Talking To God

GOD to ST. FRANCIS :

st-francis-of-assisi-praying
Frank , … You know all about gardens and nature.
What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

St. FRANCIS:
It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD:
Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS:
Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow i and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD:
The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS:
Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

GOD:
They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS:
Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD:
They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS:
No, Sir, just the opposite.. They pay to throw it away.

GOD:
Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS:
Yes, Sir.

GOD:
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS:
You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD:
What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS:
You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away..

GOD:
No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS:
After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD:
And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS:
They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD:
Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE:
‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about….

GOD:
Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

I Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore

Well folks, I just got in from the garden. A mere two hours of planting chrysanthemums, pruning shrubs, dead heading daisies and I’m washed out. I entered the cool of the house and plopped in front of my desk to read e-mails. Here is number one. Darned if it didn’t pick me up and make me want to go out again. See if this works for you too. Oh, if you are under sixty-five you may not understand what this is all about. Thanks Bob I know YOU understand it well.

The Return of Aga Bam-bi

The garden looked better this day than it had in a long time. A cover of dark grey clouds hovered over the 2013 Monet Vision, and a light mist of rain fell giving the new plants the drink they longed for. Grumpa Joe admired his work from the dry warm comfort of the sun-room. Coffee cup in hand he walked to the kitchen to survey the area between the pond and the border garden. A flurry of sparrows and finches fought for space on Grandma Peggy’s bird feeder. She had filled it in the morning and by now it was nearly empty. He looked down to assess the amount of feed falling to the ground under the feeder. There was a large round spot of bright yellow-tan seed directly under the feeder bowl. “I wonder if Peggy is spilling feed on the ground for the critters?”  Then he spotted the furry body of Aga Bam-bi. “He blends so well with the ground, I can’t believe I nearly missed him.”

Aga Bam-bi hunched on the ground at the edge of the seed circle. His nose twitching as he chewed the seed. His ears continuously turning and twisting in all directions listening for danger. Grumpa Joe lightly tapped the window with a fingernail. Aga Bam-bi froze.

He is bigger and fatter than Grumpa Joe remembered him from a year ago. He wondered where Aga Bam-bi was for the last twelve months. “He hasn’t found the petunias yet, that is good, but I’m sure he will,” muttered Grumpa under his breath.

Deep inside the briar patch within the wetland Ali Bug-Bunee sat in conference with his cell. A full year had passed since the cell expelled Aga Bam-bi. The cell had remained in sleeper status during that time.  The cell had been busy multiplying, and Ali faced a small crowd of cell members. Many of the newest members were still shedding their baby fur.

Ali began, “The Nature Spy Alliance(NSA) has informed me that Aga Bam-Bi found his way back to the garden. It is time to use Bam-Bi as a distraction while we execute our plan to devastate the petunias under the cover of darkness. Grumpa Joe does not know we are waiting to attack him. He will think it is Aga who is destroying his Vision. Put your ears at attention and repeat after me, “I solemnly swear to be active only in the darkness under the threat of being fed to the hawks.” They all fluffed their tails and wagged their ears in unison at the completion of the oath.

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétun...

Petunias. Esperanto: Petunoj. Français : Pétunias. Русский: Петунии (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grumpa Joe finished planting the last six petunia plants near the window where he spotted Aga two days ago. “I’m taking my chances with this critter, but he has stayed away from the feeder for a while, and I feel confident that he won’t eat them.” As Grumpa Joe patted the final plant into place, he spotted Aga in the far corner of the garden eating clover flowers.

Grumpa Joe slept in on Saturday and shuffled to the kitchen for his coffee. He raised the shade on the window and looked out at his fresh planting. “What the he. . .? Peg, come here. Look what that damn rabbit has done to the petunias I planted yesterday. He has eaten them to the ground.”

“Now, now dear, he is only a poor little creature who lives a very hard life in nature,” said Peggy.

“That’s it, I’m taking some serious action today.”

“What ‘ll you do?

“I’m building an IED.”

“You aren’t going to blow the poor thing up are you?”

“No, no, I meant an Improvised Entrapment Device(IED). I’ll catch him and take him for a ride.”

The striped squirrels working for the NSA were listening to Grumpa Joe from under the stoop. Chip made a mad dash across the patio and through the Cranesbill into the wetland to report to Ali.

“Excellent work Chip, you have done well. Grumpa Joe doesn’t suspect a thing. Aga will get the blame and we will fill our bellies with petunia flowers until they are all gone. If we are lucky, Joe will trap Aga with his IED and we will be rid of him too.”

to be continued. . .

Working In The Garden

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France

Monet garden in Giverny, Eure, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I have used other people’s work on this blog. My time in the garden takes its toll on me and the result is a lack of energy left to write. My Lions Club work suffers also. Here it is the third day of summer, and I am still planting annuals in the 2013 Monet Vision. Hopefully, the plants will have enough daylight to survive and thrive before the first killing frost.

Spring came late for me because I spent most of it in Arizona. When I finally did arrive home, the temperatures in Illinois were much the same as what I had in February. The temperature reached 100 on the day we left. After spending three months in tee shirts and shorts, I suddenly found myself looking for warmth. Another delay occurred because my sister-in-law suffered a stroke shortly after we returned. We spent a good bit of time visiting with her and were at her bedside when she passed. Before I knew it, June had arrived and established itself before I pulled a single weed, bought flowers and even considered getting into the garden.

All of that stuff is over now, and I attack the Monet Vision daily with vigor, which runs out in a few short hours. So when I read a news articles like a Zombie, and it appeals to me, I re-blog or link with a minimum of personal expression. Hopefully, I select topics that appeal to my followers.

Being in the garden gives me time to think and to set goals. My list suddenly becomes almost impossibly long, but I will  take the goals baby step, by baby step and get the important things done. The Monet Vision is at the top of the list, next is blogging, third is work on my novel, and forth is the workshop. Oh, I completely forgot, Peggy fits in there too, and I also have to squeeze in a few moments for physical fitness like walking and bike riding. No, wait, I need to find time to spend with family and friends too. I can’t neglect personal relationships for mundane things like the workshop, blogging, and physical fitness. After all, imbibing Winking Owl with my old fart buddies takes precedence over everything else including Peggy(please don’t rat on me by telling Peggy I said that), and the Monet Vision.

Yesterday, it rained and I watched a Wabbit under the eaves eating bird seed dropped from the feeder. He looked familiar to me, but larger than the last time I saw him. Yes, it is the same Wabbit, it is Aga Bambi, last seen eating Petunias from the 2012 Monet Vision. Not a problem anymore, I’ll call the IRS and ask them to send a FBI drone over to keep the garden under surveillance. If the drones spot any signs of terrorist activity, they can tell me to take positive action.

Opening Day At the 2013 Monet Vision

Ugh! Opening day in the garden is always a drag, and procrastination delayed my arrival. I love blogging and sat down this morning and even early this afternoon to write, but it didn’t happen. The temperature settled at 85 degrees and the little man inside my head kept urging me to go outside to enjoy the day. “Okay,” I told him, “quit nagging me.” I decided to take a baby step and to spend one hour outside. I even had a plan, i.e. start cleaning the bed behind the kitchen window. That will only take an hour. Three and a half hours later, I dragged my weary body in and collapsed, but at least I took a step.

2013-Monet Vision, Main Bed

2013-Monet Vision, Main Bed

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Cirsium Arvense, Thistle

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Grape Hyacinth

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Dandelion Puff Balls

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White Iris

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Lilly of the Valley beginning to bloom

My mind reeled with visions of work. Move the mums, split the wild geraniums, move the native hibiscus, trim the shrubs, dig out the five foot tall volunteer bush at the bird tower, move the day lilies into the sun, trim the shag bark birch, spray the dandelions, clean the leaves from the east side of the house, trim the Fallopia Japonica, cut back the shrubs along the east border, pull the weeds from the vegetable bed, and I haven’t even thought about buying any flowers yet. Oh my, what am I going to do? Take it one baby step at a time, that is what!

The first priority is to clean all maximum impact areas. What is a maximum impact area? Any flower bed that I can see from my chair at the kitchen table is a maximum impact area. There is an order of priority commencing from the chair, and progressing to the view standing at the kitchen window, to looking out the sunroom windows, to the bedroom windows, and finally, my neighbor’s view from his patio to the the far reaches of the yard.

Garden waste is always a problem for me. The village provides a pickup service, but I have to place the waste curbside in officially approved and tagged brown paper bags. That does not appeal to me at all. I prefer dumping garden waste into a pile beyond the lot line in the swamp. The EPA designation for swamp these days is “wetland.” Last year, the Wetlands Officer gave me a ticket for dumping evil grass clippings and dead dandelions on officially designated wetland property. The list of damage I subjected upon to the environment seemed endless. Further infractions of tossing horticultural matter into the swamp is punishable, and objectionable to the natural critters who consider the swamp their home.

When I finally came in, I went to my computer and googled NuWay Waste Disposal. That is the company that trucks our garbage and recyclables away. Eureka, they offer a yard waste disposal bin for a seasonal fee. The choice is to pay for the official brown bags, or for a handy waste container that gets picked up weekly. The Monet Vision produces a few square yards of horticultural matter every year, and the bin is a much more practical way to dispose of the waste. At least it is for me.

When the Frankfort Environmental Officer arrives to inspect my piece of the swamp, I will proudly point at my new garden waste bin and thumb my nose at him. Then, I will politely ask him what he will do to eradicate all the non-native thistle and doc migrating from his swamp into my horticultural masterpiece.

2012 Monet Vision in Development

Grumpa Joe is busy developing the 2012 Monet Vision, and is taking a garden walk-about. He will rejoin the community when the cirsium vulgare, cirsium arvense, and terrorist Wabbits are in check.

A Sneak Peek

A sneak peek at the “2012 Monet Vision”

CINO, Conservative In Name Only

Today, I began my war against the terror organization known as Bull Thistle. As I patiently applied toxins to foliage with a brush to keep overspray from killing innocent victims, it finally occurred to me, gardens are naturally conservative. The natural law rules and plants are genetically programmed to win any affront to upset the balance. On the flip side, gardeners are the far left liberals. We constantly try to force our will upon Nature and its horticultural specimens to form a more perfect society. Gardeners are racist too. We chose to believe that some specimens are more desirable than others, and therefore, the undesirables are definitely open to annihilation.

When will we liberal gardeners learn that the order of Nature will persevere?  When will gardeners stop the foolishness of imposing their idea of what is beautiful and morally correct upon nature? Anyone who gardens knows that a beautiful society of plantdom has to be carefully controlled. Unwanted specimens are culled to keep the vision beautiful. If the maintenance slows or if it stops, the vision automatically reverts to the natural order of things. In some cases it reverts to something that is less than natural, because the gardener brought in specimens from outside his zone of influence to fill the lack of diversity. Many times the imports are without predators and thrive within the vision to overtake the locals.

So here I am, a boneheaded Conservative trying to impose my will upon the 2012 Monet Vision, in order to create a Utopian society of horticultural matter in an environment that repels my efforts to create heaven on earth.

“It’s a losin’ fight.” —–WIlliam Bendix as Riley in “The Life of Riley.”

The Life of Riley

The Life of Riley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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