Gardener's Grapevine 2014.05.21

Saturday I spent a large portion of my day in the garden. I love to be working outside since it gives me peace in an often crazy, demanding week. Art and I both have extremely busy, demanding jobs that have a lot of time spent on pleasing others. A day, or even a short period of time, in the garden can relax and rejuvenate the soul. Of course, if you have to get something done in a time frame, it does stress you a bit. I know to some I may sound like a nut and maybe I am, but if I am, I have a lot of nut friends.

There is a viney ground plant called Creeping Charlie that has invaded our property and the neighbor's. Charlie  has a very pretty petite purple flower. There is one huge problem with him: He is invasive and will take over. He doesn’t care where or what he invades. I actually like to rip him out. You can rip a vine over here and end up pulling the end of him from six feet away. There are times that I don’t like to pull him out, like when Charlie gets in the raspberry patch. He’s a pain in the raspberries. Literally, I wind up with cuts and scratches all over me even with leather gloves and long sleeves.

Saturday I was working in the beds over by the big blue spruce in the side yard. I didn’t have any music playing and noticed the oddest bird song I’d heard in a long time. I got up and went to investigate. In that area of our property is a pear tree, sweet cherry tree, sour cherry tree and a shared flower bed that Mary Johnson and I work together. The spruce sets between it and a huge old maple tree. It didn’t take long to find out what was making the odd bird song. There was a male cardinal in the sour cherry and the female was in the maple tree. Both were giving me the devil in rapid progression. Apparently they had a nest in the spruce. It was deep in the tree branches. I couldn’t even reach the nest, not that I would disturb it anyway.

I love redbirds, as they are called in the south. We have an orange tabby cat that loves to bring me gifts and we have an understanding that the redbirds are off limits. Apparently he knows his colors as he never messes with them. Crankshaft, or Cranky as we call him, is quite a cat. He was born feral at my grandmother’s home. This little guy just didn’t understand feral. From his early days he would come in her garage and sit on the back steps waiting for her. When the rest of the litter relocated to a farm, Cranky and his sister came to our house.

His sister was an accident. She kept close to him and went into the live trap when we caught him. The day we brought him home Cranky decided he didn’t want to be touched, so live trap was the only way to isolate him. His sister is Zenon and she is friendly now, but still has a feral side depending on the day. Zenon was a name picked by my son, Nick. He said she was an inert gas so we should name her after one. He felt that way because she’d hiss and spit when we first brought her home and as soon as you petted her she was calm. Together the two cats keep our neighborhood in good order. Just leave the redbirds be.