Woody’s Birthday

Woody wanted to celebrate his birthday on the actual date, rather than the weekend before or after.  We had a beautiful day together.  For once, he liked all his presents and nothing had to go back.   For supper, he requested steak, potatoes lyonaisse and asparagus with brown butter. All in all it was a good day.

All the hardy seedlings [cole crops, cilantro, lettuce, parsley, etc] I started are planted in the gardens.  All that’s in the greenhouse now but filling it entirely are the tender crops I started – pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes of all types, eggplants, tender herbs, marigolds, sunflowers, cucumbers, as well as tender bulbs  I planted in pots like calla lilies, dahlias and begonias.  It’s pruning time – should have done it already but the weather didn’t cooperate. It’s time for our first annual fight with the wisteria.  It always aims to take over the world.  We have to fight like superheroes to restrain it.  Also we have one rampant grape fine that is always attacking the pink dogwood.  Then there’s the flowering quince that has more modest aspirations but never gives up its desire to conquer.

The spinach  and lettuce are up, daffodils are blooming and I have to admit that varmints ate just about all the tulips we planted last fall. It’s time for me to go over the remaining flower beds and see what perennials survived this winter.  Time to figure out what I need to buy to fill empty places in the beds.  I take care of three raised flower beds and a hill I can access at least mostly.  Before my knee problems and then operations, I had many more flower beds, seven more at least.  I no longer try to start perennial flowers.  Just some annuals.  Perennials I buy now mail order or local nurseries. But four kinds of marigolds and sunflowers are in the greenhouse. 

Woody began work on a new rhubarb patch last fall and I ordered crowns to replace what died.  The previous patch, outside the gardens, dated from 1972.  The plants had been overrun by pineapple mint, which I recommend you NEVER grow: Like lemon balm, sweet woodruff, sweet cicely and jenny-over-the-ground, they are invasive and proliferate like mad and take over.  They smother anything else you planted. 

We also brought lawn furniture out of the gazebo and placed it where we want it.  It’s been chilly but almost windless the last couple of days.  March was a windy month here and so far, April too.  After a dry March, April has been damp damp.  The seedlings need water frequently so the rain helps.  We probably won’t get the irrigation hoses down before May.  That’s one of Woody’s solo jobs and time consuming for all three vegetable gardens. Usually he works on irrigation in early May.

I have been thinking about cats’ tails. Each of the cats has a distinctive tail.  Mingus, the smallest and oldest, has a strong tail.  He is the only cat you can occasionally grab by the tail if you have to.  It doesn’t bother him.  Zena has a long sturdy tail she does not want you to touch except gingerly.  She expresses her negative emotions with it.  Willow has a thick furry tail that she uses to hit you with if you stop petting her before she is ready – if she is ever ready for you to stop.  She is very gentle and has never scratched either of us but she works her tail as a command.  Schwartzie has a huge plumy tail.  If I’m sitting down on my couch and he is on the other side of the coffee table, all I see is that huge black plume of tail going straight up.  His tail is usually straight up like a feathery flag waving.  Schwartzie is a happy what-me-worry? cat.  Xena worries about everything, especially us.  She is our most serious cat who believes she runs the house with us and everything would disintegrate without her assistance.

We had supper at Brine’s last night with Ramon and Lois, just back from their winter in Puerto Rico,  They say electricity is back where they live but there is a lot of damage still and nobody including them has received insurance money yet.  They had to pay themselves for replacing missing windows and other repairs necessary to live in their condo.  We need a law about how long insurers can wait to pay people after a disaster.  They can now wait years.

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