Posted tagged ‘Home and Garden’

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

July 6, 2012

The air is already thick with humidity. Nothing is moving. The leaves just sit there on the branches. Even the birds are quiet. This room, at the back of the house, is still cool and dark, but it won’t be by mid-afternoon. Today the house with the AC will be my refuge.

We are spoiled. Our expectations have changed. The house is too hot? Put in central air. It’s a pain to move the hoses around the yard and garden. Time for an irrigation system. You want dinner ASAP. Put it in the microwave. Don’t want to wait for the charcoal for the barbecue. Buy a gas grill. Go from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned store.

I remember summers when I was young. They were filled with wanderings and woods and the swamp. Being sweaty and even a bit dirty were signs of a good time, of a day well spent. I was always so exhausted I fell asleep in the sweltering heat of my bedroom. Even my father hunting and killing mosquitoes with his rolled-up magazine woke me for no more than a minute or two even though he sometimes stood on my bed to reach the ceiling. That ceiling and all the others in the house had blots which represented another kill. My father was possessed.

I lived in Bolga. It was the hottest part of the country with the least amount of rain. I didn’t even have a fan. I went to bed still wet from my shower and slept through the hot night. Later, just before the rains when the humidity came, I moved outside and slept on my mattress in the back of the house. I saw a sky filled with a million stars. I always had no trouble falling asleep.

My bedroom on the third floor with the heat from the afternoon sun was so hot I couldn’t fall asleep so for most of the summer I slept downstairs on the couch with the back door opened. Later I splurged and bought a fan. One year I finally broke down and got a window air-conditioner for my bedroom. I tolerated the hot-house downstairs but luxuriated in the coolness of the bedroom where I easily fell asleep. Then I decided it made no sense to be hot and uncomfortable or to have to sit upstairs all afternoon so I went with central air.

It seems the older I get the more spoiled I become. I have to admit, though, I’m loving it.

“The ‘Amen!’ of Nature is always a flower.”

May 14, 2011

I know it is very late for me, but I have all sorts of reasons. Last night I went to bed quite late, or early depending upon your perspective, and so I slept in until 10. At the CARE Center, an emergency 24-7 animal hospital, there was a plant sale, and I wanted to go. The money from the sale is for the Sampson Fund which helps people who can’t afford to pay vet bills and it also pays for the vet bills of abandoned, hurt animals. I filled my trunk with herbs and plants. My next stop was Dunkin’ Donuts as I had left the house before my coffee. I got my coffee and also a butternut donut which had been saved for me by a former student. When I got home, it was read the papers, have another cup of coffee and share my donut with Gracie time. That brings us to now.

The day is perfectly lovely with lots of sun and a blue sky dotted with clouds. It’s an outside day so Agway is definitely in my future. Those plants I bought this morning have caused a cascade effect. I want more.

My family was never really into gardens when I was a kid. My father planted mostly pansies in the front of the house in what was a very small garden. When we moved to the cape, he was still pretty much an indifferent gardener. I don’t even remember flowers. The house they moved to when I was in the Peace Corps was where flowers bloomed. My mother had her garden right outside the kitchen table windows. In it was a bird bath and a statue of St. Francis with his hands out holding seeds and several varieties of flowers of all different heights. My dog Maggie loved to visit that garden, and I was forever pulling her out and replacing the wire fence. The front by the house had all sorts of plants, and the window boxes were beautiful with flowers filling them and ivy hanging from them. Every Mother’s Day we bought my mother gift certificates to a nursery.

When I bought my own house, a sense of pride forced me to start a garden in the front. My parents came to visit and brought plants as a gift. My dad planted them, and those plants are still there. My brother and his then girl friend gave me a forsythia tree as a gift, and that too is still in the front garden, and an offshoot is down the street in my friends’ yard. The garden is in the same spot as when I bought the house, but I have moved the fence behind it so people can see my garden. I am that proud of it. The perennials have already appeared as have the lilacs in a side garden. This year I will add some vegetables to a raised bed in the backyard and plant herbs in the deck boxes which sit on the rail.

I have become a gardener.

“There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.”

April 22, 2011

The weather tries my patience. A sunny day gives me a spring in my step (couldn’t help myself with that one) and hopes of sitting on the deck with my eyes closed and my faced warm with sun, but that was yesterday. Today is cloudy though the weather predicted otherwise. I imagine somewhere else has my sunny day, and I’m not too happy about it.

Last night we had dinner at Captain Frosty’s which opens every spring. Our first dinner there always makes us feel as if spring is officially here despite the cold or the rain. I had fish and chips, and we shared onion rings, the thin ones which are mostly onion, not batter. The place was crowded with people standing around hoping for a table. They looked a bit like vultures as they sized up the booths to see how close the diners were to being finished. Our seats never got a change to get cold.

This morning after I got the papers I stood a while out front looking at the garden right next to my house. It is filled with flowers from bulbs I planted last fall. I didn’t know which bulb was planted where so I was surprised and pleased when the flowers bloomed. Their colors are rich and bright. The yellows are my favorites. I know their beauty will prompt more and more bulbs this fall.

Today makes me want to stay home and do nothing except read and maybe nap. One day a week a lethargy overtakes me, and I never fight it. It comes after a couple of frenzied days of chores and errands. I always think of it as a reward.

Today is Earth Day. I have always believed that you leave a place better than you found it, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with our planet. We deplete more and more resources, our wild animals and sea creatures become endangered when their habitats disappear or they’re hunted to near extinction. I recycle everything I can, but I still leave a huge carbon footprint as I live alone. I wear a sweatshirt in the winter and only keep the lamp in this room lit at night though my palm tree too is always lit, but it doesn’t matter. I use more resources than I should.

In Africa everything is recycled. My sandals were resoled using tire treads. My rice was wrapped in the Sunday New York Times while large leaves provided the wrapping for meat and other such goods. Everything I bought, except margarine and evaporated milk, was produced locally. I came home well intentioned knowing how little I really need. That got lost over the years. It’s time I remembered.

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