yard nazis, part 2

Believe me, I appreciate help when I need it. I have no false modesty about that. Also, I believe if someone wants to do something nice for another person, it is wrong not to let them have that chance. Though I haven’t been sick this summer, I haven’t felt up to the level of effort a pristine garden requires.

Of course, I also don’t believe in removing any organic material from a garden if possible. Return to the soil what you can, and it will more than return benefits to you down the road. That is, I try to return yard waste back to the soil. It’s an organic gardening strategy that encourages healthy, loamy soil that is full of nutrients, worms, and the micro-flora and fauna that is healthy soil. Traditional gardeners see that as messy gardening, so they rake out the good mulch and use chemicals to force their plants to poop out fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Ugh!

"herb garden"

Though my herb garden this year wasn’t much, it gave me fresh herbs for my food. Maybe it wasn’t obvious, but weed-whacking through this plot would have been very aromatic because there was a border of chives and separate plantings of peppermint, basil, tarragon, and dill weed. My door was open. I could have been asked if there was anything I wanted to save. I guess in the world of yard nazismus, scorched earth is the policy.

mint saved by bluebells

Some of my mint survived because it was mixed in the bluebells, or, as I look at it, because bluebells were mixed in my mint!

About 6:15 this morning, there was a racket outside. My cats weren’t happy, of course, but they watched out the door anyway, then ran over to me to get a little loving and reassurance. Yep, yard nazis were at work! Not like the time my neighbor across the grass took it on herself to clean out my garden space, pulling out my mint and removing the organic material I wanted to decompose into the soil, though. This was serious weed-whacking!

rhubarb

Find the rhubarb in this picture. You can’t? Well, there are the stumps of two plants in the picture somewhere. Weed-whackery that just makes no sense to me. Rhubarb isn’t everyone’s favorite, but the plant is attractive enough most people recognize it as something the gardener planted there, something with a purpose.

dill saved by bluebells

Bless you, little dill weed! You survived because you were among the real weeds, those bluebells! What irony! Maybe there is a value to bluebells after all!

2008-12-31 yard nazismus 015 volunteer elm sapling

Hee! Hee! You are an elm sapling! You survived the herbal pogrom! Grow, little tree! Grow 80 feet tall!

I don’t own this place, I just rent it. I guess I don’t have much say in anything, and there isn’t much point to having anything but bluebells and iris, scentless roses and the thistle. The latter has taken over many of the flower beds in the complex, a gift from birds that eat thistle seed, perhaps, or the wind. Let the morning glories spread like the wind, speaking of which. Don’t bother with the weeding because the weed-whacking yard nazis will be through eventually. If you didn’t plant it, you won’t feel bad when they whack it to the ground! Whack! Whack! Whack!

I’m all about surviving retirement with two cats, eh? What happens outside I will try not to let bother me. Much. Remember, too, when someone wants to do something nice for you it is wrong not to let them have that chance. Yard nazis have mothers, too. In fact, I also know them to be really nice, thoughtful people. My not-so-obvious garden will all grow back.

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forgotten promises

We all do it. Make a promise, then forget it.

That’s OK, I suppose, among very good friends, friends who overlook transgressions those outside the circle regard as hopelessly impossible circumstances, a reason for judgment, a sure fire cause for cessation of the acquaintance. People!

What, then, if the promise is a Lenten promise, one, in essence, to God?

That’s where I am just now. If you go back to the start of these blogs, you see one that has to do with patience with others whose driving habits DRIVE YOU CRAZY.

The stupid cows! You know who you are! You drive 20 in a 35 mph zone! You signal turns by applying your brakes! OR you signal two clicks of your turn signal before you turn, but I’ve been waiting a HEN (my late father’s all-pupose cleaned-up curse world, bless his soul!) LONG time for you to cross the intersection so I can turn onto the road where you drive. Get the point? If I knew you were turning right on my street, I could turn right on your street. Traffic would move efficiently, smoothly, at the speed it would move if YOU WEREN’T A STUPID COW! Or SOB. Or, well names that are imaginative and deny you your humanity.

The conclusion I drew, in that earlier blog, was that I’d achieved a level of maturity where I realized the driving behaviors of others- the ones that didn’t kill or maim me, at least- didn’t make much difference in time it took to drive from one side of the small town where I live to the other, so I just grinned and didn’t let these behaviors bother me any more.

Almost a year later, however, I realized that not only did the driving behaviors no longer bother me any more, they sure as hell didn’t bother me any LESS, you STUPID SLUT COW! Use that turn signal. It came standard with the pickup. Yeah! Drive the speed limit. Pu-leeze!! SLUT COW!

What happened?

I do not know. So I made examination of the hate and discontent with other drivers my Lenten challenge. It worked, after three solid years, on grudges. Lent is the start of the process for me, the trial run, the promises made time, the prayerful examination of myself in a Christian context time. Tedious to you non-Christians, I know, but this is one of those things we flog ourselves about, if we use the time more constructively than “I will give up televison”- or “I will give up chocolates”-variety of Lenten challenge.

During Lent, those forty days, I examine myself prayerfully, devise means to extricate myself from a private hell, make myself more presentable to our Heavenly Father when the time comes. “Jesus was sacrificed on a cross for you, so how did you adjust your life to reflect you understanding of his sacrifice for you?

…AND THE OTHER F’ing SLUT COWS!

No, no, NO! He loves you regardless of your lame efforts to walk with Jesus. Even those you call slut cows. We all are his children. Yeah. Even the slut cows. Yep! Them, too.

It’s going to be a long Lent this year. So far I’ve failed miserably to address this afflication. Perhaps Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services will shame me into a serious effort: I am very moved by these two days in the liturgical calendar.

I don’t know. If you are inclined, please pray for me. I need healing.

Thank you.

Weggieboy

volunteerism- how to pay up what you owe

My mother and father spent tens of hundreds of hours in volunteer activities that benefited the community where they lived most of their lives.

So engrained was their habit of volunteerism, their grave marker includes this saying: “Service to others is the price you pay for the space you occupy.” Carved in stone! Both were active volunteers in the church. But there is an extreme example of volunteerism: My mother taught water safety classes and adapted aquatics for 60 years as a Red Cross Volunteer. The only thing that involved her attention as long was her marriage, which lasted 71 years, until my father died November 4, 2008.  So grateful was the community that the City Council past a resolution  to name the bath house at the new swimming pool after her, an honor rarely given to living people who don’t first fork over a million or so dollars! On the plaque bolted to the front of the bath house: “Service to others is the price you pay for the space you occupy.” Cast in brass!

"Service to others is the price we pay for the space we occupy." Barely seen, the family motto of service to others is carved into the stone of my parent’s gravemarker as well. Place your cursor on the photo….

There’s a pattern there, and a challenge. I am my parents’ child. I live in the community where their good works stand as testament to their character. It is a small town, where I rarely have a day that someone doesn’t say, for example, “Oh, your mother taught me to swim!” Or “Your mother and father helped tile this fellowship hall.” Or, well, you get the idea!

Until they went into the care center half a block north of my apartment, I helped my parents as they became less and less able to take care of their needs. I planted gardens, a great joy, as you can guess if you read the blog before this one. I scooped snow. That had to be a great labor of love, I tell you, because I hated, hated, hated every scoop I pushed off the walk and drive! I mowed grass. I hated that until I bought a push mower. That allowed me to mow in the early, cool morning, bare footed. I raked fall leaves. Those I returned to the garden. I loved improving the soil that way. By the time we had to leave the house, the garden soil was so loose, you could turn it with a little effort and a garden fork. This service to others counts, I suppose, though doesn’t it fall more under “familial duty”? I think so.

I retired January 30, 2009. Now is the time for me to pay the price for the space I occupy!

rhubarb- a tasty fight

I live in a retirement community, I guess you’d call it. I live in the south end of a duplex apartment, where my co-resident’s  floor plan is the opposite, a mirror image of mine. That means the noisiest activities either my neighbor or I might be involved with take place the farthest distance possible from the other’s bedroom. Neat!

Good floor plans make good neighbors.

I, as a youth, used to write an Indonesian boy. At some point, he mailed two recordings of Gamelan music played specifically for accompaniment of Wayang shadow puppet shows. I mention that to alert you to my interest, now, in this eery, beguiling, lovely music. Were it not for the floor plan, I would hesitate to play any of my Gamelan orchestra CDs for fear of upsetting my neighbor, whose tastes are more country, I think. 

I’m listening to some seriously serious , classically classical Surakarta Court Gamelan music as I write.  It’s up a bit loud. Yes! ~ bliss! ~ a rhubarb averted by a good floor plan!

Another neighbor and I forage for the available rhubarb when one doesn’t think the other will see it happen. A rhubarb averted by stealth, but neither of us gets as much as we’d like.  That, of course, had a lot to do with why I bought three new starts of rhubarb to plant on “my” rented turf.

I told you yesterday about planting those rhubarb starts, as an act of faith, but not that the undeclared Rhubarb War would come to an end, peacefully, with all rhubarb patches properly claimed and undisputed!  

After I posted the account, I decided to go over to the care center to see my mother. I stepped outside the front door to find a smallish box CDs or DVDs could come in. Perplexed, I took it in, slit the tape and found… six more rhubarb starts! What?! What was I thinking when I placed two orders for rhubarb starts?

Another rhubarb averted! A Golden Rule moment! I decided to ask my neighbors if they’d like to have rhubarb starts, that I had the proper tools (and, now, attitude!) to do the planting  job if they did. And at least one does. I talked with her when I chanced to see her outside this morning. Two neighbors left to ask. The one I sneak around to avoid while rhubarb’s in season surely will accept my gift! The one who is co-resident of this duplex may accept some more.

Rhubarb’s about US$2 a bunch, about a pie’s worth, at the grocery store. If they have it. We’re all retired. Rhubarb’s in short supply in our part of the complex, making it a potential source of friction (oh, it is!). But I have this plan, this way to change the rhubarb season into one of peace and joy and harmony and bliss and sour stalks eaten fresh from the early, chill morning garden, with no guilt! Whew! 

Rhubarb. There you go: with faith, TLC, time, the neighborhood will have so much rhubarb everyone will be trying to find homes for the surplus. That’s the Golden Rule in action, and that’s the Prairie Way, too. Take care of your neighbors when they are in need, and know they will be there when your turn comes.

(p.s. For those who haven’t experienced a really awesome Gamelan performance, I’ve attached a link to a YouTube entry, below. I hope you enjoy this very different and magical style of music!)