Lilies and Life

On Sunday EJ and I went to TSC so he could buy some work boots. His old ones were too worn. While we were there, I bought a box of 32 cans of cat food, another bale of straw, some poultry feed, and some cracked corn for the chickens. I’ve been giving them a scoop at night and when they see me coming to do my evening chores, they all come running in for their treat, which makes it easier to get them all shut up in the coop. I told EJ that I had to buy the corn because I didn’t want to see the disappointed accusations in their eyes if I ran out. I’m easily guilted by animals.

We also bought a 100 foot garden hose for the front of the house from TSC. Then we headed to Joanne Fabrics because I needed some paint pens. We stopped at Meijers, a regional store somewhat similar to Walmart for a couple items. We were going to stop at the local plant nursery, but decided to skip it for now.

Monday, I dragged the TSC poultry supplies out of the back of the Xterra and scooped the feed and cracked corn into the kitty litter buckets. The buckets keep the feed safe from rodents and are easier to lug into the coop. We use empty kitty litter buckets for everything.

Yesterday the weather was nice enough that I hung the clothes out on the clothesline for the first time this year. I have to lug the baskets across the driveway and up hill, but it’s always so peaceful hanging the clothes. I listen to the birds sing in the forest and watch them fly from perch to perch.

Address sign

Today the weather was forecast to be warmer than yesterday–up into the high 70s, although my thermometer says that it’s in the low 80s. While it was still morning cool, I walked down the driveway and repainted the numbers on my address sign. Many of the wooden letters I had used hadn’t survived the winter, but the numbers were still outlined so I just colored them in directly on the board with the paint pen. I will probably repaint it several times.

Lilies among the rock dams.

Then I spent an hour or two digging up lilies from around the big rocks and replanting them on both sides of the driveway. Our cat Josette helped me for a while; she loves accompanying us when we do chores. Last year I had transplanted many of the lilies to the driveway, but there are so many lilies spreading around the big rocks that I am continuing the job. It’s not easy digging up the lilies; I have to do it in the spring while they are still small. In a day or two, I will sow the wildflower seeds I bought at TSC along the driveway as well. Not only will the wildflowers and lilies look beautiful, but they help hold the soil so it doesn’t erode into deep gullies when the rain rushes down the hill. When we first moved here, there were deep gullies along and across the driveway. We hand-shoveled 90 tons of gravel and soil into the gullies, and I built rock dams to stop the water carrying it all away. The plants are the next stage of my erosion control…and it is actually all working.

Of course, deer consider lilies a yummy delicacy so they eat them. But I’m hoping the lilies will spread and the deer won’t be able to eat them all.

I took Hannah down the driveway with me while I worked because she gets into trouble in the house. She obeys me when I’m watching her (mostly), but when we are out of sight she goes through the pet door into the entrance hall, gets into the pantry, and eats the cats’ food. I have tried various methods to make the food dish inaccessible to Hannah and accessible to the cats, some of whom are older, but Hannah is clever and determined. I tell her that when her vet reprimands us because she’s gaining weight, I’m going to tell the vet that we measure out exactly the amount of food Hannah is supposed to have (a cup twice a day), but Hannah steals the cats’ food–and any other thing she can find to eat.

Hannah broke the screen.

Yesterday when I had Hannah in the house while I worked outside a little, I came back to find that she had poked her head through the storm door in the living room. It was a little ripped from the previous owners, but she totally push her head through. Fortunately it wasn’t open that far so she couldn’t get out–although the cats could have escaped (but didn’t). So now we have to keep the big door closed until we can get the screen fixed. I’m not sure when that will happen–we have other projects we want to work at this summer.

Hannah is very stubborn, but also smart and very cute. Whenever EJ kisses me–when he leaves for work or arrives home, or a goodnight kiss when he heads to bed–Hannah rushes up for a kiss too. I took this video the other night when EJ kissed me goodnight. Hannah came running with a bark to get her lovings. Although the lights were on in the house, the video is a little dark, but you can still see her running up.

I slid the handle of Hannah’s retractable leash over the t-posts so she could roam a bit without running free while I worked today. She found a tennis ball in the weeds and played with that for a while, chasing it when it rolled down the driveway.

By the time I had planted all the lilies in my wheelbarrow, I was sweating with the heat. I trudged back up the driveway and put away the wheelbarrow and shovel. I have to laugh because I have a friend who lives in southern Texas. Sometimes she said, “Brrrr! It’s really cold today! I had to wear a jacket.” And I say, “Whew, it’s super hot here in Michigan.” We ask each other what the temperature is where the other one is. She says, “It’s 85 degrees. Brrrr!” I say, “It’s 76 here! I’m melting!”

A green smudge on the trees!

With the warmer weather (but cold for Texas), I can see a smudge of green on the trees as their leaves start to unfold. I’m quite sure there is more green this afternoon than there was even this morning. Spring has sprung! But the low is expected to plunged down to 32 degrees Thursday night so I haven’t yet taken my house plants out on the deck for the summer, and I haven’t yet uncovered my garden.

After the inactivity of this winter, I find that I tire easily. When I need to take a break, I sit in my chair by the window drinking ice tea and watching the chickadees bringing grass and moss into the birdhouse just outside.

I took a video of the Pileated Woodpeckers’ damage to our trees. They really shred the trees, although their holes do provide homes for other birds and critters. Here is a video I took of some of the trees:

My hand today–exactly 3 months after surgery.

I am pleased that I can do all this hard work. There is still a little bruising and my fingers are still stiff but I’m still doing my hand exercises every day and I can do more with less discomfort. My hand is healing and strengthening! Yay! I can even crochet, although because of my stiff fingers working with the smaller crochet cotton is more difficult than regular worsted weight. Still…I’m getting there.

I’m focusing on the peace and delights in our Enchanted Forest to balance the deep sadness in my heart. On the one hand, I think that EJ and I can no longer endure being insulted and having our boundaries–which are just basic politeness and consideration–ignored. EJ and I have endured so many abusive family relationships that have battered us. We need peace and healing. On the other hand, we didn’t want the relationship to fall apart. We deeply love the person and preferred that he/she had chosen to cease the insults rather than stay away. We never wanted no relationship at all. I wish I was a person who could easily shrug things like this off, but I always struggle. Loss of relationship always feels like death to me. I keep thinking: Did we do the right thing in setting this boundary? When we repeatedly tell someone to stop and they don’t, what else can we do? How could we have endured the way things were? We couldn’t. How can we endure the way things are now? We can’t. Sometimes there is no winning.

Life is tough.

But Spring eventually follows Winter.



One Comment on “Lilies and Life

  1. That Hannah is such a delight – especially love EJ kissing her before he goes off to bed. I remember you saying that you had a storm awhile back and worried about the trees being unstable from all the woodpecker drillings – that was really something how they shred the wood. What a shame for those trees! You are making good progress post-surgery – your original goal had to be functioning better by the time the good weather got here … you got an extension on the good weather’s arrival thanks to Mother Nature’s cold and chilly Spring and overlong Winter.


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