Sunday, June 26, 2022

Pro-choice AND pro-life

(Warning: This post contains no reference to yardening.)

It's too bad that the anti-abortionists have co-opted the phrase "pro-life". My observation is they are not pro-life in any sense of the word. Consider the following:
  • If you are against safe, affordable, effective birth control, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you see no reason to fund maternity care, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you don't support paid parental leave, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you don't want adoption to be affordable, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you are against healthcare for all, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you are anti-vaccine, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you don't want universal childcare, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you prefer lower taxes to good public schools, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you favor corporate profits over a living wage, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you support gun rights over gun safety, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you are unconcerned about climate change, you are NOT pro-life.
  • If you support capital punishment, you are NOT pro-life.

I live in a red state where the anti-abortion forces and pro-choice forces are about 50-50. I doubt the current conservatives can be voted out of office, but I can certainly hound them about following through on their so-called "pro-life" stance. I invite you to do the same, wherever you live.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Still waiting

My landscaping has been penciled in for this week. I sure hope it happens as I have been holding off several other things to make sure I am free when they come. Fingers crossed.

Even though the rain has slowed down and the temperatures have soared, the grass keeps growing but it's not as dense. This weekend was mild, so I tried to dig up some rudbeckia, but I twisted my ankle a week or so ago, and just could not manage the shovel with one bum leg. I also questioned the wisdom of transplanting weeds along with the plants, as that bed is full of creeping Charlie and thistle. I have other plants in less weedy locations I can move if I so desire.

My daughter has taken just about every plant there was to take from the front yard, or at least as much as she had room for in her yard. I haven't been over there yet, to see the results of her labor, but given her eye for design, I'm sure it looks great, or will, once the plants establish themselves. Yesterday she "shopped" my garage, for lumber and other odds and ends. There are a lot of leftovers from various remodeling projects that I am happy to part with.

Today is Father's Day. I have been transcribing some of my old journals, currently from eight years ago, when I was planning what turned out to be my last trip to visit my dad. Needless to say, I miss him.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Mowing and trimming

That's about all I do regarding yardwork, mow a couple of times a week, trim when I feel like it. I ventured into no-man's land - the area behind my privacy fence and in front of the neighbor's privet (which smells absolutely lovely right now, like lilacs or milkweed) - to see what it looks like. Thankfully, the neighbors have been keeping it mowed; I trimmed along my fence.

The 'Blue Muffin' viburnum is done blooming, and it looks like another fruitless year. I thought maybe the sparrows had been eating the blossoms - I've had that kind of problem with them before - and that was why I seldom saw any fruit on the shrub. I've been offering the birds millet, which they love, but that doesn't seem to make a difference with the viburnum. It's cousin, 'Chicago Lustre', is starting to come on now. I'm not sure either will survive the landscape update.

The climbing rose on the south side of the house, in an area to be updated later, is blooming its little heart out. Once I learned that it blooms better on horizontal branches, I made an attempt to make the branches horizontal. I was rewarded for my efforts.

I purchased some more sweet potato vine and a few geraniums for containers on the deck. By this time of spring, the pickings are slim at the local nurseries unless you want petunias or begonias. One pot contained some volunteer zinnias, which is what I favor when it comes to annuals. Next year, I'll have to start some inside.

While waiting on the landscaper, my SO helped me cut down mulberries - they were getting completely out of control and I'm allergic to them - and I treated the stumps with herbicide. They were starting to form berries. The serviceberry is absolutely loaded this year, but I've seen only a few robins and catbirds back there instead of the usual feeding frenzy. There is even uneaten fruit on the wild strawberries. I guess if my yard has an abundance of fruit, there must be an abundance everywhere.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Road trip

This past week we spent a few days in Chicago. My daughter arranged the trip, as a kind of end-of-school-year treat for my granddaughter. All we had to do was tag along. I did make one request: that we visit the Lurie Garden. If I lived in Chicago, I would want to be near this spectacular year-round piece of green space.

The plants are not labeled, but I recognized many of them. And those I didn't got the Google Photos Lens treatment: take a photo, open it in Google Photos, click the Lens icon, and the app will try to match it with other photos. Very handy.

We also visited the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, which included an installation by Nick Cave of thousands of wind spinners. They were mesmerizing. If they sold them in the museum shop, I would have bought one. Instead, I purchased one at Wild Birds Unlimited (I had a coupon!)

Back home, we had another visitor to the backyard, a young squirrel who found itself trapped on the pergola. What you don't see in the photo is Finn sitting at the base of the post, keeping an eye on the youngster.

My next door neighbor has the kind of parents who periodically show up to help her with yardwork. They aren't very friendly, will say hi and that's about it. I'm sure they are wondering what in the world is going on in my yard. If they asked, I would tell them I am waiting on the landscaper to work his magic. Meanwhile, I keep the lawn mowed and trimmed.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Possum on the half shell

Apparently, armadillos are now a thing in Illinois; read about it here. I have to admit I would be rather excited to see one in my backyard (as would the dogs), but I also hope I never do.

I was getting a little concerned that the landscaper had not responded to any of my recent emails. Turns out his last email went into my spam folder. Right now we are on schedule for an early June installation. That gives my daughter more time to dig up plants. It also means I need to clean up at least the front yard a bit while we wait. The mulberries are out of control, along with thistle. A bit unsightly.

Baby sparrows left the nest this past week. Once I figure out how, I'll post a video of mom feeding the babies right under my window. There was another baby bird of some kind, but it didn't make it. By the time I noticed it, the parents had abandoned it. :-(

The Clematis Paniculata is halfway up the pergola. I tried rooting some Virginia creeper cuttings in water, but Beau the Feline Destroyer of All Things Nice kept messing with them. I'll try planting the cuttings directly into the container instead.

Usually I avoid politics and religion in this blog, but in the wake of the recent tragedy in Texas, I feel compelled to put in my two cents worth. I am wondering if firearms could be treated like tobacco: sales of firearms and ammo highly taxed (and the proceeds could be used to fund mental health services), elimination of all advertising on all media, "gun-free" zones like we have "smoke-free" zones, age limits on purchases, etc. This action would sidestep second amendment issues while addressing some of the contributing factors of this senseless violence. I've contacted all my legislators, both state and federal, but frankly, I feel very hopeless and helpless.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Suburban wildlife

Most of the time, the only wildlife in my backyard are birds. In the past, woodchucks were the bane of my existance along with rabbits. Between the privacy fence and the dogs, most critters keep away except for one bunny and a few squirrels. So imagine my surprise when I found this opossum in the backyard.

At first, I thought the dogs had killed it, but no, opossums are very good at "playing dead". There was at least one baby on board; opossums are marsupials with a pouch, which this little guy was trying frantically to find. Mom was not helping in the least.

There were a couple more close encounters between the opossum and the dogs, so I thought she would leave. But the other night, I saw Baby wandering around on the deck after dark. They seem to have taken up residence in the dog house.

On top of the opossum, this black squirrel made an appearance. I've seen squirrels with this mutation in the neighborhood, just never in my own backyard. The squirrels (and presumably the opossum) clean up under the bird feeders.

And, not to be oudone, a bunny got everyone excited by making an appearance by the front walk.

The orioles and catbirds have abandoned their feeder for now, so I took it down. I also removed the mealworm feeder, as the only birds using it were sparrows and the occasional bluejay. The local paper printed a photo of a hummingbird at a nearby nature preserve; I hung out my hummingbird feeder, but so far, no takers. I think the robins in the front yard and the wrens in the back are nesting; in another week or so, I may hear some hungry peeps.

The pagoda dogwood has been blooming its little heart out this year. I can't find many photos of this tree on my blog, but I don't know if that is because it doesn't usually bloom so well or if I just neglected to document it.

The hawthorn in the front yard is blooming as well. I can't miss that as I see it every time I open or close the drapes over the picture window.

It seems like it is either raining or I am mowing. Everything seems HUGE this year, even the (doomed) rhubarb.

While the Clematis Paniculata is putting out some new growth, it looks like the 'Jackmanii' clematis did not survive the winter in a container despite my precautions. Now I'm back to the idea of trying to raise Virginia creeper, which covers a section of the privacy fence, in a container. All I want is something to grow on the pergola.

Saturday, May 14, 2022


This past week the painters and the carpenter FINALLY all showed up and finished the work on the house. Nice improvements, plus now the landscape installers can do their thing. I'm so glad this stage is complete.

Above, is the side door to the garage. I cleaned the mildew/alga off it. Now I just need to finish cleaning the siding.

Below are the shutters and the front porch. I've planted a couple of ornamental sweet potato vines in the container, 'Margarita', which hopefully will climb the trellis.
And the wrens FINALLY returned from their winter digs. A male started building a nest in the wren house right outside the den window, to be joined the next day by a female. The nest appears to be complete now.

My SO helped me continue to prep the yard for the landscapers. There were a lot of bits and bobs of poultry netting and hardware cloth that I used to protect shrubs; I want to keep them just in case, but need them to be out of the way. It was a bigger job than we anticipated, resulting in sore and stiff muscles, but we got it done.

Otherwise, I have been mowing, three times this week. It was supposed to storm all this weekend, but the weather warning turned out to be a false alarm. Instead it is hot and sunny, very summerlike, although the next week is supposed to be cooler. And I just saw the first grackle of the year.