Sunday, April 16, 2006

No Knitting at Night, But Lots of Gardening During The Day

No actual knitting today, but lots of gardening, and cats, and kids, instead.

I went outside early this afternoon, and stayed out for several hours, until it was time to start dinner. Chris was dividing hostas and moving them to other parts of the shade garden (shade garden: most of our yard). I spent the day raking leaves out of my long-neglected flower beds. I was disappointed to find most of my roses have died; that everything in the shade garden on the north side of the house had died from neglect and being covered with a ton of leaves. I did managed to find the remnants of one bleeding heart, and a tiny shoot that I think used to be a robust Virginia Bluebell. I dug both up and transplanted to the front yard. I cut down dead canes on the roses and found that three of them are well enough to survive. The other six are gone, so I pulled them up. I am going to start checking around the garden centers to replace those. My Olympiad and Don Juan roses seem to have enough new growth to hang in there.

I cleaned a years worth of leaves off the patio, and started setting up the table and chairs. Some of my low-voltage lighting needs to be checked. I have a million violets coming up all over the yard, and the shade garden on the south side of my yard, under the big oaks, looks like it did well. I have three huge bleeding hearts, a hydrangia, several beautiful ferns, a bunch of hostas, and some ground covers that all look well. I pulled up a lot of poison ivy, and stacked up a lot of deadwood. It's going to take a while to get these gardens back into shape, but it can be done.

It felt so good to have time to do this. Gardening has always been a pleasure for me, and the last time I was able to do any was spring of 2002. And, I enjoyed it even more today because I had willing help. When you work two jobs, and go to school 24 hours a week, it doesn't leave much time for anything, and the less important stuff fell by the wayside. Now, I'm finished school, have a good job, and some time to spend with my home and my kids. Speaking of kids, all five of them were here today. Aside from one of them working on the shade garden, another cleaned out all of the rain gutters, one did the grocery store run, and another took my car to get gas. My oldest one showed up for dinner and a visit. They are great kids, and I'm so proud of them. The last four years have been difficult for them, too, and they came through it wonderfully. They are all in school and working, or working at jobs and careers. They helped me through some difficult times, especially when I didn't think I could continue the two-jobs-and-school pace any longer.

It was a purposeful decision to stay at our house today, instead of going to a larger family celebration. We had a lot of fun together, and accomplished a lot. I made a brown sugar and maple glazed ham, roasted broccoli and red potatoes, asparagus, pine nuts, garlic and mushrooms, and two chocolate pudding pies for dessert.

We have a Phoebe making a nest on our front porch. It is easy to see where this bird got its name - it screams "phoebe, phoebe" all day long, starting at around 5 am. However, her babies are cute, and after a while, she gets used to having us around (her nest is five feet from the front door.)

I am resisting the urge to plant anything at this time. While the weather has been warm for the last week, I have jumped the gun before. I start planting impatiens and coleus, and Wham! - get hit with a frost. So I am cooling my trowel for a while longer.

I hope everyone had a day as nice as mine was today. What a pleasure!


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