Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fantasy Footwork

Friday morning, I saw a blue dragon, a yellow dragon, an east coast baseball player, parachutes sewn by eight handed seamstresses, the Easter Bunny, a cocky guy with six girlfriends who seemed devoted to him despite his infidelity, and I got a lesson in evolution from a bush.

As I was walking through Sorenson Park in Holly, hoping to catch the Lupines in bloom, I saw lots of things that were not the spectacular lupine display that I had hoped for. I saw a Darner Blue dragonfly, and another dragonfly that was bright yellow with black stripes, it looked like a dragonfly had mated with a bumblebee. I had never seen one like that. I saw a Baltimore Oriole with it's bright orange/yellow belly. I saw spider webs shaped like double layered upside-down parachutes. I saw a rabbit as it jumped out of the tall grass, ran across the trail about 15 feet in front of me and disappeared into the shelter of the trees. I saw another, slightly smaller rabbit about 45 minutes later. On my way back toward my car, ahead of me on the trail I saw about 6 brown, plain looking birds. They looked kind of like ducks, but not quite the right shape. They got a little agitated when they sensed my presence, so they started fluttering their wings and hop-skip-flying off the path. Then, out of the brush near them, a magnificent pheasant rooster made a ruinning jump, spread his wings and flew up toward the trees nearby. He showed me all the beautiful splendor of his 6 or so foot wing span. I've never seen a pheasant in full flight like that. I've seen them scurry off, but never in full out flight. It was breathtaking.

Before meeting the pheasant rooster and his harem, while I was walking around the prairie where the lupines were done blooming, I saw an Autumn Olive growing right up next to the trail. I looked at it an said, "what are you doing here?" I went on to explain that several years earlier, volunteers had worked hours, days and more days and more days to cut out all of the Autumn Olive in the area because it is an invasive species and has no business being there. The bush replied, "of course I'm supposed to be here, a bird planted me fair and square in its poop. After all, what's ecosystem evolution but bird poop, squirrel amnesia and answers blowin' in the wind?" How could I argue with that, except to say, but I love the lupines and Autumn Olive creates too much shade for them. So, the question becomes do my personal preferences for a natural prairie to continue as it has for millenia, or an invasive bush seeded in bird poop, imported from another continent and promoted by the DNR as a good way to attract birds to your property. It's beautiful green and silver leaves make a beautiful display even when the tart and tasty fruit aren't present. The birds eat the berries which have a large hard seed inside which they can't digest, so when they poop, the seed comes out whole, already fertalized with a dollop of white gold from a feathered backside. Whenever I see Autumn Olive, I get the urge to pull out the chainsaw, however, I can't help but admire its tenacity.

I also admire the tenacity of tomatos. Even though they are not supposed to be perrenials, or be able to self seed in our climate, I have volunteers every year. This year, I even have one growing through a knot in the wood surrounding one of the beds. I don't have a picture of it yet, but I'll get one added to this entry at some point. I laughed when I saw it. I finally planted something in the garden!! I have one whole bed that I have labled "mystery 'matos" which is a combination of some of those unknown upstarts and an assortment of unlabled tomatoes that a friend traded me for some of my seedlings.

If you want any plants, let me know, I don't want to waste extras like I did last year. The tomatoes are a little leggy and confused, and the peppers are short, but I think once they are in the dirt, they will be happy and jump up.

I have to replant the beets and carrots, I shouldn't have kept the mulch on the bed after planting them, they didn't make it. I've been eating lettuce from my deck and the sage that I planted last year is going crazy and growing huge. They were so little last fall, that I was surprised to see how they are flourishing.

I'm hoping to get some more stuff in the ground this week. I'm torn between finally getting the garden in, or helping Deb to tear out our bathroom so we can finally finish that project. The house is a mess with tiles, towel bars, faucets, showerheads, and boxes of stuff that we pulled out of the bathroom cupboards to sort through. Deb has already started getting tiles off the walls.

I haven't done a darned thing except work and sleep, with the exception of my walk on Friday and my hour in the garden today. There is so much more to do. As much as I have to say this, being off work last summer did wonders for my garden, even I couldn't work in it for very long each time, I had time to work in it more often. Although I don't plan on repeating that experience if I can help it.