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.


  1. great story and recollections! i'm with you on staying inside in this miserable heat!

  2. My motto is live and let live.

    I probably would have done a bit of cursing about heavy machinery at the crack of dawn, but we do get used to anything, don’t we.

    You may have to get used to the mockingbird.

  3. Once, when I worked in an office, our receptionist had read "To Kill A Mockingbird," and worshipped it. she just wouldn't believe that those birds are the absolute menace they are. The three gardeners that worked there were more than happy to disillusion her, but it was seeing on of the fiends dive bomb a cat that finally did it...

  4. Friendly and cooperative neighbors are a blessing indeed...:)

  5. I kept thinking of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" while reading the first part about your neighbor:) Glad the fence came down and you and your neighbor got to know each other so well. Too bad about the mockingbird, though; it seems as though there's always a challenge in the garden.

    I'm with you on staying inside during the heat--I've chosen to look the other way from my weeds:)

  6. I love this story.
    I planted two different blue berries together last year because they say that will help get more berries. The result has disappointed me so far. Maybe next year!
    Seems like Mar fails innocently to do what he gets paid for.
    Hope mockingbirds are not more greedy than they should.

  7. Thanks, Julie. I do try to get outside early in the morning for the most part. The mosquitoes are out for blood in the cool of the evening more so than in the morning. Darn things!

    Friko, I try to follow that line of thought, but when the fruits of my labor are in peril, it's not easy to look the other way. Still, the mockingbirds are helping out with eating bugs too so I'll try to grin and bear it.

    Claude, some people will believe anything they've read or are told. Years ago, it could be attributed to reading National Enquirer while waiting at the grocery store checkout. Now it's the confusion of fantasy and reality caused by existing in a virtual world. Gardening certainly helps break the spell.

    TB, any neighbor who loves to garden is a friend of mine.

    Rose, I'm glad the fence wasn't made of stone. It certainly wouldn't have come down then. I would have insisted that it stay in place. As for the mockingbird, I'm willing to share a few berries, but it had better look over its shoulder if it breaks any more branches! The weeds are beginning to get the upper hand here too. I may have to start referring to them as Plants Out of Place as well as looking the other way.

    Cosmos, don't give up! It takes the bushes a few years to get established before they start bearing fruit in earnest. I guess my expectations for Mars were set a little too high. He's a young cat and hasn't learned any social graces. But I won't turn him away if he shows up again for a meal. He has the most endearing meow.

  8. Your story brings back memories of my parents moving into their home about 30 years ago. The first thing the neighbors did was plant a row of evergreen trees between them. By their retirement years, they have become great friends and the trees came down. Funny how they were judged so quickly and now great friends the keep any eye on each other...

    We live so close to Calloway Gardens yet our visit to this place seems to always get put further and further down our "To Do" list. We must get there before we have regrets...

  9. So glad to hear that things worked out well with the neighbors. Nice to hear a celebration of goodness.

  10. What a funny proverb and very applicable to real life! Frost had a line about good fences make good neighbors. I'm looking forward to the start of blueberry season in Maine.

  11. Skeeter, it seems as though we all are apt to put up barriers between us first rather than take the time and effort to really know what the other person is like. I used to think it was something mostly done by the older generation, but now I see the younger generation keeping their distance from everyone by their gadgets (texting on cell phones, ear buds for music, etc.).

    Mr. S, we're not extremely close to the neighbors (not buddies with them), but we're comfortable with each other's presence and try to help when we see the need.

    Sarah, I thought it was funny too. Whoever wrote it must have had a neighbor situation of his own to deal with. It's a part of the human equation, I suppose. We're always trying to find a way to balance it.