Warming up.

It’s only 70 today. We’ve already had our first 90 degree day. The lakes are full for the first time since 2007 such that they’re talking about opening the floodgates.

The grackles, mostly, benefit from my feeder. Pecking order became quickly apparent. They’re quite colorful, in their dark way.

The jays, doves, and cardinals come next, in that order. Finally the finches and sparrows on clean-up duty if there’s any left to clean.

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I’m warming up as well. Stretching my limbs and strengthening the sedentary after weeks of stillness. My eyes, even, need to stretch having been restricted in their view to the near and dear.

So the beds have some fish fertilizer

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The tomatoes were well cared for in my absence.

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And the unwanted crepe myrtle is making a stand.

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We’d been wondering if our backyard’s central tree (the type of which we’re not fans) had died. Last year it was budding on the heels of the hackberries behind it.

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Alas, or at last, life unfurls.

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Are there China berry trees that don’t look like China berry trees? If so, this is one.

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Wakeful trees

The rain came in the night. The windows sounding protest against drops as hard as hail. The lightning more witness to the scene. Drink, earth, drink, the thoughts beneath my inner voice coaxed. The thunder resounded, responded. Sleep, child, sleep.

The pecan sleeps.
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The Arizona Ash stirs.
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Seasonal is as seasonal does.

It’s still odd to me. It’s citrus season here. It’s chilly out. No real winter yet, even by our standards of “winter” and yet this is normal citrus season. I’m worried about the bugs this coming year if we don’t get a good freeze soon…

But the potted citrus are enjoying much more time outside than in usual years when they decorate our kitchen.
Kumquats seeing their best year yet.
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Marmalade anyone?
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Bill, the Persian Lime, is still ripening fruit from the past season, but he likes to multi-task.
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Oscar the Meyer Lemon is trying to both grow leaves (of which he has terribly few) and set buds for blossoms. I’ll be knocking those off as they appear. If he can’t manage to keep leaves through a season I don’t want him worrying about setting fruit just yet.

There are two mandarin oranges left on the tree that we’ll snack on now that buds are beginning there as well.

Finally, not a citrus, but Elian the Avocado, is pushing new leaves through like its going out of style. DH is talking again about planting him in the ground near a pond nearby…but I’m still hesitant. Elian is a volunteer from years ago who has grown quite tall under our care, but as a volunteer I have no information regarding his variety. Avocados of any variety don’t seem too tolerant below 25 degrees, and we do drop below 25 degrees some years. I’d hate to lose him in an freeze, but I also know that in a pot he’ll always struggle to find happiness.

Shadows cast.

The roses have buds. Branches glow, casting brisk lines. Cranes blot the sky as the earth sheds the day. The seasons have changed and the world feels crisp, crunchy.

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The sog battles the snap underfoot. Giving with one step, resisting the next, I feel the transition dance through my soul.

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My timing is off. The beat, I’ve lost. I am not the only one out of sequence.

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It’s time I pause to join once again in the rhythm of things.

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…ate it anyway. Ate it anyway…

I fill the feeder and they come. They drain and abandon. I fill the feeder and they come. They drain and abandon. The finches and swallows, scissortails and sparrows, they give way. The doves and grackels have claimed their turf. I stop filling the feeder.

The tomatoes are in the shade. Did the china berry grow since last summer? I doubt by that much. My garden layout made it to Plan G before being constructed, and ended at Plan P by the time I finished building. I may’ve encroached on the shade a bit much. Everyone on the west side is a tinge yellow.

I grew peas this year. I wanted my daughter to have fresh garden peas. Yesterday, she ate fresh garden peas, straight from the pod held in my hands. A moment in time where the time spent away with the soil allowed the soil to grow the food to feed the time spent together. I didn’t even think they tasted that great having already baked through many a day near 90 degrees. She devoured them one by one. As did a caterpillar who had burrowed its way down into a pod and was happily munching through each pea toward the bottom. I let it be.

A tomato appeared at a sprint. Only flowers swearingly yesterday and today a large gum ball grown at an odd angle. As though one side pinched shut while the other ballooned. I lost the labeling system after the final transplant thanks to all of the rain we’ve been having (I never did make it back out with a pencil to rewrite the pen notations.)

Trees are trying for it seemingly everywhere. In the self-re-seeded celusia. In the lavender. In the lime. As much as I like trees and as much as some places need so many more of them, I have quite enough right here. I cannot help but pot up some of the more impetuous specimens. Would you like a baby bur oak? Or perhaps a pecan? I have extra.

The sweet potatoes are impatient months into their stint in the burlap sack. They were promised parole in April. “It’s May, you know,” they say. I dug a bed for them. Grass begone! Organic matter mixed in to lighten the clay. Oh, there’s a rock. Let’s pry that out of there…oh! there’s another rock. And another. Pry pry pry. And…that’s a pipe. Here’s a car, and a hardware store, and some couplings, and here’s a hole in the ground. ┬áIt’s almost dark. I eyeball. I dry fit. It’s beautiful. I prime. It dries. I cement and connect and cement and connect. Cement and connect and cement and – snap! That’s another pipe. That was Sunday three weeks ago. Last Sunday I attempted the second fix. Cut too long…adjusted too short. Tried anyway. It leaks. There’s still a hole in the ground.

Plum blossoms

A few years back now, I gave DH a four-way grafted plum tree as a celebratory gift. June, is her name. Two years ago, she gave us a single branch of the most delectably delicious fruit we’d ever dreamed of. Previously, I was not a fan of plums. As with most things, if we grow it ourselves, we gain a new appreciation for all that it is.

Last year, for reasons undecided, we were not gifted with any fruit. She didn’t bloom much, but the blossoms she did offer were enjoyed by the bees. There wasn’t a late freeze…or was there? I can’t recall. Needless to say, we had no plums.

The branch that gave us the fruit two years ago bloomed one little blossom on Monday. Tuesday, there were a few more…
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And this afternoon, well, let’s just say June has been busier than the bees have so far this year.
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But wait. What’s this? A second variety is joining the flower fest for the first time.DSC_0057

And the other two branches have buds waiting their own floral debut.

This winter was not any colder than past winters, or wetter, but it definitely had more cold days (or chill hours, as they call them in Tree Speak.) I can’t help but think that the other varieties require slightly more chill hours than the first, thus the petals pushing their way forth. I can barely let myself hope (and yet can hardly wait) for those same fruits again this year. And perhaps for three more varieties to try (and fall in love with) to boot!

It’s time to start hardening off the tomatoes, and nearly time to plant them out. I haven’t made their bed yet though…want to see how one hauls a half yard of compost when you sold the pick-up to purchase a family car? But of course you do!
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It doesn’t cost anymore than buying it in one bulldozer drop into the back of the truck. It does, however, require a good bit of shoveling, lifting, and heaving. I was just talking about how I didn’t have time to both garden and go to the gym…