Gardening + Nature

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This fire hydrant is just around the corner from our house, emblazoned, delight of delights, with Portland’s area code. The area code which, nearly three years after moving, I have yet to change. The first time I saw it, I took it as a positive sign – a reminder that everything I am and ever was is right here.

I am forever delighted by the nods and drips of plants, tight buds and hordes of bodies – these are boxelder beetles – nature revealing itself every second – to be graceful, potent, quiet.

Marigold pressing through the black of pavement at the local Catholic Church, thusly proving (at least to me) that anything is possible.

Juniper Beulah – our zigzag spaz of a pooch. There, beyond that white fence, is a Min-Pin, surely no heavier than eight pounds, yet a beastly creature, ramming its tiny body to jostle the fence and rile our dear girl, nearly every time we walk by.

Juniper plays tour guide – with a glimpse of the back garden and some of the plants we’ve started: fern bush. barberry. serviceberry. red thyme. ice plant. sedum. five varieties of peony. five varieties of iris. goldenrod. yucca. hyssop. mallow. milkweed. red hot poker. red bird in a tree. crocosmia. black-eyed susan. The bird feeder is, of course, a lively attraction, with chickadees, doves, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches, jays, crows, towhees, flickers, robins, and squirrels making regular appearances. Juniper does some scrounging here, too.

When we were first married, the hubster was listening to some radio jocks poking fun at men who didn’t know diddly about home repair. The words were an invocation – I will be handy! I am grateful to be a beneficiary, as the the short fence (and sooo MUCH more) is his handiwork. We need only attach the solar light post toppers purchased ages ago to finish it. The fence guards raised beds of rhubarb, tomato, and raspberry, two varieties of sage, rosemary and chive, gooseberry and currant, plum and cherry trees, from our sometime doggy digger. Though don’t tell her she could leap over it, NO problem. Some secrets are worth keeping. There is more work to be done on the patio and the paths are still in need of gravel, but all is moving along rather nicely considering the utter shambles this was last year.

We built a wall! Two of them, actually, on which we will espalier hardy apple trees (Black Oxford & Blue Pearmain – taste the rainbow!) and send sweet scented roses and honeysuckle climbing skyward.

Fern bush scents the air with honey, flowers or no.

Entertaining the littles. I made cupcakes again.

From the front garden – wet grass and lilac branches, liatris.

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At last, as I hoped, we received our best snow well into spring, two storms in one week, beautifully blanketing the land, finally whitening our most revered neighbor, and sending Juni B. into paroxysms of glee!

I, this morning, with remnants of meals past, made a most delicious bread pudding, not quite in celebration, because it wasn’t as deliberate as that, but certainly elevating the mood of the day.

Colorado Springs lay shrouded in fog the whole of the day yesterday, with whimsical wisps of snow falling here and there. I wish I could have been a bird soaring over the frosted flake tree tops. This will have to do.

And this? It is on in the basement, peeps. New floor installation begins in t-minus twenty-five minutes. Bathroom shower pan is repaired and awaiting tile. Rotten walls removed. Hubster is repairing the sub-par wiring. Finished basement (save new windows) by the end of February? I want to believe!

Palmer Park – a ten minute walk to paradise.

Mountain Mohagany and the loveliest winter light.

My Mom feeds her neighborhood pig and she (he?) smiles with gratitude.

g l o w

Our favorite canine. Not ours, but loved still. Go, Jimbo, go!

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2016 was a beast of a year. We moved into our sweet ranch on March 1st and plowed through the upstairs remodel as though our lives depended upon it. Which it did. Our comfortable lives, anyway. We did not want to wash dishes from a giant bowl while kneeling in the nasty basement shower for one moment longer than necessary or cooking on a wobbly ikea table in the laundry room, though we did it for three months. Oy. Like camping, only in a basement. When organizing a kitchen space, it is said that the most efficient layout is a triangle. The hubster laughed, “Ours was a pyramid – sink in the basement bath, burner and toaster oven in the laundry, refrigerator in the dining room!”

And then there was the floor, the complete gut of the kitchen and bathroom, painting every last wall – upstairs and down, painting the doors, too, replacing every light fixture and adding four more, because L I G H T. Installing bookshelves in the living room and drying racks in the basement, because our clothes have never tumbled in a dryer. Digging, planting, assembling, destroying, dumping, and building. Do it. Do it again. Yeah, that was us.  Wide eyed. Diligent. Exhausted.

And then there was that bit of soul searching. You saw it. Maybe it frightened you. Maybe it got you thinking. Who do we allow into our lives? The people we strive to be.  The kind. The joyous. The affectionate. What about bullshit and drama? Little, dear reader. Very little. We have had plenty. Thankfully not from each other. Glory be. We are solid pillars, leaning somewhat toward center. Better to hear a whisper. For lips to graze a cheek. For laughing eyes to dance together. Better, better, better.

So today, this hike an invocation for 2017. Embracing and inviting all that is out in the open, all that is unseen. Fox and coyote and pronghorn. Wee, small birds. Prairie dogs. Rabbits. US admiring the peace, the beauty, the wonder of the world. Standing our ground.

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