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Dandelion Blivet – or – I Can Handle the Truth, I Just Don’t Like the Maths

dandelion blivet

A highly technical military term (wink, wink), as my father explained it to me, a blivet is ten pounds of crap in a five-pound bag.

This weekend produced a close-to-real-life example: I took that leetle beety plastic pot out front to hold all the dandelions I’d dig up. Surely there weren’t many so early in the spring. . .

To loosen the nasty weed’s grip on the good earth — the over-wintered ones had roots the diameter of small carrots and I’m not talking baby carrots — I used the Japanese all-purpose garden knife available exclusively, in the 1990’s, from Smith and Hawken. Now available fine big-box stores everywhere.

And pardon the Britishism, too much Masterpiece Theater, but the blivet wasn’t the maths that were getting to me. The truth is, by trading a large chunk of my time for money these days, only so much of anything gets done. This weekend, the dandelions. Not enough time to do a proper weeding. Other items on the weekend to-do list loom large and the hours vaporize quickly. A time blivet of sorts — how much to cram into a too-short timeframe.

The dandelions, however, don’t care one whit about my schedule. And I’m gonna need a bigger bucket.

Comparison Chopping or I Love the Smell of Lavender in the Afternoon


Working again means certain things will be put aside for another day. But other things, such as trimming the lavender, are time sensitive. An unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon seemed the opportune moment.

I was all set for a quiet, zen-like moment when the buzzsaw hubs showed up. As noted last year, spending time, plant by plant, to trim thoughtfully results in a nicely undulating hedge of robust blooms. Blunt cuts without careful deep trimming soon leads to lower bloom production and stifled plants.

The hubs has a different approach. There is he was, like that cigar-chomping officer in Apocalypse Now, mowing down the lavender bushes into the shape of large mushroom caps. And I’m hearing Vikings and Beekeepers (it’s playing at the 8-min. mark), a famous piece used in the movie and the SCTV sketch, playing in my head. And yes, that’s how I refer to that music; the real name doesn’t stick. Which reminded me to pick my battles. Carefully. And laugh.

So I worked closest to the sidewalk because those plants produce the best blooms. And I quit the task much earlier than planned. Sure enough, he gave up soon after. I’ll go back and finsih the overall trimming, and do some delicate trimming on the newly rounded plants once the warm weather really sets in and the hubs’ attention is absorbed in getting the vegetable garden planted. Patience. Oooommmmm.







The Annual Dust Up Delayed


Each May for the past 20 years, give or take,  the hubs’ fishing buddy arrives for two days of fishing and male bonding for them, and blissful peace and quiet for me.


My home office/studio doubles as the guest room so there’s a major cleanup before said fishing buddy arrives.


This involves dusting the bookshelves that run along two walls. An annual cleanup is sufficient as there’s not much dust up there.


When a significant chance of rain moved the trip up by two days, less than a day was left for clean up. No, I do not work ahead on housekeeping.

Alas, the bookshelves did not get dusted. Oh darn. . .

Spring in Her Step

Our pup Iko is a tad over a year. The little black fuzzball next to her is the neighbor’s Shih Tzu pup Delilah, not quite half a year. The big difference in weight class, currently 44 lbs and about 6 lbs, doesn’t hinder the scrum.

Iko and Delilah 2

Both being young and fresh, and reasonably well mannered, play time is everything. Now that the sun is out and the temps are just right, play dates happen frequently. Delilah is fearless, as is the nature of a young pup. And Iko is relatively gentle most of the time, always backing off when told or when there’s even the slightest yipe. Then the roughhousing continues, frequently with Delilah picking up a stick to instigate the chase.

After an exuberant 10-15 minutes, the play goes into an ebb and flow for another 15-20 minutes. By then the pups have run out of energy and the people/referees have run out of  conversation.

Iko green feet

Everyone retreats indoors with a happy little memory that lingers for the rest of the day. Like the grass stains on Iko’s paws.

Last Year’s Lavender

Sunday’s warm weather inspired me to start an annual task that’s tedious but necessary, slightly sad but with the promise of joy: Cleaning the lavender bed. The yard drops off steeply along the front walkway so the bed gets lots of sun, has good drainage – a good spot for lavender. For years we were graced with an enviable abundance of fragrant blooms. Trimming back the faded first bloom ensured a second bloom.

As with most things, time hasn’t been entirely kind. The older plants are no longer as vigorous. The gnarled old growth at the base of those plants looks like miniature grapevines – ruggedly attractive but wholly unproductive. At the front of the bed, the oldest plants have a horizontal rather than vertical habit. The newer plants grow upward, balancing the overall appearance. Scattered gaps in the bed are reminders of varieties unable to withstand Midwestern winters. Perhaps the poor seedlings didn’t read the labels promising sufficient hardiness. They didn’t know they were supposed to survive.

This year I’m taking the task slowly, pruning with more thoughtfulness, kindness. The joy these plants can still give has to be coaxed out gently; trimming properly and, just as important, leaving well-spaced branches should reward us all in a couple of months.

After picking up the tools, I put the bin of trimmed branches in the garage, the pale scent of last year’s lavender filled the air.


Happy Spring, Happy Thanksgiving, and the Fate of Two Birds

An uncomfortable rite of spring happened last Saturday. A wayward bird ended up in the firebox of the woodburning stove. Citrus, the big orange tabby, alerted us with his rapt attention to the stove’s glass door. The well-practiced sequence of events: Close all interior doors (pets safely away from the action), draw all the blinds, prop open the back door, and, after a little cool air has flowed in, open the stove door.

Blessedly, thankfully, this little peep popped out, bounced around the floor for a minute, then, catching the breeze, turned to the bright opening and quietly flew out.

We’ve learned to let this almost-annual event unfold on its own. No attempting to grab the bird, no shooing the little peep to the door. Just stand back and let the bird find freedom.

Kind of a reminder from the universe to lay the best path, and then let events play out. Sometimes the best thing is to take it in and look for the small joys.

The other bird? Part of tight-budget living is taking advantage of sales. In November, that’s turkey, so an extra bird or two goes in the freezer. A few months later, a turkey dinner again sounds delicious, and moving the large frozen bird(s) to get anything out of the freezer becomes tedious to the point of aggravation.

So the other bird in this story became a holiday meal. And I took a moment to be grateful for the experiences, enjoying the unfolding of my life.


Spring Love — The Shoe Edition

Keds Liberty

I’ve always been prep. Back in the day, my best friend in high school chastised me (harshly, I might add) for ‘always’ wearing  ditzy wallpaper prints that were so prep. A green and blue toile seemed to be particularly offensive to her eye. Now my niece tells me I’m so prep – she’s said that for so long and with such affection that it’s become a favored greeting.

So I embrace the term and my style. New Liberty of London print Keds Champions. Very pretty and doesn’t get any more prep than that!


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