Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rainy Sunday Ruminations

I came over here to clean out the cobwebs and set up shop for a while. Things at Gates are bizzy, bizzy. I like the quiet here. A few birds chirping, even in the rain – cardinals nesting in the forsythia, too. Forgot to clean the blue birdhouses. However, I'll bet the wrens are in the storage shed already, nesting on the garden tools so you have to move one ever so carefully. They used to like the eaves above the figs until the cat took to sitting in the window staring at them. That would make me nervous if *I* had feathers. Lulu has never left me anything feathered, though any number of moles and voles has met their end at her paws. I actually don't mind the moles so much: they tunnel through, eating their fill of Japanese beetle grubs. The darn voles, on the other hand, eat bulbs: lilies, liatris, poppies, tulips, etc. I've learned to soak them in hot pepper sauce for a day before planting. Lasts long enough for them to make it through the winter and then I have to get more assertive. For some reason, they don't like daylilies or daffodils or jonquils.

Since I haven’t been back “home” in months, I took a look around the Neighborhood. Peeked over God’s wall and noticed He’s let the grass get a little long. Everything is lush and green, though, just as He claims to have intended. Maybe I’ll go over later and "borrow" a cup of coffee. I’ll have to wear my wellies to get thru His grass, but it’s a good excuse to let Him know I’m baaack!

Usually these announcements make Him roll His eyes, but the coffee He serves is exquisite (Italian, maybe?), so it's worth a little rolling-your-eyes-toward-heaven patience. Come to think of it, Who could He be rolling His eyes to in the first place??

One of the fig trees in the late April rainThis season has been a bit strange. Cold nights froze most people’s tomato plants, but the darn figs are setting fruit earlier than I’ve ever seen them. This is a problem for a tardy pruner. You’re supposed to keep the “bushes” at about ten feet, but if I do that now, I’ll lose some fruit. Maybe I can work around it.

To give you an idea, I don’t usually see fruit until late June, usually when I’ve just decided that they will not be bear that year. The extension agent swears they only bear every four years or so, but these guys put out every single summer. When he told me that was impossible in our 7b climate zone, I just shrugged and agreed. Who am I to argue with the Authority on such matters? But come September I’ll be making preserves. And not falling off the ladder.

The dogwoods are blooming, but the Forest Pansy redbud wasn’t very flowerful. Perhaps it was due to the bad drought late last summer. I can see the buds on the mountain laurel all through the woods. What a wonderful plant. The lilacs are blooming away since we cut back some mimosas. Now they get more sun.

Darn deer have eaten everything in sight. Even the boxwood, for heaven’s sake. The azaleas under the pine are nubs. I kissed the parsley goodbye, too. I’m glad they leave the chives alone, and the daffodils and rosemary. Be grateful for small blessings, shall we? I will resolutely ignore the microscopic green leftovers where 25 Oxford yellow tulips should have bloomed. Should have…except for the raging appetites of those supposedly “cute” little deer, which grow bolder by the day. They multiply like Catholics…I mean Muslims. Mexicans?

Whatever. It’s obvious Catholics are no longer breeding according to plan…hmm. So much for sticking to the rhythm method.

Q: Do you know what they call people who use the rhythm method for birth control?
A: Parents.

And deer are not cute, except when they’re roasting on a spit. We need to put those critters on something besides the rhythm method. It isn’t working for them, either. There are now six deer for every person in our state...I mean dominion. Commonwealth. Or, as they say around here, "by the grace of God, Virginia."


At 1:49 PM, Blogger EW1(SG) said...

Rosemary makes a good deer barrier, and I've been really happy with "Arp," a rather tall, hardy plant that I get from some eco-freaks in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

I'm somewhat north of the Commonwealth along the shore of the Bay, and it seems to do well here.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

Hmmm...the perimeter of our "yard" is so large rosemary would be an expensive project. But maybe "Arp" will do the trick.

If it does, I could be a popular girl in the county.

I am seriously considering those motion-triggered lights and noises.

Or maybe I could hire a deer-stalker. Princeton, New Jersey did that. I tried to get my son-in-law to apply for the job but it was too far north for a Southern boy.

Now maybe I could surround the parsley with rosemary. Or grow it under the oregano, which they also do not like. Or chives...or garlic.

Thanks for the ideas!

At 8:36 PM, Blogger EW1(SG) said...

Hmmm. Territorial also sells another rosemary, a prostrate, that might be good for around the parsley kind of thing.

Its pretty leggy, and a good groundcover...totally different approach than the Arp, but both are good with roast venison.

And sorry to hear about your roof, as a native Pacific Northwesterner, I have experienced similar dilemmas.

But at least here it doesn't rain all the time! ;)


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