Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Crazies

Our water woes of the weekend are a bit better; we pumped down the Quarry pond and it helped quite a bit to relieve some of the pressure.  Once the frost goes out, we should be ok. Thanks to all of you for your good wishes, looking at the Big Picture, a leak in the basement isn't that tragic, but it is worrisome.  
My favorite Flowery paperweight
 Easter weekend was very pleasant outdoors and I managed to get a little tidying up in the gardens done.  Joel came out and helped me burn some more of the grasses on Sunday afternoon and then I strolled around, looking at the things that need doing.  And then I started to panic a little. It's the way it always goes, it's Spring and it's time to Get Going and Get Things Accomplished.  In the fall it's so easy to look at a project and say, "Oh, well, we'll worry about that in the Spring."  Um, yeah......Spring is here.  I have a full-blown case of the Spring Crazies with a touch of GADS.  (Gardeners Attention Deficit Syndrome)

We're having another mini-midlife crisis here.  This is something Carl and I do as a couple, we both have Mid-Life Crises at the same time.  I have to figure out how to make the garden more manageable and Carl is trying to come to terms with all the stuff he's collected over the years in his SOS building.  He's been trying to 'organize' his accumulated mess while I try to organize a plan for the gardens and between the two of us, we're not real pleasant to be around.  Carl needs to concentrate on dealing with his chaos and I need to concentrate on dealing with my chaos.  

Normally we work together on all the projects around here, but I have to admit something.  Though I love my husband dearly and am always appreciative and amazed at what he can build, his SOS building (and surrounding areas) is a disaster that not many people can comprehend unless they see it. I mean, well-meaning friends and family think they know what it looks like, but when they actually come face to face with it, they are speechless.  Unfortunately for Carl, I am not speechless about it, though I try to keep my mouth shut sometimes only to have it run off again and start yelling.  Carl and I don't see eye to eye on about 85% of what he has and that's when things get loud around here. 

Both Carl and I are dreamers.  He dreams of making stuff from his junk and I dream of flowery fantasy gardens.  He collects more and more stuff and I dig up more and more sod.  We're both equally insane about stained glass and wrought iron and rocks.  And then Reality rears it's ugly head.  We're getting older.  No, we're not ancient yet, but we're not getting any younger.  We just cannot do it All.  I think it's time to look at downsizing again.  Last year we closed up two hosta beds that just weren't 'working' any more, if you know what I mean.  We'd both lost the enthusiasm for them, it was a chore to maintain the areas and a relief when it was back in grass again. I gave away dozens and dozens of repetitive hostas and only kept the ones I liked the best. 

 If I can't do justice to the gardens, then the gardens have to be cut down to a more manageable size.  I've found that it's much easier to weed on the raised garden areas around the Quarry than on the flat.  We now have three beds that are up off the ground with big rocks to sit on.  It's good to give the ol' knees a break now and again.  And rocks are my best friends.  More rocks give me less room for weeds.

July 2010.  Look at all the places to sit and weed. 
  Nobody likes to admit they bit off more than they can chew.  And apparently I've been doing a lot of chewing lately too, by the looks of the scale.  I dread going back to see my 10-15 Mile a Day Doctor in June who will be chewing me out for adding additional poundage over the winter.  She was right, I should have walked at the mall or joined a gym or.....something.  I did cross-country ski all winter and had more miles behind my snowblower than ever before and tried to walk as much as possible, but it was a long winter. 

For now, my GADS is in high gear.  The snow finally melted (I went and checked, and sure enough the last snowbank in our yard was finally gone this morning) but the nice weather of the weekend is gone and we are  having 36 mph wind gusts with rain (another 1" since midnight) and really no chance of sunshine until Friday.  Today is Tuesday.  Sigh.  

Last year, I took the picture below on April 27, 2010.  We were just finishing up the newest raised bed.  I think we started in March, what a difference in the Spring weather in 2010. 
April 2010, we were almost done with a big project by then.  

One thing that my Sunday inspection tour proved was the Formal Garden is a nightmare.  The outer border is full of quack grass and Creeping Charlie and perennials in order of prominence.  I'm thinking about removing all the perennials (I know, it's probably not the right time of year, but what choice do I have?) and removing the huge field stones we have down there and redoing the entire outer part of the garden.  Right now, it's standing in 3" of water and there's no chance I can get in there and do a thing with it, especially since the rain just won't stop, either.
Here's the dome down there, dripping wet and reflecting the dismal gray skies. 

How many of the stones can I move on my own without requiring Carl's help?  I guess it's time to find out.  And I didn't forget about the Stone House project either.  Believe me, I didn't.  I'm hyperventilating thinking about it.  

If I want him to try to clean up his act, I have to clean up mine, too.  (Dang, it's easier to nag, I didn't know I had to work, too.)  But look how wet it is--this is our lawn this morning just off the Pachyberm Bed:
The flowers don't want to come up; I bet they want to run away from home.  And I don't blame them.  The birds are not thrilled with this weather either.
I have to learn from the little Robin, sitting patiently, waiting for the weather to turn.  She's staying at home, keeping the nest warm.  

While this Robin Redbreast below is more impatient:

This weather brings out the Crazies in everyone.


Corner Gardener Sue said...

I had to laugh about you and Carl and how you view your "stuff". Larry thinks I have too much stuff, but he has as much or more than I do. I have to duck his masses of clothes hung up on pipes in the basement when I go to do laundry or get something out of the refrigerator.

I have drastically reduced the number of garage sales I go to, and am in the process of getting rid of some things.

Your flower beds are way more ambitious than any I will ever try to come up with.

Alison said...

I know just what you mean about needing to cut back. I spend a day weeding and then two days complaining about how much my knees and back hurt.

I used to be a bit of a junk hoarder as well, but a few years ago I just went cold turkey, we got a dumpster and cleaned out a lot, and even got some guys in to haul stuff away, then we moved, and got rid of even more. I just had to realize that I was never going to make the stuff I imagined with the junk I had. Once I admitted that to myself it was easy.

My garden was unmanageable too. It's just right now. And I'm a lot happier. I'm determined not to go back.

Rosemary said...

Thanks for identifying my disease I now know I have GADS.
Your garden is fantastic but I understand the need to rethink how big it should be to be able to maintain..Harder to keep up as one gets sorer knees.. Perhaps you should take in pictures of your garden so the DR can see how much garden work and snow blowing you do ....

Sandy said...

I just don't know how you both keep up with all the area you have.. I love the rock gardens but how do you move them without a backhoe? (or some machine?).
Your story about you and your husband is so much like mine.. Mr.N hates to do any work around the house or garden. He would rather hire someone.. and that drives me nuts! My sister told me that it's my fault because I showed him early on that I could do it all.. haha
Love your property and how beautiful it will be in the summer.

Zoey said...

It is tough to cut back. I am also trying to do that.

It is raining here today, too. I think we got over an inch of rain.

If we can just take it a day at a time, we will eventually get it all done....at least I hope so!

Randy Emmitt said...


I know where your coming from. Meg has school stuff that is 20 years old and boxes not looked into for many a year. We need to clear the clutter. My shed is so full of construction scraps one can barely get inside. Thought when a project comes up I get rid of some of it and add something else back to it.

Our gardens need help weeds are taking over three huge beds, today I found a 4 ft tall mulberry tree in one bed. Just can't do it all.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Oh, we are all in the same boat, aren't we? Speaking of which, looks like you are needing a boat about right now with all of that rain you're getting. Just make a list of what needs to be done and start whittling away at it. I have several lists. It is overwhelming at times, but then I have to stop myself and try to enjoy the "process" of whittling away at the list. Think about how far you've come, too.

Sall's Country Life said...

Oh my Karen, it looks like the crazies are in full swing at your place! Hang in there, sunny skies are around the corner (I hope). I'm glad you have a grip on what you need to do anyway. Cutting back sounds like a good idea. Your quarry garden is so amazing it's time to cut back on the work time and start enjoying it! We are at the same conclusion here. There's just never enough time to do anything fun, we're always working!
Sometime I need to realize my lofty goals just aren't panning out.

Lona said...

I think we all get panicky this time of the year, but it has given so many a late start. Your gardens are so beautiful and moving flowers into where they can be gotten to easier is a good one. I am glad you got the water situation a little better as far as your basement goes. Rain is the word of the day here too. I am mudding in new plants which I do not like to do in this old clay soil.Guys just do not look at clutter and projects the way a women does.LOL! He is a keeper though so compromise is a woman's lot. LOL! Just kidding.

Karen said...

How nice it was to hear from all of you and to hear I'm not alone with the idea of cutting back a little on the work. The junk is another matter and one Carl & I are going to have to agree to disagree on, I guess. Projects and keeping stuff for 'some day' are very tempting combinations. I was amazed to find I'm not alone with this dilemma. Thank you all!

Anonymous said...

Karen, you do need a boat to get around the property. That is a lot of water. We have been getting rain everyday, but our bad weather is coming tonight. Tornado watch, flooding and high winds. We have been lucky avoiding all the bad weather across the country, so we will see if it misses us again tonight and tomorrow.

Tufa Girl said...

I am speechless when you say hostas are work and yet your thoughts of moving rocks seems like a breeze. I hope to be half as strong as you when I grow up.

El Gaucho said...

I know that it looks like a heck of a lot of work, but the flowering plants among the large quarry rocks look amazing. The weeding alone looks like a monumental task, it's very impressive all the work that you do.

Tootsie said...

every photo is just so gorgeous!!! even the rocks are pretty! You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful setting!