Inside, Looking Out

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I am making good progress in the garden this year.

I credit the mosquitoes for my devotion.

One does not rub mosquito-repellant oil on ankles, feet and hands, inside ears, on face, neck and scalp, then do an all-over spray of the “deep woods” stuff, add a hat and face-covering bug net…for a short wander through the garden.

The sprays and oils determine that garden soil will soon adhere to clothing and all exposed skin. A few dead mosquitoes may cling where they’ve been swatted. A few minutes of work out in the sunshine, and sweat has added to the mix.

Decked out in this manner, one does not move from gardening to house-keeping or laundry or shopping or (heaven forbid!) a spur-of-the-moment visit with friends.

This “armor” insists that a commitment of time be made.

So, when the intended transplanting, seeding, watering or caging is complete, I look around for something else to do.

There’s always something!

I’ve filled one five gallon bucket after another with weeds. Sometimes I – in archaeology mode – pick out one square meter, drop to my hands and knees, and thoroughly clean that section of unwanted growth. Other times, I choose to tackle one enemy. Sometimes it’s milkweed, which is only an enemy when it invades my garden…which is constant, as it grows prolifically in the fields surrounding it. For the lovely scent of milkweed blossoms, and for the Monarch butterfly, I accept the battle. Sometimes it’s the grasses, easily distinguishable from new seedlings and anything else that belongs there.Sometimes it’s the annoying but easily pulled field sorrel.

Yesterday, it was bladder campion, which is quickly becoming my most despised weed. It has many branches that lay out in every direction, hiding among the leaves of other plants and perennials. Each branch produces flowers with the unique bulbous “bladder” that gives them their name. Each flower produces seeds, and it spreads by roots and seeds. Bladder campion has a deep root, like a carrot, that refuses to pull, and must be dug up. I almost always miss a part of it, either cutting through it with the shovel, or breaking it off when pulling. That ensures that it will come back, as soon as my back is turned. Yesterday, I filled two five-gallon buckets with this weed alone, before I moved on to other things.

Other things: rake leaves away from the fence; move the potter’s wheel; prune the cherry tree; mulch the strawberries; haul weeds and trimmings away. My favorite: check out what’s growing!

Rhubarb is producing again after a nice rain. Asparagus, though mostly gone to seed, still provides a stalk or two for raw munching each day. Strawberries have tiny white fruits that promise to ripen. Raspberries are in bud. The cherry trees are setting fruit. Tomatoes, peppers and marigolds are settling in to their locations. Everything else was planted from seed.

One row of bush beans is up and showing four nice leaves. The second row – planted the same day – hasn’t shown itself yet. I can’t remember if they were older seeds (I should have taken better notes!). Two cucumber hills – of five – have visible sprouts. Only one summer squash plant – of three varieties in six hills – is showing. I have a row of onions up, a scattered row of Swiss chard, and a few spindly spinach leaves starting to show. Winter squash (butternut) has six healthy starts in its old tire planter. I’ll soon have to decide which ones to cull.

The pumpkin (old seeds) didn’t show up at all, so I re-planted each hill with new – “Cinderella’s carriage” – pumpkin seeds. I squeezed in a row of yellow beets, set up bamboo supports and planted pole beans just day-before-yesterday. I put in the last of my seed potatoes a couple days before that.

Today it’s raining.

That’s okay with me.

It’s nice, today, to be inside, looking out.

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12 responses »

    • That;s about the best praise they’ll get from me, Kathy: it takes a lot of time and energy just to be ready to face them. It seems like I used to have an easier time going from one activity to another. Now, if I have an investment in preparing – whether arming against bugs of bundling up against the cold – I feel like I should make it worth my while. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

  1. what a pretty view from that window!
    I got a huge chuckle out of your phrase “archaelogy mode” and the descriptions of the other weeding attempts were equally great. .LOL I thought I was the only looney-tune who varied weed control that way! This morning I yanked every bit of ragweed from the entire backyard..which means it looks like I did nothing at all because 5000 other weed varieties still mock me!
    Great post…so glad you got a rainy day..Any excuse for not weeding is a-ok with me!

    • Oh, I’m glad I’m not alone in this! I can’t say I like weeding, but have to admit there is something very gratifying about following one of those yard-long roots to its conclusion! Thanks for reading, Karen, and for your comments!

  2. I’m with Karen, that is a very pretty view from the window!
    ” in archaeology mode” oh I understand that one 🙂 It sounds like your hard work will pay off nicely over summer and give you plenty of pickings to enjoy. Happy days 🙂

    • It’s an especially nice view when the poppies bloom, Claire. I’ll try to remember to post another picture then. If everything I planted grows, I’ll be eating well. Thanks for reading, Claire, and for your comments!

  3. Gosh, I hate mosquitoes but I’m glad your garden is doing well. Sorry to have been away recently. God, it’s a long story. No internet for two weeks–yadda, yadda, yadda! I’m missed you, my friend.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Kathy, so nice to see you here! I’ve missed you, too! I also hate mosquitoes, and, boy, do we ever have a good crop of them this year! They are huge, and more plentiful than I’ve ever seen them! I’ll look forward to hearing your story…two weeks without internet, WOW – and didn’t you make a trip back to the states, as well? Thanks for reading, Kathy, and for your comments!

  4. Love the pic taken through the window screen. I’ve done a few of birds and squirrels and I sort of like the look. Your photo is really nice.

    Rhubard here at HEB grocery store is $7.98 per pound.l I resorted to buying frozen. I don’t remember it being so expensive in the past. You are fortunate to have it grow where you live. Of course it is a plant the does not likeTexas weather.

    • Oh my, I had no idea I was sitting on a gold mine! I have never had to buy rhubarb! I like it best fresh from the garden in the spring, but I freeze it for winter use as well. It does seem very sensitive to heat, so I understand that it wouldn’t grow in Texas. Thanks for reading, Yvonne, and for your comments!

  5. Oh my, it sounds like our place every weekend – the mosquitoes and all the yard work. I love the hard work and sweat, makes me feel like I accomplished something, but the mosquitoes are something else – unwelcomed visitors.

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