Bouncey bouncey bounce
Tuesday August 19th 2014, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Family,Life

I was an endlessly bouncy little kid. Were you a bouncy little kid? Weren’t we all? Although: my mom used to call me Tigger for my inability to hold still and my endless jumping up and down in excitement and my three older siblings did not get that nickname before me. (As for the two after, well hey, by then it was taken. Neener neener.)

So someone asked why kids actually need that. And, with thanks to my sister Marian for the links, the answer is that the more kids move, the better developed their sense of balance and strength and their sensory system.

Balance? Who knew? (Can I have mine back? Shhhhh, Alison.)

So someone did something about it. I dearly wish Bouncy Bands had existed when I was a kid in the classroom. No noise, no distraction to others, no leaning back in the chairs because your feet are already busy, lots of energy expended.

The inventor did anticipate kids using them as rubber bands and counsels the teachers to head that one right off from the get-go.

A rubber half-band for your feet to fidget on.  Y’know? I could actually put one to use on this chair, come to think of it.

And then someone would have to invent a Fitbit-type gadget to count the calories expended from all that. Silicon Valley: on your mark! Get set! GO!!!

Because I think the inventor of these bands just made himself a billionaire–these are going to be everywhere. I sure hope his patent gets granted quickly. He earned it.

For all the parents and all their children
Monday August 18th 2014, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,History,Life

I was planning on writing about figs. Friends shared the bounty of their tree and my tall Richard helped pick a few higher-up ones for the others with his feet still on the ground. I always enjoy it when he does good simply by being tall–something he didn’t choose, it just is. Like the color of his skin.

I can no longer remain silent.

I haven’t mentioned the news of late because I felt nothing I could say could be enough and at the same time I simply wanted there to be one place on the Internet where people could rest from all that for a moment to read about, oh I dunno, mandarin trees and Costco shoppers playing falling piano to my roadrunner.  Or whatever.

And yet some things require they be addressed. I feel John Oliver has done the best summing-up so far of Ferguson, Missouri. Daily Kos, meantime, reports that Tibetan monks arrived there to represent for peacemaking, knowing that sometimes simply observing people often improves their behavior in ways that transcend the barriers of language.

The whole issue of the over-militarization of our police is being shown and borne on the shoulders of those who have the least but whose power is that they may yet change our nation for the better for what they are having to endure–the huge betrayal by those who swore to protect them, the betrayal too by those who give in to their anger late in the nights and allow the rogue forces to justify themselves.

There is the utterly innocent black man beaten by them before Michael Brown, who was charged with destruction of city property for bloodying the cops’ uniforms with four officers later lying during the deposition against their own signed statements. Enraged at finding they had jailed the wrong black man, they’d been determined to make him pay for it. There were video cameras everywhere there, as there must be in such places, and yet somehow no recording of it could be found.

One of those cops is now on the city council.

All those images, all that grieving for the human spirits on both sides of that huge divide and for how much better it could have been, should have been, needs to be, must become for all our sakes….

I wrote this on Facebook at Robin Williams’ death:

Every person matters. You matter. Whether I know you or not, you matter to me.


And that, in the end, is all that matters among us. May we so live.

Cherry Garcia
Sunday August 17th 2014, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden

One is cute, 1500 is a bit Biblical.

The box looked the size and type that would have, say, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in it. There was a square cut-out in the lid covered in mesh.

So I expected a mesh bag inside with, y’know, a twisty tie or something.

Richard had thought that ladybugs for our yard would be a good idea, and for eight bucks towards doing good to the environment wherever they might go off to, why not, so he bought me some.  Computer scientists and bugs and all that.

So here he was Saturday night, flashlight in hand to help me watch my step out there (he’s a good one) as we went out onto the back patio. The ladybugs were more likely to stay in the area you put them in if it’s dark out.

But it was actually pretty well lit right there on the patio side of the window and I thought I’d start with a few over at the amaryllis pots on the picnic table. I lifted the lid.

And gave a small yelp and jumped back–but at least I didn’t drop the thing.

“What’s wrong?”

I mumbled something about there were bugs in there and a mass of them were coming at my hands and okaynevermindyeahthatwasstupid.

I tried to make sure they were aimed away from me at all times as we walked around playing Johnny Appleseed at nature, having no way to see if they were blowing back into our hair (don’t even THINK that!) Amaryllis. Fling! Page Mandarin. Fling! Cherry. Fling! Apple. Fling! Pear. Fling fling double fling leave the lid there too on that one and let them sort themselves out.

And some on the lemon, since I hadn’t quite been able to persuade the last of them to leave the cup part at the previous stop.

I woke up in the morning thinking, wow, did we just feed the birds dessert first or what?

But I saw at least one if not two ladybugs on every one of the baby fruit trees when I gave them a quick check, so, so far so good.

The ice cream box had little specks all over the bottom. I have no idea if there are eggs in there or if it’s all just bug poop. I think I’ll give it a few days. That I don’t have to go near it.

They were going for a smash hit
Saturday August 16th 2014, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Life

Our Chinese elm at sundown (sorry for the dark shot, clicking on it helps.) I think the previous owner liked twisty, interesting trees; I know I do. And it’s an elm. And it has survived.


Something stopped me. You don’t stop there in the middle of a main aisle, especially not on a Saturday afternoon at Costco halfway down from the entrance–someone will careen into you. But I did.

And only in that heartbeat did the people moving around just to the side catch my peripheral vision. And still in that split-second my foot refused to take the next step (and I knew surely I must be blocking people). Why, I couldn’t have told you.

Richard was a bit behind just then looking for a toy for the grandsons. There was a piece on display that I hadn’t even seen as I whizzed down the aisle, pulling my cart behind: a narrow but sturdy-looking wooden display case for putting knick knacks into at a corner with mirrors to both sides, the better to see your stuff, and glass across the front so you don’t have to dust all of that. Triangles of glass to however many feet tall. It was up on a pallet and towering over my head.

And those two hapless men were trying to put a boxed version of same onto their orange flatbed cart and not paying the least attention to the realities of their bodily space just as I suddenly stopped for no reason.

That entire part of the store started and turned, first at my–okay, shriek sounds too dramatic, gasp, not quite enough so as to be honest–and then at the big booming smash as it just missed my head. It hit immediately in front of me.

All I could do was stand and stare.  People all around us tried to take it in. Then at last the nearby employees came running.

All of that glass could have gone shrapnelling everywhere, but none of it seemed to land more than a foot from impact. Kudos to the manufacturer. (Going glass side down definitely helped.)

I did a silent thankyouthankyouthankyou to Above.

The sheepish men with the orange cart melted into the crowd with their prize as, true to form, some random impatient person behind me forced their way around whether there was room for them in the debris and with the employee on his knees there or not.

And everything was as if back to normal.

We got our shopping done, we were getting out; I was tired and went to sit on a bench facing the checkouts as Richard paid for our groceries, and there on the bench was a woman who’d been several carts behind when all that had happened. She looked in my eyes and then shook her head with a rueful smile of Wow. That was close.

And then everything really was back to normal.

Back to the future
Friday August 15th 2014, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Lupus

Moving carefully the last few days; I did a number on my back in that twist-and-fall while planting the tree, quite mindful at the same time that I got off easy, all things considering.

I am motivated to take good care of it. Parker and Hudson won’t have to wave hi through the computer screens next week,  they’re going to be here. I cannot wait to hug my grandbabies and their parents. A big Tonka digger truck is ready next to the toy basket and Parker will tell you the type of truck that’s in it. Knitted animals by LauraN and Diana.

Theoretically we’re getting long-overdue recarpeting done before then. We really should paint that one wall first. In reality, any possibility of my helping move furniture is completely gone for now–as we wait for an upgraded quote.

There’s this long-accumulated  wisdom learned via lupus flare after lupus flare after Crohn’s flare that sometimes, it’s okay to just let things be as they are and not be too fussy over the things that don’t matter.

And sometimes we just plain need to get a move-on here, folks.

Loving its new digs
Thursday August 14th 2014, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Garden

First thing bright and early in the foggy morning after a night’s rest, still pretty tightly tucked in on itself. (Backstory here.)

And at 6 pm.

Love and light and water as needed and promises of more for the life of it. 

Let there be light!
Wednesday August 13th 2014, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Life,Lupus

It came it came!

And I wasn’t even home. I was at a carpet store way down in San Jose and Richard was working from home so he’s the one who got to answer the doorbell; he told me he called out, “Thank you!” to the UPS driver heading back to his truck, as one does.

I got the text while comparing berber vs plush and how it would feel on a crawling baby’s knees or little boys tumbling down. I tried not to be jealous as I drove home.

I took pictures of the box. Dusk never felt so far off. Hurry, hurry! I finally had to at least see and slid it out and found it looked like a NASA experiment.

A little while later, not wanting to risk drying it out or anything…I peeked some more. Cute little kitten’s-paw leaves sneaking upwards.

At last it was 7:00, Wunderground said UV was 1 out of 12, I declared it good enough, lupus-wise–but before I went outside, I asked Richard once again if he thought I should widen the back of the hole away from that pipe.

“I don’t know,” he said honestly. He offered to help but since this was my baby he let me do it myself like I wanted.

Got the spade, put the tip exactly right there and gave it one good heave ho pushing down hard with my foot.

I actually don’t quite know how the next thing that came to be was that I was suddenly facing the other way, rear end to one side of the hole and the backs of my legs–well, mostly one–fully scraped and muddy down the calf, but my feet were way over up on the other side and how did they get there and all in one nice smooth motion and I have no idea how that happened. At all.

Okay, maybe not so much on the widening thing. It’s trying to tell me something there and me, I try to be a good listener. Really, I do.

I looked at the hole. I looked at the dug-up dirt to the side, which was full of now-dry clumps and gravel and it would all need to be figured out which was which: the former owners did love their (now deeply embedded, 50-60 years later) gravel path. The obvious hit me at long last–I definitely needed better soil than what I had there and I should have thought of that sooner. Dad and his rhododendrons and all that.

So I was glad I’d gotten an earlyish start and headed over to the hardware store less than a mile away. Bought two bags, organic, pasteurized chicken poop, the works. The fellow they asked to help me to my car with them looked bored and like he couldn’t wait for that work day to be over so I thought I’d lighten it up a little by sharing in brief my sense of anticipation: the commissioned truck. The Page mandarins you couldn’t get any other way. The thirty-seven years since I’d had one, and finally, “My tree came today.”

Suddenly he had this big surprised grin all over his face and he teased me that I was going to have to bring some of those mandarins back to that store for him to test out, y’know! To make sure they were good enough!

Richard got those heavy bags out of the car for me and over to the spot and I got back to it.

And…I didn’t have enough soil, clearly, from trying too hard not to spend too much money on my hobbies….  But you only get one chance to start that tree off right. I checked with him. Orchard Supply Hardware was still open. Back I go.

The guy did a doubletake as he spotted me going past his aisle again: “Back already?!”

“Yeah, needed more soil,” I said to him. “Just, don’t fall in the hole,” and I did a quick below-the-knee skirt hoist  to show him the row’d rash. He started to gasp but then since I was laughing a good one he about fell over in relieved guffaws. It WAS funny.

“You’re REALLY going to love those oranges now!” he told me.

Y’know? He was right.




Uh oh
Tuesday August 12th 2014, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Garden,Life

I have a gardener and his helper twice a month to do the outside stuff I can’t, and today happened to be the day.  They came after the stump grinders were gone and marveled at the changes in the place and loved it when I asked for opinions and advice on what I should do next here and here and here.

I told them about the tanangelo (the computer still doesn’t like that spelling but it’s correct) tree and where I was going to want it to go in–they thought it a good spot–and would it be okay to ask for help digging the hole?


I had no idea…. I glanced out the window and thought oh, they don’t have to prepare the hole that much, the tree’s not here yet, although maybe adding water makes it easier to dig? Not aiming it very well, you don’t want it spraying the fence like that. ! Wait, where’s the hose?! How are they doing that?

Just then one of them started coming my way.

A whole lot of years ago Richard, with help from the kids, dug up and put in a watering line with a master control switch in the garage. Which got damaged and was never replaced and a gopher had bitten through the line over on the left anyway and the whole thing had essentially been forgotten about.

That water line on the right side was still live–who knew? There’d been no sign of it. So we had a few minutes there where we were trying to cut it off as it sprayed out of the hole and against the fence. The line to the house? Didn’t do it, it just meant I had no water inside. Huh.

In the no-coincidences department, my husband wasn’t feeling great yesterday and told his boss he would probably work from home today. And did.

He knew there were two water lines whereas I had no idea. He knew where the plumbing supplies were in the garage to cap that thing off, too, and soon all was well.

Wasting water is a $500 fine in California these days and that fence got doused nicely while that thing was going wild, which thanks to his being there, wasn’t more than ten minutes.  On the other hand, one of the tests for whether you’ve picked a good site to plant a fruit tree is to fill the hole with water and see how long it takes it to drain out–if the water just sits there, forget it.

We seem to have just the right spot. Um, except for that pipe crossing the edge. Clearly, it won’t be hard to get water to that one. I think I’ll just spade out a bit at that far edge there….

Sunnier days
Monday August 11th 2014, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden

My next-door neighbor was walking past my house as I was coming out and we both stopped and chatted a moment.

They always plant quite the garden, but it had not been very productive this year; maybe, he said, it was that they watered it less in the drought. He marveled though at how much brighter and sunnier it is there now that my tree folk have done their work.

“Maybe it was my trees that were the problem,” said I, with a new reason to be glad the problem ones are gone now.

“But they were there before.” He was ever the diplomat.

“But they were taller this year than ever before.”

He conceded the possibility.

Then I told him the story of the Page oranges and that a three-year-old Page tree was on its way here and it was fun to watch his face break out in a huge grin like that. I knew they’d planted their own orange and nurtured it and watched it come to fruiting and he knew how much I was going to enjoy that process.

I forgot to tell him, though, that this was going to be one tree that wouldn’t shade his garden like the ones that are gone: there will be no twenty towering feet high and twenty across but rather half that at most. But then, he probably already figured that part out. And that our trees will help each other be more productive, self-fertile or no.

And here I am writing about Pages again because I can’t do anything else to make that new tanangelo come any faster–hurry, tree! I’m waiting!

Sunday August 10th 2014, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Friends

We have a houseguest for the next few days, an old friend who moved away near the beginning of the year who’s back in town on business. She’ll be working long hours while she’s here and we won’t see a lot of her, but we’ll get some time, at least.

Right now she’s off catching up with someone else for a little bit so I have a moment to just go do whatever.

I think I’ll go get a little knitting done.

Ummm, chocolate…
Saturday August 09th 2014, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Family,Food

We started off this morning with an excursion to the new venture Timothy Adams Chocolates, meeting up with Michelle there.

As soon as they’d opened she’d gone to see if it would be a place where she could eat anything, and the answer was an emphatic and happy yes.  And so as we walked in, the owner saw her coming and started a batch of dairy-free truffles on the spot.

A good man looking out for and including our daughter just because he could. No wonder she’d gone back.

They were exquisite. It is a rare thing to cater to a milk allergy and have the rest of us not miss the dairy at all. We bought a half dozen of varying types and they were served up with a small knife so we could taste test together. (Or just Richard and me, on a few of them.)

We’re always looking for ingredient substitutes that work. Hazelnut milk? I had never heard of such a thing. You could buy hot chocolate made of hazelnut milk? This could only be good.

Let me tell you, it was, although it was brilliance on the part of the shop to have a gorgeous water dispenser and pretty cups ready as needed to sip between sips–that hot chocolate was a near thing to melted ganache and I found I needed to alternate. It was very rich. And very much worth the trip.

I’m with Michelle: we will be back.

It’s the tropic of the day
Friday August 08th 2014, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Garden,Life

Chomp. “Looks like they got that one.”

Understatement alert, hon, but yeah.

And yet. I haven’t stopped planting more fruit.

When I was a teenager they were building a Mormon chapel closer to home and the locals were asked to pitch in and do fundraisers to help speed things along. (These days, it’s all handled from Salt Lake City to even out the resources between communities.)

Dad had heard of a friend of a friend who really knew his citrus and who was driving truckloads of a type of mandarin none of us had ever heard of from Florida to the DC area for fundraisers for various groups–they get their fundraiser, lots of people discover what was/still is said to be the best-tasting citrus there is, he gets paid for driving his truck, everybody wins. So Dad asked for the guy’s phone number.

And that is how he and Joe Ney became good friends with a shared enthusiasm and purpose. After that building in Potomac, Maryland was finished, Dad continued to commission a truckload every Christmas.

Because everybody who’d bought a case of those juicy Page oranges (technically, tanangelos, a Minneola cross crossed with a mandarin) came back for more whenever they could; there was nothing like them and they were too small to go big commercially and I don’t think they kept particularly well so you couldn’t get them unless you had some kind of a connection to them down South. Dad wasn’t about to let go of enjoying and sharing the best of the best every December, so, if it was a truckload he had to order, a truckload it would be–sign the sheet and state your number and give everyone on your gift list a box and know that they’ll never forget it and they’ll forever be grateful.

Then a major freeze hit Florida. For all the misting and wind-machining and whatever all else they could do, most of the Pages didn’t survive, and since it was such a niche market to begin with and young trees were the most susceptible to the next frost, most growers simply didn’t replant them.

Then Joe Ney dropped dead of a heart attack. (And I hope his family somehow sees this post and knows what a great gift he shared with so very many people and how grateful we all are.)

And I have not had one of these beautiful, deeply colored, juicy, paper-thin, easily peelable almost always seedless little balls of exquisiteness since. The Cuties they sell every Christmas? That’s like an old Hersheys vs. Scharffenberger, or even more now that those two have the same owner, vs. the fantastic upstart Tcho’s.

I wrote here Tuesday about whether anyone had any fruit varieties to recommend for my newly-cleared fenceline. I got a private note asking me if tangerines could grow where I am?

Ding ding ding. That was it!! THAT was what some corner of my brain had been struggling to dredge out of the depths! Richard! We could grow our own PAGES!!!

Oh I cannot tell you how excited I was.

Which quickly got tempered by not being able to find a single source outside of Florida that night, much less one anywhere that would ship to me. There’s a quarantine on citrus trees around southern California, no help there either.

I tried again the next day. Help me out here, Google.

Google came through. Google is my friend.

And so it was that there is a grower in northern California who sells three-year-old Page tanangelo trees for $40 and says that they’re large enough that they should be producing the next year after planting. Wow!

Monday Chris’s stump grinder guy comes to give me a bid on how many stumps I want taken out and where. Monday Four Winds Growers mails out my tree by third-day UPS. Not wasting a moment here, and I had to call my mom, and when Dad wasn’t home I had to call back later to talk to him directly: after all those years after those last boxes, we are going to have Page oranges again!

The one glitch? That no-freezing thing. But if the next-door neighbors can tent their young and vulnerable orange tree with a giant lightbulb inside last January, and they did, and they celebrated their 50th anniversary something like ten years ago, seems to me I should be able to manage doing that just fine myself. Or ourselves. (And let’s see, if I get a Gold Nugget variety too we can have mandarins in winter and spring and early summer…)

Just one tree for now. Pages are also rare in that they’re a citrus that is nearly thornless–and I have grandchildren to keep from getting scratched up. I’ll keep it short enough to stay inside one of my new walk-in-size fruit cages; that should thwart the raccoons at least for a little while. (My brain is suddenly singing Little Boxes.)

Some part of me knew when I wrote that throwaway line ending that blog post that I really really did want…something….

Imagine looking forward to your first bite of chocolate in 37 years. It’s like that.

Well noted
Thursday August 07th 2014, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

I haven’t really talked about the wedding yet, have I.

I brought my gift of a soft, undyed, near-white silk lace shawl to the dinner the night before the wedding and was glad to see quite a few other people bringing gifts then, too.

Holly, the bride, was so thrilled with it that at the wedding reception the next day she sat down right there and wrote out a heartfelt thank you and commissioned someone to find me and get it to me, since of course everybody constantly wanted her attention and her new husband’s and she was trying to do right by everyone at once. But such a personal gift–she wanted as personal a thank you as she could make it, and right away.

She’s a good one. Our nephew is one very lucky man. She said to me later in the evening as we reconnected in the crowd, “I don’t know you yet but I love you, and thank you.”

Which is exactly how I felt.

And now they’re in
Wednesday August 06th 2014, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Life,Lupus,Wildlife

We’d bought and potted those two trees in anticipation and hope of this day happening.

They planted my cherry tree today–and since it had recently been repotted by our friends, it had only barely started to grow through to the ground. Theoretically, as an ultradwarf, it shouldn’t get too much taller than this but rather more outward.

Well we’ll see. That’s good soil in that bed. I remember my dad trying to replace a broken six foot Blue Peter rhododendron a painter had fallen onto and having been told, Blue Peters don’t grow six feet!

Mine do, he told them.

I hope to take as good care of my fruit trees as Dad did his rhodos.  Although, having a backhoe in and adding six feet downward of great soil before planting–okay, Dad, you win. (That was when their house in Bethesda, MD was being built when I was three; he asked the builder to dig a little extra along the front for his future flowers.)

The surprise was the Comice: it was a mere bare root on February 14th and already it had a good taproot squeezing through one drainage hole and smaller ones through all the others. (I drilled about 20–the Costco pots had come with none.) They had a good firm grip on the ground below.

The men checked that thing out and knocked on the door for me: would it be okay with me if they cut the pot away? There seemed to be no other choice.

I want a tree, not a pot, yes please.

They made sure that where they’d prepared was where I wanted it. I thought, eh, I might have nudged it six inches thataway but that’s just way too picky–the hole was ready and it was good so it was just right. “Perfect.”

That was when one of them asked me about that sunjacket I always pulled on every time I stepped outside.

“I have lupus,” I said, sure that that would mean nothing to him–most people have no real idea.

“One of my co-workers, his wife has lupus. Sometimes she’s in a wheelchair.”

Ohmygoodness, so he did know–I winced in sympathy. I told him sometimes I’d been in one, too.

I came away hoping that it would give comfort to whoever she was out there to know one could go through whatever she was going through and still get to be older with this disease, and I wished I could introduce her to 92-year-old Rita.

They set part of the taproot in the carved-up pot for me to see. That tree had wanted to grow freely. And now it can. Pears have no rootstock options that dwarf them as much as you could an apple or a stone fruit, so we put it in the one corner where it would not shade the solar and it would not be too close to the house. It can take over there freely in the space we opened up for it. (Dying cypress, gone at last.)

And now that blank expanse of fence on the other side has some green to it, too. I love the long lush leaves of cherries. I pulled up a chair and my knitting and stared at the loveliness and the relief of having a tree in there already. It’s a great start.

Chris came to inspect the job in progress and as we spoke in the yard, movement high above caught my eye and I pointed it out to him: there he was, Coopernicus, right on cue (always the showoff.) I told Chris we’d gotten to see him courting with his mate perched on the silk oak next door through our skylights this past spring. He thought that was so cool.

Some hunting places gone, the new begun already.

Tuesday August 05th 2014, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

Green. Real green.

Speaking of which, kudzu is a beautiful plant. We drove past stands of it again and again last week, including a row of what had to have previously been trees with half of one crepe myrtle still visible but disappearing fast, desperately reaching branches towards the highway in a plea of Save me! as the kudzu slowly took it down, took it all down–it was impressive. The stuff simply smothers anything in the South no matter how tall and no matter how wide. Kudzilla.

We saw one area along the road that looked very familiar in a Western way: lots of narrow dark grayed stumps going straight up throughout a swath of land and everything around it still perfectly green. You see that blackened cajun seasoning searing this patch, leaving that patch raw all over the dryer parts of the West in the summers as of late–but why…?

It took me awhile to figure out that someone had done a controlled burn to take out the kudzu in the only way to really get rid of it, I guess.

Speaking of invasive species…

I told the tree guy giving me an estimate two weeks ago that the berries of heavenly bamboo kill the native birds here. He was immediately stunned at the enormity of what that meant, turning to me, his eyes big: “But it’s everywhere!”


And that is why, as of today, our fifty or sixty year old stand of the stuff is gone; if I want a six foot tall decorative line of plants, there is no good reason not to have them be blueberries instead.

The weed trees that were starting to threaten the fence are gone, too. The sawing went on all day. It was either pay for that, or pay for that anyway and for replacing the fence next year, so, out it went. The bird center people had asked me to wait till August and we did but it could not wait another growing season.

The workers left me, at my request, the already-dead many-holed stump near the corner: it is Nuttall’s woodpecker habitat. (Besides, better they hammer there than the house.)

It is so very strange and a bit of a wrench to look out the window and see naked fence. It’s also pretty cool. Like having a brand new house: we get to choose what we want and start over!

I stuck a spade in one spot and asked Richard if he thought the potted cherry should go in there.  The workers already dug a large hole for the pear on the other side of the house. We will add an English Morello near the first cherry, the tart but not too sour type that I think is what Costco has been selling that we like so much. Five hundred chill hours–we can definitely plant that.

So much to look forward to. Even if it’s hard to have those trees gone.

I watched a gray squirrel run down the fenceline next door towards our side, and about five feet short he slowed and stopped. Stared. Wait. There WERE trees here, I KNOW there were! It tried, but it could not conjure them back into existence and it slowly turned and walked–there is no other word for it–away.

A black squirrel later was so rattled by the changes that he took a flying leap for one of the remaining trees and actually missed. A wild scramble and he caught the other part of the doubled trunk behind it just before he would have hit the ground.

It kind of feels like that, doesn’t it, little guy?

Now to pick out varieties that won’t grow too tall, that won’t take too much work, that won’t shade the solar, whose fruit will, best of all, be sweet in the hand.

Any favorite varieties of anything you want to recommend, I’d love it if you let me know.