Cleaning up the flowers. And the blackberries. And the…

Cone flowers in better days

Cone flowers in better days

August 23 – Out of bed early the other day and off to the side hill where the cone flowers and yucca hold sway. For some time now, the once-beautiful cone flowers with their bright pink petals and dark centers have decided it must be time for a rest. Their bright colors have faded, their tall stems are leaning over (unless they are banded together to keep from falling), and the tall weeds with waving plumes on top are trying to take their place. Only one thing to do. Armed with a pruning shears, I began to clip off the top, leaving the part of the plants that still had green leaves.

Sometimes I could gather a bunch together and clip off maybe a half dozen of the blooms, but mostly I had to do a couple at a time to make sure the green leaves weren’t cut off. Well, some were, but not many. I really was surprised to find some of the stalks all dried out and completely brown.

The often-used blue tarp

The often-used blue tarp

At first I could stand up straight on the hill, only bending to prune, but as I continued down towards the road, I often found myself trying to keep my balance. In fact, I caught myself at the last moment as my sneakers slipped, and tossed my feet into a hole! Working in that bent-over position was not my favorite part of the day! Whenever I slipped into the yucca plant’s territory, I was jabbed by the sharp and pointed leaves. Using a big blue tarp to drag three loads of dead yucca and the cone flower blooms over to the burning pile, I was now ready for another job!

Our blackberry patch has needed a weed job for a month because of the abundant rain. But but now, the soil is so dry and hard, that even using a digger tool didn’t help much. I moved in and out of the rows to pull out the weeds that have tentacles all over, holding them tight in the ground. As I moved along the borders of the patch, I had to pull by big handfuls the edging that had grown out from the lawn. When I found some dead stalks, I clipped them off at the base, or if they were not too well attached, just broke them off. About halfway through the job, I had to get a kneeling pad so I could be nearer the ground and not have to bend over so much. My back suggested very strongly that I did not need that bending! But how much cleaner and neater is the patch today!

Wire rolls and stakes from Clyde

Wire rolls and stakes from Clyde

While I was working, Dale came over to tell me that our friend Clyde had phoned and would be coming over to bring us a roll of re-enforcing wire cage and a number of heavy metal garden stakes. When I saw Clyde’s white truck drive over to the garden, I hurried to finish the job before going into the house for my camera.

As I approached the truck, I saw a good-looking young man in the driver’s seat. “Well,” I thought, “that sure does look like Kevin (our grandson), but how did he get here with Clyde?” When I could see the driver, I said, “I thought you were Kevin!” Looking somewhat surprised, that young man, Hayden, said, “No, that’s my dad!” I know his dad very well as he is the superintendent of the school system where I volunteered for so many years, and his name IS Kevin! Hayden was surprised to find out that our grandson is named Kevin, as well!

Hayden and Grandpa Clyde

Hayden and Grandpa Clyde

However I was not prepared for the shock I got when I asked the two to get out of the truck so I could take a picture! As he unfolded himself to leave the truck, I was shocked to see his height! His six foot six towered well over my mere five feet! In fact, when I took the first picture, part of his head was missing, so I had to back up farther to get him all in. We talked for awhile about family, work, fun, etc. Finally, Hayden reminded Grandpa Clyde that there was still work to be done in his yard, including the weed eating.

After our friends left, Dale told me that they had driven over to the pond to show Hayden where they might go fishing one of these days. That, of course, is the same pond where the catfish tried to gobble up the extremely hard bagels I mentioned in a recent blog (and earlier today, they did come and do some fishing).

I spent just a little more time outside that day, picking the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage, while Dale finished his job. By the time I was done, I got my jar of ice water from the fridge, and joined Dale sitting on the tailgate of the truck. Within five minutes, I drank the entire quart of water and was just about gurgling inside! Another good day with jobs taken care of, colorful and tasty produce harvested, and especially the visiting with our special friends. – CHRIS

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