwide flood.  Try parting that, Moses, or Noah, as the case may be.  I wouldn’t mind so much, if the giant puddle at the bottom of our field would go ahead and become a permanent pond, with a plague of frogs in it!  Is it too much to ask, crazy weather gods?

Many plants are budding out and starting to flower since the deluge.  Violets are covering any available ground this year.  Appropriately for Pesach, we even have what appears to be the beginning of the coming 17-year cicada plague.