"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring Fever

Early this morning, while I was lying in bed resting my weary muscles, the Chap had an encounter with our resident snowshoe hares. They were in the backyard near the vegetable garden.

One was more camera-friendly than the other.

At my last sighting, both were pure white, scurrying across the snow. With the cange of season, they're turning brown.

Yesterday morning, as we headed off to church, I glanced at my messy front garden and predicted that we'd see daffodils blooming later in the day.

There was a service of Holy Baptism. Everyone was in spring attire, enjoying the warm weather. At the reception afterwards they were passing around the baby, so beautiful and well-behaved.

I'm more accustomed to cuddling dogs, as you know. This little sweetheart weighs less than Ruth and didn't wiggle at all.

Back at home, the Chap and I spent all afternoon outdoors. He messed about with automobiles, washing them till they gleamed and checking batteries and fluids and hauling out the regular tires so I can replace the snow tires.

I was labouring long and hard in my front garden--hot work. Luckily I found a way to keep my drink nice and cool! I stuck the cup--which I've had longer than I've had the Chap--in the Wonder Wall, the last pile of snow in the shadiest spot in front of our house.

By the end of the afternoon, I had tidied up all six quadrants of the front garden. Yes, I know, six quadrants is impossible...I'm being silly. Actually there are four very large sections and two smaller, triangle-shaped ones. All were littered with oak and beech leaves, which I cleared away--exposing all sorts of spring bulbs. Including the daffodils, which bloomed exactly as I prophesied.

I trimmed the all the lavender and my heather, which survived last year's transplanting.

So did my peonies. The one fact I know about peonies is that they hate, hate, hate to be moved. So it was with some trepidation last autumn that I decided I'd sited mine in the wrong place. Over the years the white one has reliably thrown out a couple of blossoms but hasn't enlarged; I've never seen a bloom on the red one since the day I put it in the ground. Their survival is the first achievement. If they actually bud I'll be over the moon!

One big job was pruning all 25 rose bushes in the big front garden. That's not even a third of the total collection, so there's much more pruning ahead.

The antique varieties were terribly overgrown and out of bounds--especially Double Blush Burnet (the earliest bloomer) and my three beloved gallicas, Charles de Mills, Rosa Mundi, and the Velvet Rose. I shaped them very nicely, if I do say so myself, and popped out lots of deadwood at the base of each plant--which should've been removed long ago.

Lastly, and most importantly, I installed the mesh deer barrier around the entire front garden. During autumn, I didn't dismantle it properly, which requires the painstaking removal of the mesh from the stakes. I simply pulled up the stakes and rolled the whole thing up and stored it in the garage intact. I expected much difficulty as a result of my laziness, but in fact the process of putting it back in place was quite easy--far easier than I probably deserved. My only frustration came when I whacked my left forefinger with the big mallet, not very hard. It barely broke the skin. The Chap was standing nearby, distracting me with an offer to do the job himself. He should know better.

Today's it's even warmer, and slightly breezy. Lola, Ruth, and Jewel spent all morning on the big deck, napping or watching chipmunks and squirrels till the sun reduced the size of the cool shadow pool they were lying in.

I'll probably work on another section of garden this afternoon--more leave removal, half-a-dozen more roses to prune. And now that the snow has completed receded from the back portion of the yard, plant the snow peas (mange-tout) I purchased on Saturday.

My next prediction of bloom is the forsythia: any day now. When the flowers fall off, I'll undertake a pruning project that involves a very, very tall ladder. The tiny shrub I put in the ground years ago is an immense tree!

A Governor's Office staffer just phoned to request my presence at a meeting this week. His Excellency is seeking my support for his education proposal--I'm still on the fence and may sit there for a while longer.

My arms should be well-muscled from all the raking, digging, and pruning and strong enough to withstand any twisting that might occur.

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