Dreams of spring cleaning

Spring is coming. I can feel it at the genetic level: the domestic genes I inherited from my mother have activated themselves in the past three days. Normal thoughts of house maintenance have given way to dreams of spring cleaning, rearranging, and item-tossing. As a result I've caught myself resembling my cats, prowling around the house and looking for a mess to dip my hands into.

I hung new things in the hallway. Finally moved my bits of clothing from the bureau to the dresser, so as to give Jeff more room. (How odd is it that he needs more room for clothing than I do?) Started working on excavating the kitchen table. Day two of working on the kitchen.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll tackle the horrid mess that is the reading room. I'm still pondering painting the master bedroom blue. I want to—desperately—but the bedroom needs more work before that can happen.

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Jingoism, in any form

Yesterday I purchased many, many bulbs for the front flowerbeds. Fifty assorted daffodil bulbs, fifty assorted tulips, and a combined package of grape hyacinths and some other small flower whose name escapes me.

I went out this morning to plant the bulbs, and found that the ground was virtually too packed for me to shovel. Alabama red clay mud, when packed solid and baked slowly until dry, is virtually impervious to all man and beast (except, of course, fire ants, which can tunnel through plutonium and survive, I'd think).I managed to dig a few small trench rows, in which I laid alternating bulbs—tulip, daffodil, tulip, daffodil. After that, having spent far more time than I wanted with far fewer results than I would've liked, I gave up, put the shovel back on the porch, and went back inside.

Weekend plans

Waiting in the wings, life is waiting to interfere again. With a batch of cherry jam and cherry-spearmint jam completed, I have re-cleaned my kitchen and am prepared for the next onslaught. This afternoon, Kat and I are going to tackle peach preserves, and afterwards, the kitchen shall need to be cleaned again.

Tomorrow: Sean attempts to rototill the other enormous flowerbed while the ground is still sodden from this week's rains. While he's doing that, Kat and I will probably make a run out to the Huntsville Botanical Garden, which offers free mulch for the hauling. Since we have a lot of bare ground, we could use a lot of mulch, and this appears to be the cheapest way to handle it.

We'll place the mulch and then it'll undoubtedly be time for everyone to take a break.

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These are the things I understand...

Sean, in his gracious kindness, got the first flowerbed in the back yard tilled for us today. It is enormous—more enormous than I'd hoped, but I find that I'm not terribly daunted or terrified by this fact. Instead, I look at the bed and I think, "Ah! Larger than life! I can just plant more of the things I enjoy."

I suppose that's the best way to look at it.Even the large butterfly bushes I bought are dwarfed by the size of the bed.

Jeff took a nap late this afternoon. While he was stretched out on the bed, the cats at his feet, I took the opportunity to tiptoe outside to ponder, undisturbed, on this new flowerbed. After walking outside, I realized I hadn't put on my shoes, so I stopped on the sidewalk and took off my socks and walked barefoot through the grass, newly shorn and still wet from this afternoon's rain.

I stood there, deep in thought, until I heard a tapping on the window from the kitchen. Jeff waved hello and left me to continue contemplating.

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Butterfly bushes and a $7 experiment

There's almost nothing better than a 50%-off sale at your favorite nursery—almost nothing except, perhaps, the look of plants acquired for a song sitting prettily in your flowerbeds.

We went back to Exotic Harvest again today, Kat and Sean and I, and we came away with more lovely haul. My front porch is currently so full of plants that I really don't have room for any more. I need to get the ones currently in pots transplanted to the back flowerbeds as soon as they're ready.Sean was kind enough to plant the gardenias for me; the front of the house looks much less bare now that the right side of the house is bracketed with tall gardenias in full bloom. The area of the front porch that, until this afternoon, held gardenias is now taken up by two enormous purple-blooming butterfly bushes. They'll help anchor the back beds, provide some height, and the blooms will match my purple irises.

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A wonderful smell, flowers.

Not much in the way of cohesive news to report. Sean and I went to my favorite local nursery today, because they were having a sale. Today, things were 40% off—tomorrow, they'll be 50% off. I made off with two enormous gardenias—each between three and four feet tall. They bloom white, and are in the middle of blooming right now.

Tomorrow morning, they will join the ranks of the other plants, large and small, in my front flowerbeds. Slowly but surely, the beds are taking shape.We're going back tomorrow to snoop around some more. With the sale, the herbs will be $1 per pot, and that's pretty hard to pass up. I know that I will probably pick up some more chives, and will probably get some more of the mint plants, but I don't know what else.

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