musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “spring”

before & after

It was a process that took days, and woman hours, and a few man and kid hours, too.

I had another over-scheduled weekend to try to squeeze the most important thing to me into – because, really I should have done this about a month ago.

I moved the shadiest garden plot to the sunny side of the yard. a 4×8 plot.

Before:
Here is where it was:

Of course I took the before shot when the plot was in its sunniest hour of the day. Those birch trees, and others absolutely cover this plot in shade for most of the day, especially the back end of it.
Yuck, right? All the grass and crap growing under the plastic is largely because once upon a time, I bought a truck load of dirt from a guy. Turns out it wasn’t good garden dirt. And then I was on bedrest pregnancy, and recovering from it, and had surgery because of it, and so forth and so on, and it sat in my side yard growing things I had no intention of growing in it for a couple of years. Even after I’ve been weeding it mightily and feeding it mightily for few years, it still just likes to grow crap, not so much what I try to plant in it.
Target, sunny side of the yard. That chaise is where you can find me for a little while most sunny days. And Toots likes to picnic there for lunch. The plot is going to move in next to the plot you see to the right. the wisteria is finally filling in, wall like, after the bloom cycle, to the left of the frame.

During:
I tried, but couldn’t loosen the frame. I couldn’t get it to budge at all. Honey did it by himself with a proper lever system he rigged up. Flipped it right over. I love when he gets all manly.

Then he had something going on and I tried to move the frame across the yard with my bad back and ankle and reluctant Mr. Cynic. We couldn’t budge it, except to get it up on its side.

The next day, Honey got back on it and after a failed attempt with positioning on the flat tire wheel barrow, 

we recruited Captain Comic and the three of us worked with cinderblocks and my garden supply Radio Flyer.

It worked! 

And then we maneuvered it into place on the barrier tarp over the grass.

Then we went out to Lowe’s for more good dirt and some garden path stones, and stopped for Hawaiian Ices with Captain Comic and Toots. Mr Cynic was working on a school project at a friend’s house, but I saved him some of my ice and he thanked me.  Toots climbed her first tree while The Rapture did not come except for me, because I was always up a tree as a kid. That’s my girl!
When Mr. Cynic came home shortly after we did, I drafted him to move the dirt and stones from the van to the plot. I told him he could count it as a work out for his independent gym credit. Six bags of dirt and four concrete stones.

Then this morning, I finally got back to work. But my bad back and ankle did not like me before I did, and even more so now. 

That’s some good dirt.
Apologies for the awkward angle.

After:
It’s still a bit shallow. but I planted watermelon seeds toward the back, yellow straight neck squash seeds in the middle, and a tomato and a cucumber seedling in the front. The fat rain drops began to pelt me. But I decided I could plant one more thing and get all the tools, etc back into the shed in time.

And I managed to plant a pepper in the new plot with good earth. And I believe that completes my plantings for the year.

But of course now I am dreaming about bulbs…..

between downpours

The King’s Ransom rose bloomed in my front garden by the driveway.

Even with blight, he’s gorgeous.

And that was the cutest little spider friend he had hanging out with him, looking for a safe haven to not be washed away. (click and zoom!)
And then I dove either back into the house or van with my cellphone captures as the sky poured a bucket down my back.

a dog’s life

 Toots loves a picnic. 
Lucy loves to take over the chaise where I sit.

It’s a dog’s life. 
Soak up the sun.

weepy

I’m having a weird week. I wake up every morning feeling very weepy. I want to put it down to exhaustion and possible perimenopausal stuff.  It’s odd, like a biological impulse to cry. I don’t feel sad or anything, just as if I will burst into tears over the slightest thing.

Then there was Toots’s Preschool Art Show this morning and “Muffins with Mom” event, where I received a bunch of little hand and footprints accompanied by sweet little rhymes.  I swear they’re trying to kill me with the cute. I couldn’t even read the I leave my Handprints everywhere out loud for Toots when I unwrapped it, without catching a lump in my throat and my eyes becoming inexplicable fountains.

Tonight is Mr. Cynic’s high school jazz choir – the one that was Grand Champion in the Myrtle Beach regional competition – Spring Concert.

Help.

I will need a large box of tissues.  I couldn’t even make it through my niece’s dance recitals over the years. I suppose I can just bring Captain Comic and Toots and go into parental management mode. Nah, it’ll never work. Not this week. I think I will just let the tears roll.

Happy Mother’s Day to the other weepers out there.

gardening love

I love to garden. I didn’t say I was good at it, but I love it. Sometimes I am orderly and plan ahead well, other times I get ideas. Yesterday involved a bit of both.

First, I have been neglecting the front flower patch’s needs for a while and second, I really needed to redo the driveway pots. Captain Comic has picked all the leaves off of two sets of small evergreens, first juniper, then vertical japanese boxwoods. Some of the storms we’ve had did the final damages. We have flower pots with something tall in them so Grandma and I can navigate around the brick borders of the ‘bridge’ over the culvert. We can’t see them from our five foot two and three perspectives as we back out of the driveway.

Before: if you look way in back you can make out what I am replacing.
These are the pots, new plants,some homemade humus in the wheel barrow
 and some good potting soil with food.

After: left side of driveway, five leaf Akiba.

After: right side of driveway, Carolina Jasmine.
I planted white Star Jasmine which grows on my fence near the wisteria in my backyard a few years ago.
Yes, the brickwork is broken, no I didn’t do it.
 It was like that when we moved in. 
One of these days…when I get a Round To-It.
Anyone remember that old 70s truck stop souvenir? Tap-Tap?
I liked the little bird trellises at Lowe’s garden center, and they were the cheapest thing that wasn’t plastic and still fit my idea for replacing the evergreen skeletons.

Self-portrait of a gardener
I looked down at one point during mulching and discovered I was covered in dirt from head to toe.
Life is good. Go plant something and watch it grow. 

easter aftermath


Have you ever tried to get three families’ worth of kids of varying ages to pose together for a holiday shot? This was one of a handful of choices, all fell into the category of close enough. My favorite high school English teacher always said,”that only works in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but I believe it’s apt for group shots, too. 

We gathered at friends’ new home, seriously, they moved in Saturday, and we tried to help but showed up a bit late because it took me that long to empty and clean out my van. So I showed up in a dress with all of my kids and Honey, on Easter morning, and promptly decided I would move their bookcases into a different room. We were there for an Easter egg hunt. 

To back up a bit, we had a weekend full of family, my in-laws galore, not just the ones down the street, we hosted visiting aunt and uncle. Also in Grandma’s generation, was a vacationing cousin and all of his nine teenage granddaughters, his daughter, and his wife who were staying in Virginia Beach. So when I joke about the in-law invasion, there’s a bit of truth to it, at least in sheer numbers. Thankfully, I was lucky enough not to get the full dose of the nine teenage granddaughters. I managed to only meet two. I can’t say the same for Grandma and Toots who got a full dose with a botched and whiny trip to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. It’ll remain in family lore for generations, I am sure. 

There was also a 50th birthday party for a friend this weekend, which was packed with cake and pies and Easter breads and a potluck, maybe two. I’ve lost count. And of course Easter baskets galore. I hopped on the scale this morning – hopped is a loose term, it was more of a floorboards creaked trepidacious step – and I have gained five pounds this weekend – even with helping with the move!

Toots love her twirly dress and enjoyed modeling it. Pardon the blur, I wasn’t awake yet. I don’t think the camera was either.


A lot of sugar was eaten, and not much else especially by a couple of my kids who would have done better to get some more protein and veggies in them over the weekend, and maybe a bit less candy and pies. There was some major sugar fallout this morning. Not that I should say anything, see confession above about gaining five pounds. 

But a weekend full of friends, family, food, fun and sunshine is worth a five pound gain. 

It occurs to me that with the amount of cookie posts, etc., I should have a food tag, shouldn’t I? Someday, I’ll backtrack and find all the baking and cooking posts and add them to it, but the food tag starts now. 🙂

I regret I did not get a pie picture. Grandma and her sisters really outdid themselves with the Easter pies this year, and I believe that is mostly to blame for culinary lapse of reason. Auntie B’s homemade lasagna may have had a smidge to do with it, too. And the vat of pasta a fagioli I made Friday night, and, and, and……peeps for one. 

Time to get back into an new exercise routine….

love your mother

Happy Earth Day

spring surprises

 A friend and I took our little ones out yesterday because it was too beautiful to do anything else. At the park, they ran in opposite directions, and Amilicious and I couldn’t stand anywhere near each other to chat. I snapped a couple of shots as we crossed the footbridge on our way out.

 They were enthralled with a mama duck who was trying to snack in the mud below.

 Chive blossoms and buds:

 Here come the peas that Toots and I planted about a week or so ago.

Don’t ask, I stumbled across this when I was downloading shots in the camera:

lazy sunday afternoon

After Saturday night’s storm, Sunday couldn’t have been more perfect weatherwise.
I parked myself under the wisteria with an interesting non-fiction read that I have renewed at the library for the third time. It’s fascinating, but I can’t or don’t sit down long enough to just read a good chunk of it. If you’re curious, it’s called Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz. I was familiar with a lot of the material he covers, but I really like how he puts it all together and shows a real chronology of the history of faith in America in all of its complexity.
Honey came out and joined me for a cuddle on the chaise for a bit, as Mr. Cynic mowed the front yard. Then Honey went in and woke up Toots from her nap. She came out for a cuddle with me, too.
Toots then got busy playing all over the yard with her daddy and I looked at the wisteria’s wild dreadlocks, and decided to tame them a bit. I got out the ladder and string and started climbing and pulling at vines. While I was up there, someone came to chat, kind of.
Captain Comic: Hi Mom. What are you doing?
Mom: Hey Buddy, I’m fixing the wisteria. Whatcha been doing this afternoon?
Captain Comic: Stuff.
Mom: What kind of Stuff?
Captain Comic: Supercool Stuff you wouldn’t understand.
Mom: What kind of supercool stuff – drawing comics? 
Captain Comic: Groan growl.  
And he circle paced around once more and headed toward the trampoline from where I heard squeaks and jumps as I went back to the business at hand. 

The wisteria on the fence is still a bit wild, but at least she doesn’t look like Coolio circa 1994, or Weird Al Yankovic, for that matter. She smells a lot better, too, I bet.

it was a dark and stormy night.

 ~ Snoopy


Last night was quite the storm. It pummeled, it rumbled, it alerted often on TV.
Captain Comic was in a panic.
Lucy was in a panic.
Both periodically hyperventilated. 
And whimpered, there was a lot of very high pitched whimpering.


Toots crawled under the dining room table at one point, “to be safe under heyah”. I had been cataloging all safety procedures to assuage Captain Comic’s blood pressure. 


Captain Comic: I can’t believe we’re having a tornado warning. This is so scary. You shouldn’t have made me clean my room earlier, that only made the day worse.


After the tornado warning was over for our area, I had to call Mr. Cynic and ask if he was still alive as the tornado warnings continued for NC where his bus was on the road home from his Choral Competition in Myrtle Beach, SC. 


Captain Comic cried, But I don’t know if he’s alive or dead! He collapsed to the floor and shook raised dramatic hands to the sky. 


On the phone:
Mom: Are you alive?
Mr. Cynic: No mom, I’m calling from death.


Gee, I wonder from whence he acquired his sardonic sense of humor.


All kidding aside, I am extremely grateful that Mr. Cynic made it home safely and the bus only had to pull over once for safety’s sake. My heart goes out to many others who did not come through this storm nearly as well as we did. In the next town, three people died.  


I am also very proud that his Jazz Choir is Grand Champion! The trophy is as tall as my pipsqueak nearly sixteen year old. Poor kid, doubly cursed with short genes. 


I went out quite late to retrieve Mr. Cynic. By then the storm had passed and I walked out to the driveway under a brightly deep prussian blue sky full of stars and moonlight from a full, full glorious moon. The world, rocked by the moods of spring, once again, lay forever changed, and yet unchanged as the ages.  


Life goes on and I am grateful for the ordinary. 

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