Archive for the ‘Taming Eden’ Category

A Watercolored World


It’s pouring rain today. We’re expecting a half inch. So, think deluge. But on my way into the house from dropping Geo off at class, I spotted this bloom. The first Cecile Brunner of the year. I climbed into the hedge to snap a photo  — and decided to bring this pretty thing inside.

I’m sopping wet, but it was worth it.

Over Achiever


Our clematis bloomed early! 


Let’s call this the before shot. (I’m digging out this planter so I can add pea gravel.)


I get shutting down. I’ve certainly done it enough in my lifetime. Life gets too busy, or trauma sets in. Or you find yourself at an impasse, on an intractable side up against an equally unmoving mass. And it’s easier to shut down than to compromise. Put your head down, don’t think about it, move on.

It’s poor form in relationships (I’ve certainly been guilty of this far too many times. I have a brother, with a new baby, who hasn’t spoken to me in 3 years. We’re intractable.) and it’s poor form in home maintenance. A look around Chez Wonder, and it’s a wonder it’s still standing.

I think the stress of the bank last year, along with the pitiful monetary situation created the perfect climate for our utter abandonment of all things domestic. The reasoning, “We have no money anyhow,” while fiscally sound at the time, wasn’t a good long term solution. There are times when it doesn’t pay to skimp—last year was probably one of them.

The money situation isn’t better. Nor is the house. We still wait for answers and paperwork. But, entropy, by its very definition, is no homeowner’s friend. If you don’t keep up with these little chores, they become disaterpieces.

So, IZ and I have drafted a list. A list of things that must be done. I suspect part of impetus is the realization that September is encroaching. Creeping up on us, and with it comes a visit from IZ’s parents. Who have never lived in an “this old house” reality. And part of it that we can no longer ignore the unfinished. It’s screaming at us, “HEY YOU… remember us? The projects you started 4 years ago… AHEM!”

Of course, there is no way to pay for said list. But we’re not letting that stop us. A list is such a small weapon against the onslaught entropy has planned for us. Like lambs to the slaughter, you should pray for our souls. And our soles, because I have a feeling our lack of funds is going to mean being creative. And being creative always equals me on my feet with a shovel in hand.

First Bloom


The first bloom from the clematis on the new arbor.


I didn’t think the Nelly Moser would bloom this year. But one of two we planted earlier this summer did just that this morning and I’m elated with the first bloom.Of course, I dashed straight out to snap a photo—standing in dewey grass in my sandals and noticing that our promised sun has  given way to spit!  But I don’t mind so much. Everything needs water once in awhile! This one bloom is a taste of the future—when the arbor is completely covered with big pink pom-pom blooms.  A girl can dream, right?

As I ran out the door I could hear IZ admonishing, “Quick, quick, take a picture before the deer eat it!” He was kidding, but vermin abound in these parts and they typically  view my yard as their own personal salad bar. Considering the color of the sky, I’d be wise to re-spray with liquid fence.  Otherwise this rain is going to be a neon “Restaurant’s Open” sign to the neighborhood foragers. It’s either that or I need to take up bow and arrow hunting right quick! Yeah, I think I’ll stick to stinky spray gun. But note to self: Rotten egg smell is not an aphrodisiac; spray the flowers not your feet. 

I should probably make that my new mantra, eh?

Hey Lady Can I Hitch a Ride?


Look who I found lurking in my laundry.

As Promised


On Monday, I promised you photos of our yard endeavors.  I feel like this week has flown by; and while I have lots to show for it, it still seems to be moving far too quickly. I wish summer knew how to linger, don’t you? 

Anyhow, here are a few snap shots. It’s all so new, I’m still getting used to the changes. But I wanted to document the starting stages. Something to remember the beginning by, something to slow down the pace. Already my brand new lawn needs a good mowing and  I am discovering that lawns grow too fast. Much like small children. 

Whoever coined summer “lazy” didn’t have a lawn, or a child. 





I’ll be back tomorrow with words and more photos. But I thought you’d like a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to for the past few days. Channeling my inner Tom Sawyer! And let me tell you, kids these days are not so easily duped into painting fences.  (neither are grown men!)


sod1before  sod1after

Before and After

Spring Fever


Spring has left us no choice.

It’s been raining in sheets for two days. Our little spot of balmy (and I use that term loosely—loosely, like sliding half way down your backside jeans so the world can see you’re a briefs man , loosely) weather is gone. A false spring if you will. It leaves a girl little choice. She can be depressed. Or she can do something about it.

The Boy and I ran errands together yesterday and found ourselves roaming the garden department at a local chain store, where we bumped into this display:


How times have changed. Three years ago he would have launched a hard sell to bring one home. Instead, he shook his head wryly and sighed, “Gnomes? Why would anybody want a gnome?”* We laughed. We agreed that gnomes are funny, but not for our yard.

Instead we trolled (oh bad Wende!) the flower aisles. I love hanging out in the garden department at this time of year… everything is in bloom and it all suggests such potential. The display of star jasmine made me a little wistful for Sunnyside, though. However, row upon row of bright annuals makes it hard to remain gloomy for long. With names impossible to pronounce and colors impossible to resist, we took our time absorbing all the color. A visual tab of vitamin D.

Carefully we tested every color of Ranunculus the flower aisle had to offer, until we found the perfect shade for the ceramic pot we’d selected. Neither of which appear in the photo above because we were too consumed with our choices to think about the camera. “Try this yellow one. No, now try that pink one! How about white?”

Did you know that a Ranunculus is also called a Persian Buttercup? It’s more evocative, I think. At least, when you say, “I brought home a Persian Buttercup” you don’t sound like you have contracted a tropical disease! But we all know that names often belie the beauty of the thing. And a Ranunculus is truly a thing of beauty. Layer upon layer of tissue paper thin petals. . . it’s hard not to fall in love, even harder to make a choice.

Until I can recharge my camera battery, you’re going to have to take my word that we found a bit of Spring to bring home. The pot is this amazing blue, reticulated porcelain cache. And after much searching, we settled on a bright poppy colored bloom that the boy calls, “Lipstick red”. Which made me giggle, for some reason.

It continues to rain in sheets. But we don’t mind so much; we’ve got Ranunculus, after all!

UPDATE: See, Spring.


And apparently, some of you are fond of those little Garden Gnomes. . . who knew? Ok, I kinda guessed. 😀 Anyhow, I’m wishing I were more industrious, because if I could get that Gnome picture made into cards, I’d hold a contest to caption it. That Gnome with his hands on his hips just screams to say something witty, eh?

So, no offense to y’all who are lovin on the Gnomes. I’ve heard it said that love is blind. Evidently, it is.

Salvaging Hope


The sound of chainsaws woke me after a particularly difficult night of sleep. If you can call it sleep. It wasn’t early, but I was trying to catch up on what I’d lost during the night. I have plans that involve Scrabble tonight and I’m going to be humiliated even with sleep!

This noise has been a long time coming. The mammoth tree that came down in last year’s record storm is finally leaving and along with it, the spider infested shed that was completely rotten. As you can see from the photos in the post below, it was Ivy and plain stubbornness keeping the thing standing. Besides being useless, it has also become the Black Widow Hotel for the neighborhood. Yikes! So, down it came.


Along with it came the top half the of Laurel hedge. IZ can now see Young’s River and the basin below from his office. He’s elated. One of the gardeners salvaged this nest from the Laurels. I do hope whatever bird it belonged to has moved on. What a pity if it should come back and find in its absence that its building went co-op! I’ve reluctantly allowed Luke (the owner of Arbor Care, can’t recommend these guys enough if you’re local!!) to take the nest to his girlfriend who is a photographer and artist.


And along with the Laurels came down a good portion of my Lilac bushes/tree. One of which was so top heavy that the weight of all those blossoms was causing its trunk to split. Luke was nice enough to not slaughter the tree completely, as it’s still blooming. It will be pruned back further in the fall and he promises me that it will return to bloom again next year. I’ll be hedging my bets, pardon the pun, just the same and planting a few others in the hole. Just because lilacs grow like weeds here in Astoria is no reason I shouldn’t plant more! (and do click on the Astoria link: Old Oregon finally updated their outdated site and in its place is a lovely site full of amazing photos of the area! Change, change, it’s everywhere!)


The majority of the blooms were tossed. However, I managed to do a little salvaging of my own. I cut down three, large, branch sections worth of lilac stems and then bundled them up and delivered them to neighbors. It seemed such a waste to let them all go into the chipper.


And now the real work begins: clean up! Rain is promised for tomorrow—but today, it is glorious outside. All this change is hard to absorb but I’m salvaging hope in the midst of destruction. It’s hard not to be hopeful when the sun is out and your world smells of lilacs.

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  • Introvert and word lover and Christ seeker
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