Yesterday after I finally got home from work on a perfectly glorious Spring
day, I slipped into my sandals and called Rose and Sugar to come take a late
afternoon, early dusk, Spring walk down the driveway and over towards the
opening in the wire fence leading into the hillside pasture that makes up
Miz Mary's front "yard".
Sometimes you can be somewhere for years and miss the absolute beauty of
things taken for granted or overlooked. I will explain in my way.....
As I called Rose (to no avail, she was off somewhere completely different
from what I had in mind and was away from Sugar, which was extremely odd for
her) Sugar appeared from wherever she was, and came with a smile on her
young face. I settled for her instead of both of them. "Well you have me
all to yourself, Sugar-dawg" I told her as I walked up the long driveway
towards the end of gravel to the paved road and past Miz Mary's house. I
was specifically going to the hillside pasture, thru the opening in the wire
fence that her brother in law had left open. Soon he'll move the cattle
over to this spot and Sugar will have to adapt back to the pasture next to
our house on the northwestern side instead of this steep, rolling green that
At the bottom of the hillside, to the south, the new neighbors from Indiana
who have begun coming down here more and more to clear out the acres and
finish the house they're building, were burning brush and wood. The early
dusk was starting to make the light really neat, and the smoke was spreading
northwards across and up the hills just west of me in a thin,lazy,horizontal
wavy line. To the south of me, English Mountain was partially obscured by a
haze that I figured was from all the pollen, some smog (sad to say) and just
Spring haze from lack of rains and such. The view never the less was
Sugar had long ago abandoned me for a romp in the new grass in the hillside
pasture, but as I stood looking southeastwards towards where I-40 curves
around behind and east of me a mile away, I saw another perfect view. The
hills came together into a "V" and tucked into that "V" was another picture
of ridges of the Smokies and a teeny bit of the French Broad River which
makes the bulk of Douglas Lake. I was enraptured with the sight, held
transfixed until my eyes could hold no more. As I pulled out of my revere,
I became aware that the air was filled to bursting with spring serenades.
Every bird that lives in the area was singing as if their lungs would burst.
The melodies twined around each other, some of the more melodious broke thru
the cacophony and stood out like a brief solo. And behind this chorus, I
noticed that there was a harmony behind the little flying dinosaurs songs.
Tree frogs. Little "weeps" behind the dusk melodies, that filled in the
spaces of each bird note. I pricked up my ears and started pinpointing
where the tree frogs harmonies came from. Across the driveway to the
north, and down into that pasture where small thickets of fence woods grew
along property lines, I could hear them "weeping" along with the now
deliberate evening is coming songs of the various birds around here.
The cardinals, and the little Indigo bunting whose song makes me smile
because it's soooo melodious and incredible. A quick
rrrrrrraaaatttttaaaaatttaaaatttttaaaaaa from the large red-headed
woodpeckers and the softer drums of the smaller yellow bellied sap suckers.
It was so wonderful I sat down in the cool mounds of clover and pasture
grass and just listened while Sugar waaay down the hillside was sniffing out
wonderful aroma's. Rose never arrived, on a mission all her own which was
totally unlike her, but I took the moment to do a little "mama" bonding with
the younger dog who seems intent on shoving the old lady dawg out of her #1
position in my life. I called her, and she stopped immediately and smiled
up at me and hauled ass up the steep hillside. When she got close enough, I
stood up and acted like I was going to catch her and she veered off and did
a sharp embankment and circle around me and picked up speed, tongue hanging
to the side and a shit eating grin only a happy dawg can have.
She circled around me and started coming in closer, swinging tight and wide
and around me and I realized she was "herding" me. The border collie in her
breaks thru at some of the neatest times. She's already discovered the hole
near my fence where it was put above the huge boulder when they originally
put the chain link up and she slips thru easy as pie. She's a small dog.
Once she's into the safe zone away from the electric wire (like I said,
she's only been zapped once, but she remembers, Rose has been snapped quite
a few times over her 8 1/2 years) she immediately heads towards Mr. Hammer's
black Angus cows and herds them towards a red portable coral. When they're
where she thinks they should be, she'll come back and slip thru the hole and
get a drink in the BBQ pit/fountain and lie down for a moment.
she also loves to break up the cat play fights. Piquito and Pesters and
Polluxx love to roll and rowdy in the driveway and side yard between the
raised beds and Sugar just can't stand for them to have fun without her and
she'll break it up just because she can. It's better than t.v.! <g>
I played the "gonna gitcha" game with her until she started getting too wild
and nipping, so I had her sit. She'd stop and sit and I'd praise her and
flop her ears and we'd start up again. I'd act like I was going to catch
her, and she'd build up speed and swing in ovals around me. We did this for
20 minutes until I noticed the tree frogs were louder and the songs of the
birds were now a different kind. "We're tucking in for the night on our
eggs songs". "We have a wonderful nest and our job tonight is done" songs.
And behind those sleepy little chirps and notes, the night owl, the
mockingbird started punctuating the air with his various songs.
I called Sugar to me and we started back to the house. Since the electric
company sent someone to cut the broken branches of the cedar that shelters
the oak leaf hydrangea, and obliging me, they also cut away offending whacky
Pawlonia branches that shelter the western side yard's many beds. I also
noticed they had cut the dead branches of the mimosa that split this winter
and missed my old fashioned lilac by two inches.............Now all I have
to do is just wiggle the dead trunk and out it will come to free up space
along the fence.
In anticipation of the arrival of the guys to make sure they didn't drop the
large branches onto the oakleaf, I decided it would be a good day to whack
the Zebra grass back. Long over due, I got the pruners and started cutting
the long grasses back to within 2 foot. The neatest discovery while I was
whacking was the transplanted pink locust or Acacia tree I dug up this
winter during a rainy spell had not only survived, but was putting out
leaves!!! Totally in the wrong place, I don't care. Once it establishes
itself, and suckers along the driveway into the Zebra grasses, mingling with
the crape myrtles and nestling up against the orange sherbert trumpet vine
"umbrella", there will be textures and patterns to amaze the eyeball. I
have whacky plantings...........<g>
Rose was waiting by the front door for us. Looking tired and old, she slowly
stood up and greeted me, while Sugar attempted to push her away from me.
Jealous is NOT the word here. Livid green and desperate to assert herself
into the alpha position of my pack, I had to shove her to the side and give
Rose her just due rewards. She's my good old girl, and as I flopped her ears
and praised her, I felt silky fur brush past me. Looking down, I missed
Piquito and Polluxx and Pesters as they skirted thru my legs and jumped into
the cat flap window.
Inside the front screen door, there were offerings of Spring come true.
Someone had been big game kitty and killed a vole for me. And a mole. Laid
out all nicely and offered to me with expectations of praise of killing
these beasties that devour and undermine my flowers, I had to give them
kitty treats as I picked them up by the stubby tails and careful that they
weren't half dazed from mauling mouths, flung them towards the graveyard
I've designated across the driveway in the unused "yard" of biendejo
neighbor, Jeraldo.........he never knows of the mounds of dead rodents I
toss into his overgrown yard. Nature takes care of them long before they can
smell or fester. The ONLY reason I let flies live............
As the songs became selective and sweet, dusk finally slipped up on the
ridge, and the evening temperatures were scrolling down. Sweet smells of
clove from my pots of pinks out front waifted into the screen windows and
doors I had open and I thought I could smell the remnants of the apple
blossoms curling around the honey fragrances of early black locust trees
starting up. Spring is upon me here in fairy holler. At night, when darkness
falls, the male peacock that has claimed half of the wild turkey hens wails
his protective cry up on the hillside ridge behind me. The night smells are
sweet. A slight dew makes the spring earth smell like nothing else. All
gardeners relish in it's fragrance. Heavy enough to make sleeping enjoyable
as fairies whisper in my ear that they're busy waking up the many bulbs we
planted last December in our frenzies.
Thanks for the time to share. There are many more arrivals to share with
you. I will tell you of them later this week.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking a greening up
English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36