Monthly Archives: May 2020

A Typical Day

This morning, I took time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some patio time with the dogs. I soaked in the beauty of the flowers and greenery. The dogs enjoyed it too. Zekie found the plastic whale from the top of the old pool thermometer and thought it made a fine toy. He followed me around and put the whale at my feet, then snatched it away, saying “see what I have!”

After a lunch of homemade pizza, I put the dogs out in the fenced pasture to play and enjoy the sunshine. Then it was work time for me. I pruned the old fashioned lilac that grows beside the kitchen window. The original lilac died. The one that is there now was moved here as a young rootling. It came from grandma’s house in town. It is old enough to have some dead branches so I gave it a good trim.

I also pruned the ancient scarlett azalea outside the living room window. It has a beautiful color. I have not seen another in this shade of red-orange-peach. The base of the bush is enormous and gnarly giving it an ancient feel. The house was built in 1830 so I have no idea how old the azalea is. I didn’t trim the bush back nearly as far as I felt it should be. Parts of it are not in the best of health and I didn’t think it would survive a drastic trimming. I hope this makes it stronger next year, then I can prune it again.

Then I moved on to more mundane chores. I pulled the dried out vines from last year’s morning glories off the fence, picked up grass clumps from the weed eater, and weeded around newly sprouted plants in the vegetable garden.

All the prunings and weeds, I took to the pile at the back of our woods where we dump such things. Eventually we get some nice compost at the bottom of the pile. The walk through the woods is always interesting. Halfway back on the left is our pet cemetery. It elicits memories each time I pass. The neighbor’s yellow marsh irises are visible around her pond. There are always plants of interest to notice along the way. Jack-in-the-pulpits. Solomon’s seal. It is a pleasant walk if your load is not too heavy.

After the work was done, I took three of the dogs for a walk to the township park and back. Zekie was a good boy. He only barked at one car, even though 7 or 8 cars passed us. We crossed to the other side of the road when we passed a house with two dogs behind a slat fence. Zekie looked at them but didn’t bark! I was so proud.

This is a typical day for me as a retired person living in the country.

Lilacs and Memories

Old fashioned lilacs with lily of the valley
Royal lilacs
Miss Kim lilacs

We have three types of lilacs. All have that wonderful lilac scent. The benefit of having multiple types is that they bloom at different times, so lilac season lasts about a month for us. This is indeed a wonderful thing.

Certain scents can make your mind retrieve memories from long ago. When I smell lilacs, it reminds me of a perfume my mother had that she purchased from a local drug store many years ago. It smelled like lilacs, not like some perfumey replica. I remember picking it up from my mother’s vanity.

The scent of lilacs can make me feel like a carefree little girl. Some scents can unlock the magic.

Comfrey and Hummingbird Moths

I split my comfrey plant in two this year. This is the split that I move to a new location. Aside, from not being quite as tall as the half left in place, it is doing great.

This is a plant that I grow not for it’s great beauty, but for the variety of pollinators that it draws. It does draw assorted types of bees. Even better, the hummingbirds love it.

But the main reason I grow comfrey is because it draws hummingbird moths like nothing I’ve ever seen!

I can’t get enough of watching them. They are a moth that moves like a hummingbird and they have antennae. I find them fascinating. The one above was in my garden last year, feeding on one of our butterfly bushes, of which they are also quite fond. Keep an eye out for them. They are worth the effort.

Socially Distanced

This is the face of a happy girl who got to see her family for the first time in three months!

There was no touching or hugging and everyone sat far apart. But still, it was awesome!

Yesterday, I saw my brother, his wife, and my two nieces. It was a balm to the soul. The girls were so well behaved and kept their distance. Not being able to see them for so long is the only thing that has made me cry during these times.

Today I saw my daughter, her boyfriend, and mother in law. We split the gatherings because it’s easier to social distance and sanitize with less people.

We practiced giving air hugs from six feet away. Not nearly as satisfying, but better than nothing.

These times seem unique to me, but really, it’s happened before. The pox epidemic of the 1600’s. The influenza outbreaks of the late 1800’s and, of course, of 1918. Pandemics resulting in mask wearing and extreme measures. Likely, it will happen again.

Let’s not again take for granted the time spent with family and friends though. Let us remember to cherish each other’s company. It is a gift that will not soon lose its value.

Scents of Spring

Walking around the yard yesterday evening just before it was time to come inside for the day, I encountered several flowers that smelled divine. The lily-of-the-valley is lovely. It reminds me of a perfume stick I had as a young girl, Muguet.

I also came across honeysuckle. Our bush has never had as many flowers as it does this year.

And this is our first iris to bloom for the year. It has that faint scent of grapes. The first of our three types of lilacs is in bloom as well. I just had to bring some of inside to enjoy.

Vegetable Garden Planting

Icicle Radishes

We spent most of the day yesterday putting in our vegetable garden. We tilled one row and planted it with seeds for icicle radishes, turnips, and beets, less than a week ago. All of them are up already.

Yesterday morning hubby gave the rest of the garden it’s final tilling. I made hills and planted the cucumber, yellow crookneck squash, and zucchini seeds, while hubby planted green bean and Romano bean seeds.

We worked together planting four types of tomatoes that we purchased as plants. We chose lemon boy, Romas, pineapple, and Mr. Stripey varieties. Mr. Stripey is my all time favorite tomato. I search it out every year. It has the perfect, slightly sweet tomato flavor. Since it is a combination yellow and red tomato, it is lower in acid, but still has great flavor.

At this point, hubby had to go mow the yard before the rain set in. So, I finished up planting sugar snap pea, a mixture of lettuce, and spinach seeds. I watered all the vegetable plants after that. Hubby watered them again before dark.

I watered all again this morning, and mulched the tomatoes with grass clippings. Garden 2020 is off to a good start.

And then before coming in for the evening, the smell of the lilacs and lily-of-the-valley was so sweet, I had to bring a few sprigs inside so I could continue to enjoy them!

Lilac and Lily-of-the-Valley

Spring Planting

Super bells

This was a busy day. This morning I baked bread since we were nearly out. Then I made an oatmeal cake with chocolate frosting.

The afternoon was devoted to planting many of the flowers we purchased yesterday on our trip out into public for the first time in over two months. I planted the usual six hanging baskets for our porch.

Black Cherry Petunias

From there I planted some urns and pots for the patio garden.


Dahlias and mounding vinca

Dahlia and Petunia


I bought a new dianthus to add to one of the flowerbeds. We already have some, but they have been coming back for many years and I thought we could use some new stock. This one is a nice, bright pink.

Bleeding hearts, Dicentra

I didn’t plant these bleeding hearts. They are a perennial that was here long before I bought this property. The blooms are peaking right now, so I wanted to share them with you.

Gardening season has begun in earnest. We will plant the rest of the vegetable garden this week. Our radishes and turnips are up already in less than a week!

Flowers and Social Distance

We bought flowers for the gardens today. It is the first time we have been inside a store of any kind in over two months. We, of course, wore masks.

Most folks were wearing masks and polite, keeping their social distance. Some were not wearing masks, but kept their social distance. I saw a few wearing masks beneath their noses, but covering their mouths. I guess even if they weren’t protecting themselves, at least they were protecting others and making an effort.

And then, there were those few who wore no mask and did not keep their distance. One lady was shopping while yapping on her phone. She seemed intent on following us up and down the aisles and looking at flowers where we were standing. We did not seem to be able to get away from her. We finally went to another area of the garden section.

During checkout, there were not enough markers 6 feet apart for the amount of customers. A man without a mask apparently did not have a concept of 6 feet. He kept inching closer and closer.

I am not an “in your face” person, but I was just shy of telling these shoppers to back off. This is not a game to us. Our family has high risk concerns. Please consider how your behavior affects others. If you are not going to wear a mask, at the least, give others space.

Once we returned home, it was time for planting! We got just a handful of flowers tucked in before it started to rain. So, we know what tomorrow holds. More planting! The beautiful blooms made me feel like I had trays of jewels awaiting me. I guess I do.

A Satisfying Weekend

It was nice enough to sit on the patio this weekend. It was enjoyable to sit and appreciate all the hostas and other plants that we moved into last year’s new raised beds. In fact, after a long winter and disappointing spring, we are enjoying many plants.

New growth is everywhere at this time of year. On a walk through our little township park, we saw many May apples. They remind me of little parasols.

The last of the viburnum blossoms overlapped with the first lilacs of spring.

And the large scarlet azalea is once again a showstopper.