Courtesy of thisoldhouse.com
It feels like Fall today. Actually, it feels like Summer, and we’ve been raking for two hours. Where the hell do all the leaves come from? I know, I know… things are blooming for Spring, forcing the dead of Winter to detach and float to the ground. The red maple seeds look like little helicopters when they descend, but that sort of prosaic nonsense stays in mind for about ten seconds when you realize that there are seventeen terabytes’ worth of the things covering the lawns in front of the house. There’s also a giant camphor tree out there, and a huge magnolia, and both of them love to shed merrily all year round.
And we’ve had such a long winter! I don’t expect any sympathy from my northern correspondents, but still– I’m just saying. It was just too damned cold.
We had freezes one atop the other, and I dragged orchids into the house more times than I care to remember. And when you drag orchids into the house you also drag in frogs, undesirable insects, and the occasional grub– easily confused with gnocchi. Ecchh! Do you know what it’s like to creep quietly into the kitchen at three A.M. for a drink (Metamucil), only to find yourself stepping on something hard that quickly becomes a slimy, gelatinous blob with very little pressure from your foot?
The best thing about the freezes is that they killed all the weeds in the backyard. Last week we ventured out there to rake them up, and I also trimmed and neatened and cleaned around the bases of frozen plants that I cut back (after testing for greenness). There’s a coffee tree in a pot which grew too gigantic to bring inside, and I’m afraid it might be history. we DID manage to collect eight ounces’ worth of beans last harvest, so maybe these days we’ll have a roast party and invite all our friends over for a sip.
This is also the time to fertilize, and we use organic cow manure that doesn’t smell. We even planted tomatoes in bags of manure, since all you have to do is poke a few holes, insert the plants, add Epsom salts and liquidized fertilizer, and then make tomato sauce in a few weeks. Now, some of you may be remembering the problem we had with squirrels eating our tomatoes last year. We never succeeded in ridding ourselves of the creatures; in fact, they bought the townhouse next door at a great price and have been having what they call “nut parties.” Don’t ask; let’s just say there are a lot of empty hulls on the driveway in the morning. This year we’re building a sort of quonset hut over the tomatoes, to prevent squirrels and deer and bears from eating up our bounty.
Kirk even went so far as to buy a hose attachment for the back yard that features 657 different watering strengths, from Mist to Deluge. I mostly use the settings in the middle– Cone, Half-Cone, Quarter-Cone, Sweep, Semi-Sweep, etc.– though if the squirrels ratchet up the craziness I shall be forced to aim a hose set at Deluge in their direction.
And poor Mary is moldy after a Winter of neglect, so she’ll be coming into the shower with me for a good scrub-down with Clorox.
Soon it will be Spring, which translates as Summer here in Central Florida, and we won’t have to go out into the yard for another year. It’s just too damned hot.