“May you burst like a toad”

Summer’s in full swing here now, a little earlier than some years. Some people say summer doesn’t start until July 5th. The yard is looking really beautiful, in spite of a medium amount of benign neglect. Not Grey Gardens level, just a little, though. The only real eyesore is the hedge. It’s been cut back about 6 feet at this point and the top is all level. I know 15 minutes from now it’s going to be UNIFORM WALL OF LAUREL but for now it’s…well. You can see for yourself. It’s providing lots of firewood, which we were using until about two weeks ago, ha.

I put up some pictures of the really amazing, mature rhododendrons that this house came with. That’s how they looked between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but this yard came with almost every shrub and tree that I love. There is a mature pieris. I planted a pieris when I lived in that busted-ass unending renovation project in Crown Hill ten years ago. It was very wee and I left it.

There is a forsythia here. There was a wild forsythia in my backyard as a kid. I say wild, but who knows, really? I was told the woods my parents built their house on was an old farm about a hundred years before we came along so who knows if it just popped up or was planted. Did rural Illinois Victorian-era farmers plant forsythias? I don’t know. We found chucked glass medicine bottles and cow bones in our yard. Forsythias remind me of being little. It was next to a gooseberry bush, and surrounded by many fierce wild blackberries. I was the only one who ate them. Why on earth these were not turned into pies or frozen or canned is beyond me. That is exactly what you do with wild blackberries.

There is a golden chain tree. They make terrible suckers but I love them. Our Swedish grandma neighbor had some when we lived by the Zoo. There is an Italian prune tree. There is a lavender rose that was already established here. I’ve planted one at every house. I never thought much about fir trees, but I do a lot now, because they are my view as I lay in my hammock now. I have wanted a hammock for years but I never really had a yard I wanted to lie around in.

So I have discovered I have plant nostalgia.

Speaking of which, I made Chicago dogs the other night. I crave them in the summer and I feel like it’s my duty to foist them upon the girls occasionally. They are not 100% authentic, but pretty close. I’ve discovered I prefer shredded peperoncini because they’re easier to eat. When I was a kid I thought it was normal to roll into a mall and buy one. I dyed the relish.

I knew something was off and I remembered later that I forgot the raw onions. It was still good though. It’s like a salad on a eyeballs and butthole tube! Ok ok, I buy the beef ones. Seriously, though, do not do this without celery salt. I have celery salt for one reason. I even use my Old Bay more.

I will interrupt this ramble to say What One Dish Of Any Meal Will Taste Like at My House, aka Spices and Herbs I Abuse Most:

1. Paprika
2. Dill
3. Paprika AND dill
4. Thyme
5. Chipotle chili powder

Since I am doing spring mental-barf housekeeping very late, I’ll say that, obviously, beekeeping did not come to pass this year. I swear I was just bone tired a good six months after we moved in here, for lots of reasons. I did pick up a couple of pullets this spring, though. I decided to try the lower-fuss method of getting them feathered out and ready for the yard. The advantages are obvious: they are ready to go in your coop the day you bring them home, no brooder box needed. The drawback is that they are much more skittish since they’re not being held multiple times a day from day one. Strudel can get them to eat out of her hand but I cannot.

However, these old gals are hoors for table scraps.

Chicken n waffles! I made banana-cashew waffles for four. I am still trying to adjust portions to account for Franny’s temporary absence. She eats as much as an adult, and often more.

So here’s the new babies:

The black one is a Jersey giant. I tried to get one before with my last batch when I acquired the Todd Nebula (boo) but the chick cacked it a day in, and my Australorp ended up being named Snooki which suits her very well. The new giant’s name is Fruit Loop. The speckled one is named Fred Burkle. She’s an Orloff. The white one is some utility breed, I think? The interesting thing about her is that she has one blue eye and one greenish one. She didn’t have a name at first but Franny bigfooted it and now her name is Roger Sterling.

To which I say:

I’ve had them for about a month now. Man, I have been busy. I’m trying to balance blogging among the house and work and life and writing! It’s not easy. But I miss it. I think I am over my writing mania period, as I expected would happen. I’m editing now, which is hard, hard, much harder than writing. Every day I do something is a day I feel I haven’t just racked up, uselessly. It’s good to pay the bills but there has to be more, as well. If nothing else I think the discipline of waking up early has done me a lot of good.

In a more timely fashion, here is that hole-plugger I mentioned for the fence.


Have a nice F.U. England day!!

5 thoughts on ““May you burst like a toad”

  1. Pieris and forsythia are both nice plants – there were plenty of both of them at my previous residence. Here, I’ve got privet and barberry, which I don’t like nearly as much. At least there’s a nice Rhododendron here.

    I thought that summers here in the northeast started late!

  2. Speaking of domestic goings on, I was daydreaming of my own apiary and thought of you while I looked up the laws in AZ. BEES BEES BEES. I hope you get that going soon and share pictures. Then I can beg you to ship some comb to me.

  3. I’d love to ship you some comb! I’m sure I’d end up with too much. I hear that’s what happens. Fingers crossed for next spring. There’s just a lot of necessary things to do to the house this year.

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