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.

The Seed of Succession

Dead plant in pots

Dead plant in pots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Seed Jean MacArthur May-01-2010

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose
a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to
do something different. He called all the young executives in his
company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have
decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but
the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today –
one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come
back here one year from today with   what you have grown from the seed I
have given you.
I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one
I choose will be   the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received
a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the   story. She
helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After
about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a
plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had
nothing Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept
watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company
brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his
stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life,
but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the
other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put
his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few
felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his
youngexecutives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and
flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be
appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his
empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified.. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he
will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his
seed, Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and
then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief
Executive Officer!

His name is “Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his
seed.

“How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a
seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back
to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was
not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another
seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and
honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one
who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now;
it will determine what you will reap later.

))))))))))))))))))))

Thank you Cousin Sharon from Placentia.

I Believe in God

I believe in God. My heroes and role models do too. As I look back on life I can honestly say I only knew one atheist, and that was my grandfather. Toward the end of  his life, he looked out the living room window of his lonely little farm-house in Michigan at the sixty foot willow tree he had planted as a sapling immediately across the driveway.  A storm brewed, the skies were black and roiling, and the wind picked up with a fury. Grandpa Jim watched in awe as the sixty-foot willow tree ripped out of the ground and slammed over next to the house.

He told me that after seeing that tree rip out like a small twig he began to believe there was a God. It is my belief that Grandpa Jim resides in heaven with our Creator and waits for us to join him.

Here is a video of one of my mentors and a true role model.

Dr. Orchid Revives a Patient

Miss Orchid 2012

Miss Orchid has done it again. After six months of abuse by her owner, she decided to grant him a gift by blooming. Thank God Grumpa Joe knows an orchid expert who helped him repot her and to rejuvenate her root system into fresh potting medium.

Dr. Orchid Expert diagnosed her with severe dehydration and recommended immediate surgery. He clipped some her most severely dried roots and hoped for the best. Upon returning from the orchid hospital, Grumpa Joe assumed a new attitude about this precious symbol of his deceased wife Barbara. He began to give it the kind of care she should have received all along.

Weekly half hour showers of tepid water in the kitchen sink followed by a drenching of water spiked with fertilizer  have been the routine since November. She began to bloom a week before Christmas, and continues to sprout new blossoms, and even a second spike from her main stem. Her solitary place of honor is on the glass table in the sun-room.

Look Out Idaho Here I come!

A cherry tomato and a beefsteak tomato, showin...

Image via Wikipedia

The devil made me do it. Earlier this summer I left a potato on the counter top too long. I had it there waiting to use it with a dinner.

One day I looked at it and it had all these green sprouts protruding from the eyes. The great experiment began. My mother taught me that if you plant the sprouting eye of a potato it will grow into a plant and produce more potatoes. Why not? I was late in getting my vegetable garden started, and potatoes are a vegetable, right? I carefully cut the sprouting eyes out of the Idaho potato and planted them, five in all.

Sure enough, within a few days five green sprouts broke through the soil. I let them be. I paid more attention to the three varieties of tomatoes I  planted. Of the three, the biggest crop came from the grape size tomato plant. The smallest crop came from Beefsteak, and the third, also called beef-something produced fruit that wouldn’t turn red on the vine.  Last year, the grape tomatoes were sweet and flavorful. This year they were acidic and sour. The fruit on the beef-something distorted and resembled Siamese twins joined at the chest. I wrote a Halloween post about one of the beef-somethings called Graden Creature. Once a beef-something turned red it was tasty, but it required a lot of  trimming of the stem and from the juncture and the distorted twin top.

Visions of my Grampa Jim ran through my mind all summer as I waited for the potato beetle to come and devastate the five plants. Grampa Jim invented the green movement of organic gardening. His method of eliminating the potato beetle was to tour the rows and pick the bugs off the plants by hand. He flicked them into a coffee can with kerosene. Often, when I scoured the shed for nails and tools, I’d look into a coffee can only to find an inch of kerosene in the bottom and a layer of bugs floating on the top. He didn’t waste his cans or kerosene either.

Miraculously the potato bug didn’t arrive in my tiny garden. Last week, during garden cleaning, I finally harvested the potato crop. My heart raced with excitement as I dug for the tubers. Success, I found several under the first plant. These potatoes have a way to go to compete with the Idaho they sprouted from, but it is a start. Look out Idaho, Look out Maine, Grumpa Joe is adding potatoes to his crop.

The 2011 crop

The largest is three inches long, the smallest is the size of a large marble

Brighten Your Day With a Bloom

The indoor garden occasionally brings me great joy. Today, I was graced with two new blossoms. One, is an Amaryllis, and the other is my old friend the orchid. Both flowers have stories behind them.

The Amaryllis: Grandma Peggy and I received this plant in a Christmas gift exchange. We brought it home and forgot about it. It was late January or early February when I found it and decided it was time to open the box.  I knew the box contained a bulb in some organic floss. Surprise, When I opened the box the bulb had a three-inch long very pale green  sprout sticking out of it. I planted the bulb into the pot that came with it, and watered it. Within six weeks we had a beautiful flower. At the end of winter, I planted the bulb in the garden. Every year for three years, I dug the bulb out, potted it,  and brought it in. This year, for some odd reason, it decided to flower.

The orchid: My deceased wife Barb received the orchid as a gift when she came home from her open heart surgery in 2000. It was in full bloom when I brought it home with her. The orchid blooms for six months, then, takes a nap and re-blooms. This year, it is doing the same thing. This plant has been faithful to me for ten years. When I think about it, she has blossomed continuously for five of those ten years.

Right now, the plant has only opened one blossom. In a week or two it will have a double spike  with as many as twenty flowers on it. I’ll show it again when it goes into full bloom. The poor thing needs to be repotted, but while I was thinking about it, she decided to go into labor and bloom. I can’t touch it now until the last bloom falls off sometime in June.

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