It’s been an up and down week over at The Havens.
My third Blog Anniversary went by on the 24th without me noticing it particularly. I am amazed at the number of people I have met over the ensuing time I have blogged, and feel blessed by the associations. Thank you all for stopping by and getting to know me. It has been a lot of fun so far.
Anyone who tells you that hormonal disturbances are over after menopause is blowing smoke, I can tell you. I don’t have the huge mood swings I did in my younger years, but there is still stuff going on, no doubt about it. At least since I dropped below 180 I have not had any more hot flashes. I read somewhere that your adipose tissue produces estrogen, and that is why when we are in peri-menopause our female bodies have a tendency to put on some weight in preparation for or in response to the drop in estrogen production from the ovaries as they slow down. That is also why extremely obese men tend to develop some “female” characteristics. Anyway, if it is true that estrogen/progesterone imbalance promotes hot flashes and fat makes estrogen, having too much fat would certainly contribute to an imbalance and getting rid of same would help correct it, right?
Anyway, whatever the reason, I am happy not to be having the damned hot flashes. Knock on wood.
Another source of joy here is our vegetable garden, which has started producing some appreciable quantities of rather lovely vegetables. Yesterday I went out and scouted around and came up with this:
The sort of long green things in the upper left corner of the basket are long green Thai eggplants, and we had them for dinner last night in a Mediterranean vegetable sauté that was positively outstanding. As you can see, the broccoli is still producing enough to eat, we have a couple of gallons frozen for future reference. Those are the first “real” crop of green beans off the vines. They are scheduled to be eaten tonight, I think, along with the jägerschnitzel Jim is planning to cook.
We had a volunteer cucurbit of undefined parentage show up in the spring garden, and since it wasn’t bothering anyone I let it grow out to see what I had. What I have is a seedling of a wild gourd I brought home from the river several years ago to provide harvest decor for my front door.
The gourds that are coming out of the garden are considerably larger than the ones that were growing on the gravel bar; I guess they respond to good nutrition the same as any plant. The original gourds I discarded out on the “back forty”. Well, they didn’t get ground up and the pile they were in didn’t get very hot, and the following spring I noticed that the pile of dirt where they volunteered that year got completely covered with gourd vines, rampantly covered even. Eventually, I decided that the gourd that ate Missouri did not need to be growing in my back yard and I pulled them all up. Apparently, there are still seeds hiding in some plant version of a terrorist cell in my compost area, and this vine showed up in the garden. At first it was pretty cute, and I saw no female flowers on it so I let it go. Now it is of terrifying proportions, and the next time I go out to the garden I’m pulling it out of there. I need the pea fence for my fall pea crop.
Notice that the thing has climbed up into the grape arbor and is comingling with the grape vines. Apparently it does not suffer from acrophobia. I fully intend to put the actual gourds in the trash. I don’t really want any more of this thing on the place. So this is a source of both joy, because it truly is beautiful and the pollinators love the flowers; and despair, for I fear that I will never completely get rid of it now that I have brought it on the place — a sort of “Old Man of the Sea” situation.
Oh joy, oh rapture, the front garden is looking its typical lush July self.
See the pale pink on the left? Those are the naked ladies, up and flaunting their juicy blossoms.
I just love the pale blue/lavender tips on the petals.
The despair in this garden is sort of hidden. I have planted numerous bulbs in there, which of course aren’t really in evidence today. When I was beating back the black eyed susans, who think they should have the whole garden; and the spiderwort, which thinks the same thing; I discovered a trove of bulbs in the area I was digging up. In that area I know there are grape hyacinths and star of Bethlehem, and I’m pretty sure there are some pink chionodoxa there too. I sort of had my eye out for the chionodoxa because I wish to use it in another spot. Needless to say, when I dug up the area there was a plethora of bulbs in there, none of which I could identify and all of which look very similar to each other. I am in despair as to how to identify the chionodoxa from the other two small bulbs I know are there. At least the daffodil bulbs that came out of there I can recognize as such, and they are scheduled to be put into the labyrinth project.
Here is a combination “joy and despair” picture of the root cellar terrraces.
Joy: look at all those lily plants. They bloomed beautifully and smelled fabulous; over the years they have propagated themselves like gangbusters. The irises I have out there are beautiful, the sedum (Autumn joy) is working itself up to it’s August fireworks display, the day lilies are wonderful, the phlox is ecstatic. So why the despair?
Look closely at the front of the bed. There you can see an infestation of bermuda grass that is trying to take over this garden. I have tried to dig it out twice now. It has its rhizomes deep under the rocks of the terraces, wound around between them, and invading the beds behind. I have no choice but to either use some sort of chemical (which would be absolutely the last resort for me as I am truly committed to organic agriculture), or to tear out the whole garden including the rocks and the steps so laboriously established there and meticulously sift out all the bermuda grass.
Does this sound like a lot of work? For an idea of just how much, take a gander at this picture which gives you some idea of the scale of the rocks I am considering moving.
Those timbers on the left are old rail road ties. This whole area is a source of mingled joy and despair for me. It is so beautiful, and now it is turning into such a bear of work. I can’t even imagine what I am supposed to do with all the lilies and stuff that is in there already while I do the tear out, if I do tear it out. Will they survive? Who will help me move those rocks? Jim has a torn rotator cuff ligament in his shoulder and does not need to be heaving on any over 100 pound rocks at present. I just don’t know what to do and the longer I put it off the farther that damned grass goes and the worse the situation gets. Needless to say, yielding to the grass is not an option, because mowing or weed eating the thing is impossible with all those rocks. Don’t even suggest I cover them all up with dirt. They are WAY too cool a selection of rocks to treat that way.
Last joy and despair. Houseplants. The happier they are, the more they propagate. I was moving my aloe vera outside and a piece fell off it. I looked all the roots on the piece and said to myself, “I should pot this up.” So I did. It has absolutely loved what I did, the one single piece of aloe has filled the pot.
Joy, because I love seeing things grow and thrive. Despair because I have a hard time throwing out the “trimmings” of houseplants and I am running out of room to house them. I am also running out of friends to foist them off on give them to. Maybe it is time to harden my heart.
Well, I shall cling to the joy and try to set aside despair for now. It has been raining regularly around here, almost unheard of in July (joy), so everything is growing like mad, including the lawn (despair, sort of). So I need to go out and do some lawn mowing.
Guess I’d better get busy.