Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Tiniest Improvements Yet

This weekend was extra nice because it rained three inches, a welcome relief after months and months of burning, dusty drought. Florida is supposed to be a rainy place. When I was a child, the summer rainy season could be counted on, was always drenching wet. Kris and I would wear our bathing suits all day every day, and we’d play in the rain like it was a sprinkler, and meanwhile, my brother and his friends would be skimboarding in the brimming ditch along the street. The summer grass was spongy, soaked. The drainage ditch in our woods got so full, like a river, and we’d swim in it, or float down it on our rafts.

The summers were steamy, then; that’s the way they’re supposed to be. Now, though, this summer, it was dry and hot, the grass turning silver, then yellow, and my roses dying. I couldn’t plant things, couldn’t expand and improve my gardens; I could only watch as things withered away. It was terrible not being able to plant, such a helpless feeling. So much of my sense of wellbeing comes from gardening, I’ve realized, because gardening is the one little way I feel I can make the world a better place.

So anyway, I was happy when it finally rained on Sunday. I found myself dreaming of planting again, feeling hopeful again. Rob mowed the whole yard, and I worked on expanding the stone path behind the vegetable garden. Then I worked on mulching the new bed along the south side of the front yard. I put down a layer of newspaper to kill the grass, then topped the newspaper layer with wood mulch. I also did tons of weeding.

I made some tiny, tiny improvements in the house. For example, I finally finished making enough yarn balls to fill my big dough bowl in the living room. And I made a bouquet of dried flowers to put in my turpentine pot. The cats had a great time with that, with the latter project, because I was using some utterly irresistible grasses in my arrangement. These grasses had plumes that looked and felt just like rabbits’ feet, so the cats were stealing my grasses and running away with them. Then they’d lie down and kick the plumes with their back feet.

I was laughing and scolding them as I sat on the floor in the hall, making my bouquet. “Stop!” I was giggling. “June, stop! You’re going up on the board!” (Whenever a cat is bad, his or her name goes up on the chalkboard in the kitchen, with a frowny face.) All the cats were acting up, sabotaging my bouquet. Even darling Carl. “Carl!” I was yelling and giggling. “Come back here with that plume!”

Note the fancy cat-fur fringe on the lampshade.

My marvelous yarn balls

My favorite lamp

My sister-in-law, Skye, made me this bowl for my birthday. I love it!

Antique goose decoy by the living-room fireplace

The living room