I'm gonna come right out and say it. SUCKY WEEK! You wondered why I was gone? Why I had no update? Hmmmm?
Well, I'm gonna blame it on two things: The weather and my stupid belly button.
Rain, rain and more rain. And you gotta catch the soil at JUST the right time when it rains. You can't go out there WHILE it's raining because, well, um, it's raining. You can't go out there the day AFTER a night of rain (which, for the record, I DID try on Saturday) because it's like digging in play-do. But if you wait TOO long, the soil turns into the flower pot terra cotta.
So, it would rain. And then stay sunny all the next day, giving me hope that I'd be out to work in the garden the day AFTER, but then it would rain again and start all over.
Like I said, I tried on Saturday. It took me an HOUR to do ONE row (of mixing in the topsoil, etc. with the local soil) because every time I tried to claw the dirt with my cultivator, clay caked up in big clumps.
BUT, instead of just getting all PMS-y and calling it quits, I got out my rake and clippers. I decided I would do the yard because besides getting the vegetables ready for my family, my other goal was to make the yard (meaning the couple of acre-long stretch in front of the house between our driveway and the powerline clearing) habitable for my kids (and not snakes and ticks). I had gone out on Friday and bought an electric, rechargeable, cordless weed eater, but because everything was so damp(and, well, because I hadn't had the presence of mind on Friday to charge the weed eater), I figured I'd go ahead and tackle what I could with manual tools.
This exercise felt like a demonstration in Attention Deficit Disorder. I started out with the rake, starting at the house and working on the "lawn" until I got to the little rocky patch on the side of the house which is overgrown with brush. So, I used the clippers. Then, I went back to raking until I noticed that the leaves were getting stuck in other patches of brush. So, I got the clippers back out and then... well, then I was unstoppable. I spent the next two hours tackling the brush on one side of the house. Clipping whatever the clippers would clip. If it was too big for the clippers, it was allowed to stay, but if not, it was a goner. I was a brush-clipping machine!!!! After, like I said, a couple of hours of that, I realized that I'd need to get the brush picked UP before dusk, so I put the clippers away before I was tempted to keep going and I started piling up small piles of branches.
When I had gotten most of the big ones, I was struck by this urgency to make it look like I had done something. Because it didn't look like it. I mean, I KNEW, and my aching muscles remembered, but my eyes and mind were like, "huh?" when I turned around and it all seemed just as jungle-y as it was when I started.
So, I got out the rake and started at it. Problem was, I don't think anything but the immediate yard (the grassy part) has been raked in 30 years, so there were LAYERS and LAYERS of leaves. Every time I scraped away another layer, I found a sublayer of humus there. On the one hand, this was a huge annoyance because, all of a sudden, I had a HUGE cresting wave of leaves. I was thigh-deep in them. On the OTHER hand, humus is AWESOME for the garden. So, I vowed to make a new leaf ring right there where I was raking. Then, I put it off until the next day and went back to raking.
As I raked, I saw a little black thing squirm by my foot and into the leaves. I dove my hands in after it and discovered what I had suspected. A baby snake. I got this blurry picture of him so you can't really see that he's black-ish on top and rosy on his belly. He wanted to get away pretty badly and when I dropped him once or twice, he tried burrowing back into the leaves, but, well, I had raked the leaves. And there was no way, muddy or not, that he was going to tunnel through that clay. So, I grabbed a handful of humus and piled it on top of him to keep him warm.
About that time, I realized that I was tuckered out. My bellybutton hurt (I'm getting there) and my shoulders hurt. And my hand hurt. I was done for the day. And that was it for the weekend. I went out Sunday during the day into the garage and worked on Ryan's desk a little bit (painting the UNDERsides of it), but then retreated back to the house when it started to get all spooky windy and whatnot. The day had been shrouded in a strange drizzle so far. You couldn't see any drops FALLING but there were drops condensing on the deck and windows. Then, without much warning at all, BAM, thunderstorm and downpour. It got so bad, I started to ask myself if it might not be a bad idea to go check on the car (the Camry was parked out front). I had opened the sun roof the day I drove it home and wanted to just double check it had shut. It was fine. But then one little peak at the weather channel's forecast of hail and tornado warnings and I was back up and in the garage, cleaning out a spot for the car. It just barely fit but at least it was safe from hail damage.
So, the belly button. I'm sure I've already told you (bear with me) that the belly button incision site was sore. And then it was itchy. I noticed that it was sorta pulling away (had been since the whole truck load of dirt experience). I went to the doctor and he told me it didn't look bad at all and to come back in a week or ten days or sooner if it got worse. That was on my birthday (Wednesday--George, my builder friend, took me out for Mexican food, by the way... Flavia, you would have LOVED eating your native food, LOL! Sorry, the rest of you, inside joke.). And then, it was itchier and it reminded me of... um... that not-so-fresh feeling that chicks sometimes get. Ahem. And I'll only go so far as to say that it involves a naturally-occuring fungus, usually associated with making bread and beer? *awkward grin* So, it reminded me of that. Even though it hadn't been a week to ten days, it was absolutely, most certainly, WORSE. So, Friday morning, I called the office to see the doc again. They gave me an appointment to see his colleague.
Guy took one quick look and said exactly what I had suspected. Fungal invasion. He prescribed me a powder that would help clear it up... in TWO TO THREE WEEKS!!! Can you believe that? So, I put the powder in, stuffed my belly button with gauze and taped it all up with a big ass band-aid.
Problem with band-aids is two fold: I'm allergic to both latex and the glue they put on band-aids (or any kind of tape for that matter). So, after changing the band-aid twice or so, I had HUGE itchy welts where the band-aid had been. Alas, I'm screwed. It itches IN my belly button. It itches all AROUND my belly button. All of this itching (plus a little bit of montly hormone challenge) has made me a very cranky person.
Good thing I live here in the middle of the woods with the deer and squirrels and FLOWERS.
The plan is to keep powdering the belly button three or four times a day and trying to keep it from getting TOO sweaty. Keep it dry. As dry as one can while working in the garden and raking the damn yard. Look, I care, okay? I want it to heal and go away. But I swear to knickerbockers if I don't get my godsforsaken peas in the ground, get the trellis up, get the post holes dug for the fence and get the damn yard raked, I'm going to go INSANE. Now that the rain has let up and I gave it one sunny day (today) to dry, I'm going to be a force to be reckoned with tomorrow.
EXCEPT for that I am gonna go check out the farmer's market tomorrow. I've heard great things about it and that the Wednesday version is all organically grown stuff. I'm going to go down there and go CRAZY. I'm gonna get the names, addresses and emails of all those guys down there. I want to know where to get local/og eggs and meat and cheese and milk and maybe SEEEEEEEDS! and HONEY! I'm SO excited. I'm just PRAYING there are some peeps down there. Oughta be, dontcha think? I mean, there's not a lot that's in season now, but I have my fingers crossed.
I'm also sposed to get together with my neighbor again tomorrow. Cool!
Oh, quick very cool story. Ryan and I were coming home from school on Thursday or Friday. I was going pretty slowly because I was examining, as I do, all the BRUSH everywhere. Well, we rounded a curve and I was caught off guard by the site of two baby deer lounging in the leaves. Just lying there, looking at me. I stopped and fished around for my camera. Ryan banged on his window, "Take a picture!" But the banging scared the deer. They jumped up and started to bound away. I creeped slowly up the drive and caught them again standing there with what might have been their young mother. I got a few shots before they ran away. We played chase like this nearly all the way up the drive. Them jumping through the woods, me creeping up and taking pictures before they took off again. It was GREAT. Exhilarating. I'm somehow HONORED that they are here. Like they're freakin' unicorns or something. Like, their being here is like a stamp of approval on our land. Like, I don't know. I'm getting pretty corny, huh? Can't help it. It's how I feel. I feel like their presence is proof that this land is good. I don't care if it's silly. LOL!
Oh, yeah, and yesterday, I got a pretty good chuckle at this female cardinal who was on the deck, pecking at her own reflection in our windows, fighting with herself. I tried to get a pick but she kept flying away. Reminded me of that fish in Finding Nemo who thinks her reflection is her twin sister, Flo. LOL!
Well, there're all kinds of things I'm sure I could talk about but I can't seem to organize them either in my head or on the page enough to make them coherent for you, so I'll give it a rest. It's time for the Backyardigans now, anyway. I have to go fight with the damn stink bugs before the show starts. GRRRR!
Enjoy a few pix!
Ryan's desk project (bought the desk for $10):
First coat of paint:
Wicker bathroom furniture project (bought it for $15 at the thrift store):
First can of black didn't get far... wicker SOAKS UP spray paint, yo!:
(I'll show you what it looks like when I get it into the bathroom... it's still airing out).
Banana bread... it was yummy but these pix aren't that great. Sorry:
The Camry Hybrid *sigh*
My new wagon woo hoo!!
Baby snake (we figure it's either a Black Racer or a Worm Snake):
Blurry close up:
Blurry running away pic:
Near (this is the mama):
Baby about to run away:
Out front (sorry, I don't think I ever get tired of taking pictures of flowers):
Here's the car port I wanna buy:
And here's one of the places I wanted to put it:
Okie dokie. Let's hope I get good stuff done this week to give you something to read about. *crossing fingers*