Thursday, July 19, 2007

You have got to be kidding

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, I love volunteers in my garden. Some volunteers are planned as in self seeding annuals and biennials. Others are surprises like the cherry orchard and mulberry trees. I've developed a theory that my house will either be pulled down or supported by the vines and ivies which are increasingly winding there way up the side and back of my house, some by intent, others by giving them their own willful way. However, it never would have occurred to me in a million years that my house's foundation would be an attractive spot for ferns. The closest planned ferns are at least 8 feet away. Apparently the storms which ended our summer drought sent some spores flying and that was all she wrote. When I glanced at the foundation of my house in the front and saw the fern above I burst out laughing and thought, you've got to be kidding God. Then I grabbed my camera.
The daily thunder showers have given me and my garden a new found energy. In spite of the fact that it feels a bit like pea soup outside with the heat and humidity, seeing the buds forming again on plants that looked like goners a few weeks ago, and how green and lush everything is becoming, makes me want to sing. There is something invigorating about water from the sky. I've collected about 30 gallons of water in large outdoor trashcans and washtubs so even if it dries up I have a lot of places to dip my watering can for the odd splash here and there.
My city has recently started year round water restriction which I was very pleased about. For summer after summer we've had to have mandatory restrictions on irrigation and other water usage but they never made the leap to putting sensible restrictions in place permanently until this year. There was a recent newspaper article in my local paper about how the bulk of the citations for ignoring the water usage restrictions were handed out to people in the most expensive houses with automatic irrigation systems to keep their lawns green and their flowers pretty. Suits me. The fines they are paying could be well spent in the community. Probably the same people that want to keep taxes low are willing to pay fines to have green grass so why not use their fines to help people who are homeless, or to build much needed new schools, or to help people that can't afford rising energy costs. The fines probably won't be spent that sensibly but one can but hope.I recently found out that the National Wildlife Federation will certify your yard as a Wildlife Habitat site. Looking over what you have to do to qualify, I was pretty sure that my yard would qualify although I'm not sure how my non native plants fit into the guidelines. I have everything they require but I also have a lot of non native plants too. The part of the program I find appealing is silly. First, the reason the silly part is appealing is because whether they certify me or not I'm already providing a rich habitat for wildlife so I don't need certification to do that. I am glad they encourage others to do the same and don't find that part silly at all. However, it's kind of silly that I want to be able to order their sign saying that my yard is certified by the NWF as a backyard wildlife habitat site. The reason I think the sign would be fun is my subdivision has a yard of the month sign. Every month, they reward one of my neighbors who has green grass (top priority) and well tended flower beds (slightly lower priority).
The one thing they don't reward are habitat gardens. Let's face it, birds poop on cars and trees litter on their neighbors yard. I'll admit it, I'm overstating and being a tad silly but I've already said this train of thought is silly. I've often joked that I'll never get yard of the month and my daughter pointed out that the reason was because I don't have a yard, I have a garden. Nice thought but I don't think that's it. I think it's about an overall attitude towards the way I want to live which is evidenced by my wild and woolly surroundings. I do think it would be hysterical to have a NWF sign certifying me as a habitat gardener which would say, hey guys this is intentional.


Anonymous said...

I love that...'you don't have a yard, you have a garden'.
A garden changes, evolves, and adapts. Just like you, my friend.
Here is what your garden sign should say:
Carver's Garden of Eternity
Some thoughts about signs:
*Pish, signs! What people won't do to show how much they can spend.
*Ah no seeum, signs! Good thing critters don't have to read to find the habitat you have for them.(I expect the NWF knows this and would probably fall under the next category of signs.)
*Haha, signs! Up yours folks, what I've done actually means something.
You keep at 'em!
Love, K.
PS I do kinda wish the birds would stop pooping on our mailbox!

Betcha saw this one coming:

Sign, sign everywhere a sign,
Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.
Do this, don't do that...
Can't you read the sign?
-Five Man Electrical Band (1971)

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of you having a Habitat Sign...won't the neighbors be jealous..hahahha I hope at least your weeds..o, sorry, your habitat plants are at least green..hahahha Me and my manicured lawn..hey, we are very careful about watering and have no restrictions here yet...we have all underground watering for the trees and drip systems for flowers and veggies..does that count for being a good neighbor? Backyard is all in rock and planter boxes so see we do try to conserve where we can and still have some son in law loves the one strip of green in the backyard..he say's it a great putting green..ok, I'm taking pictures and will email them to you. Maybe you'll approve of our efforts..we even had bird feed in sacks but we don't have many birds coming around so no bird poop. Taxes, well yes, I don't want to pay more taxes..I want the taxes to be used correctly and on the right things and stop with the pork..a bill is a bill for what it's for and nothing opinion anyway. We had a surplus here from DMV and what did they do, they gave each of us a check..hahahha and, we wanted them to use it for improvement on schools but as usual their heads are in places better not to speak of...again, that's my need decent schools to attend and not broken toilets, etc..o, don't get me started here..I'll quit while I'm somewhat ahead..Kim you have a great memory for song and poetry..don't ever change either of you..I'm just of a different generation..and, I care but maybe in a little different way than the younger generation..I'm old enough to be entitled, I think, at least I'm starting to show my arrp and medicare card now with pride...hahahaha I know you both have a sense of humor so I hope I'm not at risk

Carver said...

Hey Kim and Sue,

You both crack me up and Sue your lawn sounds great. If you have to irrigate, underground and drip is the way to go. What I object to are the automatic sprinklers that come on even when it's raining. I also object to people ignoring the city ordinances which have gone into effect for conservation. People can still water but it's every other day and is rotated depending on where you live and it's certain hours. People that disregard that are fined and it suits me that it's people who can afford the fines.

Me, I water by hand with water I collect and if there isn't much to collect I water a tiny bit but most things are on their own. I've been surprised by what can handle it even during a drought but I don't live in your part of the country either. Back in the bad old days I had sprinklers set on timers and watered like crazy so it's been a gradual shift for me. When I stopped most irrigation I did lose some things but what I've ended up with is tough and by and large bountiful.

Cheers, Carver

Anonymous said...

oops, I forgot the automatic sprinklers for the manicured lawn..yep, we have those too..but, did you know you can control those as needed...rain, what rain, we havne't had a drop in so long can't remember the last time I saw a natually wet lawn or street or anything else for that matter..what's bad about that are the fires..a tiny spark of any kind can start a raging fire. What gets me is the carelessness of people in fire season and those that ignore the laws of where you can have a camp fire..I say NO camp fire during fire season and yep, it's a season here. Fines, what good will a fine do when there are millions of dollars in damage needless to say the damage that will take a hundred years to recuperate the growth of those gorgeous tress. We have an environmentalist problem in thinnning of dead trees or ground cover..a sparks delight..ah, drove through Flagstaff and the forest is and lush, why cause they can thin and trim..what a difference. If a fire starts there they have a great chance of quick resolve..we knew Tahoe was a tinderbox and now there are lawsuits everywhere..time will tell who wins this battle. Common sense makes the difference to me but then I'm a common sense person. I have one question, do your neighbors complain about your natual habitat? It's so green, why would they even care..I love all your beautiful flowers and the birds and o, the birds so sweet..glad you aren't scared of them anymore. I see tiny little quail near our ponds that are nearly dry and an eyesore these days but the day will come when they will be full again..we love to take our duck food to the ponds and watch the little critters come for food..they'll take it right from your hands. I keep telling my husband he needs to start his snowdancing early this year...need a good snowpack to resolve the other issues and we didn't get it last year at all. sue

Avory said...

It can't be a good sign that when you talked about the intent of the vines I was thinking to myself "well if it's willful, that would be evidence of bad faith so it would hurt their case..."

Since when do we have a cherry orchard? Are there actual cherries? And where does that white flower (pansy? poppy?) grow? It's really pretty.

Avory said...

Oh and I don't know if it's kosher to comment to other people's comments as I'm new to this Blogger thing, but Sue, I'm crossing my fingers for you with the fire season. I visited my friend Katie in Reno a couple of months ago and we actually made it up to Tahoe (lovely, lovely place; I hope I can go back some time during the ski season) but they of course have a lot of problem with fire in Reno with all the brush. She lives near a big hill covered in sagebrush and it's always a bit of a gamble, plus they have trouble with high school kids going up there at night and starting a fire as an act of rebellion or what have you. I hope your local teenagers are a bit smarter.

Carver said...

Hey Judith,

Feel free to comment on other comments, people do it and hey it's your mom's blog and whatever is okay with me is okay, ha. Plus, Sue is a great person and I'm sure she'd like your concern about Tahoe. The first cherry tree was probably planted by the birds and is growing in front of the azaela at the top of the driveway. Since then I've had 3 that volunteered at the bottom of the back garden and are about 12 feet now. The white flower is from the hibiscus which self seeded all over and has grown up through the blueberry bushes. Love, Mom

Carver said...

PS to Judith

Every time you say you're new to blogger I get confused because I remember when I worried about our online journal when you were in high school but I remember now that you've had other ones but didn't use blogger before.

Anonymous said...

Well, I now have a confession about the watering thing...we have been under a phase 3 drought alert with threat of fines and being arrested if we exceed 7200 gallons of water each month. Brian broke the irrigation system in the front yard this spring when he tried to fix it : ) we saw no reason to call in the pros yet to get it done correctly. However, he did this really cool drip irrigation system in the back where the woods are. It is basically like a garden hose that you bury and attach drippers or spraying gizmos that will do whirligigs, or semi-circle or tap dance and maybe sing a little. (just kidding) He also added an electronic scheduler that has various zones and rain delays on it. That hubby of mine is an industrious one when he isn't breaking stuff.
Oh yeah, the confession part...we have been using this low flow drip irrigation thingy during the ban. (Slap us silly.) I get most of my showers at the gym, which makes me go to the gym, and that water goes on their meter not ours. So I figure we can water the new hostas and hydrangeas and other stuff we planted that I can't pronounce in the back. However, I was worried about being carted off to the pokey and having to serve time for watering.
Then the water bill came today...
I nervously pried it open and it is the lowest one we have ever had at this house! No fines, no summons to appear before the Birmingham Water Board to 'splain why our plants or so special, and no trip to the jail without passing GO to collect $200!
Are we still friends?

I am on an oldies kick as it is the summer of love and everything...

They took all the trees
Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that d.d.t. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what youve got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
-Joni Mitchell (1970)
oooh lala la la, oooh lala la la

Carver said...

hey Kim,

Always friends, of course. I've struggled with the watering issue myself and let me just say there have been times I watered the heck out of my property. I've gradually moved away from it but it's a struggle.

Funny that you would quote that song. A friend and I went through a brief phase as the gorilla girls. We'd leave our children with their dad's and go out late at night and put up signs where certain dumb construction projects (as opposed to sensible ones) were pissing us off. One of the signs we put up was "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot". Hey great minds think alike in the song vein. Cheers, Carver