Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mystery Tree

A garden mystery of sorts...when we first moved in we noticed these two little shrub-ish trees growing in the shade of the apple tree. By the way they sprouted up along the fence line, in an almost univited fashion, we kind of assumed they were "weed-trees" so to speak. You know the sort...they sprout up among fences and are extremely hard to eradicate. Even though we could tell they weren't quite the insidious weed-trees we were thinking of we did discuss removing them to make way for other things there.

However, I'm glad we didn't. Last fall their leaves turned a glorious shade of yellow and brightened up the garden tremendously not to mention provided a nice layer of mulch for the winter for the bed below them. I told DH that I wanted to keep them for the yellow alone. Then come spring they sprouted the nicest reddish leaves that turned to green as they matured. And then in a final gift of color...they bloomed! That was unexpected! The flowers are a lovely coral color:

Now I notice my back neighbor does have one of these trees in his yard, so I suppose these two did grow as "weeds" in a way. But I do think I'll keep them. I have no clue what they are...any ideas?
I so look forward to the weekend. Yard work, painting and BBQ's await us.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Weekend

As you know, my dad's memorial was this weekend. It went quite well. Many loving family and friends were there. Many tears and memories and laughter were shared. I think we succeeded in celebrating his life and I think he would have been happy in how we honored him.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we (me, DH, my brother, his wife and daughter, and my mother) drove a couple hours south of Carson on 395 to sprinkle my dad's ashes in the Eastern Sierra per his wishes. The weather cooperated and the day was beautiful. We had a nice picnic and a nice walk and many sweet memories and thoughts shared. Dad would have loved it.

We got lucky and the weather cleared up just enough for the 108 to be the hubby and I drove home via Sonora Pass - the second highest pass in the Sierras. The lower part of 108 is well known to me. I have many happy memories of trips to summer camp, camping at Dardanelle and visiting my friends cabin from that area. But the high country I had no recollection of (I'd been there before, but probably 25 years ago). I must tell you my friends...I've traveled extensively in the western half of the U.S. I've been to Hawaii. I've been to Europe twice. And nothing I've ever seen surpassed the beauty of Sonora Pass that day.
Perhaps it was the feelings of the weekend, or the state of the weather. But from Devil's Gate on 395 in the East all the way until the gold country in the West every square foot of it was simply breathtaking. I do wish we hadn't been so eager for home. We didn't stop to snap a picture until we were well past the pass and the snow. It was not an easy nor a fast drive, but it was worth every moment. A fitting close to a weekend in memory of my dad. He loved places of natural beauty and it was he who taught me to stop and take in vistas and the smell of trees.

And now what? I suppose we just go on, as people must. I keep reminding myself how prepared and ready he was to die. He was truly at peace, much more so then any person I've known who has gone. In the last few months of his life he dictated a journal to one of the hospice volunteers. "Reflections to my loved ones" he titled it, and some excerpts from it were read at the memorial. He spoke alot of what it was like to be handicapped, how all things must come to and end, and how he felt the meaning of life was love. The very last line in his journal tells of his readiness to move on. "On bad days, I frequently pray 'come lord death, with your sweet embrace and indescribeable comfort'."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are we there yet?

The last few weeks have been eternal. I'm feeling very very tired, and sad, and longing for the events of the upcoming weekend to be over. So I'll keep this post brief and focus on a couple of good things in life:

Hops that are now 6 feet tall:

The flourishing 3 sisters beds, mind you that one snapdragon is like 4 feet tall:

The joys of watching SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer:

Tuesday will be a good thing. My day of rest, of letting everything sink in. I look forward to painting and gardening (despite the above pictures some areas are getting pretty raggedy and need some attention) and camping and faires beyond that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

of sunset and sunsets

The warm air and fiery sunset last night almost took me back to younger days when I lived in the valley. The only good thing about summer in the valley is summer nights. When you can wear shorts and a tank top without a sweater and feel perfectly comfortable while running through orchards and drinking beer on canal banks. You can even take a swim (but not in the canal, please...that's very dangerous not to mention icky) in the wee hours of the morning and not even get a chill.

Some of the mixed lettuce bolted, just in the last two days of heat. I ripped it out and harvested a huge crop from the rest of the mixed lettuce for our salad's last night and for DH's salads while I'm gone over the next few days. Only the mixed lettuce seems to be bolting. The rest is standing its ground. When it's all done I'll just rip it out and start fresh I think, so I can have lettuce with my tomatoes. I'm thinking sometime next week I'll plant a few more things...I left myself a little more space then I needed. More peppers are in order I believe. And more flowers...yessssss....I love flowers.

I leave this morning after my 10am meeting for mom's house. It feels strange and empty to say "mom's" rather then "mom and dad's". I'm going to help her *clean* (oh my how they've let things go there) and make the arrangement for dad's memorial, schedule, obituary and such. Not necessarilly a very pleasant weekend. But busy it will be, and I've considered a few distractions for when the planning, cleaning and listening to mom start to wear on my mind. I brought some piano music for practicing, a couple of movies for mom and I to watch, and my current book "Children of the Mind" which is part of the Ender Quartet by Scott Orson Card. And my sis-in-law and my darling niece Keianna will be around for visiting. That little girl has been a true ray of sunshine in our darkness. It's easier to accept the sun setting when you have the dawn on your shoulder.

Until next week, my friends. Stay cool and drink margaritas.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Holy Lettuce Crop, Batman

We have lettuce, possibly more then the two of us can eat. We eat alot of salad though, so hopefully we can put a nice dent in it before it bolts or gets eaten by critters. Speaking of bolting...I'm wondering how long a crop of lettuce can last in warm weather before it bolts. Does harvesting it regularly have any hindering effect on it going to seed? I'm pretty inexperienced at "seasonal" gardening and the last two years by the time my tomatoes and peppers were ready, the lettuce was long gone. I suppose I could just start a new crop over when this crop is done. We eat enough salad that I'd like to have lettuce year round if at all possible. Any thoughts or suggestions anyone? I do need to start reading up more on proper seasonal gardening techniques. I find that so much is written about gardening with the seasons for places that actually *have* seasons, unlike our blessed climate. So some things don't apply I suppose.

Staying busy is the name of the game today. I painted a third coat on my spare bedroom. According to Martha, often yellow is one of those colors that needs 3 coats. So I said to myself "Mary, quit being lazy!!" and the third coat is lovely and just what the dr. ordered. My hands and back are appropriately tired.

I also gardened my butt off this weekend. I weeded and trimmed like crazy. I moved some sunflowers that were in too much shade. Then I forgot to water then and they died so I planted some more sunflower seeds. Fuck it, it's early yet and they might just take off. While I was at it I direct seeded some Black-eyed Susans, Jupiter's Beard, and Ox-eyed Daisies. Maybe someday I will regret planting such invasive wildflowers in my yard...but then again maybe I won't. We'll just have to see. I do enjoy the cottage garden feel such specimens afford. The garden overall is feeling pretty darned good. The hops and veggies (save the peppers which are doing nothing yet) have more then tripled in size since my last pictures I posted. We meant to get some gravel this weekend...but were undecided enough on the manner of gravel procurement that we ended up putting it off for a couple of weeks.

I miss my dad terribly. I cannot believe it has only been a week since he died. It seems like a year (It being a year to the day since we lost Aaron is just insult to injury at this point). I think about him all the time. The other day I even picked up the phone to call him and then remembered that he's no longer here and that I can never talk to him again. Ever. However, my tears have forsaken me...this at a time when I most need them. A surreal numbness instead has taken their place. I had thought not to talk or write about this. I'd thought this too personal for a blog which I strive to keep cheery and light. But those who read here are not those I'm afraid to share with. And who among us has never felt pain and loss?