Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday: cosmetics

In large scale operations here, at the farmette, I get help from Ed. Tree pruning, heavy duty digging, laying on the wood chips -- he's right there if I need him. Cosmetic changes are my domain. And then there's the stuff in-between.

On this beautiful and warm May day, we eat breakfast on the porch... (Ed! It's ready!)



I admire the exploding peonies...


... and I marvel at how different this landscape is right now as compared to, say, February or March.


And then I do my spot weeding and digging and moving and pruning. One big challenge is containing the tiger lilies by the farmhouse.

Now, I would not have planted them there. Ever. There's a reason we call them the ditch lily -- they grow explosively and not too prettily (though I suppose it's a matter of taste) and they threaten to take over the flower field. They are so devious that they will throw their runners under our brick path and appear on the other side of it -- like a baby who has outsmarted you and gotten into a room that was locked and off limits.

But, they take up about a fourth of the field in front of the farmhouse and, like the rhubarb -- also planted there by the farm family that lived here -- I feel they are part of the history of the place.

(the first rhubarb harvest)

Besides, Ed Is not big on gratuitous plant removal. I've dug out the lilies that have tested their boundaries (and my patience), but the rest remain -- a reminder of the humble beginnings of this place.

However, my sense of garden aesthetics got the better of me today and I got to be rather aggressive in digging out the sprawling lily roots.

And it was heavy work.


He helps, but I know I'm pulling him into what are really cosmetic decisions.

Similarly, it has become my task to mow with the hand mower the difficult areas at the edge of the driveway, around the hydrangeas, by the flower fields, etc etc. As I take on that chore this morning, I'm thinking -- it was really nice when we had mowing help when I first moved in (a local fellow did the front of the property so that however overgrown it was in the back, at least we put on a clean shaven face to the world).

Cosmetics, all of it, even if they are tough projects to work through.

On the upside, once I'm done, I'm done for a while.  The good thing about powering through them all is that they don't come back to haunt you again very quickly. I can go back to delicate jobs of watering my flower pots, pulling up a few weeds and attending to the damaged plants (cheepers! rabbits! chipmunks! groundhogs!) or the drooping ones -- a stake here, a new covering of exposed roots -- chores that aren't chores at all but pleasant acts of kindness toward my fields of blooms.

And here's another reward for the day: a visit with Snowdrop!


Because I've neglected showing off her tummy time here, you get a photo of that!


But there are no specific achievements otherwise that I want to highlight for you. The greatest thing about Snowdrop today is that she is her wonderful self-- a bag of smiles, giggles, coos, movements, struggles, so full of personality and giddy excitement that I haven't the words or photos to do her justice.


We walk around the lake again -- Snowdrop perfectly ensconced in her stroller, taking a nap, then looking out at the world, then finally succumbing to blissful sleep again...


What can I say -- it is a perfect afternoon.

As it's Thursday, Ed and I take off for the local farmers market in the evening. We bring our eggs and, too, our rhubarb, in case anyone wants to barter and they do -- our cheese curds guy happily takes both in exchange for a week's supply of cheese curds.

Back on the motorbike and zipping home on the seat behind Ed I think how good these days are for the both of us! No make-up or touch ups needed, no cosmetic changes -- they stand on their own, beautiful and proud.

It's been one heck of a gorgeous spring season.


  1. "The greatest thing about Snowdrop today is that she is her wonderful self-- a bag of smiles, giggles, coos, movements, struggles, so full of personality and giddy excitement that I haven't the words or photos to do her justice." LOL! You just about took the words out of my mouth, or at least my mind, Nina. I saw Snowdrop in that black and white outfit and the first thing I thought was "Snowdrop is not a black and white kinda girl." Of course, I was meaning in personality, rather than clothing. ;)

    I was just talking to DH about maybe getting some rhubarb to plant at our place. My grandmother use to make lovely rhubarb pies and I do like them in the spring.

    Looks like a beautiful day there, today. We had a nice one, too. And tomorrow is supposed to be the same, though warmer.

  2. Your writing is so good, Nina! I think I am right there hearing you call to Ed or feeling the delight of little S. (And what a fun collection of clothes that girl has!)

  3. Is it just the dresses or is Snowdrop blossoming into a little girl? An active girl for sure, but definitely a girl in her smiles.
    Are your tiger lilies what WNY folks call day lilies? If they are, then you can use the dried leaves you find around the flower stems to weave into baskets (as a friend of mine does with hers).

    1. Similar but different. The tiger lily is a Lilium lancifolium, whereas the day lily is a Hemerocallis. I am a real day lily fan and you'll find more day lilies in my fields than any other flower. And even with my dozens upon dozens of varieties, I don't even touch the tip of the day lily ice berg -- there are about 35,000 Hemerocallis cultivars, spanning the rainbow, the growing season, you name it! The tiger lily is what it is -- an orange flower that has about a two week blooming period in mid summer. But the foliage is similar so I suppose you could do baskets out of either one!

    2. I'm a day lily fan too, which is why I was surprised at your dislike of tiger lilies. On Long Island, where I grew up, tiger lily is what day lilies are called. What I love about day lilies is the variety!

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