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driving through the woods...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
...of middle Georgia in the afternoon, with the sunshine slanting through the pines. And hundreds of brilliantly blooming white dogwood trees scattered amongst the densely wooded forest floor. Or  peeking out along the verge of the right-of-way. Prettier than I can every remember seeing them in all the springs over all the years. Spread by berry-eating birds, volunteering randomly in the hills and byways throughout the South.

I worked half a day, then did a volunteer job for a couple of hours, hoping to leave town by mid-afternoon. Finally got loaded up and on the road about 4:00. Headed out from home cruising towards Atlanta enjoying the scenery as the forest begins show a thousand shades of green. Beauty-full pines and leafing out hardwoods along the right of way, with bright white blooms of dogwoods and wild plums sprinkled throughout in the understory.

Finally getting into town, where we all come to a screeching halt after happily speeding along at 79 in a 50 mph zone. Completely-stalled-out-for-no-apparent-reason, as usual. Due to arriving in the mess at the worst time of day when every single one of the eight million individuals is going from A to B.

Getting off that dratted interstate highway, into the city, and ending up on a nice quiet street in a peaceful chicken-filled back yard, with a cold beverage to enjoy. Thinking: Serendipity. I don't know what Webster's Dictionary will tell us is the most accurate definition. But mine is: Surprised by Joy.

you will never...

Monday, March 27, 2017

...guess what  I discovered in my yard this afternoon. Amazing, as well as baffling and fascinating. I was raking up oak leaves, that pile up in the back of the house. My peeps from Chattanooga get on the roof and sweep/rake/blow all the leaves that fall and pile up in the valleys on the backside of the house. Big piles ready for me to relocate to provide mulch for the new blueberry bushes.

In the process of raking to pile in the barrow, I accidentally uncovered a teeny snake. Don't know what kind it was, so I decided: do nothing. It was small, skinny, about as big around and as long as a wooden pencil, but solid brown. I do not know what kind it is, but that small is usually pretty harmless. It was remarkably feisty: really defensive for something so small. But I guess like a little kitten or a small but aggressive dog - they don't really know how easily they could be stepped on. Mr. No-Shoulders lives to wiggle, hiss, stick out that wee forked tongue another day.

The remarkable thing I found while I was rearranging the oak leaves with my wheelbarrow: a pair of nearly intact deer antlers. I've often thought what a neat thing it would be to randomly walk in the woods and find a discarded antler. I know to find one is pretty rare, as there are lots of small mammals that consume them for the calcium. It is common for many little creatures find the antlers, shed on the forest floor and eat them. A good source of trace elements, they gnaw them like they often do bones they find in the woods.

What is really interesting is that the pair, almost perfectly matching, were inside the fence. I was picking up sticks, windfalls, along with raking and relocating the oak leaves. I know the four foot chain link fence is not a deterrent, as I have seen deer prints in places where the soil is bare after a rain. The fence is not high enough to keep them out if they want to be on the other side. But is was a delightful surprise to find a pair of antlers just lying there in the leaf mulch in my back yard. Probably within fifteen feet of the house. How cool is that?

finally decided...

...got 'em bought and planted today. I still cannot figure out why it was such a stressful undertaking to decide which ones, where to purchase, whether to even buy them or not. But it's done, and they are in the ground. Perfect example of: why ask for advice if you are not going to take it?

I have a paper/flyer from Ag. experts at U of GA, full of information about care and feeding of blueberry bushes, facts about different varieties, specifics about how to plant, prune, feed. I read it, then got all wishy-washy about actually making the purchase my very own plants. Which, sadly, replace the ones I  bought last spring, but did not mulch, keep watered, care for, nurture, tend, talk to with encouraging words. So they deceased. Looked bad late in the summer, after I did start doing all those things, but obviously not soon enough for them to survive the drought.

I've purchased an 'early' bloomer, and a 'mid-season' bloomer, to go with the one of the three that made it through. Number three, the one that was purchased to produce berries late in the season,  is looking good, with lots of little bright green leaves, and seems to be doing well. All three have been carefully mulched, and well watered. The ones planted today both have lots of blooms on them, and I know I am supposed to trim them back, so they will put all their effort into establishing a good healthy root system. As opposed to standing by and encouraging them to make as many berries as possible the first season. I might even gather up my gumption and actually trim them like the flyer from UGA Ag. experts recommend. I've invested so much labor in the ones that I purchased and planted today, hopefully that will inspire me to do the nurturing to keep them healthy.

an amusing day...

Sunday, March 26, 2017
...with a handful of Girl Scouts for day camp while they are out of school for spring break. There were only about a dozen, a good size to be manageable, and they were pretty close to the same age, and skill level for crafts and games. The person who manages the outdoor programs for the scout council had planned the event, and did a most excellent job of keeping them busy and entertained.

I've been working with her as part of the team for Higher Awards, and find her to be capable and super organized. She seems to be really invested in supporting the principles of scouting, and doing all she can to make the scouting experience positive and helping 'Girls Grow Strong'.  Two of the days she had them going places to experience other environments. One was at the local public museum, touring with docents, spending the day with art and in the museum garden.

Even though I was only there on Friday the last day of the week long day camp it was obvious the girls who were participating had a great time. Lots of fun activities, high energy, some educational experiences. Now that I've seen what happened on that one day, wish I had been there more, to benefit from a full week of all the interesting things they did.

whoa! what a productive...

Saturday, March 25, 2017
...afternoon, following a very frustrating experience with being profoundly indecisive about the blueberries. I just had to sweep the blueberry business under the rug for the time being, and  move on to other things. I have been out in the yard working until it got too dark to see. When I watered my foot instead of the plants, that was a sign it is time to quit. Digging holes and planting things: the Lenten Rose/Hellebore I accidentally bought at the Callaway sale on Thursday, and some tiny little violas that will hopefully reseed and come up in profusion next spring.

There is a bed of mixed misc. across the front of the carport, in a place where there is nearly no direct sun. It might get a few  minutes in the middle of the day, but between a wide overhang from the roof, and lots of deciduous trees, there is lots of light, but nothing intense. A good place to put things that like shade. I am crazy about astilbe, and will keep planting in hopes of eventually getting a good showing, when it blooms in the spring. Pretty foliage, and spikey flowers. The ones I started with a couple of years ago were white and pink. But those that were planted in the past couple of weeks are red and purple. They haven't come up yet, but I am really optimistic. And excited, hoping they will grow and bloom in the unexpected amazing colors like the picture on the package.

I've been wanting to put a border of sorts across the edge of that bed, with some rocks that have been lingering around for several years. Raked out all the leaf mulch, sprinkled in some tidy cypress shreds, and got the rocks planted along the edge. Watered those new astilbe, along with the ferns that have not unfurled their fronds and some Solomon's Seal (another shade lover) relocated there last summer. I am ready for the show to begin!

can't say why...

... there are times when I deliberately make things so much more complicated than necessary. I want to replace the two blueberry bushes that did not survive the drought last summer. There were three, carefully decided upon, and deliberately chosen to produce berries throughout a longer bearing season. One was an early bloomer, one a mid -season, and one that would bloom later, to spread out the harvest over a number of weeks instead of being swamped with berries for a couple of weeks.

The only one that made it through last summer, and is now putting out new leaves, thinking about blooming, is the one that was chosen to be a late producer. Meaning the new ones I am planning to buy would have to bloom earlier in the year, and therefore have berries ripen sooner. It has gotten so involved. Trying to decide which ones to buy, while moaning and groaning about the cost.

I know there are people who can research a topic or project or airline tickets half to death. Never thought of myself as a 'researcher' until now, but I have had the hardest time trying to get my feeble mind made up. I know I need to go ahead and buy and get planted. But crazieness has had me go to three different places this afternoon trying to see what is available. I've been to two different grocery stores and wallyworld looking at sizes, prices varieties. Had to take a pen and paper to write all the options down and keep everything straight.

I'm nearly, barely, almost, maybe decided. Finally. After two hours of chasing my tail and feeling like I am being held hostage as a passenger on the struggle bus for most of the afternoon. Hopefully a peanut butter and jelly sandwich will be help me come to a conclusion? I think I know what to do, but now that I am home, I do not want to  get  back on the bus, to make the purchase!

anon. quote...

... read on a sign, probably in front of a church, some where in recent travels. It was worth my effort to scribble down while I was driving, so also worth passing along. Think about it:

You are the only Bible some people will ever read.