Monday, September 26, 2011

I love gardening (and books, and birds, and toads)

Last weekend, I took Veggie Pak's advice and went out to do some weeding. Though I'd planned to take the whole season as a loss after months of neglect, his advice about pulling weeds before everything went to seed was not only timely and sagely, but made me realize how freaking much I love gardening. Several times, my husband peeked out, and with dirt on my clothes, sweat pouring down my face, I stated, "Gardening is so fun".

It's incredibly rewarding to be on the ground hyperfocused on a task, and then stand back and see how much progress has been made. I love filling this blue can.

I even got to sow a row of fall greens.

I'm glad I got in the mood because this weekend, my new order of perennials from Bluestone arrived. Along with planting new additions, I moved several plants around. I absolutely LOVE moving plants around. Anyone the same way? I'm sure the moonbeam coreopsis will be so much happier in this spot - and passersby will more enjoy its reliable loveliness.

Above - lingonberries fruiting one tiny, tart, delicious berry at a time...
Below - the pepper garden going full force - poblano, cayenne, habanero, and jalapeno.

Tucked in the back, where I would never have strolled if I were sitting on my ass indoors like I have been all summer: pretty, delicate cyclamen.

And another benefit of all the fresh digging - birds coming to visit! I've never seen a woodpecker like the one above . And below, I've never actually seen any birds perch here, especially three! My husband bought me a really crazy bird book (was a birthday request). I wanted to learn more about birds and at least be able to identify some local ones. I even thought that as the talented whistler I am, I'd be able to learn some bird calls. But this book is really wacky. If you see a Great Blue Heron, you can communicate by saying deeply, "frahnk, frahnk, frahnk". A Scarlet Tanager will say, "hurry, worry, flurry, blurry". More literately, an Eastern Towhee will say, "drink-your-tea", and the elusive Olive-sided Flycatcher will say, " quick three beers"!

And last night, one of my favorite fall sights - garden toads. I don't know much about toads, but I'm certain that I never notice them except for around this time of year... I need a toad book.

In other book news, I'm excited about three books right now. The book above is a collection of stories written by women about turning points in their lives. One of the stories is written by Grace, one of my favorite bloggers (who happens to have a spectacular flower garden). The book below, is written by Ricki - another favorite blogger who has written a lovely, personal, common sense guide to gardening (and also makes these beautiful banners!).

Finally, I have been completely consumed by reading The Godfather. For the past two weeks, I have carried this book everywhere, have gone to bed at 9pm just so I can read for a couple hours, have brought a chair next to the stove to read while cooking, have skipped calling ahead for carry out just so I could order at the counter and read at the restaurant while waiting for my food, have encouraged the family to stop the convo and eat quickly so they can leave me alone at the table to read. For 2 straight days, I fantasized about being a crime boss. A generous one. You know. One that gets respect. Then I started getting paranoid - One day I dog-eared a page, ran out to pick up my daughter and at the stop sign down the road, I saw an unmarked delivery truck. As I passed it and looked in my rear view mirror, my first thought was that someone in there was paid to follow me. Anyway, despite having to set some fantasy vs. reality limits, I can say this is one of the best books I've read. I'm so sad that I only have about 50 pages left...

By the way, I know the movie is awesome and all, and we actually started watching it, but there is absolutely no comparison to the book. I would say the movie only includes maybe...1/2 of what's in the book. If you've seen the movie and enjoyed it, you REALLY need to read the book.


  1. I am busting up over here! Between "quick three beers" which is awesome and the paranoia from The Godfather...flipping great! My father is 100% Italian and was born and raised on Taylor street in Chicago...boy does he have stories! As for the digging and planting...yes there is nothing better. Slight addiction over here but at least it is a healthy addiction that others can enjoy! Great post!

  2. You are going in all directions :) It's good to move plants around .. I do it all the time :)

  3. Wendy you are too funny! I loved this post from start to finish. I know what you mean about being inside for awhile, then going out and actually ENJOYING gardening. I do this too. All the time. In fact sometimes when I haven't visited my garden for a few days I worry that I'm losing interest. Then I'll get a few hours, go outside and the lure returns. Your garden visitors are sweet, even the toad! Thank you for the link and shout out. You're so nice. And finally, your Godfather confession: I guess I shouldn't laugh about your ensuing paranoia but you're so funny! Wendy the crime boss. LOL Have a great week!

  4. What a combination: gardening, books, birds and toads! You seem really enjoying, keep it up and have fun! You still have to cook, haha!

  5. Wendy, that bird is a Northern Flicker. It is a member of the woodpecker family, but it spends a lot of time feeding on the ground. One of its favorite foods is ants.

    I agree with you that we forget how therapeutic it is to get into our gardens and settle in for some serious work. I did that after Irene, and it felt great. (What did not feel so great was having to throw away ALL the tomato sauce I had made from the San Marzanos I grew.)

  6. Oh, i could relate to this post so much! I, too, have just started venturing back out into the garden - and I love it so much! I haven't noticed a lot of birds, but loads of dragonflies! So many it's eerie! And I saw a toad in my garden, too! There are so many blessings in the garden - if we just go out there to see!

  7. Great passion! Books are really good source of info. Oh I must read more. Thanks for this post :-D Btw, I think learning how to communicate with bird is really interesting and you can practise daily in your garden as you plant, weed etc. Soon you will be need a big bird feeder Wendy ;-)

  8. Nobody else except a another gardener can really appreciate the grubby aspect of weeding and having fun in the dirt.
    That is an great picture of the woodpecker. Looks like he's posing for you. :)
    Those books look interesting. I will have to check them out.

  9. ...and so do I. Love your capture of the woodpecker. Your post makes me realize that I haven't seen any toads around for sometime now.

  10. You have a very healthy and love garden since many different creatures like to visit your garden. Wendy, thank you so much for the gift! It has arrived safely here in OZ.

  11. Thanks for the mention and the linkey-love. I got caught up in The Godfather too, but full immersion came with Shogun. I mean that literally, as I took it to the tub in the early evening and kept adding hot water and turning pages until sunlight began streaming through the window.
    This was such a fun post through and through.

  12. Good luck on the whacky bird calls. I can just imagine what the neighbors will think.With a name like Behop Gardening, I'll have to investigate on Amazon. Thanks for the tip off.

  13. I'm glad you're not a real crime boss and only a fantasy one. Toads are very very bad over here. They were imported as an attempted biological control to eat the beetle that was eating the sugar cane. Instead of eating the beetle they breed and spread, killing native animals that try to eat them because they are poisonous. They started up north in Australia but they're steadily and ominously moving south - more scary even than crime bosses!

  14. Very productive week! Lovely garden and creatures!


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btw - if you're trying to show me nude Miley Cyrus photos, sell me nikes or viagra or antibiotics, or encourage my lovely garden readers to visit your site on solar panel construction, or seo-whatevers, sorry, but I'm not publishing your comment. If you want to moderate my blog - well, I can't keep you too busy, and the pay would be horrible. And lastly, no. I'm not interested in Club Penguin cheat codes. Thanks anyway.

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