Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"When error is irreparable, repentance is useless."
- Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Summer is here. The weather went from our lovely, seemingly endless mild spring to summer yesterday. It took about ten minutes. One minute they were fine; the next minute my sunflowers lost all enthusiasm and wilted, their heads nodding in despair. While a little water cheered them up, it didn’t inspire me to tend to the other projects in the back yard. Pictured here are not my sunflowers but some mammoth sunflowers in the Veggie Garden.

Back home, I have finally found a place for my nameless succulent with the lovely nebari. Here it is near the pond, but not so near that night hunters like skunks and possums will knock it into the water when they come to drink, perchance to hunt. Tech Support Guy has recently installed several new electronic surveillance to protect the koi while the water lilies recover their recent re-potting and grow back to give them some cover. We have a motion-activated light that, imho, simply provides better visibility for night fishing by predators. But the theory is that it will get our attention inside the house, and we can then step outside and aim the super-soaker which is water laced with a little ammonia – at the invaders.

We also have a motion activated radio turned to a talk radio station that spouts sermons all about the coming apocalypse and demanding repentance. The radio sits just outside our bedroom door leading to the patio where the birdseed is kept in critter-proof containers. The radio doesn’t stop the possums from knocking the birdseed containers around the patio in attempts to break in, but it does alert us so we can chase them away.

It turns out that the motion-activated radio is particularly effective in waking me in the middle of the night. When visitors approach the birdseed containers, the radio turns on for about a minute. There is nothing like sudden shouted threats of fire and brimstone to brighten the dark night of my soul. Who actually listens to this stuff?

Also pond-adjacent is a simple red pelargonium, with its defiant flower, standing like a sentry next to the stone bridge. I pride myself that every pelargonium in my yard is borrowed: some from cuttings donated by friends; some clipped from the roadside of gardens on summer evening auto trips around the neighborhood. Such trips to liberate cuttings don’t count as stealing in my eyes. Some of the plants now in flower in my yard are no longer extant in the locations where I originally cut them, so my specimens effectively saved these particular plants from extinction.

Later last night - after a brief nighttime propagation trip - the radio (or maybe Jesus, directly) spoke to me. Fortunately for the salvation of my soul, I am hearing impaired. Without my hearing aid, all I heard were muttered exhortations that gradually devolved into incoherence as I returned to my dreams. Such distractions don’t awaken guilt in my deaf heart, for I sleep the sleep of the just. I’m afraid that I am with Gibbon on the utility of repentance, particularly when such urgings awaken me from a peaceful sound sleep.


Martha in Michigan said...

Wow, you save both endangered plants AND the souls of raccoons. Wait! They don't HAVE souls! Or, if they do, Mom is rolling in her grave — which I visited on my recent trip east (pix to come when I am caught up).

I am SO impressed with both your cooking and pond-cleaning adventures. I find it increasingly difficult to get motivated in either direction. I just spoke to a desperate-for-employment landscaper about tearing out my pool, moving the thyme to the driveway-side, and limbing up my 30-year-old walnut trees. We've been getting all the rain that you (and the U.P) don't, and the place has gone wild on me.

Les said...

Good friends of mine grow figs and got tired of the racoons grabbing all the good fruit. They found that a radio tuned to conservative talk shows deterred them better than anything else. I have not snuck any of their figs either.