Just When I Thought I Was Out of the Woods

I set a goal this year, that if I were still living in the same house as I have for the past fifteen years that I would plant an award winning garden, I neglected the Monet Vision for two years and have been paying the price in tired muscles, weary joints and the latest, cellulitis. What I forgot over those twenty four months was that the same plot is loaded with sleeper cells that get angry when I don’t provide them with luscious annuals to feed on.

This year’s trip to the nursery to buy flowers was a joy, but very short. The instant I walked through the door into the green house I spotted a flash of color at the furthest point away from where I stood. It was the color I wanted in the Monet Vision. Before I knew what the flower was I saw the theme for a picture outside my kitchen window. The two colors were a flashy bright golden orange and a very deep bright sunny yellow, and they were marigolds. I will suffer looking at yellow just to deter the rabbits, I thought to myself. There is nothing I hate more than declaring war on rabbits. Rabbits look upon my annual plantings like I do looking at a box of Fannie May chocolate cremes.

To add spice to our lives, my beautiful wife planted a large pot with a spike, encircled by yellow marigolds encircled by moss roses. It sits boldly on our front porch next to our front door. A couple of nights ago, she called me out to see something. “Look,” she said, “what is digging in my pot?” I wanted to laugh, but knew better. What I saw was a trail of rich black dirt scattered all about the porch leading to a very round and pronounced hole at the base of our spike. “This not a rabbit,” I said, “it looks more like the work of a ground squirrel.”

“We have to put something around it,” we meaning me, she said. I took the watering can from her hand and poured the entire two gallons down the hole. Nothing came out. I expected to see a drowning stripped squirrel come out gasping for air. Nothing happened.

A couple of days have passed during which time I spotted a rabbit in the middle of the Monet Vision. I jumped out of my easy chair and chased him out of the yard. Upon returning from the chase I saw what he was coming for. I planted a single Black Eyed Susan almost ready to bloom next to our new rose bush. I had pictured this one plant seeding into a large mass of yellow with dark brown centers backing up my Stella Dora lilly patch. This is not to be because the mature plant had become a stub poking out of the ground. Now I am mad, I said to myself. I have two different adversaries to fight at the same time, as well as a very unhappy wife.

In past years I posted a series of garden stories titled “Wabbit Wars.” In these stories I picture myself as Elmer Fudd of long ago cartoon days. Elmer constantly battled with Bugs Bunny who raided his carrot patch often. Elmer had a lisp and couldn’t say “rabbit”, he said “wabbit.” Therein the title “Wabbit Wars”. I try to use my wits to outsmart the rabbits, while Elmer used his shotgun, but he always missed the mark.

My mind will go crazy in the next few weeks as I begin the battle on two fronts. One against Osama Bin Wabbit, and the other against Mohammad Squirelsalam. Two sleeper cells who have been awakened to the odor of newly planted fresh delicious cuisine that I have named squirrel-rabbit food.

It is not fair that I should finally open my wallet to a rush of moths flying out to pay for plant materials that are the dashes of color on my garden palette to form the “2021 Monet Vision- Durango Gold,” only to find rabbit scat in place of my beautiful Black Eyed Susan. Perhaps if I catch and kill these terrorists and place their heads on a spike at the entrance to my yard they will hop around the perimeter and not invade the heart of the scene.

Wabbit War Expands

Opening day of my 2016 garden season was in March on an unusual sunny day when the temperature was a balmy sixty degrees. On that rare day I attacked my thistle with glyphosate. I had to spray them twice to slow them down. Since then, the weather has not cooperated, and my body hasn’t either. This week, however, things changed. The Lord switched Illinois from spring into summer with a flick of his Godly touch. Last week it was wet, in the forties and windy, or another way to say it, perfect hypothermia conditions. As I write this it is Thursday morning, and the Lord switched us back to early spring again. The first three days of the week were in the eighties and required the air-con to run during the daytime.
I spent the good days in my garden finishing what I began in March. The pond came first. Ponds get weedy just like flower beds, and it is necessary to pull the unwanted critters to achieve a serene pond look. I also had a bed of irises overtaking the north end, and had to thin it out. The job looked like an hour of easy work in my mind, but turned into three hours of hard labor.

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Over the last eight years I invented a system to access pond plants without treading in the water. I span a ten foot extension ladder across the water and lay some wide boards on the rungs to create a platform. I then crawl out onto the ladder on my hands and knees and lay on the boards. This allows me to reach over the water to pull plants, or to reach into the water to fertilize the lilies. When done, I had two bushels full of unwanted plant matter  to dispose of. The pond looks much better and the lilies may even bloom now that they got a shot of fertilizer.

The second day I attacked the thistle invasion in my front yard. By now the critters were three feet tall and poking through the Mugo pine. Trust me, thistle does not add curb appeal to any home. It was five days since the last rain so the ground was very hard and I needed a spade to loosen the plants enough to pull them. I was in the morning sun and the temp was already in the eighties. I wilted, but that damn thistle thrives in that temperature. The goal was to complete the entire front of the house, but I only lasted long enough to complete a third. The remainder awaits me. I would be pulling thistle this morning except for the rain. I opted for dry and cool inside conditions.

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Pulling thistle always gets me to think philosphically. The root system of the plant forms a runner underground and will send shoots up from the runner. When pulling the main stems the root breaks from the runner. That means another shoot will soon emerge from the runner in another place. I pictured the thistle as a muslim jihadis. We continue to kill these bastards but they keep popping up again. If we truly want to rid ourselves of jihadists we have to learn from the thistle. Destroying the visible plant is not enough, we have to get at the root of the problem. In the case of jihadis the root is in the unseen cell (underground root system) which continues to fester and grow into a new warrior. A garden warrior(like me)does not know in which direction the root grows or how far it will grow before a new shoot pops up. If left unattended the shoot grows to maturity, then flowers, and then seeds. The seeds blow in the wind to spread wide and far (Islamic immigrants and refugees).

 

In order to destroy thistle or muslims complete annihilation is the safest most complete method. I call it the Hitler method. Even though, I do not like muslims and am not afraid to say so, I just can’t bring myself to think about annihilating two billion people, they can’t all be bad. The problem is learning which ones will become bad and to destroy them. A better way I propose is to convert muslims to another belief system. Even the best and most influential dictators in the world like Joe Stalin and Mao Tse Tsung were not smart enough to accomplish conversion, so it brings me back to annihilation again. Do we keep pulling the big  weeds, even though that allows some of our flowers to perish along the way, or do we initiate an all out war of annihilation?   What do you think?

Next time I will compare muslims to the fallen angels.

Secret Places Where Features Hide

Each year I try to make my garden different. Even though there are elements that cannot change easily like a pond, hard-scaping, and all the perennials. There is however, plenty of opportunity to paint a picture in the blank spaces using different colors and plant materials. This year one of my goals was to plant a garden that would deter rabbits. I think I succeeded, that is the rabbits have given me the impression that I have succeeded. The episodes of Wabbit Wars have been sparse because the Wabbits have not been able to get to me as often.

My color palette is yellow and orange. I elected different varieties of Marigolds and sought out other species of yellow flowers to mix in like the gold Celosia, Lysimachia, Lantana, Marguerite Daisy, and Orange Joy Asiatic lily.  Close planting and weekly foliar fertilization helped the plants spread out and finally fill in the canvas. A seven minute video of the same plants would be terribly boring, so I decided to add some interest with winter scenes and an escape to the desert while I waited for Spring to arrive.

Yesterday, I posted a trailer using a new version of iMovie. It was my training session on how to use this new version of a program I was very comfortable with. The new version made posting on YouTube easier, but I felt it harder to compose the movie. There are so many short cuts built into this version that I had trouble doing things that make a movie a movie. The older version is more oriented to real movie makers. This new version targets a person interested in speed. I am sure all the features of the old version are in this new one, but I’m too old to want to spend all that time looking for the drop downs and secret places where features hide. In that regard, iMovie is a lot like Windows, it is the same stuff reorganized to make it look new and to make you work to find things. In a way, iMovie 10.0.4 is like my garden, it has many exciting things to see, but one must explore to find them.

Personal guided tours of the garden are available upon request. My favorite time to give a tour is between January and March, I spend less time touring and more time imbibing.

Please enjoy my garden called “The 2014-Monet Vision, Golden Glow”

A

 

New Cartoonist Joins GJP

Budding young artist Cub Scout Ben has joined the staff at Grumpa Joe’s Place as a contributing artist. CS Ben has natural talent and wit that comes from living on a farm in Michigan. Ben regularly shovels horse manure as he helps his mom clean stalls  No doubt he will want to join the Wabbit Wars series as an embedded reporter chronicling the escapades of the terror network of Wabbits, cats, and squirrels infiltrating Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision.

Cat Eyes Fish and Salivates

Secret Weapon

It’s done. Negotiations are complete.  Adventurer-Warrior Michigan Brad has agreed to join Grumpa Joe in the war against the Wabbits.

Michigan Brad learned his Wabbit Warrior skills from Indiana Jones, Transformers, and Hans Solo. He is extremely creative in conceiving strategy on the front. When outwitted during battle, he uses his own secret weapon: the Tizzy Fit.

No doubt, Grumpa Joe can now overpower the strength of the Alliance with his new Secret Weapon:

Michigan Brad will melt the hearts of Alliance members, and outwit the Wabbits too.

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