Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Slogging Through the Underbrush

It seems like the only thing I am growing lately is frustration.  My edger was in pieces so I finally went and purchased a snazzy new Black and Decker model.  It's one of those string edgers and this one actually has two lines.  So, that makes twice as many lines not functioning right.  Twice as many spools to mess with.  Twice as many reasons for me to pull my hair out and give up.  I don't know why I can't grok how these things work.  Maybe it's an inherent design flaw - either in the equipment or my brain.

Our good friend Cat generously gave us a new mower that she had never taken out of the box.  I made a trip to the gas station for gas and oil and tried to crank it up.  No go.  I don't think it's the actual mower, I just have a hard time getting those things running.   I guess I don't have the upper body strength so once again I gave up and came inside to get back to work in the office.  I was outside for an hour feebly attempting to get my tools functioning and was left with an empty pit of frustration and a yard that is badly in need of a haircut.  

Yesterday I spent all my outdoor time digging more weeds and cutting back bamboo.  The work that we are doing to contain the bamboo brigade back there is obviously energizing the troops.  For every 25 feet of bamboo roots that David digs out, 25 more shoots appear.  You can almost hear them taunting us - "Really? You think you can get rid of us by pulling up a few of our roots?  We are thousands strong down here in the trenches and when you attack one of our comrades we will not stand for it.  We will rise in force".  

I usually pride myself on the fact that we don't have a picture perfect suburban lawn.  Today I'd give anything for a tame little patch of green with some neat flower beds to tend to.  I feel like I never get to the pretty stuff - you know, the image of the gardener with her straw sun hat, pink gloves, quietly pruning her roses while sipping on iced tea.  I'm always traipsing around with chain saws and oil cans and huge bags of thistles, oak and bamboo - just trying to carve out my place amongst the powerful life forces around me. 

My entire life feels a little like that right now.  I'm constantly scrambling to keep up with demands from all directions - many of which are out of my control and just part of life.  I still have this attachment to the fallacy that if I work hard enough I should be able to tame the wildness and end up with perfect roses.  Sometimes you have to slog through the underbrush to get to the rosebush.  I guess that's what I'm doing these days. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oak, oak and more oak

It's pouring outside.  In between rain showers I have been running out and pulling weeds because it's so much more satisfying and productive when the ground is wet.  I don't know why there are so many weeds this year but my grass is having to compete for its turf, so to speak.  Of course, I avoided using chemicals to weed and feed so I guess that explains why I have a lawn that consists of 80% dandelions, clover, chickweed and poison ivy, 10% dirt and 10% unruly, spindly patches of grass.  It's hard to get motivated to crank up the mower when there's so little actual lawn.  Also, our mower and edger are not functioning right now, so it involves driving to our studio to get the other mower.  That's way more commitment than I have been able to muster.  For a gardening blogger it's pretty embarrassing how unattractive our yard is.

I came home from a week in California to a heavy layer of oak leaves and pollen covering everything.  Every April we go through the oak barrage and our sinuses tell the tale.  This year we hired a friend to rake and sweep and bag and get it out of our life.  It's not a super hard job, but for a couple of singers it's worth having someone else spare us the five hours of inhaling the vocal poison.  Now at least I can walk outside without going into an asthma attack.  Of course there's rain in the forecast for the next several days, but the negative ions that it is stirring are already working their magic on my mood.  I don't have to find my headphones to listen to the rain app on my iphone to chill out.  I just open the door.  What a novel concept. 

I'm home for another ten days before I leave for Florida to visit my parents for several days and play in Louisiana on my way back to Texas.  By the time I leave I'd like to have some hanging baskets of colorful flowers, the tomatoes planted, beds mulched, piles of bamboo roots that my pal David has been digging up disposed of (that's a whole other story - waking up to David in his Gilligan cap hacking away at the bamboo in the backyard) and the beginnings of a new bed in front of my office window.  We'll see.  That's my wish list so I'll just keep chipping away at it.  Throughout this process I am challenging myself to not pass judgment when the demands of our life pull me away from my plans and goals.  For a list maker that's a hard one.  

But what a sweet sense of accomplishment as I watch my new grapevine take root and start to reach up towards our first bottle of MoonHouse Wine.  I can dream can't I?  Just don't hold me to it.          

Monday, April 5, 2010

In My Easter Bluebonnets

Almost three weeks since my last post.  In spite of my best intentions life keeps intruding on my gardening and writing time.  An unexpected trip to South Dakota to help my mother in law, Darleen, move into an assisted living facility pulled me away from my normal life for awhile and today I leave for Los Angeles to attend four days of meetings.  During the week I was "home" I was out of town four nights.  As you can see, I do not lead a life conducive to a daily routine revolving around the home turf.

I have managed to plant carrots, beets, blackberries, grapes, four o'clock flowers and bachelor buttons.  I've pulled piles and piles of weeds and am trying to keep up with the barrage of oak leaves covering our world.  Now the yellow/green dust is raining down on our cars, driveway, porch and kitty, who looks like she is wearing little green booties.  

As we drove home from east Texas yesterday we couldn't resist pulling over for a classic bluebonnets shot, so I am getting doses of Mother Earth even if it isn't in my own backyard.  The soft plains and hills of South Dakota also brought me comfort during a trying time.  I'll try to walk on the beach in LA for a few minutes, although I'll be in hotels and meeting rooms most of the time.  

When I return to Texas spring will still be in full bloom and my weary body will be ready to rest and rejuvenate by digging and planting and enjoying the fruits of my labor.