Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Giant Clock is Ticking

How did it get to be October? How did it get to be nearly the MIDDLE of October? I'm not sure, but here I am. And the arrival of the box of flower bulbs that I ordered in the spring jolted me into the realization that these crisp days, chilly nights, and marching band practices in the distance (I live close enough to the high school to hear) are numbered.

I don't really have time for anything other than paint scraping right now, but I still welcomed the sight of the cardboard shipping box on the porch. It meant digging in the dirt.

There's a scene in C.S. Lewis' book Prince Caspian, where the Tree People of Narnia eat different kinds of earth for a feast.

I think of it every time I'm gardening, because that is what soil looks like to me-- delicious, chocolatey, rich. Here in my home state we're blessed with dark topsoil and I've never taken it for granted. And even though I'd never be foolish enough eat dirt (not since toddlerhood anyway) and it smells nothing like chocolate, it is one of the best smells under the heavens. There's also some science behind why digging in the dirt makes me feel better. It really is an antidepressant (check this link).

Some gardening books advise digging one small deep hole for each bulb, but that way insanity lies. I dig large shallow trenches to put in masses of bulbs all at once. It's more digging overall, but less time spent.

If anyone wants to know, I order my bulbs from John Scheepers. They are not the cheapest bulb company out there. They are far from the most expensive. But their stuff is really good quality and I've always had really good results and healthy plants from their bulb stock.

Those are some miniature daffodils going in the ground. I'm also adding some scilla into the mix.

Here is the garden bed all put together, with a few starts of lamb's ear that I'd like to grow as a border.

It's a lot of work with the spade, but in the spring I get the reward: 

Wikimedia Commons image

Wikimedia Creative Commons image, by Magnus Manske
I'm moving along with scraping the south side of the house, but I also realize it's unlikely that I will get the entire side done. It means living with a half flesh beige, half green side of the house. Yuck. I'm sure I'll cringe all winter. But it can't be helped, and there is no way my Puritan work ethic streak is going to make me feel guilty for spending my time where and when my children needed me.

Since the photo above was taken, I've gotten the "square" behind the ladder and between the windows done, and will finish the side up to four clapboards above the first-floor windows. Then I'll sand, caulk, and paint. If I run out of warm weather, I'm done. If I have warm days into November (which sometimes happens) I'll do small patches one at a time up into the gable end, as I can.

The siding is in much worse shape on this side:

Once I get it done, the rest of the sides of the house are in much, much better shape. I'm getting the hard part done first. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

I'm ready to wrap up the exterior painting season so I can move inside and do something else for a change. At this point, even housework seems appealing!


  1. I love the little metal caps for the corners. I wonder why that wasn't used more often?

    1. Jan, I have no idea. I've tried to do some research on them and haven't found much. Even more frustrating, I've got a few that have become mangled over the years, and I do not find a source for any new replacements anywhere. But I like them too, and I hope to keep them around for as long as they can possibly last.

  2. Last summer we painted the front of our house, and left the side its original, nasty, bland beige. Yes, I noticed every single day when I turned into the driveway. No, it did not detract from the quality of our life at all.

    You gotta do what you gotta do and can only do what you can do. Glad you got some bulb respite and will soon be getting winter respite. It's going to look great when it gets all done.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement all this summer. It was definitely welcome and needed. I think it's somehow hard to come to grips with slow progress when TV programs show us a transformation in 30 minutes. Sometimes I wish real life was like that!