Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

The vintage postcard reminds me of our little Roxy. Isn't it cute?

Our family, which gathered together for Christmas, is scattering for New Years with everyone going separate ways. Gourdo and I may go out to dinner, but we will be home early and will undoubtedly spend a quiet evening at home.

I may page through some English Garden magazines, dreaming about what to plant in the 2010 garden. I am keeping in mind the fact that I had several plants that looked as though they may not make it through winter. I may have gaps to fill.

There are flowers I will not do without: nasturtiums and sunflowers for their bold color and cheerful countenance; and allyssum for its honey fragrance. Roses will figure prominently, of course. The flower plantings are whimsy with me--I just plant what I like where I want to see it. However, in 2010 I want to think beyond the bounds of my flower bed and consider the whole of my yard as garden. Ultimately I wish to create a yard that shelters and frames our home. I want to enhance the view both ways: when looking at the house from the road, as well as when looking out at the vista from our home. I think January will be a month of perusing books and magazines, then sitting down with a graph-paper sketch of our yard, penciling in ideas that might create the look I want here.

We started with five flat, empty acres. There are a few limits: zone, wind, clay. But within those few constraints there is a great deal of freedom. I'm looking forward to the garden of 2010!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Here's your season's greeting!

The day of Christmas Eve is a a busy one here. We have last minute presents to get or wrap, food for the evening meal to prepare, a house to clean, a dog to bathe. Anticipation runs high, and, I have to admit, a bit of anxiety adds an edge to the emotions. I tend to worry about weather: the forecast here is for freezing rain tonight. That would put a damper on the festivities which include evening Mass, a delicious dinner prepared by Gourdo, and the immediate family gift exchanges. The morning sky was red: Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Maybe the red sky was only Rudolph from the North Pole, about to start his journey. I hope so!

We have family gatherings for the remainder of the week, so it will be a while before I return here. Merry Christmas to all! May Santa be good to you. May your loved ones be near to you. May health and happiness be yours throughout the Christmas season and in the coming year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Pretty

What a cute gift idea! A friend who collects pretty dishes and glassware created these lovely dessert stands and gave them to me for Christmas. I can use them individually or stack them. Won't they be the perfect servers for homemade buckeyes, divinity and fudge?

Meanwhile, today we had our first real, sticking snowfall. Gourdo is on his cookie baking spree and his mother is here lending a helping hand. My official duty as taste tester is a tough one, but I'm on top of it.

In just a few more days Santa will be here!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Santa

Is there a gardener on you holiday shopping list? If so, let me make a few timely suggestions!
How about a magazine subscription? I can't get enough of The English Garden, Garden Design, Fine Gardening and Horticulture. Other good choices might be Organic Gardening or Birds & Blooms.

Pruning shears are a great gift, as are hand-held weeders, cultivators and trowels. Garden gloves are always appreciated--get extra long leather or heavy duty ones for those who love roses. An apron with lots of roomy pockets is handy for most gardeners, and a caddy for hand tools and seed packets is convenient, too. It doesn't have to be anything expensive--just a simple one from the discount store will do.

Gardener's hand soap and a nail brush is a thoughtful gift. Combine it with a soothing cream to make it extra special. How about a wide-brimmed hat? Watering cans, sprayers and sprinklers all make good gifts for those who love to garden.

If you'd like to let your gardener choose his or her own gift, there are always gift certificates. Who wouldn't love a certificate from David Austin Roses? Or Klehm's Song Sparrow? Or Bluestone Perennials? Or Burpee?

I hope I've given you some good ideas! And I hope Santa reads this blog entry!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hunting Season

Today is the first day of gun season for deer.

It's not just the deer that need to take cover. This morning I have heard shots all around my house. I feel like I should hide in the basement until dusk, when the hunters cease and desist.

I'm neutral on the subject of hunting. My dad hunted when I was young, and it afforded me the opportunity to see animals up close, developing a keen appreciation of nature within me. We ate the harvest. I am not a vegetarian, by any means--and that means animals die to feed me. I know the deer herd will suffer if it is not thinned. I still hate to think of killing a creature so wild and beautiful.

All that being said, there are ethical ways to go about hunting. And then there are other ways.

It's not only local landowners and those with their permission whose shots I hear coming from the small woodlots around my home. I don't mind them so much. Some shots being fired are from gangs of men and boys driving around in battered, mud-spattered pick up trucks and SUVs, hoping to see a deer break cover. They then leap out of their vehicle and take shots. I say men and boys because I've never seen a woman do this, although, to be fair, there may be some who do.

I've had to chase these wild-eyed and armed people off our property--and we don't even have woods! I've seen them park beside the road and leap out of a vehicle to lay in the roadside ditch and fire at deer that were flushed from a woodlot by others who, with or without permission, entered it from the other side to do just that. It's a crazy, reckless time, and it surprises me that there are not more accidents than there are. I hate it.

And so: I pray for the safety of all those out there this hunting season.

The Buck in the Snow
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

White sky, over the hemlocks bowed with snow,
Saw you not at the beginning of evening the antlered buck and his doe
Standing in the apple-orchard? I saw them. I saw them suddenly go,
Tails up, with long leaps lovely and slow,
Over the stone wall into the wood of hemlocks bowed with snow.

Now lies he here, his wild blood scalding the snow.

How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers,
The buck in the snow.
How strange a thing--a mile away by now, it may be,
Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass
Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow--
Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe.

Photos from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a Safe & Happy Thanksgiving. Here is your postcard!

But I can't leave this postcard without comment. It's beautiful, isn't it? The table is gorgeous, laden with traditional holiday fare and a stunning bouquet. The hearth is so warm and cozy. The whispered "Thanksgiving" wafted in the steam from some delicious bubbling soup is a whimsical touch. And that delightful cat is so pretty as it gazes into the fire.


I know and love cats. No cat I know would be sitting there gazing contentedly into a fire if there was an unattended table with a roast turkey sitting on it. If this were a photograph, it would have had to be snapped in a split second, just when the turkey was placed on the table. A second later, the scent of that turkey would have drawn the cat to the table, where it would risk life and limb--and a squirt from a water bottle--to nab a drumstick. I had to chuckle at the unknown artist who created such a scene. I think a woman did this, don't you? She must have been a real dreamer. I'd have loved her.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Survival is Silent

The garden is quiet now. I can't tell you what day it was exactly that the birds quit singing, but they did. It's nothing more ominous than the approach of winter that has driven them away to warmer parts of the world. Gone are the bluebirds, kildeer, thrushes and wrens. The remaining birds are not singing. Survival is the mode now, not breeding. Survival is silent.

On warmish evenings, even as late as earlier this week, I would hear the occasional field bird--perhaps a horned lark?--twittering as it settled for the night. I might even hear a weak chirp of a cricket from the pile of foundation rocks where the barn used to be. Now they are silent, too. One more insect generation is gone, with the future buried in the sand and clay, waiting for the return of warmer days.

Our property is slowly evolving, an oasis springing out of flat farmland. As our trees gain maturity they will attract different kinds of birds, winter birds. These are the birds you might hear in the woods as they flit about looking for food: chickadee, cardinal, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, woodpecker. So far we don't have these, but one year we will. I listen all winter. December, January, February and March will all pass in profound silence. Then one day in April or May there will be the most magical song on the air. It might be the trill of a song sparrow. It might be the tinkling notes of the horned lark. Another winter will be done.

Note: The above photos of the horned lark, black capped chickadee, and cardinal are used with permission from the most awesome Ohio nature web site,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mid-November: Things to See

Today was sunny and mild so I pulled thistles and sprayed weeds in the flower bed. I did this as daylight faded to dusk, so I hope the spraying is effective. It was too breezy to risk it earlier in the day. I have other garden chores to attend to; maybe tomorrow will also be pleasant.

After the blaze of autumn color that we had the past few weeks the vista here is dull and brown. Above I show the view just beyond my flower beds. Although it looks barren, every little movement made by the local populations of deer, fox, coyote, raccoon, rabbit and hawk is more visible now. I find my eyes constantly sweep the horizon, looking.

Oh, and speaking of things to see: the stars on these clear evenings are dazzling. As we approach new moon (Nov. 16, to be exact), the sky appears velvety and dark, and the planets and stars glitter all the more brightly.

I stolled the yard with Roxy, our little yorkie-lhasa apso mix, last night at about 10 PM. I faced west and searched the sky for constellations--I'm no pro, but I do recognize the Big Dipper. I turned around so I could take everything in, and there was Orion, the hunter, caught mid-leap over the eastern horizon. "Oh, there you are!" I said out loud. Roxy looked up at my comment, but soon found the enticing smells of night more interesting than anything I had to say. Between my skywatching and her ground-sniffing, we observed the night and found it to be excellent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Notes: The November Yard and Garden

A couple of days ago I snapped these photos of my flower bed and Gourdhenge. I made a few random notes about my November yard and garden. Doesn't the sky look leaden? It wasn't terribly cold that day though--we've been having rather mild weather so far. I haven't cleaned anything up yet for winter. I suppose I should take advantage of the relatively warm days we've been having to prune and weed and rake, but by the time I get home from work it's dark.

I noticed the grass has taken on a healthy green color again as we've had some much-needed rain this fall, but the lawn is patchy and full of weeds. I have heard that weed killers (glyphosate) should be applied in November, before Thanksgiving. I hope I have a wind-free day to tackle some patches of thistle that have sprung up in the flower beds. It would be nice to eradicate some of that problem now.

Many of the trees have lost their leaves already, but the Cleveland pear in my second photo is still a blaze of color. Attractively shaped and hardy, this ornamental tree is less prone to breakage than its cousin, the Bradford pear. I wish I had a row of them, but am happy to have even this solitary specimen.

In the third and final photo, Gourdhenge stands, a skeletal frame in the recently plowed garden. Gone are the riotous, lush vines that covered the structure and the surrounding area. The soil will rest from gourds, perhaps becoming the site of my cutting garden next year. Gourdo is experimenting with rotating the flowers with the gourds. Just as our local farmers rotate their crops of soybeans, corn and wheat, we need to rotate the gourds with other plants in order to help control disease and insects.

Cleaning up in the yard and garden now should reap benefits next year. I hope Mother Nature grants us a good weekend so I can tackle those chores before the really cold weather arrives. Photos by JulenaJo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Silently Waiting

The garden cherub looked so peaceful and pensive all summer. He appears melancholy on the inside of the patio door, where he rests for the winter.

It's for his own good. I learned the hard way that most small statuary and garden ornaments need protection from freezing weather. A lovely mosaic birdbath lost all its tiles over winter a couple years back. I won't make such a mistake with this little fellow.

So he, and his companions, will remain indoors for the winter. I sit with them and we all view the garden until spring, silently waiting for the return of warmth and another season of growth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Winter? Not So Bad

These terra cotta pots filled with lush, living plants thrive at my mother-in-law's house. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not have a green thumb when it comes to house plants. It's mostly a water issue, I think. I either under-water or over-water. Then there is the matter of fertilizer. Some? None? How much? What kind? Which windows shall I position them in? Southern exposure is too hot; northern exposure is too dark. Alas!

I remember a college roommate who filled an entire bay window with stunning houseplants. They were her babies. She spoke to them and coddled them and I always felt the plants responded. I admired her, but could never emulate her.

Much better for me is any plant grown outdoors. There Mother Nature does the work, and I take in the compliments. Ok, perhaps I am downplaying my involvement. I've experienced sore muscles and exhaustion from hours spent digging, sowing, cutting, raking, and weeding. Man! I get tired thinking about it. Perhaps winter is not so bad after all. I will read the catalogs and review my notes and daydream, daydream, daydream. It's all so much easier on the back! Photo by JulenaJo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Voting Day

Sometimes, when we get caught up in the challenges and stresses of daily living, it's difficult to count one's blessings. On our election days we're reminded of a huge blessing that we mostly take for granted: freedom. Our national freedom comes with a price, it's true, but every Election Day you have the right to vote for people and issues you believe in. Don't want to vote? That's your right, too. No one's going to make you--you're free here. I am going to vote today, though; it's a small price to pay for freedom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
I'll be visiting my sister in Tennessee for a few days, so my wishes for a fun holiday come to you early. Sending me off on my journey is a group of scary gourd heads, crafted by Gourdo, his mother, and our oldest daughter. The gourd in front and center looks diabolical, with the gleam from the camera flash in his eyes. I'm sure they'll ward away evil in my absence. BooooOOOOoooo!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stars, Sparkles, Seeds and Snaps

Stars: The sepals of spent roses look like stars in my autumn garden. Some roses may form hips, red or orange, vitamin C-rich fruits good for tea, jelly or jam--and a superb food source for winter birds.

Sparkles: Frost rims nepeta leaves and sedum blossoms. On sunny autumn mornings there are a few minutes where the garden sparkles like it has been scattered with diamonds before the frost melts away. I found it impossible to capture on film, but those fleeting moments are breathtaking.

Seeds: Rudbeckia nitida seedheads add interest to the autumn garden and provide food for the finches. Viewed closely, the intricate pattern is a marvel.

Snaps: Old-fashioned snapdragons retain bloom until the bitterest frost finally brings them down. These pink beauties seem to glow in the morning sun, apparently unfazed by the frost that blackened flowers all around them. Garden photos by JulenaJo.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Break in the Dry Spell

It's been one month since I've made a blog entry. Writer's block!
Everything seems to be in transition these days: the garden, my handcrafting, my reading and writing.
Everything seems to have gone dry for me. It's like the drought that plagued the county all summer sucked my creativity dry, too.
What finally snapped my month-long wordless spell was a trip to Hocking County to visit my mother-in-law. At her gentle insistence, I sat down to paint with her. It was good to dabble with watercolors again. I've been wanting to do so for a while, but I seem to procrastinate even doing the fun things these days. The little painting above, which I hastily and poorly photographed just so I could get something, anything posted tonight, was the result of an hour or so of putting brush to paper. Although it isn't a masterpiece, it accomplished something within me: a break in the dry spell, a creative renewal. Viewed from that perspective, I think it's beautiful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sweet Autumn Clematis

Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) is the star of my September garden. I planted it on the east side of the pergola that covers our brick patio, and it's taken a couple of years to attain enough height to provide shade. By next year I expect it will reach the pergola top. When the vine explodes into bloom in late summer and early autumn, it is entirely covered in small, fragrant stars. Heavenly.

A perusal of literature about sweet autumn clematis reveals mostly accolades about this extremely hardy, healthy vine. That being said, there are some negative reports. According to my favorite online source for plant info,, all parts of sweet autumn clematis are poisonous if ingested, and some people experience allergic skin reactions to it. Others experience hay fever from its pollen. I've not had any trouble with it, and I tie wayward vines to the trellis without gloves. No sneezing either.

Apparently, the vine is considered a non-native invasive, as well. I might not have planted it had I known that fact. However, I have never seen seedlings in my yard, garden or flower beds. And while I am sure it would be happy to ramble over a nearby redbud tree, I simply train those tendrils to their arbor.

As far as care goes, I let nature take its course. I never watered or fertilized it during this entire season of drought, and it survived unscathed. I have not pruned it. Some recommend pruning back hard in early spring, but I let it go, and new growth eventually sprouts from the previous year's vines--all the way out to the very tips. I think it's best to simply consider the size and scope of this vine, and let it grow as it will. It will reach 20-30 feet in height, which is perfect for a big pergola or privacy fence, but not for a wee arbor. You'll want to make sure whatever structure you train it to is sturdy enough to support it.

Although the reviews of the sweet autumn clematis are mixed, for me it is a gem worth growing. Sweet Autumn Clematis photos by JulenaJo.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I fear and loathe grasshoppers. In my mind's eye, grasshoppers are the size of the one in the photo above. They are like military helicopters: armored, khaki colored, and slightly scary in the way they hover over the garden this time of year, waiting to descend and devour. Townies never see the huge 'hoppers that we get out here in the country. I've been laughed at and ridiculed many times, but no one can shame me out of my fear, even if it is admittedly unreasonable.

Fortunately, this year was not bad, insect-wise. I had only a handful of Japanese beetles, and almost no other pests to speak of--not even mosquitoes. Still, the risk of running into a grasshopper limits my time outdoors. Crazy, isn't it?

Many people seem to have a fondness for grasshoppers that I simply cannot fathom. They are destructive creatures that will eat anything. Plagues of locusts destroyed the grasslands in the mid-1930s. I'm sure that during those years of drought and dust and grasshoppers, people thought the end of the world was coming. Obviously, it wasn't.

In my own yard, I've seen grasshoppers consume ornamental grasses, roses, and window screens. Yes, window screens. They are seemingly impervious to chemical controls, but praying mantises will catch and eat them, as will birds.

One year I planted a pot of rosemary in my garden. As rosemary is not hardy here, I put it in a clay pot and sank the whole pot into the herb bed. When September rolled around, I dug up the pot and brought the rosemary indoors to overwinter. I placed it on a sunny corner of my work desk, so I could enjoy the invigorating scent all winter.

Imagine my surprise when, on a warm day in mid-February, I discovered the tiniest of grasshopper nymphs hopping over my paperwork. They'd hatched from the soil in my rosemary pot. I was raising grasshoppers! They were kind of cute, I guess, but after a couple of days I didn't see them anymore, and I was hugely relieved. This house isn't big enough for me and a military helicopter. I mean, grasshopper.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Signs of Trouble

Relatives from Columbus commented on the dry conditions here this weekend. Although they live less than a 2-hr. drive from us, they have not experienced the drought we have this summer. Even people living on the other side of the county haven't. It's as though there is a pocket of hurt, and we are smack in the middle of it. Copy and paste the link below into another browser window to read about it in a local paper (with apologies if the article is no longer there--I have no idea how long they keep articles in their archives):

In fact, we have had several years of drier than normal conditions, and it's taking a toll on things. The first signs of trouble came to my 'Wildberry Breeze' rose, a rugosa that should shrug off most challenges, and to the 2 youngest oak trees on our property. I fear we may lose all three plants. Most of my roses are showing degrees of chlorosis. I believe minerals are present in the soil, but without adequate moisture, nutrients aren't getting into the plants. I watered all summer, but there's no keeping up when there is a desert all around. My flower bed and the gourd patch are oases, but they still suffer. I had been trying to plant things all along that can take drought because I do not like to spend my mornings watering, so not all is lost: it is still mostly beauty and joy. There will be changes in the look of my garden next year, though, because some of the trees and roses will undoubtedly be lost.

My flowers are for our pleasure, though. It's the farming community I am most concerned about. The corn is producing small ears that are not fully developed. The bean fields look beautiful, especially now as they turn dazzling yellow, but the pods are apparently not as full as usual. People will be taking a hard hit--just what we need in this time of economic woe.

Last night I heard rain, but it merely spit. I never had to get up from bed to close the windows. It's too late for the crops, but if autumn could bring some rain, maybe, just maybe, it would revive some of the young trees and roses enough to see them through the winter. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Gift Book from God

I want to share a little story with you about a spiritual classic that I first read in my early twenties: The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton, a monk at Gethsemane in Kentucky, who died in 1968. At the time I discovered this book, I was struggling (as ever!) with my Catholicism. Merton's autobiography chronicles his upbringing as the son of a non-Catholic, nonreligious artist; his self-absorbed youth; and his restless young adulthood. Eventually, his hunger for more led him to find God in the Roman Catholic Church, and he entered the monastery.

Merton's descriptions of encountering Christ in the Eucharist flooded my heart with love for God and for the Church who draws Him so near to us. It was profoundly moving, and as a result, I have read several books by and about Merton.

This, in turn, led me to discover another great spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen. Nouwen's writings are so full of love for God and his people that they filled my own heart with even greater desire to know God. Nouwen, too, was a restless seeker, and went from post to post, including teaching stints at Notre Dame, Harvard, and Yale. Eventually, he found his vocation at the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Canada, where he lived with and served the mentally handicapped.

Although I love all of Nouwen's work, I was particularly delighted to read his Encounters with Merton: Spiritual Reflections which seemed to bring both of my brilliant spiritual mentors into clearer focus.

Alas, as time passes, the fire from these readings fades. So, when a friend of mine who loves to browse used bookstores asked me if there was any book I'd like her to scout for me, I immediately requested The Seven Storey Mountain, as my original copy was long gone and I wished to re-read it.

I never believed she'd find a copy, but when my birthday rolled around, she happily presented me with the book. I accepted her gift, turning it over in my hands. It was a hardbound copy with a plain dark cover, and in great condition. Wondering if perhaps she'd found a first edition, I opened it.

Copyright, 1948. A first-year edition, but with no "First Edition" mark. What gave me goosebumps was the signature of the previous owner, H. Nouwen. Below that was an inked stamp: HENRI J. M. NOUWEN Dept. of Psychology University of Notre Dame. The book came from my friend; the gift, though, came from God.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BOO 5/17/2002-8/26/2009

Tuesday night I made the difficult decision to have our dog, Boo, euthanized.

Although she was only 7 years old, for the past half a year or more, a tumor was growing in her abdomen. It caused her no pain and did not slow her noticeably until Sunday morning. Gourdo and I took the dogs for a walk, and she started out running ahead of us with her usual zest, nosing into every groundhog hole and checking every tree for squirrels. The return was a different story. She lagged behind us for the first time ever. Monday she seemed fine, but by Tuesday night she was in misery. It was a sorry night for both of us. Wednesday morning I brought her to the vet. She was completely absorbed in her pain by then, and I was completely absorbed in her. It was horrible.

I'll spare you the details of all this, and instead, I'll share with you a few of the good things about my dear Boo.

Boo was a miserable puppy, born in a barn to people who didn't coddle or interact with the litter. She was peppered with fleas, had runny eyes and nose, and a wispy, brittle coat. Her tail was bald and bent where a steer stepped on it. It was her pathetic-ness rather than her white coat that earned her the name Boo-boo. She was wary of humans in general, and men in particular. She was terrified of the broom and of the vacuum cleaner.

Oddly, though, she loved fireworks. Everything from bottle rockets to smoke bombs were cause for delight. Even sparks from a fire circle excited Boo. Once she broke free of our hold and snatched up a lit roman candle. She ran all around the yard with it, firing colorful balls of fire at anyone who tried to get it away from her.

As she matured, she finally mellowed a little in her attitude toward men, but she always remained a vigilant guard dog whose bark would deter any but the most intrepid individuals. She loved my dad, though. When he came for Sunday visits, she greeted him with cries of joy and she stayed near him till he left to return home.

She loved to visit grandma in Hocking County. As soon as we'd turn off Route 33 and onto the road my mother-in-law lived on, Boo would sit up in the van and stick her nose out the window, deeply inhaling the scent of the forest.

She slept beside my bed, and every night she'd give a long, exaggerated sigh as she settled. It was so comical! Don't dogs sleep almost all day? Why the big sigh as if to say, "Man, I am SO ready for bed!" It always made me smile.

If anyone left a dirty dish sitting in the kitchen sink she'd pull it out and clean it off, breaking the dish more often than not. She shedded prolifically. Although she was not permitted on the furniture, and we never caught her there, patches of white fur indicated exactly where she spent the day while we were at work.

She figured out how to open the cabinet to get into the trash. She ate garbage. She tangled with skunks. She chased cars. She growled at men. She growled at children.

But she loved her family, and we loved her. We'll miss her. And I believe, as many animal lovers do, that we'll see our pets in heaven. Until then, Boo.

PSALM 36:6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O LORD. (NRS)

1CORINTHIANS 15:38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rogue's Gallery

Feast your eyes on the mug shots of five garden rogues: thistle, bindweed, purslane, lambs quarters and black medic. I'm sure there are some places where these devils are welcome. I know purslane and lambs quarters are edible. Some people probably even welcome them. But I don't.

Thistle is the worst, I suppose, as this rogue is armed with spiny leaves that make pulling a literal pain. Not only that, it has a taproot that reaches to China, as well as a penchant for colonizing. The only good thing about thistle is the goldfinches seem to love the seed. I wish they'd eat every bit of it so it didn't self-sow so rambunctiously.

Bindweed and its kin are morning glories that take over wherever they happen to grow. I've seen lawns and flower beds completely choked out by bindweed. They aren't difficult to pull, but supposedly every bit of root left in the soil regenerates into a new plant. Nasty habit, that.

Purslane has succulent leaves and fleshy stems. It has a habit of spreading wide and low over the ground. It produces zillions of seeds that sprout in every nook and cranny of our patio. Quite nutritious, I'm told. Maybe someday I'll gather up the nerve to try it. Of course, should I find I like it, it will undoubtedly quit growing in my patio and walkways and garden as prolifically as it does. Alas.

The last mug shot is of black medic. The trefoil leaves remind one of another spreading, weedy groundcover, white clover. Black medic has small yellow flower heads and it spreads out in a tangled mat all over my flower bed. When I go to pull it up its little black seeds scatter everywhere. I'm tempted to vacuum my flower beds.

All summer I pull and hoe, but by August it's impossible. The rogues have the upper hand. I quit. Weed photos by JulenaJo.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hints of Autumn

Ok, it's still really early, but to me it feels like autumn is definitely on the horizon. There was fog this morning. Dew on the spiderwebs. Darkness barely lifting at 6 a.m. I took a few photos to show how it looked outside my back door. I even included a photo of my "creative potting" technique! LOL There is a story there, but that's for another day.

I so dread seeing summer's end that maybe I get a little jumpy at the first inkling of autumn. Now, granted, I enjoy all the seasons for their various blessings, but winter is harder and harder to bear the older I get.

This summer has been odd in so many ways. Cooler than ever, for one thing. No bugs, for another. That is probably because it's been too dry for insects. I've seen more honeybees though--they've been swarming to my birdbath and the Russian sage--and I'm happy for that. But I've not seen more than a few beetles on the Rose of Sharon and the roses. There are no mosquitoes.

Evenings on the patio are a delight without insect pests to bother us. The only concerns this year are lack of water and the rampant weeds, especially thistle and black medic. August Fog photos by JulenaJo.