I padded across the cool boards of the deck, my feet extra sensitive as I carefully crunched over the dampened boards that were strewn with fallen knobs of Pawlonia pods that were sticky to my feet, deceased Red-eyed devils that had died after mating or laying eggs and fallen where they flew over. My feet and toes were almost paranoid as I made my way out the kitchen door to gaze down into the woods below the deck and house.
Early morning isn't exactly quiet around here despite that is IS quiet here. You can hear the wind thru the trees, the birds talking quietly to each other, the raucous crows and ravens shouting like some old neighborhood old ladies across clothes lines in the city. As you stand on the deck, you can hear the whoosh of the interstate traffic thru the trees and the occasional semi truck jake braking down as they come up on the rear of a car or other vehicle a little too quickly. I live in the curve of interstate 40 and where 81 splits off.
A few lowings of cows cuts thru the cacophony of the early morning as things waken, and the observant feline pads out quietly and announces herself to me........Pye, my tortoise shell cat or rather according to the poster in my vet's waiting room, a calico.........I woulda never thought Pye and Fwit were calico's......I always knew them as Tortoise shell kitties from their mottled colorations and dark places. But as the tangent slips from me, Pye trills to me that she's outside and LOVES that I'm outside with her......before I know it, she's up on the railing and carefully standing between the pots, insists that I give her the obligatory head scritch and I trill to her and we make that connection that is rare with humans and cats. Back to my thoughts and observations...........
The day before I had taken the pom pom zinnia I had found at work in a basket that was totally unlike any of the others and purchased it and once I got it home felt inspired to retrieve the nearly empty window box I'd attempted planting some of those bulbs last fall.
I had carefully popped the whole thing out of the plastic pot and teased each zinnia from it's terrible soil less mix and mixed up some fertilizer with the soils in the pot and carefully planted each clump of flowers into the long rectangle. You could almost hear their signs of pleasure as they sensed real dirt under their roots.
Once I got the four plants into their spots, I took the two variegated pelargoniums I'd spotted up top of the plant rack and purchased as well, and put them on the opposite end of this container and carried it over to the northern railing that faces the woods and watered it in well.
Now today as I stood there, my path blocked by the large mortar container that is filled with sempervivums, a few portulaca's, an odd orostachys and a Lewisia I happened across, I leaned in a little bit and saw to my delight that my ministrations had proven successful. The wilting flowers were perked up, and given a few weeks, I hope they will bulk up and make more stems and flowers.
When dusk fell on the newly planted box, a bumble bee had happened by and seeing the lure of the magnificent pom pom zinnia, couldn't resist it's attraction and landed. Once dusk fell quickly, it cooled down on the petals and fell into a slumber sung to sleep by the little fairies and this is how I found her this dewy morning.
She was chilled and slow to move and as I gently stroked her yellow fuzz on her shoulders, she would raise a leg and hook it backwards towards me as if to say "let me waken slowly, my blood is thin today". I carefully breathed warm breath on her and she rewarded me with a little buzz and shiver as I was much warmer than the evening dew and air.
I went and got the digital camera and took her picture and left her nestled in her bed of cream and red petals and wandered around like some lost thing. Not quite knowing what I was searching for. It's as if I'm in a fairy's spell or clouded mind as I flitter and flap back and forth on each side of the house.
The fountain has a leak, so before I went to bed, I had unplugged it and it remained full, telling me the leak was in the hose that fed the water to the statues,not the liner that kept the water in.... and there were quiet little reflective grey frogs gazing out of the water at me. All solemn and contemplative, they watched me carefully gauging me to see if I were predator or just to be ignored. Their fears and flight of me were spared as I turned away so as not to intimidate them. They have enough to deal with out of the cats and the dogs drinking the water, not to mention when I don't pay attention when the pump is running and the water trough almost empties.
I glance upwards to the smaller dish that sits up top of the BBQ pit that Squire has positioned to spill down another liner piece that has river pebbles on it and it runs like a small stream into a pool he made at the opening of the pit with the bricks from the chimney, and then lined with more liner to hold in that water, to trickle down into the holding trough he'd dug next to the pit. Inside the lip of the small dish, is a smaller, but dark gray frog gazing at me with arrogance and I grin at him/her and we stand there in a Mexican standoff and I finally decide "you win" and quietly walk away, as this little guy has guts and doesn't spook and jump back into the water to hid like the other's do when I stand too long.
The coldness of the concrete reminded me of where I was as I made my way out into the side yard where the ground was soft and mushy. The grass that actually grew between the boxes in the paths that thread between them remind me they needed whacking and soon.
A stray shoot of evil trumpet vine popped it's head out of the western bed laughing at me, and I bent over, clamping my teeth onto the strap of the camera to hold it and using both hands, tried to carefully pull the woody shoot out of the loose soil. I knew it wasn't removed completely, but hopefully if I just keep pulling them out, it will weaken the main roots wherever they are at. I hope it's just from a germinated seed instead of tendrils of underground roots from the vine that dominates the post at the furthermost southwestern opening end of my garden.
My legs are quite wet now and I decide to pad to the opposite end and see if the two pots of garter grass are surviving despite my intentions of planting them. Behind them are two pots of Russian salvia that don't mind dryness at all. They relish it. Thrive in it. I stop in mid thought and get a watering can and pour accumulated rainwater from a tray into the mouth of the can, and give the grasses a deep drink and finish the container off into the pot of Autumn jazz viburnum that I will plant tomorrow.
As I straighten up from my small administrations, the sounds of wakening birds remind me there are black cherries up in my wild black cherry tree and that means the grackles haven't sent out reconnaissance point birds to check on this year's crop and there's enough for me to savor, if only I will patiently stand and bend branches down. I carefully pick my way across the concrete that is strewn with rocks and much more noticeable to my tender feet (no hardened Summer feet for me, I never have time to walk barefoot all summer to callous up my soles like I'd prefer, and would love to go all Summer barefoot after removal of undesirables are gotten rid of like the much admired Tasha Tudor has done to her gardens around her home.) I carefully walk across to the driveway and stop under the boughs of the black cherry tree.
This is a good breakfast, and worthy of my efforts and as I carefully nab a leaf and pull until I have the end of the bough in my hands, I start to pull the branch towards me while I pluck the black cherries off and pop them into my mouth, carefully splitting the fruit and popping out the seed and spitting it onto the concrete driveway beneath me.
The juices of some of the cherries escape and my fingers quickly become stained and I laugh at myself and the image I must project. A little fat woman pulling boughs of black cherry down and eating treasures from between the leaves and twigs.
I disturb many cicada's who are intent on slicing the twigs to lay their eggs into them once they warm up themselves like the bumble bee I left sleeping in on the zinnia on the deck, but I flick these offenders off and smile at their cursings and noises towards me. I'm getting quite a nice little harvest and breakfast for my ministrations and I'm now intent on what I'm doing.
I carefully pick as many cherries as there are reachable, and eat only two at a time as my head is tilted back and cherry juice will choke you if you're not careful. Being greedy will get me in trouble and I'm in no hurry. Beside me I can hear the anguished wails and scratchings of Sugar whom I had slipped past and locked into the house as I went outside. I still don't completely trust her to behave.
My nightshirt has little drops of dark cherry juice dotting it now and I'm almost finished with my noshing. I've moved over to the eastern side just in front of the truck where I'd parked it the day before, and found a whole cache of black, plump sweet cherries waiting for me or the birds to eat them. And the best thing was, I'd still not been able to reach the lion's share of these fruit because they hung totally out of my reach above me in the upper branches of the old tree. The grackles and other birds would have a feast behind me.
I carefully released the last branch and found some standing water and rinsed off my hands and wiped my mouth and took a picture of some Ladybells that had slipped into my gardens on the feet of a tree peony of Mary Emma's.
I stood in rapture of the absolute beauty of the Sorbaria blossom (or False Astilbe as it's also known as) and took her picture too, and heard Sugar in absolute agony pleading for me to either let her out or come in, she couldn't stand to be parted from me. Rose had snuffed her contempt at my actions and gone to lay beside oldest son's bed. she knew I'd come in when I came in.
The grasses in the pot are pleading with me to plant them, and tomorrow I will do so before my working week starts up again. I've not accomplished much being off these days. Time seems to slip past me unnoticed until I'm on the edge of responsibilities like work. Piquito greets me and races off to chase invisible prey in his goofy little rabbit trot, and I go up the springy, old worn out boards of the nook boardwalk to the nook door, where Sugar is waiting behind me. She's so distraught she stands on her back toes and nips my ear lobe gently to indicate how upset she is that I've abandoned her inside instead of letting her outside to do what she wants to.
The morning is so cool that my toes are now quite cold, and I find myself wanting to snuggle into the fuzzy blanket I keep on the couch and watch a few gardening shows. So I get myself a small glass of sweet tea, and as soon as I tuck in, Piquito and Pye and Pesters claim their spot of my lap and the comforter. Then Sugar settles and flops heavily down next to me, in her almost huff like manner that is all her's. Rose gives me THE look, and after I tell her what a good dawg she is and rub her face, she climbs arthritic into Squires black recliner and settles into her spot. First on her side with her head over the armrest, then as she slips into old dawg snooze, level two and three, she rolls onto her back with legs spread apart, tail limp and head lolling and tongue out. She is a study in the ridiculous, she snores. Her lips flacid and teeth showing she starts her "woofing" in her sleep as she dreams whatever it is that makes her make these sounds. And warming with three cats and a dog on and next to me, I slip off to dream of bumblies on Zinnia beds, and sweet black cherries.............................
madgardener up on the cool ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee zone 7, Sunset zone 36