Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday: hose and pantyhose

I watered everything today. Everything. We have multiple hoses and I used them all. For many hours. And typically this is a pleasant activity for me, but we have bugs now and I learned something about myself: I've been as stupid about my established gardens as Ed had once been (continues to be?) about raspberry patches: he doesn't like to prune raspberries, I don't like to thin flowers.

The consequence of our stupidity is that we attract more bugs than we need to. I understood that early on about raspberries -- that's why we thinned them considerably and replanted the bed, to lessen the feeling of a jungle out there. But there surely is a jungle in some of my beds, especially the ones I planted early on -- a handful of years ago. I wanted abundance and I got it, but I should have thinned and divided every year after the first and that seems to be something I had been reluctant to do (why settle for two stalks of day lilies or Japanese anemonies, when you can have four or five?).

I'll tackle dividing many of the flowers next year. But today, I took a deep breath and thinned emergent new growth everywhere. And I clipped thousands of spent daffodils and tulips.

Basically I worked in the epicenter of mosquito heaven, dressed for today's hot weather in shorts and a tank top. I hadn't thought, up to now, that this year's work was a labor of love, since basically I enjoy working the soil. But today was truly that labor: a brutal ten hours of clipping, pulling, watering and slapping off bugs left and right, because I want this place to be cleaned up and ready!

At the end of the day I had an incredible feeling of accomplishment. The garden (the old beds) already feels better -- more airy, dense but not overwhelming. And I finished it all, so that I can actually retire for a while from garden work. And that's a good thing, because I need to slow down the pace of work out there.

We had another hose at the farmette -- besides the one for watering, there was one from the Honey Wagon (a sweet name for the septic repair outfit). And yes, they found the problem in the septic system: one leaky pipe that will eventually have to be replaced. At least the tank was cleaned out and so we're good for a while as Ed contemplates how to make this rather major repair in the future.

And why is there pantyhose in the subject again? Well, after running the whipper last night (to clear grass at the edges of walkways and around trees) and slapping off bugs today and working in a dense growth of scratchy branches, my legs look so bruised that I'm wondering if pantyhose may be their only salvation come Saturday.

Or maybe it will all heal and this week's storms will blow over and the various oils and vapors will keep the bugs away. Maybe. Between the two of us -- Ed strays toward finding the possible problem out there, even as I like to look forward to a better outcome. I'm full of such hope right now.

As for our routine? In place today. Sort of.

Up with dawn -- that doesn't change! Here's looking out from the chick pen:


But breakfast is very late. I am so engrossed in my garden work that when I pause to make breakfast, I am shocked to see that it is nearly noon. Still, we eat our usual and it is blissful.


Afterwards, Ed has his usual quiet time with Oreo...


My quiet time is in the garden. Sometimes I find a small corner of a flower bed really makes me grin. (Here's one from today. Nothing but yellows and blues...)


At other times, I'm very focused on the entirety. Note how the oldest flower bed - the one just by the farmhouse porch -- has almost no blooms yet. That one was planted for a midsummer and late summer, on the assumption that in June I'd be away. By contrast, the large newer bed -- the one you see in part at the bottom of the photo -- is geared more toward this time, the time of early summer.


I have one more comment on the farmette. Remember the fields I mowed out back toward the beginning of spring? Well, in at least some of those fields, I see the emergence of prairie flowers. That's enough to make anyone smile.


You too, I hope.


  1. Ah, everything on track for the wedding day. Breathing a sigh of pleasure and accomplishment? The gardens and surroundings are beautiful. Don't worry about the mosquitoes. They are to be expected at any outdoor event in summer. Guests who are bothered by them (they ignore my husband and they CRAVE my blood) will bring their own little ankle-spritz.
    It is going to be a day of love and joy!

  2. I'm just as excited to see your prairie flowers as I am to see some of mine where I stopped mowing our grass. I'm sure my neighbors aren't amused, but who cares! I have flowers!

  3. Yes, I am smiling too! And nice to read you are going to relax (?) a bit now. ox

  4. No panty-hose! In the heat? Oh no... go natural... you will be much happier like that. Have you tried filling a spray bottle with half water and some white vinegar and using that as a bug-repellant? It sure is working for me. Just make sure you stand near the salad table so people won't think it's YOU smelling of vinegar but rather the salad dressing! (smile)

    I'm trying to talk Paul into buying a package of wildflower seeds to put in a small square plot of dirt he made way down back next to a huge rock, where he removed some overgrown shrubs. He hasn't don it yet... but maybe someday...

    Nina, what happens if it rains on Saturday? Will there be tents/tarps for all those people to get under? Or is it strictly an outdoor do, weather-be-damned... just wondering...

  5. Hoping the storms didn't topple any trees. I am guessing just lots of willow branches.

  6. Trying to catch up a bit with your posts. Amazing photos. Bless your eldest for taking in Virgil and Lucas -- heart of a saint. And the garden art is something I am working on here as I sort through items from my mom's house, thanks for the inspiration. Enjoy the wedding week......Summer Solstice Weddings are wonderful (it will be our 8th anniversary).


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