Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it

Or at least the end of the summer, which is nearly as sad. Autumn always makes me feel a little blue. I love the colorful leaves, but the chill in the air and the shorter days always get me down. I have a hard time doing those end-of-season clean-up chores that I know are so necessary--cleaning out the veggie garden, protecting the hydrangeas, cutting back the iris and daylilies, mowing down the spotty, brown peonies. It all feels so final, so much like a funeral. I tend to compensate by planting spring bulbs, those little globes that feel like hope in your hand. Yes, winter is coming, with dark days and gloomy skies, but just beyond that is spring. Those little bulbs will defy the cold temperatures and dare to poke their green little noses through the snow, and even press their blooms out into the chill to announce that the darkness is nearly at an end!

I think part of my dreary feelings are due to the fact that we are making absolutely no progress on our house. The floors all still need replacing, the trim is still not up around any of the doors, the window sills and door frame continue to rot away, the roof is desperately in need of new shingles, and most of all, the bathroom is still torn up, and I have little hope that it will be repaired any time soon. Basically, Dave wants to do it all himself, rather than hire anyone, but he has neither the time nor the skill to do it, so it just goes undone. He wants to replace the roof before we do any other projects, but won't take action on it, and doesn't want me to take over on that. He doesn't want to have anyone over, primarily due to our lack of a decent bathroom, yet refuses to consider hiring someone to finish it, since the problem is bigger than we realized when we began.

It is difficult to spend so much time in a place that constantly frustrates you. I feel pretty powerless to do anything about it myself, and it is of no priority to Dave whatsoever. That is a difficult position to be in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Almost summertime!

I can't believe how long it has been since I posted anything here. I guess that is what happened when I discovered Facebook! It has been so fun to reconnect with so many high school and college friends, and keep up-to-date with my local friends, too!

I also got involved with another writing project on Dave's Garden, though this one is just for fun, not for pay. A group of us are doing a Round-Robin style writing project, where we each write a chapter of a story, then notify the next person that it is their turn. The first story I participated in was called Surprise Child, about the fall-out when a family discovers that the husband has an illegitimate adult child from an affair years ago.

The current story is completely different, about a widow and her children struggling to make it on a ranch in Arizona, in the early 1900's. This one has been much more of a stretch for me, since I've never been to Arizona, and know very little about ranching or cattle drives. It's a challenge, though, and you know I've always loved a challenge! It has just forced me to use some research skills that had gotten a little rusty. It's been a really fun group of people to write with. We are spread over the entire country, from Kentucky to Washington to California to Oregon, and with about a 30 year range of ages, as well!

School is out (obviously), and the month of June has already been flying by. Matthew decided he did not want to play baseball this year, so our game and practice schedule has been much easier to handle. Justin has games twice a week, and practice once a week, which is manageable. No more nights where they have to be in different towns at the same time! Justin's skills have really improved, and he is getting old enough to pay attention and enjoy the game a little more, too! It will soon be time for swimming lessons, too.

My garden has come a long way since last year. I dug up a whole new area for some iris I purchased, added 3 new hydrangea bushes and 7 new clematis, and finally got a trellis, something I've been longing for since we bought the house. On the "edibles" front, I added a bed of 8 different varieties of garlic, which I planted last fall and plan to harvest late summer, and a strawberry bed which we've been greatly enjoying! I never did get my asparagus planted, much to my regret.

My chief sorrow in the garden is the loss of our lovely blackberries. We had a big patch of huge, juicy, flavorful blackberries, the nice thornless kind. Last summer, they somehow became infected with orange rust fungus, and despite all our efforts to eradicate it and remove any diseased plants, it has taken over our entire patch. I am sad to say that we've seen the last of our bountiful blackberry harvests. If we do decide to replant new canes, we'll have to do it in a different area of the yard, to avoid infecting the new berries.

I bought a couple of blueberry bushes this spring, but have yet to get them in the ground. I've been wanting to plant my very own Blueberry Hill, a reminder of the nickname I had in high school (when my last name was Hill), and which has since been revived on Dave's Garden. We also have a couple of dwarf lilacs to plant, and a whole picnic table full of seedlings and plants from different swaps and garden centers. If only it would STOP RAINING! I have yet to even get my vegetable garden planted. This is a new low for me. I even started peppers and tomatoes from seed months ago, and have cucumbers, watermelons, canteloupe, and broccoli started from seed and ready to go, too. I'm afraid there will be no beans, peas, or spinach this year, with my late start and the hot weather. I MIGHT still get beans in, but it is just too hot for the others!

That is my life in an nutshell. Busy and hectic, but life is good.