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I'm back...and apparently that's not cream that rose to the top [Jun. 13th, 2011|11:17 am]
More like the skin on a pudding, or pond scum -- but it's all I've got in my head right now. Maybe the good stuff is lurking there...like a GAR.

After sweating all day at a company picnic on Friday, sweating twice as hard...four times as hard...Saturday at the Faire site strike/clean-up, and then again on Sunday...I may be rehydrated by Wednesday.

Dealing with a work load that defies description and running a Faire, that while it gets mentally easier each year, is still very, very hard and consuming. But, here’s what I have learned while I was gone:

Deciding that now that my toad lily collection is booming, I’d add astilbe to the variety of plants that I enjoy enough to want to have several varieties around. Because the surest way to ensure a drought is to plant several varieties of a perennial that likes moist, boggy ground. So yes, that’s me out there every bloody evening, watering, surrounded by my own personal gnat cloud. Because I really had time for THAT this year.

Me smiling and looking happy all day UNNERVES the people around me. Diabolical Me loves that, Tender Me (she’s in there, somewhere, you just have to root around a bit) is sad. Sometimes you suddenly realize that something is NOT hurting as much as it typically does. And that’s such a relief that yeah, you smile. Either that, or Ellen just braided my hair too tight and it was like a mini-facelift.

I have several kitchen spots that have gone out and figured that to both save electricity and keep it cooler in the kitchen, I just wouldn’t replace them all. I have ten spots in the kitchen. Four dead ones is the line where I stop feeling thrifty and start feeling like White Trash. Just for the record.

Speaking of light bulbs, I was going to make my weekly call to Mom and then get up onto the step stool to change out two of them and thought, “No, change them first.” Which sounds strange to you, priority-wise, but I have a reason. I was living in an apartment in an old Victorian house, which meant crazy high ceilings. And my husband at the time had already moved to Maryland, so I was living alone, and I’d taken a couple of days off to pack for the upcoming move. So, I’m up on a teeter-y stepladder of ancient provenance, wrestling the light cover off the fixture and one of the ladder legs just...gave way. And down I came landing halfway onto the counter onto my shoulder, which slowed my fall to the floor, and helped me land somewhat upright. But I sat there for quite some time, looking around and thinking of all of the ways that fall could have gone far worse. Edges I could have cracked my head onto, or just landing flat on my back. And then calculating how long it would be, if I had severely injured myself, until someone found me. The people who lived on the two floors below me? Traveled a lot and kept to themselves. The husband? Wouldn’t have been surprised if I didn’t answer the phone for a couple of days. Friends? Didn’t have many locally that weren’t work friends – and no one expected to hear from me for another three days at best. And – it was Sunday – and I had already made my weekly Momcall. So, they wouldn’t think anything amiss for a good week. So, I would’ve been stuck there for a good week or more and probably would have become cat food. So, yeah, I think about whether someone will notice if I’m missing, before I get up on a ladder and have been known to call someone and tell them that if they don’t hear back from me by a certain time...Which is a great example of how people tend to fear the completely wrong thing. Because let’s face it, I can generate a disastrous fall without any help from a ladder. Those of you who’ve seen me walk through a crowded room can attest.

The downside to working with disposables is the alarming frequency with which your Google Search results include links to “Two Girls, One Cup”.

While it probably would have been cheaper to just buy lettuce at the grocery store, I am still happy with my investment in six lettuce plants. It was damn good lettuce, made me feel less sad about missing the local Farmer’s Market during peak season and now the pot is ready to take on scented geraniums. I do have a suggestion for anyone who wants to entrepreneur it, or someone who does not have five cats who will search out and destroy seedlings planted inside: For short season veg's, plant six packs by planting two cells one week, two the next week, two the next week, so there's more of a cascade for harvest.

And lesson learned: I spent probably a half an hour at the store, choosing between astilbe varieties. I wanted to get a variety of different bloom shapes as well as different bloom times. The blooms don't last long -- which is okay, because the dried bloom is still interesting and the foliage looks like ferns, so they're pretty even past bloom time. But I spent quite a bit of time matching my desired shapes and colors, against bloom times so that I'd have early spring varieties, mid-spring and late spring. AAAAAANNNNND, they all bloomed at the same time. Nature likes to remind you that you are HER bitch, not the other way around.

I did call my mother to apologize for making fun of her zucchini all those years. Now I LIKE zucchini and actually planted some myself. And after years of telling her that only ONE plant was enough, thankyouverymuch! And even pulling up some and walking my horse through the garden to make it seem like it was HIS fault half of them were gone...I now have four plants myself. Although I was panicking because all of the blossoms were falling off and I thought I was going to be the first person in the world to plant four zucchini and NOT have any extra to pawn off on neighbors. But then I remembered that they produce male blossoms first to ensure that there’s plenty of pollen when the girl blossoms arrive. So, right now, I’ve got a pot full of frat boys who are wilting while waiting for the Tri-Delts to show up.

I waited too long to plant my peas. Well, no, not “wait” exactly. I forgot to plant my peas on time, so while they’d been coming along, the heat of the last two weeks has sent them into shrivel-drive, browning from the bottoms up, and while I managed to pull about two cups of peas off of them, the shrivel is going to reach the top before those pods have a chance to do much. Tonight I will count backwards from the fall frost and mark on my calendar when I need to put the fall crop in. So, when I don’t show up for something later this summer, it’s because I’m planting my PEAS.

I’ve eaten my first tomato – a cherry. And a real cherry tomato, as in, cherry-sized, as opposed to the monstrosities they have in the store. And it was good. So far the squirrels have not figured out that tomato central has moved to the deck. We’ll see how long that lasts. You’ll know the honeymoon is over when I invite you over for cocktail hour on the deck and you have to edge between the concertina wire tomato cages. And tomorrow night, my first crop of swiss chard, sautéed with garlic and bacon. I am nowhere near the level of Fetch or Bittibuddha, who by now are harvesting enough food to feed a family of four, but am feeling slightly less jealous, a little more soothed by my potgarden produce.

Once again, my ability to choose and buy plants exceeded my ability to get that expletive potted up or planted before it was horribly stressed out and damaged. So, now we see if the Salad Burnet, the Good King Henry and the Ivy Geraniums will recover from their earlier torture. Only the fact that I'm not PURPOSEFULLY choosing to do this keeps me from feeling like some Plants Right's Commission should have me up on charges.

Of course, all of the lovely work I did taming the garden this spring...has been consumed by five weeks of weeds and growth run amok. And the next couple of days will feature stupendously perfect gardening weather and I will only be able to use an hour or two of it in the evening. I WANT to take a day off to spend in the yard. Doing so will make the day job even more painful and severely limit vacation and other social plans. Set phaser to Bitter, Mr. Sulu.

[User Picture]From: sestree
2011-06-13 03:55 pm (UTC)
:) I bought tomato plants this year. I went careful and gentle though as not to terrify poor city-dude yankee pyllgrum.

shhh don't tell him but he probably still think milk comes from the store.

I was thinking about peas (he loves them) but I knew we were past growing season out here. I couldn't do them in Kansas because - much like strawberries - the growing season is absurdly short: something like 2 weeks.

Spinach goes from growth to bolt in one day. Lettuce - maybe a week til the temps would go nutzoid and bolt. Dammit. Maybe I'll try those out here next year. Then watch the Maryland weather decide to copy-cat Kansas.

....complete with tornados. Wait - that was this year wasn't it?
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[User Picture]From: russell_moore
2011-06-14 04:24 pm (UTC)
your lightbulb story made me realize something I hadn't considered - the additional hazards of living single

like you, I sometimes do interesting things to myself while doing home repairs or chores, with random injury always a possibility ... and since some of the chores involve ladders and power tools, your story called to me in a kind of skin tingling way

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[User Picture]From: quislet
2011-06-15 07:07 pm (UTC)
I've got yer bitter right here. I've been on the road so much that my gardening has suffered immensely. Now I'm home, and I have work to do. I just want to be puttering in my garden!

My tomatoes are running behind because I insisted on growing a bunch from heirloom seeds. The two tomatoes and bouquet of peppers in the topsy-turvies Tigger got me are happy, and it remains to be seen if I can successfully harvest Thai hibiscus in northern Virginia. I don't have a single curcurbit planted yet.

Thankfully, I have the herbs and raspberries to fall back on, self-image-wise. The gooseberries and maypop look promising this year, too.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2011-06-15 09:44 pm (UTC)
Living with a partner does not guarantee safety. Friends of ours' brother and long-time lover had this fun experience- but don't worry, there's a happy ending. The brother was bed-bound due to multiple illnesses and his lover was his only caretaker. Years of both had exhausted their money and their sanity so they were hermits with virtually no friends. The lover had stopped taking his heart medication because they couldn't afford both that med and all the meds the brother needed. Lover died of a heart attack and ended up lying across the front door of the apartment. Brother lay in bed for several days, perhaps nearly a week, and would probably have died except our friends called to say hi and didn't get an answer which NEVER happened. They called the authorities (friends are in the US, brother and lover in Amsterdam) who managed to break into the apartment, rescue the brother and deal with lover's body appropriately. Happy ending? Brother is now in a gay-friendly home where he has a new sweetheart, fabulous nurses and LOTS of friends. Whew.

The other day when I was trying to get my Mom into bed, she said, I'm going to fall. I said, no, Mom, you're not- and then she DID fall, very, very slowly to the floor with both of us managing to keep her from breaking anything. I only strained my right wrist and hand and scraped it on a sharp bit on her wheel chair which was aiming for her head. dadgaderie was over 20 minutes away at a house sitting gig so I called hospice, who called her nurse, who called me and told me to call 911. Fifteen minutes later 6 giNORmous, gorgeous and very sweet firemen showed up to pop Mom into bed and check her out. She was fine, thank goodness, not even chilled as I covered her with a blanket and put a pillow under her head and gave her Reiki while we waited for rescue. I didn't have a melt down until dadgaderie showed up just as the fire truck was leaving. He'd run into a major traffic jam and it took him at least 40 minutes to make the usually 2 minute trip. Happy ending #2: people finally listened to me when I said I CAN'T DO THIS ON MY OWN and Mom didn't get hurt. Oh, and my wrist and hand are fine, even after being wrenched another time or two since then.

I envy you your gardens. I actually got to play gardener today with a couple of mealy-bug infested small jade plants. I'm saving up my strength for the big one which is at least 30 years old and very sick with mealy-bugs and scale. I wish some of you lived out here as some time we'll be having a Big Plant Giveaway and Rehoming Event.

Oh, and turnip? I love it when you smile and other people get nervous. It just makes me very happy.
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