Tag Archives: plants

Pushing On



So, what is it now, that has kept me away from writing? I’ve been busy, sure, and tired. There have been a lot of things going on here on Beaver Island, and in my life.

Saturday, for instance. I worked at the hardware store. It was our busiest – by far – day this year. The side of the building has become a nursery, with stacking shelves arranged under a sun shade for perennials and shrubs, annual flowers, vegetables and herbs. Folks were flocking in to our store for necessities for lawn and garden plans as well as all the usual painting, plumbing and home repair projects.

I had started the day loading art work in the car, so that I could drop it off at the Beaver Island Gallery, on its first open day of the season. I did that in the early afternoon, just before running out to attend the memorial gathering to honor my friend, Roy. I then ran to the point, to attend the annual shareholder’s meeting of the Beaver Island Boat Company. Then, back to the hardware to finish my work day.

Home, I changed clothes, doused up with mosquito repellent, and headed for the garden. I’ve been forcing myself to get in at least an hour of work out there every evening, no matter how much I want to collapse. Saturday, I raked, dug stubborn weeds, hauled away another wheelbarrow full of roots, and assembled a raised bed for my strawberry plants, before coming in to shower. I ate dinner in my pajamas, and was in bed not long after.

In addition to long and busy days, I’ve had a few side-line inconveniences that have further complicated my life. I picked up a tick, while working in the garden, and didn’t discover it until it was firmly embedded in the skin of my inner thigh, and fairly well engorged with my blood. That was the most traumatic (and gross!) thing that has happened to me in quite some time! A trip to the medical center, a dose of strong antibiotic, a few instructions about prevention and how to handle it should it ever happen again, and I was on my way…though the nightmares continue.

My car is in the shop for repairs. That has caused me to be using vehicles that I’m not familiar with (Oh! No cup-holder? And where is the knob for windshield wipers?), changing one car for another, begging rides from here to there, and sometimes walking. It’s not a big deal. It will all be over soon, and I’ll have my own dusty, messy car back, with a nice fat repair bill to boot!

Next, my little dog, having worked herself into a frenzy over having her nails clipped, managed to get out of my grasp…and bit me. By the next morning, redness and swelling made another trip to the medical center necessary. “It was an accident,” I explained, “she was trying to bite the vet.” My tetanus vaccine was still good; another dose of antibiotic, and I was finished. All dog bites have to be reported, so next came a visit from the deputy. My dogs are up to date on all of their shots. Still, according to standard protocol, Rosa Parks had to be placed in quarantine (“House arrest,” I told her) for ten days. No rides to visit the inland lakes; no walks down the Fox Lake Road. “That’s what you get,” I tell her, without sympathy.

Yesterday, it rained. That put all yard work on hold. After coming home from work, I took a lovely, long nap. I got up in time to feed the dogs and make my own supper, then went shortly right back to bed. Today, I feel rested, and like I just might make it. The sun is shining. The grass is desperately in need of being cut. The dogs and I could all use some outdoor time. That’s where I’ll be, then, for the rest of this day.


What I Brought


may 24, 2013 007

When moving to Beaver Island for an imagined life of self-sufficiency, when leaving all that is familiar for a new adventure, when moving to homes that are fully furnished right down to the silverware, what gets packed? For this move, and others since, I found that what comes with you are the things that best define the idea of “home.” This is what we brought:

  • Clothes. Though packing time was used to weed out things that had been outgrown or worn out, if it was serviceable, it was packed. I filled and labelled boxes of off-season clothing, and used the suitcases for the things we’d need right away.
  • Toys and games. My daughters were three and six years old. They had accumulated quite a stash of toys, handed down from cousins or received as gifts from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. They had a playroom in the basement with toy box and shelves filled with toys, as well as beanbag chairs and an indoor slide. In their bedroom upstairs, they had dolls and stuffed animals. On the shelf in the broom closet, Terry and I had a collection of board games, cards and dice. We had to be selective. The girls both chose their most precious things, and helped make decisions about what would be stored until we had a place for it, and what would be given away. In the end, we brought a good selection of games, and quite a few dolls and soft toys.
  • Books. When I first moved to Beaver Island, my collection of books was pretty small. I had only one cookbook then!  We had a small stack of paperback books: Alive by Piers Paul Reid, Jaws by Peter Benchley, and The Exorcist by whatever sick-o it was that wanted to scare the holy hell out of me with that one. I had once joined the Book of the Month Club, lured in at Christmastime by their “choose four books for one dollar” offer, but dropped the membership as soon as I’d fulfilled the required purchases. Other than the books I’d purchased as gifts, I added hardcovers of  Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Roll, Jordan, Roll: the World the Slaves Made. Linda and I, on our trips around Flint in between classes, had discovered Young & Welshan’s bookstore, with sale and “remaindered” books right outside the door. There I picked up nice editions of E.B. White’s work and a few other selections. Luckily, I had little expendable income, as I could have easily over-indulged! I had one small bookcase that my brother, Ted, had built for me in high school wood shop class; it wasn’t quite full. My daughters had more books than I did, and they treasured them all. Decisions were hard. We boxed up every single book for the trip to Beaver Island.
  • My Journals. I’d started a new one when we started talking about moving to Beaver Island. I would use it, I thought, to chronicle our changing lives. Also, stationery, stamps and envelopes. I was a good letter-writer, and my Mom had told me she was counting on it.
  • Art and craft supplies. Finished, framed art, we loaned out or gave away. I boxed up paints and canvasses for the trip. Pencils, charcoals and sketch pads came, too. The camera. My big collection of bits and pieces of yarn, and crochet hooks.
  • Plants. I had about a dozen large and healthy houseplants. They all came to Beaver Island.
  • Tools. I didn’t personally bring tools, but my husband had a good selection that deserved some space.

Those were the choices we made, when moving three hundred miles away from our families, and all the familiar landscape we’d known.