Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Surprises--Lovely, and Not So.....

During my many years of gardening in Vermont I began to covet a clematis.
Thinking that they were not reliably hardy in a place with such cold winters, I never risked my gardening budget to experiment with one.
When I discovered a vine clinging to a makeshift trellis against the brick pillar of the cottage porch, I suspected that I had inherited a clematis--this hunch being confirmed by helpful readers of my blog.

The clematis has been neglected for years and the younger branches are trailing at the base of the trellis waiting for me to tie them to the wires. In the back of my mind the greedy thought has niggled that at some point I might plant another variety with a different color of flower.

Trudging back up the drive this morning from the mailbox I came around the side of the porch and stopped, transfixed by this glowing lavender-blue blossom at the right side of the trellis.
I felt as though heaven smiled on me through the overcast skies, as though this little joy had been saved and presented just for me.

An unpleasant discovery yesterday was made when J. pulled the last of the old base kitchen cabinets from its place.   It wrenched loose with a screech of nails and a mutter of grumbles from J. ["What were they thinking of to nail cabinets to the floor and wall?"]
As he jerked the unit free, tipping it toward himself, what was under the cabinet was visible to me before he could see it.
"EEEEUUUW!  YUK!"  I ran for the broom while J. peered around the offending cupboard.
Closer inspection revealed the dead mouse lying along-side the heap of shredded newspaper. A nasty odor wafted from the pile.
For a fleeting second I considered sifting through the paper in search of a dated scrap, then with a shudder I whisked it into a trash box and hurried out to the burn area.
Teasel and Maisie were tip-toeing suspiciously around the spot when I returned to the kitchen.  Teasel's face wrinkled in that universal grimace of a cat who has inhaled something vile.
By the time I had scrubbed the old linoleum with a strong mixture of soap, scalding water and a liberal slosh of Clorox, my own nose was wrinkling, but at least I knew the floor was clean!
At odd moments I've imagined the labor of the mouse [or mice] who constructed this snuggery.
How long did it take to collect and shred such a mound of newspaper?
Did they work at night, stealing into the living room or perhaps onto the dining room table to collect the supply of paper?
Did the old man who lived here alone after his wife's death have any knowledge that he had such company?
After I cleaned, J. meticulously plugged and sealed any gaps and holes under the sink which would allow future entry to rodents.
The cats quit sniffing
The kitchen renovation continues.
At some point soon this little cottage will begin to look like home.


  1. Oh what a surprise! When we cleared out my mother's house a few years ago we found several LARGE spiders. I do NOT like spiders, roaches or creepy crawly things. Honestly I could deal better with mice!

    But what a nice surprise to find the clematis.

  2. A nice 'tail' of mice and men!


  3. That was lucky about the clematis, isn't it fun discovering plants in ones new garden!

  4. Oh, you're going to feel so good when it's all finished and complete! I would not have liked the dead mouse surprise any more than the cats did! ;-) I do love the clematis though.

  5. I have one just like that lilac one ...I inherited it from the previous owners too. I wonder why the mouse died ???? ...I can see the cats faces lol... atleast you found it