Thursday, May 7, 2009

Zombies, Bikes and Hummingbirds

Note to self: No more zombie movies before bedtime.

Especially if it's the first night alone when Bryan's gone on a road trip.

Even if it is a spoof.

I became a Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran fan when I saw the movie 'Run Fatboy Run' (highly recommend it for pure fun). My daughter said I'd have to watch 'Shaun of the Dead', and so I did last night. Another funny one in a macabre sort of way. Didn't make me have nightmares, but very active vivid dreams that didn't make for a restful sleep.

I can't believe how much time's slipped way since I last had time to sit and write. It's gardening and motorcycling season, doncha know, and so every moment I'm not at work I'm outside.

Today is a beautiful day, and I mean that sincerely: grey, overcast and steady rain. Only a farmer or gardener can appreciate the beauty in that, when the earth is parched and even the little birds are sneezing from dust up their noses.

The rain also forces me to stay inside and attend to my neglected housework. Or maybe time to read. Hmm - decisions, decisions.

Jesse Cook

The concert on Thursday night was, needless to say, remarkable-fabulous-terrific-ohwow. We were second row - left from the stage, excellent seats. I must confess I was often distracted by Chris, the violinist - after so much concentrated effort this winter trying to learn correct bow technique, my eye was constantly drawn to him when he played. Of course Nick Hernandez's and Jesse's fingers fly over their strings, but without a hope of ever playing like that, the fascination isn't quite the same. But that bowing - that I could maybe do.

Test Flight

We went to Kamloops Saturday so I could take a bike for a test ride. The 650 Gladius wasn't in the fleet but they had an SV 650 that it was based on. I've always shied away from sport bikes because most of them are too high for my short wheelbase and the ones that aren't are just too stupid for price. Lately, though, manufacturers have evidently realized that not all riders have 34" inseams.

Anyway, it was hot sunny day, perfect for riding. Enjoyed lunch at a Greek cafe and then over to Rivercity Cycle for my 1:30pm spot. Learned I was the only female among the 2 dozen or so riders on the board, and apparently the only female who's ever participated as a rider, not a passenger. Ladies! There's nothing to be afraid of!

Spunky bike? Oh my. Up onto the highway heading east to Bernhardtvale, I almost lifted it up going into 2nd gear. Years ago that would have scared me; now I've got a big grin on my face. After the 30 minute ride, I knew I wouldn't ever go for an aggressive stance bike because my neck was tired from holding my head up at an angle. Very, very glad I did it, though, and now got the hunger. Suzi is sadly contemplating a new home.

Hummers of the Pretty Variety

The hummingbirds arrived here last Thursday night. Must have been a rough trip from Mexico ('flu?) because they're 2 or 3 weeks late. Anyway, I had the feeder ready and hanging for their return and we weren't disappointed. All 3 feeders have regular visitors. Lots of people around town also have their feeders out so I'm not tempted (yet) to hang more. In a few weeks, the hollyhocks and other feeder flowers will supplement their diet. I've only seen black-chinned and calliope hummers, but with luck the Anna's and rufous will be back.

Bird watching has been satisfying this spring. We've had some northern birds we're familiar with stop by the feeders on their travels from the southern wintering grounds to northern breeding areas. Others we've only had brief encounters with, like the goldfinch, are more regular customers here. The ground feeders: quail, Utah juncos, whitethroated sparrows - are loving the junipers we planted along the west side of the house where the feeders are. They are here much more often and take advantage of the cover when the hoodlum crows show up.

And as I write, there are hummers perched on the feeder just the other side of the patio doors on the barbeque deck, taking long drinks. Those raindrops must feel like boxer's punches, or do they dodge the raindrops?

Gardening, oh my

I'm not quite so rabid this season as I was last. Remember, though, that I was late to the start only arriving to stay on 25 May and looking at a completely barren landscape. This spring there's time to look and contemplate. There is greenery in place and most of last year's labour has paid off.

The patch out back that I worked on for several days turning over with a fork is mostly planted. It's full of herbs, some perennials from up north I heeled in last summer (my test plot as it were) and some veggies: carrots, lettuce, onions, garlic and a few potatoes. Just waiting, perhaps this weekend, to put in beans and a few tomatoes. Adrienne and Ken built two raised beds and put in several tomatoes among other things. I laugh and tell people I don't need to plant fruit trees and tomatoes - Adrienne did! And she laughs, too because we both know there's the potential to provide more than enough for the both of us.

Bryan's mom got an early Mother's Day gift. I bought flats of shade and partial shade annuals in Vernon, and then last Friday we drove to Revelstoke to work her beds. She'd done the one in front of her house under the kitchen window, but her bad knees make the work slow and digging next to impossible.

I dug up her large bed at the bottom of the backyard under the cherry trees. It isn't very big, or at least compared to the area I have here, but the perennials were rootbound and needed to be lifted and split; likewise an area up front where there were tiger lilies and siberian iris.

Once things were all ready, I put in fibrous begonia, red variagated coleus, lots of pansies (mostly deep red and yellow whisker-face) and trailing lobelia of various colours. Phyllis and her partner Garry helped turn over some of the shallow beds and remove some encroaching turf. And then of course it was time for beer because it was a hot, sunny day and we'd worked hard.

I brought home some of the spoils of the day for our yard and to share with Adrienne - tiger lilies, yellow lilies, siberian iris, peonies and some mystery plant that's in a quarantine spot (I have extensive experience with mystery plants gone amok- Jerusalem artichoke is on my 'never again' list).

Now that I can see what survived a hard winter (hard for zone 4/5 that is) and what's thriving, I know what to purchase to fill the spaces. More soapwort and Russian sage for the slope below the driveway. Also verbena and heliotrope (I know they're annuals but heliotrope is so lovely and incredibly aromatic). More coralbell and phlox for the hummers and butterflies.

Of course, there's always room for new experiments and I'm thinking a couple of yucca plants would look good down at the bottom of the front yard, ney?

Several neighbours laid sod this past weekend (or are in the middle of laying sod - can't make good progress if you don't start until noon!!). Our farmer blood leads us a different route. Besides planting far more perennials and shrubs than most to fill the space and my heart, we are spreading mixed forage seed on the ground like we did up north. The mix of fescue, brome, timothy, clover and whatever else they use here is much hardier than Kentucky bluegrass. It doesn't make a pretty carpet lawn but it does make a tough, resilient, low-maintenance cover.

Soapwort - ugly name, lovely plant

Parting shot:

Did you hear about the big fire in Calgary last weekend? Yep, one of the golf courses in the city.

There was a Flame on every green!!!

1 comment:

  1. Ditto your note to self. If I'm going to watch horror anything it has to be in broad daylight!