This weekend was really too hot for strenuous yard projects, so Rob and I spent most of our time repainting our garden gnome, Mr. Halfrey. His old paint had melted off in the rain. Painting him was pretty time consuming because he’s big (about three and a half feet tall) and fairly elaborately dressed in a pointed hat, a bell-sleeved jacket, a shirt, leggings, and pointed shoes. His accessories include a pipe, a satchel, and a little frog friend. There were so many tiny details to paint (gold buttons on his shirt, gold buckles on his shoes . . .) that we were stuck in the garage for hours and hours on Saturday afternoon.
The weather was burning hot, like I said, but we were really quite comfortable in the shady garage since we had a box fan going. The neighbors’ chickens and duck provided the soundtrack for the day. The hens were clucking and cooing so softly, making such comforting sounds, but the duck was being really noisy (as usual). The duck is a loudmouth. He sounds like he's an obnoxious party guest making a bunch of corny jokes and laughing at them all by himself: Ha ha ha ha ha! I always feel sort of sorry for him.
Rob and I sat on the floor in the garage, painting and babbling foolishly, saying the dumbest things. As Rob painted a face on Halfrey’s frog (it was the cutest face ever), he was talking to the frog, calling him “Señor Pepin” and asking him various questions. And Señor Pepin was answering. This is just one example of the dumbness. Later, as Rob began painting Halfrey’s pipe, he decided to give me a little update on his progress: “Well, right now it looks like Mr. Halfrey is shoving a piece of poo in his mouth . . . or a finger covered in poo. I don't know how great that is. . . .” I couldn't stop laughing. I love poo jokes.
Since it was so hot, I had to do a lot of plant-watering, of course, later in the day. I've planted blue torenia in all my pots in the Vine House, and as I was watering I decided that the flowers look just like baby birds with their beaks open, begging for food. They really are the cutest things. Torenia is tough too; it can take the summer heat. I always plant it in my pots once the petunias have fizzled out.
My blackberries are almost done for the year, but there are still a few fruits left. It's neat to see the cardinals landing on the trellises to peck at the fat black berries. I often see them doing this at dusk.
We're still nursing Babs, trying to get her feeling better after her bout with pancreatitis. She's on a low-fat diet, and she's resting in our Little House, which, once again, has been converted into a cat hospital. We often sit on the floor petting her and talking to her--or talking about her.
"You know," I said to Rob the other day, "Babs isn't short for Barbara like you probably thought."
"It's not?" Rob said.
"What's it short for then?"
We haven't finished painting our gnome yet, so I can't show it. Here's another garden ornament instead.
And my caladiums again.