Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Keeping Watch, Paying Attention


The lacecap hydrangea is starting to blossom and I think the flowers are going to be bigger and fuller this year as they are getting more light since we cut down that cherry laurel. They are so pretty but honestly, I think the regular hydrangeas are just as beautiful. The former owners of the house planted these and I suppose if I was motivated enough, I could plant some of the more common ones. 

I spent most of the day outside as it is once again relatively cool and dry and these days are about to disappear and we shall not enjoy such temperate weather again until next fall. When I checked my weather widget today I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that it is predicting highs of 99 in a week. 
I may die. 
Anyway, yes, I worked outside. I did the dreaded chore of trimming the deadly and toxic Canary Island date palms but only pierced myself once as I had the proper tool- a pair of loppers rather than my usual pruners. I probably pruned them and the cabbage palms back too much but whatever. I also trimmed some magnolia limbs which have been dipping lower and lower to the ground. The tree in my backyard must be ancient. It is so tall and I suppose that gravity is having its way with the limbs, just as it is doing with various parts of my body.

I got on my knees and began the never-ending yearly assault on the crocosmia which I know some of you grow ON PURPOSE but which here is a nightmare invasive. 


I had that whole area cleared out last summer although obviously, I did not get nearly all of the corms. It wouldn't be so bad if they ever bloomed but they don't. Well, maybe one out of a hundred. Not enough sun. And that is not even close to being the only place in the yard overtaken with them. Every year new clumps appear and spread. 

Oh well. What would I do with my vast spare time if I did not have invasive plants to obsess over and pull out? 

While I was down on my knees under the magnolia tree, the chickens came over to help, as they like to do. They are curious and interested whenever I am working out in the yard, hoping no doubt that I will turn up something interesting for them to eat. They do the same when Mr. Moon is working outside. 



Do you see Liberace keeping watch? 



This is what a good rooster does. I swear, I often wonder how he gets enough to eat because he spends so much time doing just what he's doing there while the hens scratch and root for bugs. And when he does find something delicious to eat, he makes his tidbit call for the ladies who come running to enjoy whatever it is he's found. Fancy Pants tidbits too but it seems to me that the hens scorn his attempts at impressing them. Poor little guy. He also keeps watch but somehow he seems so less effective at the job simply due to his size and also, for the fact that Liberace will not tolerate his presence in the center of the action. One could write a funny children's book about the Brave Little Rooster Who Saved the Flock, I suppose, although I've not seen Fancy Pants do anything that indicates any special bravery. He certainly doesn't attempt to take his pleasure with a hen unless Liberace's back is turned. 

I've been very emotional today in a very quiet sense. I've teared up twice, once while on the phone with a friend, once while texting with another friend. I've just felt a great need to be quiet and go about the pruning and hauling of limbs and fronds, the pulling of Virginia Creeper and crocosmia, the hanging of rugs and clothes on the line, the bringing of it all in, and putting it all where it belongs, with slow determination and awareness. 

Here are two garden pictures.



Cherry tomatoes and banana peppers. There is one almost-ripe Cherokee Purple tomato, big as a baby's head. We check on it every day, watching for signs of insects or disease, as carefully vigilant as Liberace is, watching for threats to his ladies. 

I just watched a Daddy cardinal feeding one of his fledglings at the feeder. My heart almost broke with the sweetness. 

I swear to you, I do not know what I would do if I didn't have this yard, this little piece of peace where things grow, even the things I wish would not, where we can watch the seasons change, every year a miracle, where birds both domestic and wild allow me to be part of their stories, to observe their lives, where we can grow food to eat, where we can get our hands in the dirt. 

I am so fortunate. 

Love...Ms. Moon








30 comments:

  1. I was told that every plant is a weed somewhere. And I understand feeling like crying - I'm having that too although three different things are bothering me so I feel overwhelmed. Having shared with several friends my load is lightened somewhat. But it always is unpleasant to feel like you are a target. I'm sure others understand this.

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    1. I think we all have these times when our emotions run one way or another. And it does help to talk to someone else about them and we generally just have to wait it out, I guess.

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  2. You really know how to enjoy that yard, appreciating even the annoying parts about it. It really does feed you in every way.

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  3. Liberace is very good looking , dapper I must say! You got lucky having a rooster such as he! Maybe it is good poultry karma- or perhaps you were the good chicken queen last go around.
    Garden looks green and delicious. Such a nurturing house you have.

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    1. I've had several very fine roosters. I think that in general they have evolved to be the keepers of the flock. Did you read here when I had Elvis?
      My house and yard definitely nurture me.

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  4. I think mother nature is the best healer, for bodies and for souls.

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  5. you have soon to be tomatoes, I am envious. And the hydreana...... wish I could grow them here but too warm and dry and no shade at all. Has your awol chicken turned up?
    Susan M

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    1. Nope. My hen has not shown up. If she got snatched, something sure did it neatly.
      I can't wait for that first tomato!

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  6. I understand the need to be quiet and tears awaiting their time. I love your piece of earth and get such joy from your family. Am honoured to have seen in person by the Mersey in Liverpool so many of your glorious musicians like Little Richard n co. Had to go down south of country to see your dear Keith and co. Heh Heh. Leaving house too much for me now. But head those days eh? Magic music Glory Days from both sides of the pond. A good time to be young. Maggi xxx

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    1. It was INDEED a glorious time to be young. You are so right, Maggi!

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  7. It must be so hard for Liberace to play his piano with chicken feet.

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    1. Oh- you'd be surprised. And you should hear his voice!

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  8. Very few pleasures more great than the first tomato of the season. I always feel that I should bring it in from the garden on a silver platter hoisted above my head while "Hail to the Chief" plays from a brass quintet.

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    1. Exactly, Susan! It will definitely be a ceremonial experience when we pick that first tomato!

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  9. I love the photo of the hydrangea. I enlarged it and kind of want to crawl inside it like a butterfly.

    Liberace is so noble-looking in that picture! As for crocosmia, I wish ours grew that thickly, but if it doesn't bloom there really is no point. We have liriope that has the same problem -- lots of leaves, very few (and very unimpressive) flowers.

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    1. That bloom is pretty trippy, isn't it?
      Liberace is a regal bird indeed!
      We don't even plant liriope for its blossoms, but merely for its bordering abilities. That, too, has become invasive in this yard. Glen just cuts it like grass.

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  10. I totally agree with you about having a green space full of plants and trees and flowers and all that lives therein to tend and watch. another day and night of rain here yesterday and last night and still more to come. while much of the country was housebound in the apartments last year bouncing off their walls, we had room and space to be outdoors. and yeah, I've got crocosmia too, given to me by a friend years ago which also barely blooms but spreads. I usually wait til whatever is going to bloom blooms before I start pulling it out.

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    1. I thought about that so much last year- how very different and very hard it would be to have to quarantine in an apartment. You and I are the lucky ones.
      Why aren't we getting your rain? We need it!
      Dang crocosmia. It is one of the banes of my life.

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  11. Uuuggghhh 99°!!!! No thanks. I always hate the summer for that reason but those temperatures don't last here. I love the spring (normally) but so far this year it's been rubbish, just wet, wet, wet! I think I shall cancel 2021 due to lack of interest!

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    1. I say NO THANKS too! Lot of good that will do me.
      I wonder if you'll just wake up one day and it will be summer. Not fair not to get spring!

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  12. Well it is supposed to be in the high 80s over the weekend here in Illinois and that's too soon! Ugh! We go from heating to air conditioning in the span of a few days.
    If only you could train the chickens to pick weeds!
    Although I complain, I do enjoy my quiet time weeding on a nice day! I do have a LOT of weeding tho!

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    1. Same here, Ellen. I have my AC back on and the heat was on just a few days ago. Crazy times.
      The chickens will clear small areas if I throw their scraps there but it's not enough to rely on for real weed control. They do their best!
      Yes, weeding can be quite meditative, can't it? But not under a hot sun!

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  13. Oh yes. Gardening has saved me, us, so many times.

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    1. It is the best therapy we practice here.

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  14. It's true, your yard is a kingdom, and you are its queen. I love you.

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  15. Indeed you are fortunate, you've got chicken, and veggies! Love it.

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