This week has been a welcome break. Warm, Spring-like weather has awakened the gardener in me and I’ve spent as much time outside as possible.

Tuesday I began the task of pulling aside the cardboard and turning over the damp soil under it.  As I did so, I pulled out roots and grass and broke up clumps.

Wiggly worms of all sizes were exposed to light as the cardboard came off.  I imagined them blinking their non-existent eyes as their world suddenly went from darkness to sunlit.

In some places the cardboard and newspaper was little more than compost. This I incorporated into the soil – a welcome amendment.

The cardboard that resisted the touch of earth, rain and the nibble of earthworms became a walkway between rows – the ground underneath will not be turned until the garden is prepped for next season.

Three hours I worked in the warm sun.  The dirt, cool and sweet smelling, yielded itself easily to the touch and pull of the garden fork. My right hand became my work hand as she busied herself plucking grass and roots from the damp overturned soil.  Before long she was dirt encrusted and heavy.

My old work shoes (yes, I still have them) became heavy from the load of dirt the soles carried. Three times I took them off and knocked the dirt from them.

As I worked, I felt muscles come alive that had grown stiff and shriveled. Alive – that’s how I felt…what I felt.

After three hours of work, I stepped back and surveyed my garden.  11/12’s of it was still covered with untouched cardboard. A 12 x 12 plot had been dug and a cardboard path marked its center.

A fat robin sat atop the fence and eyed the freshly turned soil.  I admonished her to leave my earthworms alone (I’d carefully covered each with soil) and that she was to eat only “bad” bugs. She hopped from her perch and plucked a grub from the soil and gulped it down.

I’ve a lot yet to do. Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew with the size of this backyard garden.

No, this is the middle of February. There’s plenty of time (if sunny days outnumber rainy and occasional warm days thaw the ground). I can do this.

I know God will give me the strength and the ability.

After all, His eye is on the Robin and I know He watches me.

Highlights of the 4th on the 5th

Yesterday was a 4th of July to remember.

Of course, apart from what I write here and the few pictures I took, I probably won’t remember much about it by this time next year.

Here are the highlights.

  • I slept late (until 8 a.m.),
  • It rained – all day long.  First good rain in weeks.
  • The garden perked up.
  • Momma Robin found worms for her new hatchings (they finally hatched after the rain began).
  • My mom felt like putting up with us all at her house and let us come in and take over.
  • Sliced into the watermelon and felt it “pop” open – that means it’s ripe.  🙂
  • Hubby and Brother churned ice cream and talked.
  • Brother, Sis-in-love, Niece, Daughter, Hubby, Mom and me – that’s who sat around the picnic table for the cookout and enjoyed home-churned ice cream.
  • Saw Niece’s new hairstyle up close and personal – beautiful!
  • Goofed with Sis-in-love.
  • Talked about Dad and Sis-in-love’s Mom.
  • Toasted JUMBO marshmallows on the grill before cooking burgers…just to make sure the grill was hot enough.  Delicious!  And, sticky. (on my lips, nose, fingers…in my hair)
  • Licked ice cream from the churn dasher before washing it (one of the perks of working in the kitchen – yum!)
  • We were able to eat on the patio, at the picnic table, even though it was raining.
  • Mom’s potato salad and baked beans – m-m-m-m.
  • The temperature at 4 pm was…68 degrees.
  • After we ate ice cream, Mom, Niece and Sis-in-love donned jackets, hats and blankets – brr.
  • We ate toasted marshmallows (again) to warm up after the ice cream chill.
  • Fireworks began early in the day.
  • An explosion two houses up the street from us – sounded like someone blew up their gas grill.  Expletives followed.
  • At this same house, as we sat to enjoy our ice cream dessert, we heard what we first took as crazy fireworks but then soon realized it was the sound of a tree falling. I ran to the 2nd house up the street and found 7 people shocked but okay.  A huge tree had fallen on the garage they were celebrating in, crushing it but not injuring anyone.
  • With dusk came a lull in rainfall and an increase in explosions as celebrants headed outdoors to shoot the fireworks they had purchased.
  • A horrible explosion sounded across the street, then screams and yelling – (no one was injured) either a novice or idiot detonated something HUGE.  I heard him say: “it incinerated my #@$& tools!” The ball of gray smoke lingered in his yard and then slipped down the street.  My ears rang for some time.
  • Fireworks, the Braves – these we watched on TV at Mom’s while we waited for the blasting to finish outside (across the street, in the street, up the street).  It sounded like a war zone.
  • Jumped when unexpectedly loud (and scary) explosions shook her house.
  • After arriving home, watched a 2000 recording of the Pop Goes the 4th with Hubby and enjoyed fireworks set to music.  (a tradition for us and since we don’t have cable or satellite TV now, Hubby pulled out our old VHS tape of it and surprised me)

I’m certain my highlights of yesterday’s events are not the same list others in attendance would produce.  .

However, I think the downsides/low points would be the same for everyone present.

  • Dad was not there.
  • Sis-in-love’s mom was not there and her dad was unable to attend due to his health and the weather.
  • Son and daughter-in-love were not there – he worked.
  • Granddaughter (6 weeks old today!) was not able to come.  Her mom kept her in and out of the cool rain.
  • Niece’s significant other was visiting his family – his mom’s birthday.

Did you notice? The only downsides listed pertained to people absent from our number?

What were the highlights of your 4th of July celebration?

Robin’s Nest

From my front door I watch a Robin on her nest, 5 feet away.

She no longer flies off when the door is opened, or we walk past.

Wednesday morning the wind howled and rain fell, thunder clapped and lightning flashed.  She remained on the nest, securely tucked under the eave of the porch, in the crook of the gutter’s downspout – the nest wedged between it and the right pillar of the porch.

Wednesday night a frost warning was issued. As a precaution, I covered my tender houseplants that now reside on my front porch. I wished for a small blanket to place over the Robin to keep her cozy.

Thursday morning, at 6 a.m., the temperature dipped to 36 degrees. Frost covered the cars and rooftops.  On the nest, only inches from the porch roof, sat the Robin. I wondered how she fared in the cold.  As if in reply, she turned her head to look at me.

Building the nest and incubating the eggs is her job and she takes it seriously.  She rarely  leaves the nest now – only doing so when the day is late and the air has warmed. Yesterday, late afternoon, I saw her hopping around the yard with her mate, devouring insects and vigorously pulling worms from the ground.

When she returned to her nest she looked fat and satisfied.

Papa Robin’s work will begin in earnest when the eggs hatch.  His responsibilities will include feeding and caring for the hatchlings.

As I watch the Robin on her nest, I think of Daughter in Love and Son.  She is now on medical leave and settling in to await the birth of her daughter.  Son hovers, attentive and eager.

If all goes according to schedule our granddaughter will be born mid May – about the time the baby Robins are scheduled to fly from their nest.

Am I excited?  You betcha!