Here I sit. Waiting for dreaded winter to arrive. Seventeen windows have their plastic up and ready. Finished the last one in my bedroom at 1am. this morning. I guess it's probably only in my mind, but the room seemed warmer tonight. I even used less blankets. Oh how I long to play in the dirt with a flower or two. I got my first catalog yesterday. From a place I never heard of before. When they sell your name they don't mess around, do they?? So I checked it out, and found before I knew it I had several pages' corners folded over. My sign to myself that if I get the money tucked away there is an item on that page I might buy. I have lots of catalogs piled in a corner waiting to get my final approval. There were lots of seeds that I think would be great additions this spring. It's that "eyes bigger than my stomach" thing again. There was a book on growing gourds
which caught my interest. I planted Birdhouse gourds too late and got
four sickly looking gourds as a result. When they dry, they shrink! Maybe I can do it better next time, or the birds will leave my feeders for a better site. I had wooden birdhouses all painted pretty (that was for my benefit, they didn't care about the outside at all) a few years back and both had families of sparrows in them. Before Butch's arrival, neighborhood cats would come to visit. Not so much any more, so I think the birds would be safe. I still have the worry about skunks though. This spring Butch saw his first skunk and chased it as if it was a cat. Sprayed him right in the face!!! The poor guy came barreling in the house rubbing his nose everywhere. Boy did my house stink. So- out came the ketchup and shampoo. I don't care for tomato soup so it never makes it into my cupboards. We both had to take a shower to clean him off. My clothes smelled, my house smelled, he smelled. Two days later he got sprayed AGAIN! I hope that skunk has moved on to another neighbor's yard for this season. Back to the gourds; there are many shapes I never noticed before. Maybe I can get it right this time. Crafting minds want to know. Maybe set up a little stand on the corner, selling assorted gourds, lemonade, and some baby plants from my garden! Ha Ha Ha I gave away dozens of ''slips" from plants this year to people walking by. Lots wanted to ask questions about what I had growing. But really, that was a really great way I got to meet people this year. One lady wanted to know how to prune her grapevine that never had produced any fruit. Waiting to see if she comes back with results. If only a nice animal loving, gardening, Christian, single middle-aged man could come by the same way I would be totally happy!! Time will tell...
Growing up on a farm sort of lends itself to animal loving, I guess. All the time I was home, there were always assorted critters around. Cats, dogs, chickens, cows, pigs (John and Peggy) several horses; Sam, Thunder, Samira Phaedra, two ponies, Scout and Chilly, Dozens of cats shared my apartments over the years, including my bestest Tonka.. He was a Persian Himalayan with blue eyes like huge baby blue marbles. Oh yes, and then there were the two baby skunks I rescued on the side of the road when their mother was killed.. Irving and Poppy. Yes, we had them de -skunked, if that is what you could call it. Not much surprised my parents. Not to mention countless dogs .It was just natural that when I bought my own home and did not need a land lord's approval I would get whatever I felt like getting. I rescued two rabbits that were abandoned. The big floppy eared male I named Spock and the female I named Alba. Reading too many plant journals again, I guess. And yes, I am Trekkie, several conventions later and all but LeVar Burton's autograph to prove it! The rabbit poop is GREAT fertilizer!! Well, I had a Black Lab named Ebony and a Mastiff mix named Razzamatazz until about two years ago. Razz died from cancer of the spleen. I grieved, boy did that hit me hard. I wanted to get another dog and started looking. All the places I looked had price tags starting around four hundred dollars. Keep in mind this was for unregistered mutts! My friend found Pooches On The Move on Craig's List, and they seemed like my best bet. They had what they described as a Mastiff mix in their selections. So I filled out the application, and away we went. Cowboy, as they called him had been wandering the streets in a city in Tennessee. The rescue squad that found him said that he had probably been used as a bait dog for pit bull fighting. He had severe cuts and gashes all over his body and his tail was like swiss cheese. I was told the reason he was "bait" was because even though he was large, he wasn't aggressive at all.
I was specifically looking for a larger dog again, and thought this might be a nice fit. I am a sucker for hard ship stories,I guess. They had to bring him all the way from Portland, Maine. The day he arrived, he immediately adjusted to my fenced in yard, and it was love at first sight. They equipped me with two very nice feeding bowls, a new leash, collar, and his medical records. Well, after they left, and we got into our new routine, imagine my horror finding out he was not housebroken!!!!! In all fairness, he wasn't 85 pounds at the time considering his recent history. Good thing for me he was a fast learner. Now there was that name thing."Cowboy" would never fly. Butch just popped into my head.I don't know where that came from, I don't even know any people by that name. But Butch it was and now it is the only name I can imagine for him. He is very playful and I have to say he never matured. He still acts like a puppy. When I am able to post a picture or three, you will all see his mug. He has taken a great fondness for my bed, and if he is on it before me at night, and I have to tell him to "move", I always get a gentle growl of protest. He is very vocal about everything. Doesn't take "no" very well..
So that's the skinny on my big mutt Butch.When people first see him, some are afraid, and kids walking by the fence sometimes scream but I guess that is to my benefit, because watch dog he isn't. Just don't tell anyone,OK?
Hello Diggers , Sorry if you have been looking for any clever ditties from me recently, I have been sick as the proverbial dog could be! Very tedious and unpleasant Doctor's visit yesterday, thank God in His infinite wisdom sent a friend that drove me or I probably never would have gone and still been under the covers! Guess what, girls, I'm getting Botox in a couple of weeks!!! Too bad it won't be on my wrinkles!! There is a plus side to seeing this wonderful Doctor. She is a huge fan of "digging" and most of every appointment is spent talking about her garden and mine. The first time I was waiting for the O.R. she brought me a huge pot of hardy Geraniums;Two colors! They have taken quite a hold in one corner of my bed. Another time she brought me four Gold raspberry shoots. Somewhere in the middle of these trips to Day surgery I have delivered to her many many boxes of the plants that I have had to thin out. That is the sort of relationship I wish I could have with all the people that send me a bill. Free plants! Yesterday we discussed pruning her raspberry plants. When I made that long flower bed this summer on the side of my house, I put the plants she gave me in a special spot along with 3 red and 4 black raspberry plants I was holding to one side. They are all staked and have a big covering of mulch on them. I actually thought I saw one of them smile at me. You have noticed I mention the "debris dump" in our town a lot. I am amazed what people throw out. One time, there were a pair of really expensive garden gloves soaking wet and inside out. THAT was why they were left!!!So I picked them up, turned them right side out and now they live in my glove compartment of my truck. That got myself and my brother wondering, How many people actually have gloves in their glove compartments?????Ever think about that? Do you? Another time someone threw 3 bags of red cedar mulch away. Well, they practically jumped in my truck and I used them to mulch my whole Hosta bed. During the season, when I see organic matter I always grab it. Not only is it free, it improves the soil so much in a couple of years it has the consistency of chocolate cake. Just check to make sure it has no seed heads in it. Your garden will love you for it.
Which brings me to one of my favorite things. My S10. It is my second one, the first, along with about 75 feet of stockade fence got taken out by a drunk driver. I have had larger trucks,(a big Swing-line Dodge with a slant-6 engine named Bertha) but the smaller one is easy to maneuver for me now. It even has hand controls to keep me driving. There is a lot to be said for a pack-rat owning a truck. I have gotten several bureaus, two rattan barrel chairs (in MINT condition) about four bookcases, assorted wooden shelves, three hutches, 2 luggage butlers (one I sold at the flea market for twelve dollars) and so the list goes on. As I drive down the street,I can spot a great find a block away! It's a gift,I guess. My mother would have disagreed though.
Now that this season is over, there is just feeding the birds and shoveling to look forward to. And those catalogs!!! Oh those catalogs! From now on I have decided only to buy the RE-BLOOMING iris. Plant it once, see it twice. Wish all plants could do that. I have gotten faithful about dead-heading other stuff, and the benefits of extending roses and Dianthus are second nature to me now. There is one plant that I think every garden MUST have. Corydalis Lutea. What is it with this spell checker!!Didn't it take Latin in school?? Any way, this is a delightful little Fumewort. Pale yellow. Kind of looks like a bleeding heart. I grow it anywhere and it forms delightful little colonies . It is for zones 4-8. Another must have since I am on a promotion gig is Feverfew. Again with this spell checker!!!! I let this spread anywhere it wants to as well, and it smells kinda like Chrysanthemums. Well I guess that wraps this one up for now, keep digging!
Hey Diggers, I am having more trouble getting this "blog" thing down than any other person or monkey on the planet! Unless my brother is sitting next to me, I cannot even log in properly!!! Last week was a rush to do the winter prep work. One last mowing of the lawn, taking in my clothesline, (last year was my first experience with a real one and if it sits outside, the snow and ice make the cord worthless). I had to go to our town's D.P.W. to get winter sand. I must be quite a comical sight. I bring my shovel, several 5 gallon pails, and my walker.(It has 4 wheels and a seat and bicycle brakes) I use it every day I am outside. Not only to walk to my gardens, but under the seat there is a handy dandy saddlebag.I load it up with twine, hand clippers, small shovels, wire and wire cutters, a screwdriver, sharpening stone, gloves, and any thing else I may need. It's too much work to go back to the house if I have forgotten anything. So..as I started to say about the sand, I bring all my stuff to said sandpile, and load pails about 1/3 full of sand, put one or two on the seat, and wheel them to my truck. Betcha you wish YOUR wheelbarrow had 4 wheels and a couple of bicycle brakes. I put all shovels, rakes, clippers, etc. in my nicely swept reorganized shed. The only thing I have not done is cram 200 plastic flowerpots of many sizes in the space remaining. Every so often I have to tour my yard to make sure the chicken wire is intact. You wondered how I keep Butch out of my flowers. It ain't easy. I have to be creative. I had 8 sections of split-rail fence in my front. This year, I got the urge to be creative and pulled all of it out of the ground and (using my walker as my wheelbarrow) schlepped them up to the back and put them around my garden beds. My dog has sailed between the rails like a deer and I stapled 36 inch chicken wire to block the space between the two top rails. So far, so good. Unless he sees a gap. I planted Siberian Iris at the base of the fences, and to make the wire pretty I use Morning Glories. Those suckers will climb onto anything! It's colorful and a quick fix. BEWARE!!! Unless you want more next year you must deadhead those seeds. I still spend half my spring pulling the babies I don't want out. Small price to pay but it's worth it. Next time if you let me, I'm gonna sing the praises of my little S10 truck, a must have for a gardening pack rat like myself. Keep those hands in the dirt!!!! Bye.