Saturday, May 31, 2008

You Probably Don't Want Pictures of Dirt

So here's a flower on my golden chain tree.

The aforementioned dirt is the vegetable garden, which is tremendously exciting but currently not much to look at. The sorry little rags of green are the beans, squash, and tomatoes, newly transplanted from their pots. They weren't real happy about the transition and are currently sulking. To add insult to injury I planted a seed next to each plant just in case it croaks.

Four rows of corn and three of potatoes still look like plain dirt. Where's the excitement? I pre-sprouted the corn seeds and let the potatoes develop leafy little eyes before planting. (That counts as excitement to me.)

I had near zero germination on my basil seeds. Four packets, four different types of basil (and not that weird cinnamon or lemon basil, or -- heaven forbid -- purple ruffles, but good green cooking basil) and I got two measly seedlings. We had to go to four different stores and nurseries today to find sufficient basil, and a sorry lot it was, probably because of the frost earlier this week.

Despite how grumpy this all sounds, I am thrilled. It's not just that I'm nuts, although if you saw me printing out labels for each plant (Which font? That required thought. I chose Verdana because it sounds green.), cutting them out with a rotary cutter and ruler, and taping them onto the blank metal markers (with exactly six pieces of tape on each) you'd know that one of my oars is not fully in the water.

I've been trying to put my finger on what makes this garden so exciting and important to me, and it isn't the garden. It's that the whole family is working together on it. Although we all took a part in each task, my daughter and I did most of the planting, and my husband and son did the much of the grunt work on the fence.

And we all had fun with the tools. Red Green had it right:
If at first it doesn't work, force it. If it still doesn't work, switch to power tools.
You should have seen my son with the electric drill. He got to drill through metal, which made loud and horrible and terribly exciting sounds. I, in contrast, like hanging the tools on the pegboard in the garage, each in its own assigned space. My daughter and husband take a more practical approach: tools exist to get the job done. They don't care if they're excitingly sharp or noisy or otherwise of note, they just use them. Weird.

Friday, May 23, 2008

And Now, A Cat.

Here is Summer, sleeping on the piano. She likes to lie down on the piano, on her feeding table, on the counter, on the floor in the middle of the hall. She has perfected the lie-down.

Note, however, that she is not lying down gracefully. She is sprawling. Summer is not a graceful cat. In fact, she is the only clumsy cat I have ever known. In the early days, I wondered why she never jumped onto any surface. After a few crashes, it became clear. It is much safer to claw one's way up to the counter or lap than to risk a spectacular fall.

I had already become accustomed to random crashing noises around the house, as Spock, her partner-in-crime, loves to push things, ever so delicately, with his paws. Lego creation? Crash! Pile of papers? Crash! Box of screws? Crash!

With Summer, the sound is the same but the reason is different. After clawing her way to the top of the bookshelf, she steps on the pile of papers and CRASH! There goes the pile. And there goes the cat.

She gets onto her feeding table in a two-step process: onto the garbage can, then onto her table. Except when the garbage can is empty, and tips over as she climbs onto it. CRASH!

Yesterday she tried to bridge the gap between her table and the counter. Literally. She had her front paws on the counter's edge and her back paws on her table. Time seemed to stop as we watched her, stretched and suspended, try to figure out what to do. Can't go forward, can't go back. CRASH!

Summer is a pushy cat. Here is my current knitting project: a cat nest. Basically a flat-bottomed bowl, the knit and felted cat nest is a favorite with most cats. I will have to make two, of course, and had planned the first for Spock. Blue and brown are nice understated and masculine colors for my logical Spock. Summer was going to get something in a bright red. Summer, however, disagrees. The first bed is for her, and I'd better be quick about finishing it.

Here is Summer, sleeping. She sleeps a lot. (After all, she has to practice her lie-down positions.) She sleeps a lot because she is up all night scratching on my son's bedroom door and meowing for him to let her in. More precisely, she wants him to get up and feed her. Summer loves her food.

Summer will eat anything. Food left on the counter is fair game. Plate scrapings in the sink are fair game. Spock's food doesn't even bear mentioning; of course it is Summer's. Jamie, the golden retriever, cleans his bowl so quickly that she doesn't have a chance at it, but freakazoid Emily likes to eat her food in several go-rounds. Now, when she leaves her bowl, Summer is there to finish it off.

I'm glad Summer is our cat. Why anyone would have given her up is beyond me.