decapitated chocolate bunnies

Thus ends Easter Sunday, with me sitting here in the rocking chair that I moved into my bedroom, assessing the mess around me. There is a basket of chocolate on my bed (including, yes, a decapitated chocolate bunny. But Poncho ate the staring, yellow sugar eyes, okay!), which is unmade due to the rush to leave for church this morning. There are papers piled up on my desk, magazines piled up on the dresser, library books piled up… well, everywhere. All the shoes that I own (not many, actually) are strewn through the room, boots and moccasins and flats because what the heck is up with the weather? And don’t even get me started on the three calendars, two notebooks, two bags of potting soil, and oodles of newspaper pots crammed in the corner. Gardening junkie. What can I say.

At least there is good news on that front. My seedlings have sprouted– Well, the tomatoes and leeks, anyway. The eggplants’ pots are stubbornly refusing to look even the tiniest bit hopeful. And I haven’t planted anything else besides those three yet. Oh, except foxgloves just this evening. (*claps hands girlishly*) (Oh dear, someone please restrain me from doing things like that! My younger– and probably older– selves would be so embarrassed!) (Seriously, though. Since when did I become so in love with… with… flowers?) (More importantly, do I really care? Maybe not so much, considering that my weird infatuation caused the bringing home of some blue hyacinths, which are currently perfuming the air with the smell of elusive, mythical spring.)

The tomatoes at first look like near-microscopic, anemic-green arches still mostly buried in soil, and then slowly they rear their heads. Two pointed leaves escape, finally, from the shell that was once a seed. Now they look like tiny, blind, fierce dragons, roaring silently, or else spreading their leaves wide and yawning for (fake) sunshine.

They’re darn cute, is what I’m trying to say.

All right, enough of plants… What else? Oh. Right. This.
Grandpa (giving me boy advice): “Don’t go for some guy who’s twenty-three…”
Me: “Why? They’re done with school, maybe they have a job…”
Grandpa: “Naw! They work at some video store.”
Me: “Um. Grandpa? When was the last time you saw a video store?”
Grandpa: “Well, you know what I mean!”

Other advice I received basically boiled down to “don’t go for an Amish vegetarian”, so… Yeah, okay. Whatever you say, guys. (Maybe I’ll find an Amish vegetarian who works at the last remaining Blockbuster on the face of the earth. That would really shake things up!)

 

I am off to water my seedlings now, the demanding little buggers– but hah! I can’t fool you, reader. You know that I, with my  peculiar need to stroke and coo over every plant in the home improvement store, live for this thrill of watching baby dragons unfurl their first true leaves, spiky and complete with prickles.

Because Easter, obviously, isn’t all just decapitated chocolate bunnies. It’s life springing new! In the midst of messy chaos, sugar comas, and too many cups of tea, yup, definitely. Jesus is risen and the foxgloves are sown and death is powerless and all is right in the world.

I am filled with joy, and I hope you are too. :)
~Pen

just whistle while you…’re unemployed.

Today, six squash plants and two bell pepper plants got put in the “auxilary garden” (ie, my grandparents’ backyard), and I weeded out the raised bed and the blackberry bush has suddenly decided to become enormous. Yay! And Grandpa kept asking me which pumpkin he could give to his neighbor’s baby (apparently he promised the baby that he could have a pumpkin) (and I was like, sure, because the baby will remember that and bear a grudge if you don’t) (but I am all for children playing with pumpkins, so obviously I do not mind giving away one of the many, many gorgeous squash that I will be growing). (I am imagining pumpkins big enough for that baby to live in, you understand.)

So, that was fun. And I am still covered with mud.

Then the library called me.
They said they loved me.
But no.

I was all professional on the phone, and then afterward Mom was like, “Oh, let me give you a hug”. Which I declined because I did not want to be sad about it. (But of course I went back to where I’d been sitting and was all, “Back to my jobless life. I’ll be living in the basement” etc etc.) Whenever I’m feeling disappointed/sad, I can totally be fine in a few minutes and not cry or anything like that. But if anyone says, “Are you okay?” or “Do you want me to [insert kind favor here]”… Well.

Speaking of kind things, Eliza made me a very delicious fried egg sandwich for breakfast yesterday. Because she loves me, and knows all about my breakfasting woes. (I hope she also knows that she is the best cook ever.) (OK, except my grandmother. But it’s impossible to best someone’s grandma at cooking.) 

(Evidently I like talking in parenthesis today.)

So, even though I’m still a little bummed out, because I REALLY wanted the job (I will pause here to give you time to absorb this stunning new information), even though there is an underlying stress that reminds me of when we had to move, I’m surprisingly calm about everything. Besides, how bummed can a person be while digging in the garden singing “hoireann o, hi ri u” with lemon balm and blackberry leaves dripping rain and the random garlic shoots curling elegant and ready to bloom.

And while Poncho is sitting here now eating dinner and muttering to himself, “Hero Factory. Where the best, most bravest heroes are made.”

Garden Update

All the peas in my garden sprouted! Yay! Now I’m waiting rather impatiently for my Aztec beans to come up… I got out there and stare at the dirt muttering, “Please sprout, please sprout, please, please sprout.” So maybe that was accidentally interpreted as “peas sprout”?

The lettuce is coming up like crazy, too. (“Lettuce pray” as Dad says every time someone mentions it.) I think I may have actually squealed with delight when I first saw the little sprouts… Hard to believe I could be this excited about lettuce, of all things. I guess it just seems so random; one day you’re throwing seeds on some semi-cruddy soil, the next you’ve got dozens of miniature plants looking up at you. Plants that need watered… All I have is a plastic, kid-size watering can that’s been lying in our yard for the better part of a decade. But oh well. I work with what I got.

My seedlings are currently in intense hardening-off bootcamp. Well, bootcamp run by a kindergarten teacher, since I dashed out there to water the ones that were wilting in the heat yesterday. Soon, they’ll be on their own…

I’m getting kind of garden-hyper (like I wasn’t before, right?) and I want to be out there all the livelong day.
Alas, I get too hot really quickly, and have to come inside for water and hair scrunchies. Or I take a break and practice flute on my front porch. Currently I most like to play “Geese in the Bog”, “Blackthorn Stick”, and “Old Favorite”. And “Rights of Man”, which is Daisy’s favorite as well. She sings rather loudly and sounds like a wolf of yore. Kind of scary, until you look down and see her wearing a big yellow bow around her neck, her dainty paws crossed quite lady-like.

Tis all…

~Pen

Awake, My Soul

[Poncho just came in and singing, “Greeeen Giant, Yum!” which I am not even sure is their slogan, but whatever. Now he is jumping around going “In the face, in the face” about something. Brothers are so… I don’t know. Half annoying, and half awesome.]

Anyway… what was I going to talk about? Originally I was going to write about Easter, but I don’t much feel like it anymore. My brain dies on inspiration whenever it comes to writing about holidays, I think. I mean, I really like Easter, but it’s un-blog-ish. So I will take the related topic of joy and talk about that instead.

Because yesterday, oh my. It was 80-some degrees in the midafternoon, and never got below mid-70’s as far as I know. I transplanted strawberries from the front flowerbed into a nice pot, and then I got the great idea to go get some lemon balm. I’d found a patch of it growing right near my church. So I dashed across the street and went right up to the church, thinking no one would be there on a Tuesday afternoon. But there were hordes of cars there! So I kind of had a freak-out moment, and felt the Panopticon pressuring me, so I grabbed two plants in haste and ran out of there. I may have to go back because I don’t know if these hurriedly-grabbed plants are going to make it. We’ll see. Darn Panopticon. I felt like the whatever-director lady was going to randomly appear beside me and be like “YOU! PLANT STEALER!” I mean, I can’t even imagine trying to explain responsible foraging to her.
So. Then I went for a long walk to the library. To the library is not a long walk, but I went the long way home for reasons that I care not to admit. (“Blind puppy!” as Jane Eyre would say.) I found some pretty epic patches of purple dead nettle by the abandoned school. Actually, there is a ton of purple dead nettle everywhere around the neighborhood. Now whenever I see it, I laugh, because my herb book says it grows in “wasteland”.
I also found a feather, a flower to press, weird parsely-looking plants, and some blueish flowers growing wild in a field. I was going to transplant one and take it home before the field is cut and the flowers detstroyed. Maybe I’ll make a mini woodland garden, full of transplanted flowers/weeds/plants that I come across in the wild. After I identify them, of course.

I can’t believe I used to not like spring. Everyone makes it seem cheesy, but it’s really not. Usually people describe the flowers, or the tra-la-la stuff like cherry blossoms. And I mean, that stuff’s nice and all, but the real heart of spring is when you go outside and you take a deep breath and you feel like you’ve just awakened. 

I felt so alive yesterday. I felt like I could run and run and never stop. Then I went to bed and dreamed that every lawn was taken over by wildflowers.

OK, so I did end up talking about Easter. That’s how it felt, too, to be in the church as the light in the tomb came on and revealed it to be empty… 

~Pen

Missing: the part of my brain that makes up titles.

I was sick all week.
Crumb.
I feel better now, but the illness left me with no voice. I kind of whisper and sqeak. Dodge jumped out at me yesterday and I screamed… except no sound came out. It was horrible! Like a cliche dream! Dodge, I know you don’t read this blog, but I thought we’d agreed that you wouldn’t jump out at me anymore since The Closet Incident. {I will now digress into the “Reader’s Digest version” of what happened on that fateful day. Well, I went upstairs to get something for Mom, and Dodge followed me without me noticing. He hid in Mom’s closet, and when I passed by, he stuck his hands out of the clothes and grabbed at me, and I screamed and almost fell down the stairs. My scream scared him and he came out crying.  This was years ago… *end flashback*}

During my time of being sick and feeling somewhat better, I read more of Othello; found a Jars of Clay CD (The Eleventh Hour) from years ago that Mom doesn’t remember buying; saw a live praying mantis up close for the first time ever.

Other than these small things, however, not much has been going on. Sadly I have to go back and rework some stuff in my novel. (I always want to say story but novel makes people take you more seriously, apparently. But a novel is a story. Or at least it should be. I’m talking to you, Jodi Picoult!!! You hear me, lady? I’m your worst nightmare come to life: an un-cliche teen!!) Sadly I also went over Grandma’s and took out all the tomato plants, after picking the green ones of course. I’m hoping they’ll ripen over the winter, or at least I’ll make some fried green tomatoes. I also picked some surprise eggplants (including a HUGE one), and surprise mini green peppers. Harvesting things now is both satisfying and sad. Satisfying because the bounty has gone on all summer and into fall, and I get to “put up” things for winter. Sad because the fun is over and for now the most gardening I’ll be able to do is watering the houseplants. I’ll continue composting, though (It’s turning out fabulously, and I have a lot of bug friends working for me… and loads of big spiders), and things are looking up for the crassula sarcocaulis now that the humidity is done with. Plus there are raised beds to gather materials for, and seeds catalogues to page through. I’ll need time to get ready for next spring, or as I’m calling it, The Great Expansion. Mwahahahahaha!! My evil genius plan is forming…

Time to summon the energy to do some school catch-up…

Peace,
Pen

Vampires Have Invaded My Bedroom.

Well, vampire bugs, actually. And now THEY MUST DIE!!!

The only way to ward them off? According to the internet, garlic.

See, there these like microscopic grey bugs. They blend in really well to the egg cartons I’m growing my poor lavender seedlings in; the only reason I knew they were there is because there were little specks running in circles whenever I watered. Well, my lavender was doing fine and dandy until these stupid bugs come along, and then there’s plants getting yellowish and wilty, and basically their stems are all deteriorated so they die. The bugs seem to suck out juices from the stems or something, resulting in my lavender dying. For some reason they like the lavender. GRR. But they’re spreading to my basil, too!!! And possibly my Bonsai Crassula!!!

Which means war, of course.

So I concocted a potent mixture of garlic, water, and a few drips of dishsoap and spritzed the plants for the life of me. Then I discovered a beetle chewing on some of my very successful basil. Now what can I do?

Gr. I HATE VAMPIRES AND ALL THEIR KIN, including these little bugs which are OBVIOUSLY their EVIL MINIONS!!!

You know, a few days ago I had a weird plant-blood experience. Mom had ripped out some coneflowers (don’t look at me, I would have kindly transplanted them), but she hadn’t got the roots. Sticking up out of the ground were these wrinkled, blackened stumps. Which was gross enough. But a few days later I was weeding and I happened to brush against the stumps with my fingers, and I could feel this oozy liquid on my skin. It looked exactly like blood. For a second I really thought I’d cut myself. It was freaky and I can never look at that stump again without thinking of how it was… bleeding. A creepy reminder that plants are alive. Sometimes I think we forget that they’re alive, and not like rocks or whatever. But they react to music, and voices, and changes in the air. Some move their faces to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. It’s really odd to think that even though they don’t move or make any noise, they’re living organisms.

And that they have blood. Or something like it.

Anyway. The whole point is: vampires suck.

Yuk yuk yuk,
Pen