The Garden Beckons…

There is a sinkhole in the backyard, a spot where the previous owners removed a dead oak. I used to pour sand into the holes that formed as the roots rotted beneath the sod.

Later I paid a tree-cutter to take down a gnarly young oak and grind down the stump. Now its subterranean decay creates a natural cistern. Last autumn, I poured out a nearly-full bag of soil into it and spread grass seeds over top.

The grass hasn’t appeared yet, but the nutrient-rich soil brought out dormant crocuses: bright yellow and waxy purple. Even if it snows again, these hardy harbingers of spring are here.


“I’m back! Spring is here!”


Another evening of rain…

I managed to get about half the lawn mowed two evenings ago. Today the grass was still wet. And then this happened.


So much rain pouring, the eaves became a waterfall.

Luckily, it lightened up… oh, not really. Notice the moss darkening the cottage behind La Casa de Tontería.


Rain bounces off the neighboring cottage and looks like a mist.

I had planned to dig up the plants along the back this weekend, but I don’t relish working in mud.


Who Loves the Rain?

Mosquitoes, obviously. I have had to close the bedroom door in case one (or more) sneak into La Casa de Tontería. There is nothing less relaxing than drifting into slumber, only to hear the whining buzz of a bloodsucker. As soon as the light goes on, the tiny monster hides but by then it’s too late: I declare war and move heaven and earth (or furniture, in thus case) until the wee fairy-like vampire is a splotch on the bottom of a tissue box.*

But also the flowers. I am delighted with my garden so far. Check this out:


Wild columbine growing among the day lilies at the base of a water-loving swamp oak (also called a blue oak).

*Slippers are heavy arsenal reserved for spiders and Green Berets. So far no Green Berets have shown up in my home. Someone must have tipped them off.

La Casa’s Notice of Eviction

I was sitting on the end of the sofa, reading the news and enjoying a cup of iced coffee (black, of course). Then I noticed a spider dangling in midair. Did the usual sweep of the hand to break its thread – and it wavered.

When I moved forward to look closer, I realized it had begun a web encompassing the windowsill over my head, the lamp at my side, and the floor. I was in its web.

No, no, no, arañita. This is MY web, and you’re just taking up space rent-free. It’s time to join your enemy – a spider of a different species – that I confronted yesterday. And the squishable one before that. And the cloud of teeny-tiny hatchlings that were clinging to the siding near the kitchen window.

I don’t like this trend of friendly neighborhood spiders moving in. So as of today, every living thing that’s not me is hereby evicted. (Not you, plants. You can stay. Maybe.)


Squirrels* don’t like crocus bulbs. I don’t know if they taste bitter – the bulbs, not the squirrels – or if they’re poisonous. All I know is that in the fall, I kept finding bulbs lying in the yard and having to replant them.

However, not all the bulbs were abandoned. Squirrels like to bury acorns, and crocus bulbs are about the same size, so…

There are crocuses in the oddest places.  There’s a beautiful one in the front lawn, all by itself. It has pale lavender petals with dark purple veins. Then there’s two or three yellow ones near each other in the loose dirt where the oak stump was ground down.

A lot of purple ones appear near the fence. I can see them from my bedroom window. I believe those came from the front flowerbed.

But the bright orange-yellow crocus that’s sticking up from the wood chips under the birdfeeder? That’s not one of mine. I suspect a particularly industrious critter carried it there from the neighbor’s behind the fence.

Too bad the squirrels don’t have an instinct for weeding and deadheading!


*M’e the Fashionista dubbed them “demon rats” when we subletted in a house infested with them.