Flying dragons in a hillside pasture,Fairy surprises and PEEPERS!!!!!!

Last Sunday, after a brief rendezvous' with Squire, who had gotten home in the wee hours of the morning after unsuccessfully trying to get home the day before, I went to pick him up and get down to business with the "great unloading". That is to say, when he gets home, I have to take empty food containers (he takes his food with him and heats it in a little "lunch box" that he plugs into his cigarette lighter in the semi truck), his laundry, the books on tapes that he has in the plastic grocery bag (to turn into at the used bookstore when we get a moment) and whatever he deems useless over the road in his little rolling apartment.
We then rushed off to the local Wally world to stock up on his supplies for the next week, I having covered him in purchasing his smokes for the week the day before while the tobacco Shoppe was open. We were having good moments this day, despite the bitter winds that had snuck into the region. The sun was out, but the winds were sharp and could cut thru a thin jacket.
But the winds carried on them whispers of things needing be done back in Fairy Holler. I wandered the aisles grabbing up this and that that I needed at the house, and would connect with Squire as he searched for things on his list. Today it seemed to work, which usually it doesn't. The hilarity of it all was when I'd wander too much and get distracted and my cell phone would ring and it would be him....."baby?? where you at?" the familiar voice over my little phone would indicate after the "Thick as a Brick" by Jethro Tull would play instead of the ringer.......(lol) We'd re-hook up and as the cart was getting a bit too loaded, he steered me towards the nursery, where I found the Digitalis seeds and the Larkspur seeds for sowing right now while there are frost potentials to stratify the seeds. He WAS in a good mood! (GBSEG!!)
Once outside, I caught up with him as he was loading up the van and talking to Sméagol and Sugar who had their heads draped over the back bench seat, delirious in their dawg time that he'd returned, and adoring him as he organized the bags into his and mine. The majority of the errands run, I called my gardening friend who had been so kind to make Squire some pasta chicken Italian salad to take with him as a change of pace. We had decided to grab brunch and wanted her to hook up with us as she lives down the street where we were at.
The brunch went wonderfully, our conversations didn't conflict, she and I were able to swap gardening banter, and Squire was able to get in some of his own thoughts and comments rather well, and the day promised to be a blustery one. Time was flying by and we parted after she visited and loved on the pooches (they adore her) and Squire and I went home. Once the son had unloaded the bags that had to come inside, I noticed that the winds seemed to be perfect for a test run with the dragon kite I'd seen at the Sam's club and purchased on a whim. His wingspan is 90 inches!
Squire had put away everything that needed placement, son had retreated back into the dragon cave to the computer downstairs to write more, and making sure Squire wasn't in immediate need, I informed him that I was going outside for a short bit and would return soon. I'd already missed the few gardening shows that warranted watching, and I wanted to see if the dragon kite would fly.
My entry into the northern pasture was a fiasco. Too many clumps of blackberry canes to snag the kite material. It wasn't made of silk, but lightweight enough polyester to give it the proper buoyancy once the winds filled the mouth. Feeling even more foolish, I was in the LOWER pasture, which slopes downwards (which makes the actual "holler" that I have a chunk of with woods and those Jack Pines) making the wind less able to capture the mouth. I decided to move up and over to the hillside pasture on the southern side that serves as the dropping off point of Miz Mary's old farm house. Perfect. Open, no trees, no scrub, no blackberries, just step over the two electric barb wire strands and hook up the leader clip and fly the dragon.
The younger black Angus male's that Miz Mary's brother in law had separated from the others spotted me and immediately began to make a bee-line towards me in hopes of something good. I made sounds towards them as I kept trying to get the kite to gulp wind and fly and eventually I got him up about 30 feet for a few minutes while trying to dissuade young male cows fulla piss and vinegar and impending Spring (and probably a good castrating..) to continue approaching me. their curiosity was so funny on their faces. My sounds of "up, up!!" stopped them and they decided they weren't as curious as they thought as I kept trying to launch the dragon into the sky.
The winds weren't quite co-operating. But the sun was shining, I had just enough protective clothes on to cut the chill of the gusting winds to a minimal, and I had quite a bit of fun in my attempts.
After awhile, I noticed turkey vultures circling just down the hillside and over the clumps of woods below, as if making fun of my attempts to lift the huge dragon into their air space. The grace and size of them was so overpowering and beautiful, I never even gave it a thought of how ugly they actually are up close. They flew with effortless grace, dipping and wheeling above the trees on the thermals, banking and circling about just enjoying the day, since it was obvious there was no road kill to entice them to pull clean up duty. Today was a lazy, gliding day for them. I envied them, and watched as they swung around each other and lifted, and my ears picked up the beautiful melodious sounds of a returned woods resident. The Mountain bluebirds were back!
The male's song makes the heart burst it's so beautiful and piercing. I can be driving down one of the country roads around here where there are still large pastures and rolling spaces and hear his song cut thru the engine noises and music of my car and I'll turn the radio off and capture his sweet sounds as he flings them outwards to a hopeful wife. If I could entice my own family of them with a bluebird house attached to a tree down in my woods I would, but my bluebirds have their favorite spots, and I don't want to entice them to be snagged by either my foolish felines or my neighbor's starving ones. Let the cats have the over abundance of foolish mourning doves or the starlings that stray up here. The sounds of his song thrilled me and made me notice more.
The winds refused to work with me this day, and I reeled in the great dragon to take him back to the house and put into the side room until the next perfect day. It seemed that March would be coming in like a lion on this last weekend of February. The chill that had come in on the gusting winds was starting to cut thru my jacket and I stepped hurriedly over the electric wires and made my way back down the driveway. And got side swiped by fairy whisperings that beckoned me to come into the west side gardens and take a look.
I carefully maneuvered the huge kite thru the narrow opening between the trumpet vine's umbrella-like bare tendrils and the thin Forsythia great grand-daughter. As I turned sideways, I noticed tight little buds drooping on the stems and slight blushes of yellow on the tips. Behind the Forsythia, I immediately was distracted to see fat, fuzzy buds on the Lenneii magnolia that appeared to have shot up three foot when I wasn't looking. And oh oh oh oh........the little Lady Jane magnolia standing demurely next to Lenneii......WOW, she's taken on some of her own growth as well, sprouting two foot long branches. And each one is tipped with little fuzzy promises!! sigh..........
That inspires me to see how well the rest of Fairy Holler is coming along.......and boy howdy........was I ever in for a surprise! I decided to stop and put the dragon safely away as I knew I'd be seriously distracted. Spoke to Squire who was numbing his mind with the Discovery channel about something ancient, and was down the hallway into the pantry room where I keep the dragon for now,, speak to Maggie the young, feisty up and coming Queen in the feline household. She holds court mostly in the kitchen, and she's followed me from outside when I came back thru the gates. I still don't encourage her to venture into the fields until Pester's himself takes her.
We speak briefly, her chirrrping and bitchiness sounds in her voice as I turn and go back towards the kitchen door and out the deck. She catches my mood and intent and picks up her pace and is right behind me as I pop the storm door open to just barely graze the 33 gallon trash can on wheels that I've filled with enriched potting soils. If I want to take the can over to the compost pile and just load up compost into the can, I can. But it sits tightly against the end of the potting table, and as I go to close the door, Maggie scoots around my feet and heads down the narrow corridor between all the potted irises and assorted plants.
This drops my intent to total distraction as I look for signs of spring up on the deck. Silly me! The winds were more noticeable and colder, but the sights were still to be laughed at and appreciated. Even with winter still grasping at me and making my hands cold, there in the many pots were signs of spring. The irises all had green pointy tongues. The various pots of all sizes just waiting for me to tap them into a waiting hole. The fairies told me how to fix my iris problem. They hate to be buried, and all of these were planted last fall in rich soils, now they had hopefully a decent root system if the iris fairy had been tending them properly...
But just past these many pots of assorted beards, the silly black nursery pot with the green hair captured my eye. Just near the pot that houses a cherry tomato every year if I can help it, I saw the most lush and beautiful pot of Feverfew any self respecting herbal nut would clamber for. I caught my mind racking for ways to use the fresh greenery. I must remember to look into my old and reliable herb book and see what I can come up with. I find the fairies weaving spells to pull me towards the Feverfew and I bent down and rubbed some fresh ruffled and scalloped leaves between my fingers and gave a gentle sniff. Ahhhhh, the pungent astringent smell of fresh young Feverfew. There is no other smell quite like it. It even smells like medicines that are good for us.
The Japanese variegated sedge made it thru winter in the peat bog mortal garden. The peat soils were soaked and had standing water on one end, but the grass looked like some electric punk haircut. I caught myself laughing out loud with the mental images of it and rose to glance into the window boxes I've tied to the railings to keep adventurous cats from tippy toeing and knocking them over. I've worked hard to mess with the right plant combinations in a few of these and I have had this happen a few times. But I see Maggie is as fleet footed as a beloved female cat I keep catching myself thinking of when I watch her.
She reminds me of Fwit, a most awesome Tortoise shell cat (I hope this is what she was, there is conflict now to what they call a Tortoise and a Calico, and Fwit was dark shades of browns, with lighter shades, reds, golds and she had golden eyebrows which gave her a silly, but wisely startled look. The absolute perfection of what a good cat could be. But Maggie has the adroit traits of Fwit, who never in the 17 1/2 years ever disturbed a potted plant. Not a leaf or knocking something over. Although Maggie has her clumsy moments, so it's not quite like old Fwit whispers at her often enough. But the way she weaves thru these many plants makes me see the ghost of Fwit enjoying the deck like she did her last year. And the ghosts of Pye and Jenners follows behind this spunky kitten who is facinated with everything around her. Sensory overload.......
I look quickly thru the woods and see they haven't wakened up yet, and catch sights of birds darting thru all the branches and start listening. They are fussing at the winds that are cold, and I find that some of the starch and eagerness for checking the gardens is waning as my hands are cold and the winds promise even colder temperatures as the day pulls to the end.
I rushed around the end of the deck into the side yard to prevent myself from backing out and headed straight to the Hellebore patch that I'm building under the Vitex bush. I've edged almost 2/3rds of the bed with stacking retaining blocks. I'd have preferred to have gotten the large butt size, but funds being what they were, I settled on the smaller ones. they'll do fine. I need something to grip the ground and hold the raised soils in as this is where the slope starts going downwards.
The path between this bed has an old Spirea that I moved from out front the first year I was here, an opening with a natural rock for a stepping stone that I planted Epimedium underneath the Pawlonia daughter tree and young sugar maple. They're holding the first edge of the first natural terrace. Opposite the spirea, I look at the spot above the butt rock to see if the Korean spice viburnum has began to show buds. Tight little knobs stand out like Goosebumps and I see that the Korean Spirea that successfully transplanted has two more shoots underneath the original whip. The Goosebumps on this are more prelevant, and I catch myself grinning to think they're as cold as I am at the moment.
The Hellebore that make me get down on one knee to look at floor me. Just a week ago these same plants had hidden and tucked these buds to where I barely saw them. they remind me I need to scoop fresh compost around them later on when it's a bit warmer, but the colors of them are awesome. White with purple freckles, the bells maturing slowly in the cold, but the one that catches me off guard and marks the moment for later checking is a young red stem of Hellebore that has one deep maroon blossom that stands out like a beacon. I tentatively step into the bed to lift the face and gaze at it in awe. The Hellebore fairy has been pulling overtime. I hope she tinkers with the seeds and gives me interesting crossed children up the road.
As I carefully swung around, my eyes spotted flashes of color. You'd think you were seeing half dressed fairies darting underneath the leaves of things, but I realize it's my own joke to myself of the crocuses I put underneath the Hellebore one year. I make a promise to the bulb fairy to plant Squill and Puskinnia this fall with the crocus for further hilarity. Maybe even an odd species tulip.
The winds are starting to get thru the layers, and I notice the birds are quieting down, and I pick up a faint sound. I brush the sound off and go reluctantly inside and Squire tells me he's forgotten one thing, and would I mind running to the store for it? It's nice enough weather wise that I decide what the heck, and the dawgs appear out of nowhere to tell me they are definitely in the mood for another ride with mama, and we load up into the van.
Quick, start up the engine and put the heater fan on low so I don't turn into an icicle (yes, it was that cold) and head down the driveway to the road. Shoot down the steep road and thru the stop sign after I determine no one coming either way, and back up the country road west to sharply curve due north to rise up to the next ridge and hilltop. These roads were all cow paths and horse trails, and as I pull thru the woods on one side and the rolling hillside that is the corner of all the land the old man owns, we rise to the flat top where his one daughter and her husband have tucked in a most impressive house into a natural cove that the woods surround in a natural opening and pasture. On the opposite side is the rest of his land, that rises and stretches and rolls along the top of the ridge that makes my own land the holler. I hear a familiar sound.
I slow down and roll the window down, and glancing thru the passenger window past Sméagol whose riding shotgun, I see the incredible view towards the mountains and the river and trees beyond, it has to be brief, as I continue moving past the old man's children's house, and there at the back corner of their "yard" I hear the sound that stops my breathing. It's unmistakable, and it's deafening. The sounds of many foolish peepers in full throat singing like some drunken men intent on getting an early jump on the reluctant females who are hunkered down all cold. I put my flashers on and stop and listen. their volume incredible considering how the temperatures are at the moment. the temperature guage on the van's ceiling says 39o F. But it's sunny and the top of this spot with the marshy dip has remains of vegetation holding the wet to it's toes, and it's in full sun. A perfect place for courting. I let their crescendo wash over me, and I take every "weeeeep" they have to give. It's wonderful, and one of the things I live for......
I put myself back in gear and shut off the blinkers and go back to my errand, but I make mental note to start listening for deffinate Spring sign.
I will pick this thread back up to THIS week, where the peepers and the fairy makings are building to an early pitch and fever.
Thank's for waiting this long. Winter's almost over and I have spring madness like you wouldn't believe. until later. madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee

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