Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Day 3 of lovely weather for yard work.
I went online before going outside, to order replacement strawberry plants and two more blueberry bushes--the blueberries and one variety of strawberries were on sale!
There is more than the usual clean up this spring,
I decided to work along the front porch area, and with the sun shining over my shoulder I quickly 
shed my down vest.
The most invasive weed in our yard is a type of wild lamium, with Indian strawberry running a close second.
Both have spreading root systems and the slightest thread of root is capable of starting a new colony.

At the corner of the porch leaves from the maple tree lay thick on the ground.
Raking them away, I went to my knees to gently pull the last debris from a clump of lemon balm.
Tiny though the emerging leaves are, the clean crisp scent of lemon is noticeable. 
Later I discovered an emerging lemon balm under the roses near the garage wall. 
No signs of life in the several clumps in the herb garden. 

Here is a sturdy looking columbine also tucked into the corner by the porch.
The plants disappear during our long hot summers.
This is the only survivor I've discovered thus far.
There should be several beneath the roses; if they are alive they are laggardly in appearing.

A clump of day lilies freed from their leafy covering.
I have only common varieties, but they are hardy and cheerful.

I loaded many leaf piles into the wheel barrow and trundled them down to the burn pile--which looks like a wigwam with the heap of honeysuckle vine piled there.

The hydrangeas on the west side of the house had a trimming yesterday.
A few dried flower petals remain.
To the left of the hydrangeas is the shrub which bears spicy flowers, whose name I can seldom recall.
It too has been pruned and lengths of honeysuckle unraveled.
The honeysuckle grew from roots which have become inter-twined with a number of shrubs.
I wonder if the original owners here planted them deliberately, thinking that the honeysuckle would provide scented blossoms and greenery while the shrubs were maturing.
Honeysuckle is indigenous to the south and south-central states, rampaging where it will.
For several years I have complained about the shrub at the northeast corner of the house.
I've not been able to learn its name.
It has tiny greenish-white flowers which have a rank odor.
For nearly three weeks in late spring this scent pervades the front porch.
Working in that vicinity or spending a few moments relaxing on the wicker bench, my eyes and noses have streamed in response to the blooms.
I grumbled about this to J. who took the big loppers from me and proceeded to hack the shrub down to the stump--discovering in the process that it was surrounded by a wire cage.
I suppose it will try to grow back--but any tender emerging shoots can be dealt with!

The goat willow tree in the front yard has come out in silvery 'kittens.'
I thought of cutting a few to bring in the house, but know too well that the resident felines would pull them from the vase and chew on them.

I'm waiting for J. to slice up the apple branches, then I will haul them off and stack the bits which can be used in the fireplace.
Note that the yard is starting to green!

The daffodils are in bud, but apparently in no haste to open.
They were in full bloom when we arrived here on the first day of spring in 2010.

J. has completed a restoration project and the tractor is already tolling in calls from craigslist.
Inevitably, he has yet another tractor refurb in progress in the garage.

We cleaned up from our respective labors mid-afternoon and went into town.
Our first errand was at the computer shop.
My XP is 7 or 8 years old and of course the system will not be supported after April 8.
I've put off the ordering of a new unit.
This one was built to specs for me under the supervision of my talented tech guy in Wyoming.
It has been a sturdy, trouble-free computer.
I refuse to have windows 8 or 8.1--not having heard or read much favorable about that system, so I'm having the new one built with windows 7.
Having talked with the computer man and paid a deposit on the new unit, we decided it was more than time to find something to eat.
We ate at the Mexican restaurant and brought home the delicious leftovers which can be heated for another meal tomorrow.

We are still 'adjusting' to the leap ahead into daylight savings time--an annual few days of 
feeling out of sync. 
The cats are also thrown off kilter by time changes and not sure when they should begin prodding me out of bed in the morning.

Home again and with several daylight hours remaining to put to good use.
Back into my old flannel-lined jeans and scuffed shoes, back outside to prune the dried tips from the two rosemarys which survived the frigid night when I forgot to bring them all indoors.
[I trimmed the blighted prostrate rosemary and watered it--but I fear its chances of revival are slim.]
Off to cut back the Double Knock-out Roses along the east wall of the garage--one of the first plantings I made in 2010.

Photo taken 12-29-13
I raked around the bushes, then carefully snipped off the three egg pouches left behind by the garden spiders [argiope aurantia] dropping them close to the base of the rose bush where they spent the winter.
I gave the roses a fairly severe pruning, removing some old wood near the base of the plants, stepping back to assess the shape of each bush and cut out branches that were badly crossed over others.
It was inevitable that a thorn stabbed sharply through my glove.
I am learning [very slowly] that it is good to break my outdoor work into segments of time rather than weeding or pruning until back and knees are protesting.
I carefully picked up the thorny branches and conveyed them to the trash pile, then walked through the glow of sunset to the barn to push hay up to Pebbles who had been trying to get my attention with pitiful expressions of imminent starvation.
While she munched her hay I applied the curry comb.
Pebs doesn't have the long curly coat which last spring was an indicator of Cushings.
She is shedding out a normal amount of hair as warmer weather moves in--still sufficient to provide soft lining for any number of bird's nests.
We are not getting the Cushings meds into the stubborn old horse with regularity.
For several weeks I dug out the core of a carrot, poked the pill inside and she accepted the carrot.
Suddenly the carrots were refused.
This has been the pattern with every treat that we've used to hide the dose.
Grain, carrots, apples, have all been rejected--even when I've tried to lure her with an unmedicated treat, Pebbles tosses her head and tramps off.
She used to love peanut butter on crackers so J. tried that.
When they went trail riding during the Wyoming years she insisted on sharing campfire breakfasts of pancakes.
On Sunday I smeared one of our breakfast pancakes with applesauce and rolled the crushed pill in it.
More head tossing and no pill taken.
I despair!
I put away the curry comb, ducked under the barricade into the barn.  J. was fetching hay down from the upper barn.  The air had the cool tang of springtime--of softening earth and emerging plant life.
I put up my rake, trundled away the last load of debris.
The cats scampered behind me, skittered off to prod at mice or meadow moles, sat alert over the openings of the tiny burrows. 
I was tired, but reluctant to come indoors and end the day.
Tomorrow will be cooler with the possibility of rain.
Tomorrow I will bake. Tomorrow the wood fire will take the chill from the house.
Perhaps I will sew. 
Perhaps I will read and think of gardens. 


  1. Our lives seem to be running parallel at present - the same weather and a similar state of play in the garden. This sunshine is SUCH a boon to the soul and the vitamin D is welcome too : ) Sorry that Pebbles is refusing her medication - little horror! They have SUCH a keen sense of smell.

    I bought a cheap Peony this week - one of the dessicated sort, but it was trying to put out growth within its bag, so it's now planted up. Sarah Bernhardt, so nothing exciting, but now my friend/neighbour Nikki and I are excavating the old herb plot, I have somewhere to plant it later.

  2. You sound to be on the verge of spring! It`s always exciting to see the perennial plants beginning to emerge into leaf again.

    Sympathies with the medication of a reluctant, wise horse. Apple sauce worked well for the old mare here when she was refusing everything else. Pebbles sounds a very bright old girl and is not having "poison" in any shape or form!

    Winter coats are being brushed from the ponies here. The birds come down to clear the warm hair away to use as nest lining. It`s good to hear that Pebbles doesn`t have the curly Cushings coat this year.

  3. Sounds like you really got a lot done in the yard, I wish I could emulate you. I've done a bit in my raised beds, but my lower back has been bothering me so not a lot of bending or stooping.
    I need to order new plants, we lost so many this winter.
    Giving medication to our furry friends, be they cat, dog or horse is always a job and a half. Vets need to develop more injectable treatments.

  4. hee hee she's a feisty girl, is Pebbles. Did you ride her when she was younger?

  5. My favourite picture is that fabulous Goat Willow. You seem to be doing brilliantly with the camera. Spring is ALMOST here......


Word verification necessary at this time