Silver Bells, Cockle Shells, they’re all just fine without me

While I’ve been busy with a bunch of this

and a whole lot of that

I haven’t had much time to pay attention to what’s going on in my own backyard.  Yes, you’re seeing right.  It’s time for the Aerial Squirrel Olympics.

And the garden, while not defying gravity, is worthy of some medals of its own.  Fat snap peas hang from stalks that sail skyward

We’ve had fresh salad every night

The strawberries are ruby red gems of tasty goodness

Even those I have neglected are putting out.  Ignore an onion long enough and she’ll do something to attract your attention —

Likewise the weeds.  I knew it would pay off to put off pulling this guy.

And just like that the summer is sailing past, and it is time to hang up the jump ropes and the swim goggles, wish the veggies good luck with their battle against the weeds, and load up the car for the jumbo July road trip.

We’ll catch you from the road.  ‘Til then…Wagons East!

Mouse Skulls and Mother’s Day

Do you want to know the best thing about this plastic baggie full of mouse skeletons?

It’s not my maternal pride over the obvious CSI skills my daughters’ exhibit.

It’s not knowing that our neighborhood owls are eating well, controlling the mouse population, and selecting our pine tree for the repository of their pellets/gifts.  Though all those things are clearly good things.

No, the best part about this cluster of doom is that it was not my Mother’s Day gift.

Because while I appreciate the heck out of every thoughtful token my daughters have bestowed over the years, it would have taken considerably more energy then I’ve got to muster up the necessary ooohs and ahhhs over this bag o’ bones.

In between dissections, the little naturalists did make themselves available to do mom’s bidding.  They scowled and declined happily lent a hand.  All it took was a subtle reminder that IT IS MOTHER’S DAY THAT’S WHY.

And in honor of Mother’s Day the hammock was to be hung.  I held the image all day as I seeded and weeded, knowing that soon I would be rocking gently beneath the trees.  Relaxing.

Sure enough, there was plenty of relaxing on Mother’s Day.

I know what you’re thinking, but you’re crazy.  It’s enough for me to simply watch my offspring relax with a good book.

Besides, between the children reading in the hammock and these love doves being all lovey dovey

And strawberries putting out their flowery best

And rhubarb so ripe it practically crisped itself,

And our future salads poking through to say hello

The day was perfect.

Especially since the mouse skulls weren’t destined for my room.  They were for the 2nd grade teacher.  Because nobody musters up excitement over mouse-parts-in-a-bag like a teacher.

Oh How the Garden Does Grow, May 20

Sneaking off the couch and hobbling into the back yard I was rewarded with our very first spring salad —

And then over to the north garden to see how the rhubarb was behaving–

He may have been waving it in the air like he just didn’t care, but I paid him no mind and got right to business.  Harvesting time.

The leaves are mildly toxic, and I can’t go near them without gloves or I’ll break out in a rash, but it doesn’t bother the girls one bit.  They are of tougher stock.

Even a child can harvest rhubarb.  All you do is grasp the stalk, pretty close to the ground, and wiggle it.  It will release from the plant with this little slipper attached–

Stalks are ready when they are thick enough (about the diameter of a dime or thicker.) They will range in color from deep pink to light speckled green.

I dice them and freeze them for recipes like my favorite crisp.  Inside the color also ranges from a whitish pink to a light green–

Also reporting in: the raspberries have millions of tiny buds, and the strawberries, recently thinned, are sporting tons of flowers.

May 7…Frost v the Flowers

It’s hard to tiptoe on the tulips when they are slick with snow–

Snow, shmoe, I won’t let it get me down.  The weather changes so fast around here that you might not even notice something very fishy going on in the rhubarb patch.  What, exactly, is this?

I’ve had this rhubarb for seven summers now and this is the first time I’ve seen it get so, er, excited.   Email me stat if you’ve got a reasonable explanation.

With Dave up on the roof battling his nemesis, and me here on the ground with a broken foot and looming cold nights, there was little I could manage in the garden.  Still, Mother’s Day means I get my way (kind of) and my request was simple–just pick all the dang dandelions. I know it’s short-sighted but I don’t want to look at them and I’m the mother and it’s my day so just get rid of the things, okay?

And so it was.

And the mother was pleased as she watched the children pick the “wild flowers” and construct a chain of them which they looped round the au natural trellis and they all lived happily ever after.

On to the mundane.  I hobbled to and fro to photograph the progress being made between the snowflakes.

The spinach is coming along nicely,

As is the lettuce, which had been written off but is proving tougher than 28 degree nights–

Our itty bitty peach tree even has a couple of promising blossoms–

Mother’s Day had us planting, hesitantly.  We’re going to wait a few more weeks for some warmer nights before planting the more fragile stuff, but put in another round of carrots, onions and chard today.

Hello? Can I get some Raindrops on Roses over here?

After the week we’ve had here, I could do with some raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, or perhaps a tutti fruity tropical beverage with a pink umbrella on top.

Everything was going along swimmingly.

Our trees, lush and pink and beautiful, burst into bloom right on schedule.

And then it snowed.

Which was fine. I can roll with it. The season doesn’t want to move on, kind of like those guys who are all that in high school but then they stick around too long and go from cool to creepy.  The lettuce, however, took issue with the creep.

And hey, wow, where does the time go?  Had an entire month really passed without a visit to  the ER?  That simply won’t do, so off we ran to log some scary time there with our nine year old.  Truth be told I’m over this record breaking streak of emergency room visits.   Though I think all I need is one punch more in my frequent flier card to be eligible for that free boob job.

Oh yes, and another bone up and broke in my stupid foot.  Let’s just say turning 40 and jumping rope don’t exactly go hand in hand.

No worries.  I can deal.  I mean, the snow did eventually stop falling, and we’ll replant the lettuce as soon as it warms up again.  At least no driving means no carpool duty for a whole 3-4 weeks.  Someone pass me the bon-bons.

You see, all good.  We’ve got hail on tulips instead of raindrops on roses, but I’m not one to complain.  After all, I’ve got nephews in overalls,

And girls with red tulips–

Blooms persevering,

And a bustling new business.

Well, these are actually the brains of the operation–

With the snow melting away and mom laid up and out of the way, they decided to embark on an ambitious bug selling venture.  If consulted I probably would have pointed out the flaws in their business plan so it’s best that I was left to hobble around unobtrusively.

Good thing too.  Out they went, up and down the street with a tupperware o’ bugs, and back they came with 70 cents clutched in their filthy, bug-germy entrepreneurial little hands.

Baths?  They don’t need no stinkin’ baths.  That stench is merely the smell of success.

It’s Super Cali Fragil Istic, or so

Last week while Colorado was being slammed with yet another blizzard, I was off in sunny Atlanta battling a stomach bug visiting friends battling stomach bugs with friends.  News that my laid-back un-anxious husband had rushed our youngest to the emergency room with a high fever did nothing to help settle my stomach.

It was not exactly a jolly holiday with Mary.

But by the time I returned my daughter’s fever was under control and the snow, which remained firmly frozen over last year’s garden plot,

was melted completely away from the newly selected southern spot.  So I took a teaspoon of sugar to help the medicine go down, then I hit the dirt.

I planted snap peas, spinach. lettuce and onions in the lusciously warm soil outside.  Then I started the broccoli, chard, tomatoes and eggplant in a cozy nook in our dining room.

Maybe Dave had harbored ideas of lounging around, maybe he even wanted to go fly a kite, but instead he hunkered down to constructing the frame for our new plot.

Meanwhile the girls declared it officially picnic weather.  They swept the snow to the ground and snacked in the sun.

It would be hours before we trekked down to Denver to see the musical Mary Poppins (what? you didn’t catch the theme?)

Yet the feel of fresh dirt was warm in my hands.  Soon, so soon, we’d have fresh vegetables.

The girls laughed as they danced from snow pile to swing set.

My handsome hard-working husband hammered happily.

I’m a lucky lady.

It was a perfect day.

And I felt positively supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.