08 June, 2012

Angry Ants

I woke up late and missed the window of time available to water the garden. It's my morning meditation, a time for checking in with the progression of nature and the summer through the creatures and flora that live here. I have spent significantly  more time this year than the last few years due to the wedding reception. Understandably, as I wanted it to look a bit more groomed than normal as the ceremony would be held at the landscape arboretum in one of the more formal English garden areas. I cannot hope to compete with those resources available to the State of Minnesota but I was willing to put forth a little extra effort, sink a few new rose bushes, clear out some of the more invasive plants which were running rampant and fill in with colorful annuals where necessary. The black ants are tiny. It is easy to underestimate their fierce devotion to protecting the area they have staked out as their own. Granted, I have allowed them to appropriate a significant portion of my herb and strawberry garden.  I hoped they would appreciate my past generosity and leave quietly, without a fight as I reclaimed that land for my own use. I was mistaken. Now I find both my arms covered with angry welts as I search the Internet for remedies to relieve the itching and prevent infection.  In the meantime, this delicate blossom has opened near the ant colony to remind me that even the smallest residents of my garden have a place. My cat has disappeared. She had been neglecting her food dish for a few days and was spending an increasing amount of time outside. In the past she always came in at night to sleep. Perhaps she is gone, or an an extended break. I hope that she is not suffering. But if it is her time to go, I will not stop her, and if she has decided to live somewhere else, I wish her the best in her new home. More than I can say for some of the other people in my life who have moved on without so much as a thank you. Bad manners can be found everywhere, in every back yard, and mine is no exception. Now for the baking soda paste, applied to each angry welt....

07 June, 2012

Happy Place

Retail therapy

There is something for everyone at the Goodwill, so in need of a little retail therapy I head for the nearest location. I rarely have time to look at everything one trip I might just go for books. Then another time I will focus on shirts or pillows or margarita glasses. I find that when I limit myself I limit my frustration. My friend L met Bill Holm almost a decade ago. He invited her to play piano duets with him. Now he's dead, without the duets playing ever happening and as I read his "Heart can be filled..." I wonder if his heart was full or if he had been hoping for a little more time. I imagine myself walking in Paris, the smells and sounds becoming familiar, almost second nature. The food inviting, tempting. Yesterday as I sat on the patio of Salut eating smoked salmon, cheese and crostini with my friend D,  I imagined that we were in Paris, pausing from our walk in the area of Pere Lachaise.

Birth Story

The pregnant Martagons have given birth to themselves. And it is a joy to wake to their charming colors and their subtle majesty. They are in a shady part of my garden so they last a long time considering the quick demise of the delicate plants in the full sun. My back garden looks pretty good, meaning organized and tidy. The front is another story: a story of crazy wildness and hidden boundaries. A struggle for water as roots grow in and around each other in an attempt to get to the water first. MM is a master gardener and consequently she is saddled with the task of maintaining order in her garden by finding homes for the unwanted progeny of her lovely martagons. I have ecstatic to be a foster mom to her precious lilies. In return I have gifted her with a few of my prolific foxgloves.

I fantasize about a fox like the one I fed at Kew gardens when I was visiting my daughter in London. Yes, that's right: I fed the fox most of my apple., and would have even if he hadn't looked particularly fragile and beaten up. My son in law calls him a "crack" fox in jest, I hope. He appeared to have been in some sort of altercation and come out the worse for his efforts. Hair shaved and a line of stitches along one side of his body. Perhaps it was a female and had been spayed... Does the British medical system include wildlife? How wild was he if he was eating an apple out of my hand? Raising my kids with Roald Dahl stories filled with foxes has created a warm place in my heart for foxes. The fabulous Mr Fox is very real to us when searching the bushes at Kew garden for his location.

The call of the cardinals overhead, the fragrance of the currently blooming roses and a glass of iced Jasmine tea and I am ready for summer. School is out and AB is in the process of moving his classroom beginning with packing up all his art supplies. Last year he simply changed rooms, so he has had a chance to go through the process of culling the less necessary items from his inventory of teaching materials. This summer will bring a change of buildings as the whole elementary school moves across the freeway. We are all slowly recovering from the "high" of the wedding. And at the end of the week the happy couple will leave for the Sonoma Coast to camp at Wright's Beach and walk among the giant redwoods of Armstrong Woods.  Heading east. across the mountains to Napa they will eat the duck confit they dreamed about for their wedding dinner in Calistoga at "All Seasons Bistro". In the meantime I will be in the back garden, watching the Montmorency cherries turn red and wondering if it is too late to harvest the rhubarb!