Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow days and garden planning.

It's 9 degrees Fahrenheit. I have gardening magazines and books strewn around the house in all my reading corners. I am trying to remember the gardens of my childhood and be realistic about what I can actually grow in Washington versus California. A week ago a childhood friend posted that the almond trees were blooming. I miss that. Those orchards are indelibly fixed in my mind. I would watch out the window as the rows of trees were first diagonal as we approached in the car and then straight back and then diagonal again as we passed. My memories are of blue sky above the trees, green patches of grass at their bases and delicate clouds of blossoms suspended in their branches.

I also have memories of strawberries from the garden, a massive bed of asparagus (that I didn't eat- but whose fern-like growth I admired), and the grapes we planted and weren't able to harvest before we moved.  I remember bell peppers and corn.  I remember the cherry tree in our neighbors yard that hung a little over the fence. And I remember the classroom bunny, "Fluffy," that I got to take home at summer and keep.

The fact is, with a bad back, I can't do much of the garden work I wish I could. Digging, hoeing, or anything repetitive sends me into migraine land.  So I have to meter out my enthusiasm with what I can convince my hubby to do in his "spare time." Last year he built me two 2 x 5 redwood boxes to plant and gave me several big pots as well. But now I have designs for other parts of the yard -the yard that is currently under deep snow.

For now, I read and reread favorite books and study companion planting, soil amendments, and water saving techniques. I have internal debates over a plant's possible contribution to an edible landscape or what other permaculture principles it may fit. Dare I plant something for mere ornamentation? Or what am I going to do with all that chicken manure accumulating out there? Can I convince Grant to build a rabbit hutch this year? Can I sneak a cow out back? Yes, these possibilities are the luxury of winter thoughts about gardening or animal husbandry.  As soon as the ground is actually workable and my simple hand trowel meets the soil, this kind of thinking will shrink drastically as I realize the resistance in my own body to so much "optional" work. It's all about pacing myself.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baby Dragon turns five!

So Bubba, or Baby Dragon turned five today, or actually about an hour ago.  I realized as I sat down to blog about his birthday that it was about the time he was born.  I had some pictures to add to this blog, but it's been so long since I have used photoshop that I had to call in help, and well, that's how time evaporates when using the computer.

So back to BD. He had a pretty good day.  Calls from family wishing him happy birthday slowly trickled in throughout the day and he got to have a long awaited playdate with a kindred spirit (her artwork is below). Having to wait to open presents just about caused a meltdown a few times today and I should have known it would, after fielding, "how many days left," questions since my own birthday in January. Those questions were usually followed with, "so how many is that?"  I would explain it on toes and fingers, weeks and days, or whatever prop was handy.  We even made a count down calendar like an Advent calendar, but the questions persisted.  Time is just too abstract to young people.

Yesterday he got to pick a present out at the store.  He picked a Playmobil pontoon boat. He had to wait until this morning to open it.  It was sheer torture. Lately he is everything killer whale and pontoon plane (sea plane). He rescues ocean animals or delivers medicine to sick Orcas with his plane.  He so loves the Orca whales that he has even said that at night he becomes a baby orca, but by day he's still a baby dragon. I love his imagination.

For example, today when I asked what he wanted for lunch and offered a hard boiled egg, he hemmed and hawed and then said, "maybe two?" I said, "we only have one hard boiled egg."  He replied, "can't you check and see if the chickens have laid another hard boiled egg?"  I tired not to laugh and said, "no they don't lay them that way."  He replied, "just scrambled or fried?"  This from a kid who retrieves eggs, cracks them open when he helps me cook, but can still imagine them coming cooked straight out of the chicken!

Second example: we're running outside the dance studio while Fairy Girl does Irish dance lessons. He and another almost five year old and his younger sister are dashing here and there. His companion yells, "I am a horse."  I ask him what kind and he replies, "I am a brown horse."  I ask his sister and she replies, "pink."  I ask BD and he looks at me incredulously and replies, "I am a unicorn!"

Third example: still running outside but within the adjacent tennis courts. The courts are colored blue out of bounds and green inside the lines.  The kids have devised this as land, water and lava.  BD declares he is a Lava-T-Rex and can walk on lava without being harmed.  He rescues me from the burning river.  Good to have those Lava-T-Rexes around!

Okay before this gets too long, I have to include BD's birthday coupons from his big sis.  The illustrations are just too sweet!
"Good for 1 bedmaking" That's Baby Dragon in bed with his stuffed dragon.

"Good for picking clothes out 1 time" Baby Dragon hates getting dressed, so this is a real help (for mama too).

"Good for checking mail 1 time" BD loves to do this, but you never know when the fad will fade.
"Good for feeding beo 1 time"

"Good for hanging coat up 1 time" This is something very hard for baby dragons to remember.

Last but not least is this sweet birthday note from his friend.  They had a stuffed animal party.  She had a lot of monkeys to complement his dragons.  They all got along. Phew!