Monday, November 30, 2015

Quietly Grey

There was no sun visible again today.
It is damply mild--temps in the 50's F.
Morning broke with a fuzzy veil of grey that lifted only slightly through the day.
At noon and in the late afternoon--when the above photo was taken--there was no way to have guessed the time of day.
I had a chiropractic appointment at 10, then walked up to the bank through a fine mist.
I stopped at Ace Hardware for a qt of paint needed to touch up around the new pantry door at the lower house, handed over my color card, then waited for nearly 45 minutes while two young men wrestled with the computerized paint mixing machine.
They apologized repeatedly for the delays while I assured them I could wait.
One of them finally put through a call to a tech support line, and we watched while the computer monitor registered a succession of error messages, posted repeated prompts. 
It appeared that Windows 10 had decided to install and the paint formulas had been lost or become inaccessible. Eventually we were assured that Windows 7 was reinstalling and retrieving data. The paint man positioned a plastic bucket under the spigot per command and a series of varicolored drips were 'purged' from the system and finally [!] my qt of paint was produced.
[The above may not be quite the technical review of the problem, but approximates the details appearing on the screen.]

Those who have read my December posts in other years may recall that I have a well developed distaste for shopping at the best of times and especially between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
It doesn't help that we are limited locally to places like Wal Mart.
In another life-time I did my Christmas gift selection in quiet shops well stocked with books, music, unique cards and posters, or in small 'boutiques' or even whole food stores which featured an array of nice goods. 
In Vermont I also enjoyed choosing gifts at the local Agway--in particular, I loved rummaging in the bins of paperwhites  filling a small paper sack with plump, firm bulbs, then finding pretty bowls or pots so that I could present them all planted and growing.
For a number of years I have needed to order the bulbs online, but haven't done so this year.

I stopped at the Tractor Supply Store in town today--for the purpose of stocking up cat litter and kibble to see us through the holidays.
Right inside the doors was a display of packaged bulbs.
I chose an amaryllis--"Minerva"--a striped coral and white.
I also plopped a 'paperwhite kit' into my cart.
I was considerably surprised on opening the later at home to find that in addition to the plastic pot and a compressed disc of planting medium, there was only one bulb!
Admittedly the very small print on the back of the package declared that there was one bulb included.
It is a good fat bulb, but dear me--it is going to look rather lonesome!
I have usually tucked 6 or 8 bulbs into a container and surrounded them with pebbles. 
There was no price on the display and checking my sales receipt later I see that 
I paid $6.99 for each 'kit.'
My usual source provides 6 bulbs for that price, then there is shipping. 
I like to buy a dozen or so bulbs, stagger the planting times so that I have flowers well into January.
I buy the newer variety, 'Inball', which doesn't have an over-powering scent.
I enjoy all stages of the growth, from the little forest of green stalks through the last flopping stems which must be tied up.
The amaryllis which I bought last year was not of a vigorous disposition and the bulb didn't live through the summer.
I am yearning for the blooms, but knowing too well that my resident felines have to poke and nibble at indoor plants.
Perhaps tomorrow I will decide whether to order more bulbs.
This evening I am content to putter, to listen to this lovely music.

Edited to confess that [of course] I ordered the paperwhite bulbs and paid the postage.


  1. What a disappointment - ONE paltry bulb! I am glad you have some more on order to keep it company. Like you, I like to have a bit of garden inside at this time of year, and have a permanent planting of several things wot flower in an old cracked cast iron skillet by the kitchen window. Currently a plant with green strappy leaves (which may soon be replaced), a Christmas cactus and a purpley colour Cyclamen. A pot with a multi-headed Hyacinth has recently come to join them.

    Like you, I prefer to shop in individual privately-owned shops (Hay is always a delight). Big shopping malls and giant hypermarkets are never a pleasure to shop in and the photos I've seen of "Walmart shoppers" would keep me from darkening their doors I think!!

    Mum always used to be given (by us or her sisters) an Amarylis or two for Christmas and they are a joy. I may treat myself this year, such splendid colours to cheer a dark, grey afternoon.

    For Annie last year, I bought bulbs and pretty little old jugs from the 1920s and 30s and we planted them up so she had flowers indoors to bring her a little pleasure - as someone who lived for her garden, you can imagine her heartache when she was told she must never garden again (mould risk, exacerbated by her being on permanent chemo).

    I look forward to seeing your bulbs in bloom in the dark days of January.

  2. Now that would be disappointing, especially for the price!

    Have lovely holidays there on the farm.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady