Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Friday, May 16, 2003

A Pooka's Paradise

I ignored the blighted weakly tomato after moving it from a pot to the ground.

Today I found a tomato on it, and the plant is green again. Hurrah for ignoring it!

I need to remember to not garden when I'm in pain, though. Between my back, the bad flare-up, and twisting my ankle, I wasn't quite delicate enough when working with the green beans. I bought the bamboo arches for stakes to train the vines on, and I snapped one of the vines in the process. Dammit. I'm feeling very badly about this.

The Zucchini That Ate Cincinnati has leaves almost as large as my husband's ego.

Radishes will be pulled up tomorrow. Okra is getting ready to start setting fruit. Squashes look to be blooming soon. Zucchini still dropping all blossoms. Dammit. Grr.

The seeds that Thing 2 and I planted LAST SUNDAY are going wild. The new radishes are almost ready to replace the ones we'll be pulling, though I'm worrying about the heat and actually considering putting them in large leftover plastic pots and keeping them cooler up on the patio. The pots are more than large enough to hold a single radish plant, and I'd have better atmosphere control over them that way.

Green beans planted last Sunday are not only sprouted, but opening leaves. Less than a week. Man, this is just wild.

And once again, EVERY SINGLE SEED SPROUTED! Crap garden soil, and tada.

Still waiting for the Four O'Clocks to sprout.

Need to go work on the wisteria tomorrow and get it set to really start climbing. Fighting whatever those #*$&#*$& vines are nearby is making me crazy. They're trying to crowd out the two rosebushes that still aren't doing anything. I've really considered digging them up and moving them into the backyard where I can keep a better eye on them.

My pumpkins have taken over the weeding job for me. It's so funny! Those curly little pigtail pumpkin vines are wrapping around anything nearby, and are pulling shakier weeds right out of the ground with them.

I'm about to have some very cross words with the mosquitos in my back yard, oh yes. They're AWFUL! Grr, itch itch itch.

Nicotiana now tucked gently in with the Veronica Salvia, Hummingbird pink and a deep deep deep rose to go with the blue-purple Veronica. I moved the large tomato plant away from the Nicotiana and have that flowerbed now bordered by strawberry and zinnia pots.

Blackeyed Susan vines now twining their way up a trellis between my patio and the fence that I can't plant along. Stupid phone company. Anyway, the Susan vines are delicate and lovely, and a Maid of Orleans jasmine that isn't a climber completes the view that direction, set a bit behind it. They're far enough away that we shouldn't have to worry about bees on the porch, and right where the breeze will catch and carry the scent to us.

The trellis is also positioned so that once the vines fill out, we should have a bit of filtered sun on the patio.

Mini-petunias worked into the thinning spots where some of the early ones decided there wasn't enough sun and quit on me. Not my fault, the sun just *vanished* for a good three days and only reappeared after Tornado Watch winds ripped the clouds away. Nice mini that is a varigated salmon colour, and utterly lovely.

Peach Vincas tucked into a spot where hopefully they'll decide to be self-seeders and spread. I grew up with the pinks and whites all in front of the house (though us Suthun folk call em periwinkles), and once they settled in, they STAYED in, and even after my parents finally tried to get rid of them, long after I moved out, they'd still pop up every spring -- and still do, 30 years later.

Picked my strawberry today. (laugh) You try splitting one with everyone in the house.

I'm tired, but it's a good tired. In a way, it makes up for the hellish week I've had.

Being out there among the plants, watching the bees and butterflies (and the blue jay that gets SO riled up when we rake pine needles from under His Personal Tree) and Batman the squirrel and daddy Attila and just listening to the birds and the windchimes can do more for calm serenity than any bottle of antidepressants ever could.

All I need is land to till, fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the seeds of imagination to make the world my own.

Pull up a chair and sit a while.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

A Pooka's Panorama

My porch extension is done for now.

DG showed up in time to hand me the last few paver stones. Plastic sheet beneath, a good layer of paving sand, the pavers and natural stone and other odd bricks make it look like it *belongs* there. Dirt atop, and worked into the cracks. Should have room to get Alyssum spilling over the biggest natural stone.

I could use four more to round it out and finish it off, but it's done. I have no skin left on my hands. Knee is skinned, the other bruised. I'm sunburned, of course. I'm exhausted, and I ache. People, I have CONTACTS in. No glasses for the Pooka!

And I'm utterly hopelessly expansively content. Happy. I *love* my yard.

I have small unopened blooms on my pumpkins, squash, and larger open ones on the zucchini. An abundance of tomatoes growing. Haven't really checked much today, work was concentrated on the porch area, so I don't know about the beans, peas, and okra.

The first planting of zinnias now have definite seed heads and will blossom soon. Thinned them out a bit more and tries replanting to see if they'll survive. All of them have so far, so I'm Happy.

I found lady bugs, yes, lady bugs in my garden! And there was much rejoicing, yay.

I have blue jays that chase the crows away and snatch wasps right out of the air. My birds all have feeders and extra goodies to keep them around. The squirrels have already eaten the hanger off one of the seed bells. I don't mind the squirrels at all, and we have enough feeders that it isn't a big deal at all.

... Honey? I'm home.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Raw Muscle Required

If anyone is interested in helping a Pooka with hot-sweaty-muscle guy work tomorrow, you're more than welcome to join the chaos.

They took me to get my Mother's Day present. With a limited budget, I put back so many flowers, so many hanging baskets, so many little 6 paks of them. Dammit. It just wasn't right.

Then we found the paving stones at Home Depot. They aren't what I wanted. I admit that up front. But they don't clash with the house brick like the ones at Walmart, and were cheaper.

We DID find the exact ones I wanted, the large irregular "natural" rock pavers and they were HUGE, but they were also 5 bucks each. Uh. No.

So we picked up paver sand, and 16 12x12 "pewter" (ie, natural concrete colour that matches the porch slab) concrete slabs that cost less than a dollar each. It doesn't sound like enough for the area, but we do have several large natural stones, and the longer rectangular concrete slabs left in the yard that we already put in that space. With what we already have, and spreading them some to be able to put Alyssum and some other flowering groundcover in there, they'll be perfect.

I'm not really going for a regular stepping/seating/standing place with this extension. You'll be able to walk on the stones, but it's more to move some of the planters out of the way on the actual slab so DG doesn't maim and scorch my plants with his blasted grill.

It's hot enough out there without some fool with lighter fluid starting a bonfire three feet from my tomato plants.

My largest pot is almost big enough to stuff my 10 year old in, but the base should fit with little problem on a slab.

So, tomorrow we put down another layer of black plastic and pull more sticker burrs and grass to finish the size of the area, get sand down to help level the area and provide a cushion base for the paving stones, figure out spacing (I'll be putting larger dirt sections where I want flowering groundcover around the natural stones that we have), and try to get everything set and down.

We found an outdoor porch swing that's FABULOUS, but $100 was a smoodge out of our budget, okay, SCADS out of our budget. But it had a very large canopy, two separate seats with drink holders and a little shelf and basket between them. Very nice.

It may not be a romantic girly Mother's Day, but I'm happy.

All I need now is my patio cover. At this point, gimme a couple of PVC pipes and I'll sew up the pavillion fabric still sitting in our garage with grommets and velcro to attach around the pipes, and I'll call it done. It's friggin hot out there, man.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Is it Fall Yet?

The word for the day is: "Muggy."

-- when the humidity is 90-100%, and it's not raining, you understand muggy.

-- when you pray that it DOESN'T rain because it will just make it worse, you understand muggy.

-- when you'd rather trade 120* dry summers for 90* and high humidity, you understand muggy.

-- when standing in the shade is just as miserable as standing out in the sun, you understand muggy.

-- when you sweat buckets and the sun doesn't dry any of it, you understand muggy.

-- when everything, including air, sticks to you, you understand muggy.

-- when you walk outside and your glasses steam up, only, your clothing is suddenly too drenched to wipe them off, you understand muggy.

-- when your cig breaks at work take twice as long because the damn thing won't burn, you understand muggy.

-- when even your water bottle looks up at you with a white flag of surrender and says "Dude, I'm going back inside," you understand muggy.

-- when your white flag of surrender refuses to wave because it has absorbed all the water it can hold and then some . . . you understand muggy.

-- when you dry yourself from the shower at seven in the morning and the towel is still wet or at least damp at 10 that night, you understand muggy.

It's just now May. It is almost 94* outside. Even the yellowjackets are on strike.

Man, is it Fall yet?

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Butterfly Kisses

The wildlife difference is just astonishing. At the apartment, we'd see sparrows, maybe a few house finches, and occasionally hear doves. And the bugs, always the bugs.

While sitting on the porch last night, I had no less than five different species of birds in the yard around me. We have a score of regulars that have learned we'll happily feed them. The doves are getting braver, as are the robins. The male cardinal sings to me almost every morning when I go outside.

I've never seen blue jays this ... blue. Their colouring is strong and utterly spectacular.

There are two adult squirrels that we see on a regular basis, a male and female. Fiesty and brave. Earlier yesterday, one of them was just going bananas, complaining and fretting and spitting and bitching up a storm for a solid five minutes. Hmm.

About 10 minutes after that, I could see why. A very, very young squirrel, still a little uncertain about his footing, scampered hesitantly along the back fence. He'd stop every so often and cower in fear from the doves that were substantially larger. Watching him try to figure out the fence corner, where tree limbs cross over and make a straight shot difficult, was wonderful.

Left my shoes and chair out in the lawn to go refill my "pesticide" spray bottle (it's amazing how well dishsoap and water repell plant-munching pests), and when I returned, there was a huge fat dove SITTING IN MY SHOE, along with another four right around the chair. Oh yeah, they're REAL scared of me. Not.

It's the butterflies that create the greatest thrill. I don't have an awful lot of butterfly/hummingbird friendly plants yet, but that doesn't seem to slow them down. There's a swimming pool next door, and one behind us, so moisture is always there for the butterflies. My petunias are a particular favourite, along with the tomato plants.

Squinty-eyed Pooka looks over at one of the bright pink petunias, wondering if I've caught one of the leaf munching pests in the act. All I can see is a long strip of green, like a cutworm or so. Grr. Must confront.

Closer, closer still. Then it opened.

Softest lime green, even the body, the butterfly was happily nestling into the heart of the petunia, drinking away. I watched it for the longest time, then reached to pinch off a wilted blossom in the same pot.

The butterfly startled, and rose.

He didn't go far. Pastel greens hovered around my head, then settled instead on the tomato right beside me and began delivering butterfly kisses once more.

Large black ones, easily the side of my hand. Smaller black butterflies with brilliant blue spots. Monarchs. Neon yellows. There is always colour out there now, a vast cry from when we moved in.

Butterfly kisses are always welcome in my yard.