Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I am generally a good person, and I try to live my life in a thoughtful and responsible way. But I have a few shortcomings, as the people who love me can attest to. My tendency to over plan at the expense of spontaneity, as one example. Or my seeming inability to stop taking responsibility for the happiness of everyone around me, as another.

But - oh! - the failing that has me tearing out my hair this week is this: I cannot, for the life of me, hang on to a set of pruners.

I'm rough on tools. This is a well-established fact. I leave tools out in the rain, I rarely clean them, and I never, ever sharpen or oil them. That's why I buy the $5 pruners instead of the $50 ones. I understand and accept this. What I can't figure out is how I keep losing them.

This week I set a new record. On Saturday afternoon I mislaid a set of pruners while tackling the creeping bellflower in one of the perennial beds. I had them. I put them down. I left for a few minutes to empty the wheelbarrow and when I got back those pruners were nowhere. I looked and looked, and never found them.

That wasn't so bad. Kim was nice enough to bring me another pair, even though the ones I had mislaid were clearly marked "Kim". What was bad - really, really bad - was that the next morning, in the space of one hour I mislaid two more pairs.

I don't know where they went. I have retraced my steps, and looked under every conceivable bush. I have rooted through the compost pile, thinking maybe I absent-mindedly put them in the wheelbarrow and then emptied them into the compost. I have hunted and hunted and haven't been able to find any of the three (most recently) missing pairs.

What did I do?

I went out and bought two more pairs. And - so far - I know exactly where they are.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Oh, there's nothing like coming home after being away. And coming home to a garden lush and green, fragrant and blooming - how lucky can one person be?

Of course having been away for two weeks in May means I'm behind on everything, but somehow it doesn't matter. Yes, the winter squash absolutely must get planted tomorrow, and there are weeds everywhere. But somehow I look at the perennial beds filled with fresh, lime green hostas, and red-stalked rhubarb, and the first of what I call the San Pellegrino poppies, and tulips of every colour, and all those weeds just don't matter. At least not today.

When I travel by air I have to go on steroids to clear out my sinuses - which means that for about two months I have the gift of a sense of smell. When I got out of the car to open the gate I was overwhelmed by the wonderful scent of the air - just the air. Green and fresh and woodsy. Is this what it smells like all the time?

So in the two days I've been home I've had my nose stuck in every plant and flower, storing up all the wonderful scents while I can. Especially the lilacs - there's a whole childhood of memories tied to the scent of lilacs.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Flower parade

Okay, I'm 100% convinced: spring is really here, and it's not going to snow next week.

To celebrate my new accord with Mother Nature, here are some of her most gorgeous peace offerings, appearing now at Mucky Boots.

Trillium and magnolia blossoms . . .

. . . bleeding hearts and peach blossoms . . .

. . . and the first entrants in the annual Tulip Parade.

I'm taking a bit of a break for the next two weeks. Until I see you again, I wish you sunny skies, gentle showers and peace in your heart.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Moving day

The six Red Rock Cross pullets, now about 2 months old, have made the move to Big Chicken Land, otherwise known as Chicken Coop #2. We finished leveling the building and stabilizing the foundation as much as we were prepared to (it's just a chicken coop, after all), Kim laid a new plywood floor inside and made a chicken door into the chicken yard, and we joined the fencing of the yard to the walls of the coop, to make it secure for the new residents.

Then we introduced the teenage pullets to their new home - how exciting!

At least we thought so. The pullets themselves weren't sure what to make of it all. To a chicken everything new is something to be cautious about, and it took them some convincing that the chicken door wasn't a gateway to somewhere horrible.

There is still work to be done: Kim wants to build a new gate into the pullets' part of the chicken yard, a new human-sized door for the coop with a window that opens, and some additional ventilation holes. And the coop itself is a blank slate inside - the pullets are making do with a movable roost, and Kim wants proper roosting and nest box space, plus a separate enclosure to increase chicken arrangement flexibility.

When I made my first tentative gardening steps and wondered how much work it would take until the garden was done, a more experienced gardener friend laughed (a bit hysterically) and assured me no garden was ever done. I'm thinking the same must be true for chickens. . .
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