Sunday, May 2, 2010

Frantically glad

That is May in a nutshell for me.

For starters, let me celebrate the easier breathing out of doors that is May. WooHOO! It is such a gift to be able to open windows to cooled night air. If you haven't been robbed of the opportunity to do so safely you may have lost sight of the treasure of these lovely cooler evenings and mornings. Long may they wave!

I love my oak trees for the most part and now they aren't trying to poison me with their prolific reproductive tendencies we are fast friends once more.

On the other hand, my ability to move more freely about my cabin also means no more excuses over jumping in to garden chores other folks have long since accomplished.

 Every year it is the same. I know I can't work outside in April due to pollen. I know the chores will all be there waiting for me in May. I read about what I "should" be doing and I begin to look around our property with eyes that start to see every area more as a checklist of outstanding work to be done. It is daunting - no other word for it - to get back outside and have half of March and all of April's chore list to tackle in my garden.

For me it is an exercise in will to look at my flowers and enjoy them, rather than focusing on the weeds in the path or the divisions and transplanting that needs to be done.

The scale of work needed is large enough it can be paralyzing, but with years of similar late start freak-outs behind me I know just what to do. I start with one small job, get that done, and then begin another.

Rinse, lather, repeat. Any jobs too large to do in a reasonable work span get broken up into smaller pieces and I focus on the small victories, rather than the huge backload.

For instance... Out front there were two dead limbs in a redbud we'd thought was a goner. However, it not only didn't die, now it looks better than it has for a good three years so far.

 I can't explain why or how the longest deepest drought followed by a fairly cold span of winter days would benefit a struggling redbud so I don't try. I look at it and love it for being so tough and yesterday I by golly clambered up onto our stone mailbox and from there, alternating with perching precariously on a step ladder, I got those dead branches pruned out.

Same goes for an althea out front. It had two dead branches yesterday. Today it doesn't.

Does that mean there aren't 391 pruning and other jobs to be attended to? No it does not. But two major eyesores out front, the ones that bothered ME the most, have been addressed. I can drive in and out and get the mail without feeling like I must avert my eyes.

The length of my May "to-do" list does not overrule the idea that these days I really am forced to pace myself. As a gardener closer to 60 than 50 I have learned the hard way not to push my limits they way I used to so take for granted.  If I want my return to the garden to last without a retreat due to injury or overwork?  I simply must plug away for a span of time and then turn and walk away.

Yes I know it will get hot and stay hot soon enough. And yes, I'd rather get the biggest heaviest stuff all done before that happens if I can. But honestly, there are some years everything doesn't get done precisely as it should, or when it should.  The garden doesn't care apparently so I am learning to simply let that go.

At least a little.

If I'm not learning something while I'm gardening then I think I may be missing why I even ever tried to garden in the first place.

Plants will grow outside with or without me.

I like it best when they do so with my cooperation.

So welcome to you May! I'm happy to  be back in my garden again!


  1. Not every thing made it through the winter here but most did. I'm glad you didn't lose the trees. A few limbs won't matter. All my natives made it just fine and that makes me want to plant more. We probably all should.

    I've never thought about leaving windows open in town. It made me think that some aren't as lucky as I, living out in the country with no house any where close. Thanks for making me think. You've done that before.

  2. Yea! Everything is better when you can breathe.

    I don't have an April fog and I'm still behind. Doing just like you, one chore at a time.

    Tickled to see some of your yard art.

    Enjoy your spring!

  3. When your post excerpt came up on my list, I read "Scantily clad" and pictured a scene of lounging in shorts or bikini.
    And there you were, working your sox off after your enforced rest. Don't overdo it now, will ye.

  4. Oh Bob. I think you just ARE a thinker. But, you're welcome. When we open windows we also let in a certain amount of neighborhood (and MoPac) noise - but being close to a community pool and ballpark a lot of it is very friendly. It is after all, the way people sound.

    Kat, thanks for the encouragement. We got a lot done yesterday, thanks to our daughter pitching in. It makes me silly glad to make progress.

    Jo! I love the way your mind works. Alas my scantily clad days (at least in terms of public exposure) are long gone. I am being very careful (for me). I've learned that lesson the hard way too many times already. Think it finally took!

  5. I wonder if you are still sleeping with the windows open. We have been but I think last night may be the last. Not because of the temperature but the noises. A bachelor mocking bird is singing through the night. I'm sorry you missed April and now we are getting so hot so soon. 2 hours in the morning is about it. Like you I am getting more sensible about working out in the heat. Just can't take it without consequences any more. The garden will wait and who knows what surprises it will bring. Always something new. Love the toad house. Do you have a resident?

  6. Our daughter is still having allergy woes so no windows open except for brief stretches around here. That is a shame about your bachelor bird being so noisy Jenny. Typical for a single young male however - self centered all the way.

    We had a toad house resident for one season but it is my impression we have sufficient small toad and lizard and bird eating snakes around now that the house has been unoccupied except for that grinning porcelain guy up top for a while.


About Me

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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.