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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Window Farming

THIS PAST WEEKEND Mimi and I decided that if the stars aligned that we would be prepared for a funday Sunday. At least a funday in our world. We have been running some pretty crazy schedules for the past weeks. I’m scooting out of here before the sun comes up to get to the greenhouses excited to see how the babies are doing. Neither of us have been getting home much before dark. We both realized that it’s been weeks since we’ve been to the farthest corners of the yard. It looked passable from the kitchen window; we call that window farming. We could see lots of rose blooms and golden swamp sunflowers. The vines are putting on a great show and our orna- mental grasses are pluming. We could pass the 50 MPH test, but I suspected that upon closer inspection there would be plenty that needed some loving.

We started our day with our Sunday tradition, scones and a French press coffee down by the pond. We discussed our game plan. The weather for sleeping in the yurt is upon us so erecting the yurt would be priority one. We’ve gotten good at putting up the yurt and furnishing and decorating it. We were done with that in less than two hours. Getting everything out of storage took longer than actually putting it all together. After the yurt is up and tightly secured we put in its jute rug floor that has been cut in a circle so the rubber floor is covered with something that will feel good on our tootsies in the winter months. Next, we put a king size bed with bedside tables, a table with our coffee fixings and a couple of chairs for coffee sipping for those mornings we get to linger. We have solar lights for lighting the inside at night. Barney has his own bed and blanket in the yurt and gets excited with us when it’s a yurt night.

We sleep in there most nights unless it’s too warm or below 38 degrees. My little heater keeps it snug as a bug in a rug on those cooler nights. We love spending our evenings down there together and it’s a good way to avoid the boob tube and the rhetoric that comes along with it. It’s nice to be reminded that real life is still going on in our little world that we’ve created. It’s nice to hear the night sounds and feel the night air as it lulls off to sleep.

Once we had the second home up and ready for business we knew we were headed to an area of our yard that needed attenion. We like to keep our youpon holly trees trimmed up to show their white trunks, very striking against their evergreen foliage and they are covered in berries already trying to turn red. I noticed that our pyracanha tree berries are already pretty red. It amazes me that the berries stay red well past Christmas until the birds attack them at a certain stage some time in January.

I had to chainsaw a pencil juniper that was 12 feet tall. It had started leaning pretty bad back when we were getting all that rain this summer. I tried to straighten it up by re-staking it about a month ago. I heard some roots making a ripping noise when I cranked it into position, I crossed my fingers that it would be okay. I guess I didn’t cross the right fingers. It stuck out like a sore thumb and was right in the middle of our favorite view when we are window farming. I think we won’t replace that one since the view behind it has matured so well we want to see that area more. That area is full of salmon colored drift roses backed by limelight hydrangeas, backed by giant magnolia trees. Pruning the spent blooms from all of our limelights made the area look neater from afar.

We have areas of the Tropicanna Canna Lilies, around the pond, near our stone steps and a few patches farther up the hill that were gorgeous this year with their striped foliage and fire salmon blooms all summer. They were tired and played out. The brown tops had become noticeable from the window view. They were taking away from our dark green foliage of the irises, which I consider a wonder plant. I took some of the cannas down to the ground and I took some of them halfway because their foliage is still striking.

We weeded the beds and thinned out some of swamp sunflowers that had fallen over into our paths. We got the veggie garden back into shape. The weeds in there were embarrassingly out of hand. I was mentally ready to pounce on that soon but when I came home a little late for a dinner Mimi and I had invited both of our mothers over for, they were strolling my yard and were in my weed covered garden. I put that task higher up on the priority list. Nobody wants their mother and mother-in-law to see their garden in such disarray.

THE GARDEN IS READY for planting now, needed doing any way. We are not sure what we will grow there this winter. I know I’ll start with a few planter boxes of carrots and I imagine we will have all sorts of leafy stuff like bok choy, lettuces and maybe some broccoli. I usually mix in some late winter/early spring bloomers like foxgloves, delphinium and snap dragons. I use those for cut flowers in March and April. I also use them to cover the beds to keep the weeds down and to keep myself from planting our summer garden too early. About the time they poop out it’ll be time to clean it out and start the summer garden.

The least favorite part of the whirlwind catch up with our yard is picking up all the debris that was in piles in the areas we had worked. Luckily we have a dump bed on our golf cart so we took several trips with the golf cart loaded beyond capacity. We have a gully that we have years of debris dumps containing all kinds of organic matter. We have found some very interesting seedlings in there from things long forgotten.

By the time we made it past the clean stage we were still in pretty good shape to go into R&R Sunday Funday mode. We thought to record the Saints game, prepared a couple of small filets and our outside game day TV watching area was looking inviting. All we had to do was clean ourselves up, light the grill and kick back. We enjoyed being able to watch the recorded game without commercials, I have gotten to a point that I can’t stand all the commer- cials, seems like there are far more of them than there is football game.

The yard looked great, especially from our favorite window for window farming. It made us feel good to feel ahead again and we won’t be too embarrassed for our moms or anyone else to stroll around our yard. We had perfect temperatures to sleep our first night in the yurt, around 50 degrees. We have stayed out there every night since with Barney excited to crawl into his little bed and snore away.

We are officially prepared to begin planting our fall plants and watch the color show that has already begun. It’s time to start shopping Mississippi’s garden centers for your own private get away in your back yard. These next months are our states finest months to get outside and move around. Hopefully you are feeling ahead and things look great from your window.

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