Wednesday, 1 April 2015
It is not an April Fool’s joke to say that the first living thing I saw when I woke up this morning, after about an hour too little sleep, was a slug crawling across my ceiling.
very small, thank goodness; probably rode in on a cat
Why the ceiling?? Why?
Then a good hard rain pelted down on the roof and I thought “At last, a reading day!”
The cats thought for sure it should be a day off.
Sure that we would have the whole day off, I was soon settled in my comfy chair with a book I’d been reading for several evenings at bedtime, by one of my favourite authors:
During last night’s reading, I had come across three passages that I especially liked.
In the first two passages, a character speaks of time and memory as one grows older:
And then this, from a scene at a funeral, where the pastor says:
“Our memories of our loved ones might not be the point. Maybe the point is their memories—all that they take away with them. What if heaven is just a vast consciousness that the dead return to? And their assignment is to report on the experiences that they collected during their time on earth.The hardware store that their father owned with the cat asleep on the grass seed, and the friend they used to laugh with till tears streamed down their cheeks… The spring mornings that they woke up to a million birds singing their hearts out, and the summer afternoon with the swim towels hung over the porch rail, and the October air that smelled like wood smoke and apple cider, and the warm yellow windows of home when they came in on a snowy night. ‘That’s what my experience has been,’ they say, and it gets folded in with the others—one more report on what living felt like. What it was like to be alive.”
“I don’t understand,” [says a member of the family]. “Where did he say she went?”
“To a vast unconsciousness,” [replies his friend].
“Well, that does sound like something she might do,” he said. “But I don’t know. I was hoping for someplace more concrete.”
Happily thinking I had all day to read the second half of the novel, I read another chapter and then…out came the sun. Allan and I consulted all of our weather applications and all called for some showers. So had yesterday’s forecast, and it had been a fine enough day. So off we went to work, on a mission to at least finish mulching the Long Beach street trees.
At the city works yard, we collected all the rest of our mulch pile and talked to a city crew member who assured us that they would set us up with more.
every bucket filled
tulips coming and going in the raised planter by Cottage Bakery
We got two trees mulched (in front of Cottage Bakery and Beach Duds) and started on two more on that block. I could see ominously black sky to the west, which was, unfortunately, the direction the wind was coming from. The next two trees were done in weather just like this; the saving grace being that miserable though it was, the wind died down:
quite quite miserable
We preservered although we did not groom those next two tree gardens as well as the others; they were lucky to get the soil shoved in rather evenly.
This much rain fell in the wheelbarrow in just a few minutes.
I thought a lot about my book and my cats, and how surely I would be back to my reading day soon…after we did four more trees, because we were not about to go home with the heavy buckets of mulch and have to unload them and then reload tomorrow.
And then the downpour turned into an occasional very light drizzle and I realized it would continue to be a work day instead of a reading day.
primroses under the tree by the new Thai restaurant, with mulch
weeding planters, too: Allan’s photo. I’m pulling out some Bad Aster.
After mulching three of the last four trees, we began a serious weeding project on the last of our trees, one that has been plaguing me with an infestation of creeping sorrel, the bad aster, some creeping Jenny, and some dull cranesbill geraniums.
It was a muddy mess working on it, and hard to even see the weed roots. We got several buckets of weeds and plants out and I will keep a stern eye on it to make sure nothing unwelcome comes back. The job was made harder by the painful noise of a pressure washer in the parking lot next to us. We were both getting shouty and irritable. When the noise finally stopped, our moods immediately lightened. A boat and a truck were the beneficiaries of the noisy machine. I’m sure it was necessary to clean the boat. Of the truck, Allan, usually not the one to complain about loud noise, said, “He would have done a better job with a soft sponge” and added that pressure washing a vehicle leaves a thin layer of grime. The relative silence of just the usual traffic was utterly blissful.
after, with some ‘Copper Pot’ California poppy seeds planted
the tools for the job
Before I had gotten in too deep and completely muddy in that last little garden, our friend Bill Clearman had come into view across the street. The traffic kept him waiting as the town is bustling for Spring Break.
Bill waiting for a traffic break
He made it across for a brief visit; he’s working on one of his masterful carpentry jobs on that side of the street.
Notice how the yellow primroses match the trim on that building! Completely accidental.
Speaking of colour coordination, Allan and I noticed while weeding a nearby planter that Red Dog Tattoo has relocated into the small red house on that block.
Now one of two tattoo shops on the same block.
I kept thinking about the new Thai place. The food had smelled so good when we mulched the tree right in front of it. Perhaps the rain would continue and we could have lunch there as soon as we had finished the last tree. And then…the latest batch of drizzle stopped, and we could see that we would have some more workable weather.
sky to the south
We had four buckets of Soil Energy mulch left so we headed to city hall where I knew there were some low spots in the garden.
little monument at city hall
We weeded all along the west side of City Hall, added the rest of the mulch, and I planted the last of my California poppy seeds (Dusky Rose and Copper Pot). Although I usually wear lightweight non-latex gloves, I had been in a big hurry and did not put them on. Our friend, gardener and lawn mower Ed Strange, drove by and paused his work truck to chat about our workdays. Both he and Allan seemed amused at the hand with which I waved to him.
the narrow city hall bed had many little weeds and got most of the mulch and the poppies
and the wider part would benefit greatly from some of the next batch of mulch.
These tulips have returned for several years in a row; I planted no new ones in this area last fall.
a tapestry on the low wall by the sidewalk: creeping thyme, sedum, armeria (sea thrift)
I looked over a stand of white Dutch Iris and wondered why it was not as big and impressive a patch as I had planned.
white Dutch Iris
Then I saw that a clump had been picked by someone for their own personal bouquet. Infuriating. Do they think I don’t notice? It’s like making a painting and someone scribbling on it and wrecking the plan.
After dumping a half dozen heavy buckets of debris back in city works again, we remembered that tonight is the new “noodle night” at the Cove Restaurant. We will try the Thai place some other night soon. I wanted a reward for such a tough day.
The Cove Restaurant
The garden at the Cove is all weeded now, pretty sure by restaurateur Sondra herself
shadows and sun on the golf course
evening sun on one of Sondra’s heucheras
in the hallway: Allan’s photo
The usual yummy appetizers were also on offer.
welcome and refreshing hard cider
those little bubbles: a lovely sight
north window view from our table
Allan’s telephoto caught a ‘bird’ shot for Mr. Tootlepedal out the same window
Hikkado stir fry with prawns
beef stir fry
It was all delicious; we continue to be so pleased by the flavours provided by Chef Jason Lancaster.
in Sondra’s garden, after dinner
Parking Lot Cat popped up out of the bed of a truck as we were leaving.
my good friend PLC
As we departed, Susie and Bill of the Boreas Inn just arrived; Susie had seen me check in on Facebook but we were already driving out of the lot and just stopped to chat briefly. We shall see if our financial willpower will keep us from going to our usually Thursday night Cove dinner.
And then home at last after an exhausting and yet satisfyingly accomplished day. I hadn’t even put the street tree mulching on the work board so I did not get the pleasure of erasing it.
It seems the weather forecast is good for tomorrow so I still won’t have that reading day.
In the last light of day, Jared and Jessika next door were wheelbarrowing a big load of soil from a truck in their driveway to a new raised planting box in their back yard. I called out “I’ll move that soil for you!” Jared looked surprised and then I said “April fools!”
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