Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Oh goodness...

Dad is doing good, and his voice is coming back, which is turning into a double edged sword.
"Sis, (he calls me Sis, among other things) go get me a card, a big box of chocolates, and twelve daffodil bulbs for WWW, and make sure your drill is charged."
It seems I didn't hop to it fast enough... So he gets in his car, and roars off to get them himself. He returns with the goodies, but no bulbs.

I hear grinding in the workshop, in the house Dad comes with a big bit he has ground the shank off of so it will fit the chuck on my drill.  "Got an idea, this can make the holes for the bulbs!" he says.
"Dad, we've had a lot of rain, the ground shouldn't be that hard, but we can take it, just in case."
"Good, now go get me twelve daffodil bulbs." 
"Might I ask what you need the bulbs for, it's the wrong time of year to get daffy bulbs, though I should be able to find potted daffodils."
"We are going to plant them on WWW's  husband's grave up in the mountains."
And so another adventure with Dad & WWW began...

I found the potted daffodils. Loaded twelve pots of daffodils, a drill, a big bit, a spade, a trowel, a jug of water, gloves, Dad, his cowboy hat, and his walker up and headed out to pickup WWW.
On the way down I asked Dad if he knew where the little cemetery was. "No, but she does."  I managed to find it in spite of WWW's "Oh goodness, nothing looks the same" directions.
A nice little cemetery, tucked in the pines. As in most cases these days, we drove past a few nice places and a lot of really sketchy looking growers/cookers places.  
Unloaded WWW, Dad, both walkers, and all the rest of the plants and gear.  Got the Elders seated in their respective walkers, the better to give advice from, and went to work on cleaning up the grave site. I borrowed a rake from a gentleman carpenter's grave across the way. Being careful not to disturb his hard hat, claw hammer, nails, and six packs of beer. I planted the daffies with the spade, and returned the gentleman's rake. Heard a few gun shots while I was tending the grave. Dad told WWW not to worry, he hadn't heard any bullets whizzing by. I politely didn't mention that he can't hear worth a damn.  Loaded every thing back up, and drove the Elders down the mountain to town so they could have a late lunch date.
We passed a gas station they both knew the owner of, and WWW says she has never pumped her own gas and doesn't know how to change a tire. Dad laughs and thumps the back of my seat "Sis, can do that without batting an eye."  
"Oh goodness, well I'm an indoor person," says WWW. I smile and nod, not touching that one with a ten foot pole.
They wanted to eat Mexican food at a little restaurant, so that's where I took them.  Dad kept asking me the Spanish word for things, so he could holler them at the waiter, while WWW says, "Oh goodness, I just love a cowboy that can speak a foreign language." 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

famously bitter...

a bit more on wormwood (Artemisia)... 

 "In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first thing Snape asks Harry in Potions class is, "Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

According to the Victorian Language of Flowers, asphodel is a type of lily meaning "my regrets follow you to the grave," and wormwood symbolizes bitterness and sorrow.  The entire question has a hidden meaning of "I bitterly regret Lily's death.""

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ancient sage...

My introduction to Artemisia 'Powis Castle' was by way of a plant ID class in my landscape design curriculum way back when.  I like this tough, drought tolerant perennial.

When we where propagating in the greenhouses, I started a few cuttings just for the heck of it.  They did well, and I ended up packing those tough little mother plants around with me from ranch to ranch.
When they got big enough I would plant them out in the garden to use as a cover for tulips to grow up through.  Gophers don't like Artemisia.  Which is nice when you have previously watched expensive tulips suddenly disappear into the soil with a swoosh. The color/texture contrasts between tulips and the fine silvery leafed Artemisia 'Powis Castle' adds interest  to the landscape as well.
One of the ranches we lived on had lots of deer, and elk.  Overnight they could strip the garden. But, if I planted a scattering of Artemisia they would leave the garden alone.

Insects don't like it either, so I take clippings and throw them in boxes of clothes, books, and linens going into storage.  At one time we had a rental storage unit for six months while waiting for the house to be built. I put clippings of it in all the boxes, and had no problems with mice or bugs. 
I also put a clipping in each bag of sunflower seeds that I buy to feed the birds. No bugs in the bags or the feeders.
An ancient plant, with many attributes, often over looked today.