Archive for March 4th, 2007

It’s been an interesting 24 hours, really.  In addition to filling the bird feeders three times, doing some brush clearing, and gardening a little bit, we were social butterflies as well.  Right around this time yesterday we left home to drive up to the sauna.  Jim had spent the day preparing sticky buns, which he was planning to cook at the party so we could all have fresh warm sticky buns. 

We knew that the moon was supposed to be coming out of a total eclipse as it rose, so Jim kept his eye out for it while I drove.   We hadn’t even really gotten outside of town before he said, “There it is!”  Sure enough, the moon was rising as the sun dropped behind the horizon in the west, and all that was visible was a thin red crescent.  I understand the red color is due to the sun shining through the atmosphere of the earth.  It was beautiful. 

All during the long drive north on Highway 5  past Camdenton airport and out Highway 7 to Montreal, we watched as the shadow of the Earth moved across the face of the moon, revealing it to us.  I had to snatch glimpses as we drove past large open fields where the trees were not blocking the view.  Later on, the moon had risen high enough that the trees were no longer an issue, and anyway that stretch of Highway 7 runs almost due east, so we had a great view all the way to Montreal.   About the time we got to C and N’s place, just the last bare terminus of the shadow was left taking a little nick out of the edge of the moon.  By the time we went up to the sauna, the moon was sailing high above us, full silver disk illuminating the valley they own in a blaze of silver.  

It was really great to get together with our friends and tell ice storm stories.   S and K live completely off the grid anyway, and the worst part of the the ice storm for them was having to listen to all the generators being run by their neighbors.  Well, and the fact that S had pneumonia last month and K fell down on the ice and broke a toe.  Of course, their woods are a mess, but at least there will be lots of firewood available. 

After we had all had a great sauna, Jim presented us with the sticky buns.  Honestly, they were a rlmost a  religious experience.  The dough is made with butter and milk and sugar, and positively melts in your mouth, revealing nuggets of raisins embedded in it.  The caramel permeates the rolls of dough with rich cinnamon and butter.   Strewn about the whole thing was a few pieces of pecan.  This delectation was served at the perfect temperature, just warm enough that all the caramel was still runny, but no hot spots to burn the unwary mouth.   The whole entire panful was gone in about ten minutes.   

I have to say my hands are extremely sore as I type this.  I may have to cut this short.  The trouble is, I started getting obsessive-compusive about the japanese honeysuckle that is trying to take over the back part of the lot.   Unfortunately, it has wrapped itself in and around a couple of honey locusts, and I stabbed myself in the left palm with one of the thorns of this tree.  It pierced right through my calf skin gloves as if they weren’t even there.   Shortly after that, as I was attempting to move the branch that had that thorn on it, I stabbed the middle finger of my right hand with another needle sharp thorn.  Undeterred, I removed another 8 to 10 honeysuckle vines before I went back to the job they had distracted me from, namely removing the fountain grass from where I planted it on the root cellar garden. 

I have some advice for any novice gardener.  Before you plant any sort of fountain grass, you should make sure that that is really where you want it to be.   If it likes it there, you will have it.  I have a friend who has a clump of this stuff, and it is beautiful.  It is also huge:  the clump is at least 8 feet in diameter.   It has actually forced the rocks that were supposed to contain it out of the ground.  I believe it would take a bulldozer to move it. 

The clump I moved today at the expense of a great deal of labor was only about 16 inches in diameter.   I not only dug it up, I split it into thirds.   I am not trying to eradicate it, serves a wonderful use in the landscape.  I simply wanted to reposition it in a more advantageous place.   It will end up making a wonderful backdrop for the rugosa roses I put in that garden last year.  I relocated a pair of them from my rose garden because the original bushes needed to be pruned and I couldn’t stand to throw away perfectly good plants.

Well, there are also a couple of holly trees back there.  I thought they were supposed to get 10 feet high, but they must be awfully slow growing because they have been in that spot for about 4years, and they are only a foot tall.  Of course, they started out about 5 inches tall, so I guess I shouldn’t be impatient.  Also, I need to cut them some slack, for they are doing quite nicely; this winter the female was loaded with beautiful red berries.  Anyway, the huge fountain grass in front of them obscured all that, so I have dug it out and moved it behind.  In the process, I moved about 5 rocks over to the terraces from my rock pile and refined my terraces.  That made it possible to move one of my Prairie Blue Eyes day lilies up one level on the root cellar. 

I need to do some studying up on lilies.   I have planted all sorts of lilies in this terraced garden.   There is an oriental lily that has gone absolutely berserk.  When I was revamping terraces, I noticed a clump of lily bulblets at the surface where I knew that lily had bloomed last year.  They needed planting, so I decided to dig them out.  Not knowing exactly where the parent bulb was, I sort of took a good sized chunk of soil up along with the bulblets.   Down below where my shovel had bitten I could see the top of the parent bulb — about 3 inches in diameter, and shining healthy white against the red clay soil I was disturbing.   Above the parent, and in the bowl of my shovel, was a clump of lily bulbs that had divided off that bulb.  It took two hands to carry this treasure trove.  There were at least twenty separate bulbs, ranging in size from 1 inch in diameter with only 3 bulb divisions to 2 inches in diameter, shaped like fat garlic bulbs and sprouting the infant lily stalk from their centers.   So, after I got the grass and the day lilies relocated, and the rocks well set in their new homes, I took my double handful of lily bulbs down to my wildflower strip by the street, and planted them.  I don’t suppose that is truly authentic, having tall, sweet scented oriental lilies in amongst the wild flowers.  

The lilies will  be pretty though.  And they will smell wonderful.

Now, my dinner is ready, and I believe I might take a couple of aspirin and see if they will make my left hand a little less stiff.  I also believe I will soak both my “thorned” hands in salt water after dinner.  Locust thorns are mean.

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