1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quiet, Blueberry Blessings for Early Morning Gardening

If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning,
It will be taken as a curse.
(Proverbs 27:14)

When SAM and I first purchased our property, our neighbors to the south had a rather ugly wire fence that separated their mostly empty lot from our narrow side yard. Back then, we owned a small environmental drilling company. The drilling equipment was mounted on the back of a large truck with a loud diesel engine. We also owned (still do!) another large, diesel-powered pickup truck that hauled a heavy-duty trailer loaded with supplies for drilling. In order to access the supplies which were stored in our backyard barn, SAM and our son, our only employee at that time, needed to drive carefully along the edge of our property so as to avoid running over the septic tank and drain field as well as the ugly fence. We asked the neighbors if they would be interested in selling their extra lot, but they declined. Over a period of a couple years--although it wasn't pleasant for SAM especially because he had to trim along our side of the fence--we learned to live within our narrow boundaries. The neighbors, for their part, learned to live with our early morning "blessings" of diesel engines running as SAM and son prepared to head out for work.

Blueberries on our bushes, the new fence line
Eventually, the fence came down. I'd like to think it happened because we developed a warm regard for our elderly neighbors as they did for us. The old man had made his fame and fortune as a heavy equipment operator when this area was first being developed, so I guess he understood the value of those noisy vehicles and early morning work mobilizations. He also loved to garden, though he had pared down considerably the size of it from his former glory days of gardening. His gardening triumphs and failures were shared along with the abundant produce he still harvested. We ate so many collard and turnip greens then that I swore I would never plant them in my own garden. Once the old man passed away, of course I got to missing those greens. I miss the stories too. Gardeners can usually think of some dandy ones.

Casualty of an obese and greedy mockingbird

For instance, I'm imagining one right now involving what I might do to "dispatch" a certain mockingbird that likes to rest itself on and peck at the top of fruit-laden branches. To Kill a Mockingbird? No, that title's been taken already. I'll have to think some more on that one.

Peanut, in a rare moment of garden guarding
Remember Mars, the garden guardian, who was supposed to keep an eye on things for us in the garden? Turns out, he only shows up when he's hungry for a hand-out. He must have discovered that Peanut is spayed and not interested in his affectionate attentions so he usually doesn't stick around for longer than it takes to eat a bowl of dry cat food. It's a shame because the birds are getting bolder and Peanut is getting older. She prefers to either lounge by the pool or stay inside the air-conditioned house on these hot summer days once early morning is past. Guess what? So do I.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Callaway Gardens: A Place to Dream of Transformation

Butterfly emerging from chrysalis at Callaway Gardens
The Butterfly's Assumption Gown
In Chrysoprase Apartments hung
This afternoon put on--

How condescending to descend
And be of Buttercups the friend
In a [Georgia] Town--

(Emily Dickinson, c. 1873)

Although the weather forecast this past Sunday and Monday was looking rather dreary for much of the southeastern United States, SAM and I decided to travel north to the Atlanta area anyway. We managed to dodge rain drops long enough to see much of the extensive Callaway Gardens located in Pine Mountain, Georgia. It was a much better day than I had expected. We spent Sunday night at a local inn and started our garden walkabout early Monday morning.

It was a good thing we started early because it took us a while to find specific places in the Gardens that we wanted to see, like this Butterfly Pavilion. I had left the reading glasses in the car, the writing on the map was tiny and difficult to see, and the signs along the winding roads were confusing at times. At least they were to us, which isn't at all surprising, considering that we are both "directionally challenged." Wouldn't it be nice to metamorphose into someone with a better skill set? Maybe an artist with the talent to transform a dead tree into something beautiful?

I wouldn't even mind making a fortune out of gardening like the people who came up with the Victory Garden idea. All I ever manage to do when it comes to gardening is spend a fortune--on plants, tools, books, and, of course, trips to famous gardens like Callaway. Well, we didn't exactly spend a fortune on this particular trip, but if I had my way, one of these days we would travel around the world and visit gardens in every corner of it.

For now, I'll have to dream about those other places while I putter around in my Florida garden. Do you wish you could visit other gardens around the world, and if so, which ones?

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry--
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll--
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.

(Emily Dickinson, c. 1873)