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about that ladder...

Thursday, April 17, 2014
...the one that I used when I was trying to clean the leaves off the roof, without actually getting On It, so I would not fall Off It.  I don't know where it came from, or how long it's been around here. I guess since we were painting, or tree climbing/trimming, or trying to get a cat out of a tree (the most fruitless endeavor I can think of off the top of my head!) but certainly since we were trying to get to something that was slightly out of reach.

But in recent years it has been parked just beneath some shelving in the carport. Opened wide with legs askew, a giant letter 'A'. Which tells you that the shelving is six feet off the floor, with the ladder  snuggled up under the lower shelf.  Up high on the west side, on the inner wall, where there are assorted boxes stored. Old tax records, a dusty/musty brief case or two. A box of Styrofoam chunks and silk flowers I take when I go to visit the forefathers at the cemetery. A brass container/cache pot that (was my grandmother's) has an assortment of animal skulls I've come across when walking in the woods.

 And a cat. She sleeps in a box up on the shelf. It has a cushion I purchased years ago that is stuffed with good smelling things/herbs that are supposed to be very appealing to a cats' sense of smell. And they have all slept over time on the pillows about twelve inches square. Often finding more than one in the boxes that lined the shelves, keeping warm and snug in cold weather.  So when the ladder is needed for honey-do projects, you must be certain to return it to the carport before bedtime, so the cat who sleeps up there every night (and occasionally cat-napping during the day) can go to bed.

today, I did...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
a bunch of stuff. Starting with waking up at 4:30, due to the cat wanting to start a conversation. I've never really been a 'morning person', and like to wake up to peace and quiet. The Guy I have been living with all these years, has always wanted to chit-chat when he opens his eyes.... no telling how many times I have heard shower tunes before daylight. But I'm much closer to the end of the scale where you do not turn on lights or make lots of noise upon arising.

It has been years since I have had to set an alarm clock,, but my new boss thinks I need to be on the job before daylight. It's been a trying process having to get up and out the door at 5:30, to be at work by 6:00. I would likely be awake and active by six a.m., it's just not my preferred arrival time for employment.

But I did it any way, after feeding myself and the cat. Plus giving the meds she gets twice a day. I knew there would be lots of plants: lilies, tulips, hyacinths, azaleas, daffodils, roses, callas - and they won't sell stuck in a shipping carton in the stock room. So trying to find a place to sit dozens of plants was the first order of business. Then about ten boxes of bouquets: mums, lilies, babies breath, roses that need stems cut and watering. So that's my morning.

And making fruit/yogurt parfaits and salads before leaving about 2:00.

I know this will sound like same-song-second-verse; I could not start  my car. Deeeaaadd battery. Yesh, I know... but this one was the battery in the little clicker gadget that locks and unlocks the doors, in addition to having the ignition 'key'. I'd left a note to ask The Guy to take the spare one to the battery store and get a new battery put in. Assuming that he would know I needed it.  That is a fallacy. He was sitting, when I called to tell him I needed to be rescued. He'd been to the store, got the replacement, and sat with it in his pocket - waiting for me to get desperate?

So I had to call him, sit on the curb in the parking lot for twenty minutes until The Guy came with the clicker to let me in my car. He wanted me to try to key that is on the fob. Which I already did. And could not get the door unlocked. But the new battery has plenty of juice, and solved the problem.

today, I did...

Monday, April 14, 2014
...nearly nothing. I have to work everyday until next Sunday, which will be everyone's day off, due to the store being closed. Do not expect to make a run to Publix to grab a few things to complete your Easter dinner. I did get the kitchen, bathroom, hall swept and mopped - floor cleaned up from the man and cat who are messy eaters.  It is possible I will clean bathrooms before going to bed.  I will not tell how long it has been since that has happened here, likely the last time someone who is not us came to spend the night and would be using the facilities.

I had great plans for getting stuff done in the yard. But not much happened there, as you can tell by the fact that I have been sitting here typing most of the day ;-)  There have been lots of weeds uprooted, and those agave that have been sitting in the wheelbarrow for two weeks planted. The planting occurred only because I was in need of the wheelbarrow for another project: making dirt.

I've been buying the 'ingredients' for dirt and making a 'recipe' to have buckets of potting stuff on hand for putting things in pots or in the ground. I think I used up the last of a bucket full when I planted foxglove across the front of the house several weeks ago, so I have the makings for creating more 'dirt'. How does one create dirt, you may ask? The ingredients vary, but I use  1) vermiculite, to keep the dirt from packing down, which would cause the plants to not get enough air on their roots, and possibly drown.  2)  Packaged, sterilized manure. 3) hummus or compost, and 4) peat. I generally add some 5) osmocote, time release fertilizer into the mix.

 Dump it all together and stir well, store in covered buckets until you feel the urge to plant things.The wheelbarrow is the only thing of any size I have to put all this conglomeration in and stir it up good. Sort of a giant mixing bowl. (Not surprising for the girl, who as a kid, in the blistering hot south GA summer, would get the garden hose and fill the wheelbarrow to use for a wading pool.  Good cheap fun if you don't mind having an older brother blackmail you over it for the rest of your natural life.)

I did not have any of the 'recipe' mixed up and could not use the wheelbarrow as it was full of those agave plants, that as you might guess, had gotten pretty raunchy due to sitting in a puddle for over a week. But I got them planted out there in No Man's Land, and cleaned out the bowl of the barrow so I can mix up some more happy plant stuff - and now it is raining. That is my excuse for not being productive for the remainder of the day. The planting saga will continue tomorrow...

prayer week at CCC...

We are having a week of prayer at church all this week, starting tomorrow night. We do this three times a year. Once early in January, again around Easter, and for the last time in the fall. I've been mostly trying to go several nights each week... and find that I loose interest by about the fourth night. Possibly due to the fact that I know I will be working that week, leading up to Easter.  After getting up early in the morning, and working on my feets all day, I am so tired that instead of making me more meditative, reflective and holy, when they dim the lights and start with the calm soothing music: what I am is sleepy.

On Friday night, there will be a man who will come and talk about what the Passover meal would have been like 2000 years ago. What the Jewish families would have put on their tables, how they would have' observed'. I wanted to say 'celebrated', but not sure that is the right word. Even though there would have been, in retrospect, a sense of wonder, and delight to know that their homes and families had been passed by when the Angel of Death came calling. This man who is going to be speaking to the congregation on Friday night, for the last of the prayer week gatherings, is a Hebrew, a member of the Jew for Jesus organization.

The flyer in the bulletin indicated that it would be a 'stirring presentation' for attendees. It is designed to demonstrate for the Christian/non Hebrew how the Festival of Redemption and The Lamb of God are connected. The man who will be giving the talk is Georgia native, and a son of a Holocaust survivor.

PS to that: unrelated to Easter. I just finished a book by Jodi Picoult about the Holocaust. Well written, amazing research, heart-wrenching. The story of a young woman whose grandmother endured beyond endurance and survived to move to America. Fiction but profoundly believable. "The Storyteller". Hard to put down, and it's been years since a book kept me up late reading!

fern fan...

There is a fern plant growing right outside the screened porch, where I can see it from my chair, here at the dining table. I have been watching it daily for several weeks: seeing the fiddle heads grow taller and slowly starting to unfurl. There are at least seven heads, some that look about two feet tall. The process of gaining height, and slowly opening, as the spirals get taller, and the individual fronds grow daily in increments, makes me think of those old Disney shows, that introduced us to the wonders of nature. Probably something you would see  now on the Discovery channel, with time lapse photography, as you see the rose almost instantaneously open up from a small tight bud, to a multi-petaled wide open bloom.

There is always room for more fern. I made a quick loop through the wallyworld garden center on Saturday afternoon, looking for a bright red geranium to share. And accidentally purchased a pack of fern starts I hope to get planted today. I think it is the same as the one I can see, nearly visibly unfurling through the window: an 'autumn fern' with tall arc-ing fronds, that have a bronze coloration to the young leaves, and underside of leaf as they mature.

There are a number of fronds from a transplant-project coming up in a bed across the north side of the house. A place that never gets any direct sun, but lots of light, usually damp and mossy. Along the edge of the house, where they were planted last year, after growing in Ocala. From a friend who was so determined to share his crop, he mailed the little starts to me.  Not sure what variety it is, but it is so neat to see the little green heads come up and slowly uncurl to make bright green fronds. Probably considered a 'native' as well as 'invasive' in their natural state, far enough south in a zone where they would not normally get freezing weather. Mine disappeared over the winter, but are slowly starting to peek out from their hibernation.  I say: let 'em grow!

Looking out the window, through the screening of the porch, to see the dappled sunlight reflecting off hundreds of new-born leaves on deciduous trees, in a hundred shades of green. That 'yellow rose of Texas', originally a start from my mom's yard, is now in full bloom. With dozens of small bright yellow flowers on long draping branches, lightly bobbing in the breeze. This is one that spreads too, but at such a slow rate as to not really be noticeable as creeping out of the original boundaries. It's very hardy - never gets any attention, and continues to provide brilliant color year after year when the bulb plants have faded.

crown of thorns...

Saturday, April 12, 2014
A co-worker was talking a week or so ago, abut plans she is making for doing some special things at her church for Easter. One of them being getting someone to make a big wooden cross to set out on the church property, for people to see when they come to services next Sunday. And asking for advice abut how long the piece of purple fabric she would drape over the cross piece should be for best visual effect.

And asking me where she might be able to find something to make a crown of thorns from. I told her I could do that. So I went off in the woods, down the hill, behind the house, several days ago. Looking for something sufficiently vine-y and thorny. I had my gloves and clippers to cut some pieces I could loop together to make into a wreath shape, but had a hard time finding what I needed. The things that were flexible enough to be able to wrap around in a circle to make a wreath/crown didn't have thorns, and the vines I could find with thorns big enough to be easily visible, were so thick and difficult to bend, they were not shape-able. I finally found a couple of pieces I thought would work, and looped them together, after several puncture wounds.

It was probably a bit  bigger than 'actual size': you know how things are portrayed in photographs with a disclaimer that states they might appear in the picture as a bit larger than in real life? Sort of 'enhanced for your viewing pleasure?  I just wanted to be sure that the looped vines would fit on the top-most part of the post that will be the cross, and rest on the horizontal piece. When I took it in to work and gave it to her, I think she had probably forgotten about her request and my response. I got a sort of 'blank look' when I handed it over, and said, 'be careful, it will hurt you'.

All this to say: this is that same Mean As A Snake vine I've complained so vehemently about. Written about trying to dig the huge, house-cat sized tubers, sweating and stomping and swearing over the thorny smilax vines. When I have dug up the source, rooting around in the dirt, almost to the point of accusing the plant to be evil, so mean and grabby it is almost from the pit of hell: that's what I used to make the Crown of Thorns.

297 divided by 2...

...is what the distance is from Decatur to Greenville, SC. So, of course, I came back, which accounts for the fact you have to divide by two to figure out how far it is from here to there. I spent the night in Decatur and got up about 6 a.m. to hit the road. After various and sundry cats came skulking in at some point in the wee hours, and tipped over a wooden folding chair that was leaning precariously, causing a tremendous crash, that probably terrified the cats even more than soundly sleeping me.

That six o'clock was about the time I had planned to get up and out the door, so it all worked out. I have gotten to where I try to leave town really early to avoid crazy commuter traffic, even though it is not bad on the weekends. And stop about half-way to SC, and get out to walk for a while around a covered outdoor shopping area in Commerce. Lots of retail shops, supposedly 'outlet' stores (a flagrant, blatant untruth), arranged in a big rectangle, around a central parking lot. Abut a mile of sidewalk, so I usually make the circuit a couple of times. Then get back on the road, to head on to SC. Arriving around 9:30, stopping at the nearby BI-LO for something sweet, breakfast-y for us to eat.

As soon as we eat that, we start talking about lunch. Reminding me of  a couple in Q., friends of my dad, who would get up, dressed and go out for breakfast., Then sit over their dirty breakfast dishes and discuss plans for the next meal. And go out to lunch, and sit over those dishes, deciding about where to go for dinner... and so forth, and so on...

We rode around town a bit, admiring lots of beauty-full blooms on hundreds of dogwood trees, gloriously white, with a occasional pink thrown in for variety. I'd noticed newly stocked K-Mart garden center, next to the grocery store, so we perused our way through the plants. I bought a pot of Shasta daisies and a pair of  gardening gloves. I'll plant the nice big clump of daisies into several different pots and let them grow a while before putting in the ground.

Speaking of daisies: the ones in the bed across the front of the house, were on the cusp of bursting wide open when I left town Friday morning. There in that same bed are some white-with-yellow-center daisies that bloom in the late summer, as well as some chrysanthemum daisies that bloom in the fall. I think the Shasta daisies will bloom in early summer, on a different schedule from all the others. So I am hoping, looking forward to daisies blooming, and blooming, and blooming and then blooming some more. Do you think I might be partial to daisies? Well... maybe just a little....