April 8th, 2012

Happy Easter to all!

Picture this:

Me. In grubby old shorts and tennis shoes with sweat dripping down the back and staining the front of my shirt, gardening gloves hiding the dirt beneath my nails while battling the winter weeds in the flower garden in the front yard. The wind briskly whipping my hair into a frizz ball and heat and exertion turning my face a unflattering bright red.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a car turn the corner into our cul de sac and stop right in front of our mail box. A little gnome of a man opens his door and with slow deliberate steps, makes his way up the driveway pausing when he was about half way. (Not sure if he was out of breath or just being polite.)

Ever the hospitable me, I rise from the ground, a handful of weeds in one hand and a garbage bag in the other, thoughts of ‘I’ll never get this done and get back to my writing’ hopefully not showing on my face.

I drop everything and walk toward him while sizing him up.

Too old for a kidnapper and I could probably take him on easily in a fight.

Can’t be Publishers Clearing House. Forgot to enter.

No one in the family has passed on so can’t be an attorney searching for relatives for surprise inheritances.

So, to my surprise he introduces himself as Mr. Smith (name changed… yada yada) one of the board members of our Homeowners Association and he had something for me.

Now, honestly, my first thought was ‘what did we (meaning me) do wrong?’ GW tends to follow things to the letter and since I’ve never read the HOA rules, I’m not sure I do or don’t. I’m good at winging things and asking for forgiveness later.

But never in a million years did I expect what came out of his mouth next. “Your home as been chosen as the Yard of the Month for the subdivision and we have a gift for you!”

Do what?

Then never in a million years did I expect what came out of MY mouth next. “You must be kidding, right?”

Now, our yard is not bad. Not bad at all. But it is still a work in progress and we haven’t had it professionally landscape like a lot of them in our subdivision have been. We’ve added, we’ve subtracted, we’ve pruned, we’ve planted, we’ve rearranged, we’ve fertilized, we’ve even put deer urine down (ewww!) to keep the rabbits out. read here if you don’t believe it.

Nope, he assured me. The gorgeous green lawn, breathtaking knock out roses, beautiful accent bushes and the flowering plants all make for an eye catching symmetry of beauty.

Yep, he actually said symmetry of beauty.

I stood in shock before asking if he could wait there for a moment. Please don’t go anywhere. Just a moment.

I walked slowly with dignity to the front door but once inside ran all the way to the back of house yelling for GW. I told him there was someone outside he just HAD to meet. No, I can’t tell you about it, Babe, you won’t believe me. Just HURRY!

GW came out and met Mr. Smith and the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re kidding, right? Maybe you’ve mixed us up with the neighbors across the street?”

Hmmm… great minds think alike, huh?

But, eventually, we were convinced when a sign was posted near the mailbox and a $25.00 gift card was handed to us.

So, it ended up being a pleasant surprise and definitely an Easter miracle.

It’s raining today or I’d post pictures. Maybe another day.


October 11th, 2011

Over the summer, I bought one of my favorite plants, a beautiful flowering plant that loves the hot Texas sun called purslane and planted them in our front flowerbed. The way our house is arranged, we’re still learning which areas get sun for how long, and which areas need what kind of plants. I decided to plant only one to see how it does.

Found an area that gets sunlight most of the day. After digging through the hard dry Texas clay, (remember we had a million days of over 100 degree heat and no rain) I got that puppy in the ground and sat back to watch to see how it did.

The next day, it looked a little puny. I chalked it up to being in shock after being transplanted so I just watered it and talked to it nicely and made a note to check on it the next day.

Come day 2 and the flowers seemed to have fallen off and disappeared into the wind. Okaaay….let’s water it again and surely by tomorrow, it will have settled in, perked up and be blooming with new growth.

Not so. Day 3 – no flowers, no perking up, and the plant seemed to be a lot smaller than when I’d planted it. Weird!

Day 4? No frickin’ plant left in the ground! There was actually a small hole where the plant had been!

I happen to look across to the neighbor’s yard and among their bushes I detected some long ears and a twitching nose and, I swear it’s true, the rabbit was grinning at me!

We had seen rabbits quite often in our yard, but it never occured to me they’d eat my flowers. What was I thinking!

So, fast forward to last weekend. I also love pansies and like to plant them in the fall because some will last until spring even with snow and frost. One of the nurseries was having a sale on them, so off we go and loaded up on several plats of colorful flowers. We trek home and cleaned out the containers in front and planted some and was pretty proud of how they looked. Still having lots of plants left, I got all my gardening supplies together and started an assembly line all the way across the front flower beds.

Scoop away the mulch, dig through the now WET, heavy clay, throw a little potting soil in hole, add a bit of fertilizer, plant flower, fill in hole with more potting soil, respread the mulch.

Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

And GW helped. Since it was supposed to rain that night, he spread fertilizer in the yard and then watered the plants as I planted them. And then lay in the grass next to me until I’d say something like, ‘Babe, I need more potting soil in the bucket.’ or ‘Babe, what’s this gross white worm I just dug up?’ or ‘Babe, rabbits don’t eat pansies, do they?’

Of course they do. So GW gets up, goes to the garage and comes out and starts spraying something near the first flowers I planted. The wind had been gentle breeze, and being upwind was very comfortable while I labored over a hot flowerbed.

Until I smelled something that reminded me of a wet diaper, but stronger and stinkier.

‘Babe, what’s that smell???’

He remembered we’d bought a can of Rabbit Repellent. Smart man.

So far, the rabbits have left the pansies alone. Smart rabbits.


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