Still Here, Just a Little Blurred As I Rush Past the Keyboard

I am on my way out the door to engage in a little of what the ancients called 'tilling the soil.' That I am already tired is neither here nor there. I am a parent! This blog could be subtitled In Which I Escape To the Garden. But I have realized as G begins to read that I don't want her to get the wrong idea. I love my children. I stay at home with them, purposefully, because of this love. I think they will see, when they are grown with children of their own that raising Littles is not for the lazy or half-hearted by any means. And I am feeling the laziness this summer. The push towards indolence, a longing for the days when I could lay on the grass and peep up at the sky between branches, idly wondering when the cabana boy would be by with a refill. (I don't know where the cabana boy imagery came from....) Anyway, there is no grassy lazing these days. The site of a supine Mommy engenders only wild bouts of Mountain Man climbing from the two-year old, that or desperate cries to do something, anything, other than lie down. And most days, I am okay with that. This too shall pass, and probably way too soon. I am trying to glory in the moments of toddler huggies, and the sound of HO singing in the back seat. And G's early morning surprise tea parties. So life is good, especially when I get to do stuff like this:
Wally Wall Pockets for Attune Foods' San Francisco Office
Shabby chic-ing at the Abbey Coffee Lounge, Santa Cruz
I also managed to pick up some clients, somehow making a passionate hobby into a little business. I have used gardening for many things, but somehow I never imagined I could make any money from it! A blessing, indeed, especially these days. So I have started working again, something I haven't done since the littlest Little was in utero. It is tiring, but heaps of fun.
But may it continue to be a source of rich contemplation & worship: the fecundity of the Maker, the joy and vitality found in working the land; the peace & plenty as well as the struggle for life that is sown into every landscape. I am where I want to be.


Storms And A Few Questions For The Panel

I inherited some sort of storm preparedness gene from my dad, or maybe my maternal grandfather. Today marks the beginning of a big storm for our area (maybe snow!) and so this afternoon found me outside in its harbinger: a light sprinkle, pulling tarps over things, sweeping soil off our steep driveway into the beds (so we don't lose any topsoil into the road) & muttering to myself all the garden queries I have compiled of late.
Raincloud to Me: "Catch!"
I have no idea how to do this, other than to stand large vessels out of doors in the rain. But what about mosquito larvae? Should I add a few drops of chlorine to the water to kill anything wanting to take up residence? Will chlorinated water be suitable for plants? Is our water chlorinated already, so this is a non-issue?
And then there is the cold frame. Of what should its floor consist? Gravel? Wood chips? Right now it is gravely, weedy soil and a half-smashed volunteer foxglove. Seedlings in trays are sitting above the ground on cinder blocks, which I imagine create some very nice hidey-holes for slugs and the like. So the blocks should probably go.
Potential Yuck
Also, can I plant vegetables over my septic tank? Should I just stay away from root crops?
A New Lawn, Please!
What is a drought & shade tolerant variety of grass for our latest hair-brained landscaping scheme?
Dew Point
Just what exactly is the dew point? How is it measured? (Acorn cups and fairy bells?)

And when, o when, will the spring come?

Rosa's Spoof Archives: Jane Austen Fight Club

It's the little things in life. And this week it is this.

SO much better than zombies.


I Think We're Alone Now

I am alone. It is a rare occurrence, and something that I cherish. I'm not saying that I prefer a hermitage to the hurricane of activity which swirls around me daily, just that it is nice to get out of the wind sometimes.The Littles are asleep, the spouse is in an undisclosed city on the east coast, (which I will refer to as La Gran Pomme.)

The soundscape of my evening belies my solitude. I can hear appliances, and the noise of my keyboard. Typety-typety. I start to mutter to myself. I putter around in my slippers. Mutter and putter. I am going to make an awesome old lady, I can feel it. Give me some pigeons to feed and joints that can predict rain and I am all set.

I used to think that I liked being alone because I was interesting, introspective and thoughtful. This was also the era when, like Morrissey, I wore black on the outside, because black was how I felt on the inside. I wrote sad poetry. I had lunch in the graveyard across the street from my high school. I was 15, and thought Cafe Pergolesi, Oscar Wilde & the Beat poets were the height-the very outer limits-of cool. I wanted to be Winona Ryder in Heathers.
Now, in my thirties, I know the truth. I do better alone because my brain is feeble and easily distracted. I am constantly derailed by the smallest things, and lack the mental acuity to cope with more than 3 things happening at once. And I find that I cannot complete thoughts over the din of other people's vibrant personalities, brash assertions and needy agendas. And that is just the children.
All kidding aside, it is not until I am alone that I can really begin to process my life, and as I go longer and longer surrounded by people, I find myself unable to answer the following question, thrown at me often, "So-how are you? What's going on in your life?"to which I dazedly answer, "Ahhhh...finejustfine. And how are YOU?"

The youngest is awake now, holleratin' at me, so I guess my time alone is done. Lord, have mercy! (And send B home soon!)


Now We Are Six

Well,that's done. Happy Birthday to our own sweet girl-Little Miss G is six today! And true to form, we went completely over the top for her birthday. But I think it was nothing that a large mug of sweet milky tea and "Tokyo Godfathers" couldn't cure. We're done in! But glad to have parented 'Little Bit' for six lovely years.


Some Small Points

Epiphany & Pruning
In the midst of all the Epiphany hoopla (you know-watching the Macy's Epiphany Parade & the crowning of the Epiphany Queen, fighting the crowds at the mall while doing my last-minute Epiphany shopping, etc) I managed to find time to give my pruning tools a good drubbing. They needed it! I started the yearly Pruning of the Fruit Trees in my MIL's garden, which resulted in 3 1/2 out of 8 trees done and a very tired (but satisfied) me.
In Which Spring Is Thinking About Coming I've been noticing the subtle changes with some of the more herbaceous plants in the garden these days. Our climate here on the central coast is decidedly mild & known for its Mediterranean sensibilities, and we rarely see the underside of 32F. However, most would refer to the past week as bitterly cold, and a few things have been killed by frost, not the least of which is any inclination to be outside.
That said, my early spring bloomers have that little twinkle in their eye that says spring is approaching.
Harbingers du jour include: the upward tilt to the leaves of the ubiquitous forget me not, and the swelling flower buds on the quince that borders the driveway.
Plants for Which I Am Nursing A Passion
-Hamamelis mollis (Witch Hazel)-I want it, and I want it now!
-Just about every plant exhibited in the Annie's Annuals spring catalogue. I must go and visit this place soon!
Books That Have Made Me Happy Of Late

Armadale by Wilkie Collins-I just finished it and it was deeply satisfying in that Wilkie way. G got it for me for Christmas (really!) and for a 6 year old she really knows her Victorian serial novels.
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon-the latest Father Tim novel. Ta, mum! A good read.

Sorry for the listy type post, but that is the mood I am in. I just went with it!


I'd Like To Thank All The Little Doggies Who Helped Get Me Where I Am Today.....

Today I got an email from a company that let me know that my blog was receiving an award. It's so nice to be acknowledged!!!! Especially from a company that sells........accessories for dogs.Wait a minute-is my blog so canine-centric that the dog accessories people have finally sat up and taken notice? Finally!! ((Sniff!!)) 
Doggone It!
But hold on-now that I think about it, I can't remember the last time I posted about dogs. I don't own a dog, I don't intend to own a dog. Let's do a search on the ole browser......hmmmm.
Dogwood, Dog Rose, Dog Days, Farm Dogs, Dogged My Steps.......
Well, it seems that about once a year since 2007 I've let slip the word 'dog' here at rosa-sinensis, and apparently that is enough to get you an award from this website. Upon closer examination, of course, this is an ad. The email from 'Shiela' (sic) has about 5 obvious typos, and the name of the company itself, 'Accessories for Dog' seems to say it all.
As I'm told in the rousing post script- (and I quote): "If You Have More Quality Blog We Can Feature Those."


Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.