Before and after

Our deck had become treacherously slippery, and so this past weekend, I borrowed a power washer from my dad. My husband got started, and I stared out the back door, mesmerized by what I was seeing: years’ worth of dirt and algae and grime stripping away like green paint, revealing the beautiful wood grain of the deck underneath.

Before  …………………………………………… and after

I was amazed at how dirty the deck had become without our even noticing it (and even after we saw the algae begin to appear, it took a long time for us to act on it). What I had thought of as merely grayed and weathered turned out to be filthy and gross.

Pretty soon, I went outside and asked for a turn at cleaning. For a brief moment, I was afraid it would be like Tom Sawyer and the white-washed fence, that I would soon regret asking for a turn at the work that looked like fun. But it was a cool, overcast day, and the work was so satisfying in an immediate way that I power washed the deck longer than I expected. My husband and I agreed that the work offered a zen-like quality that many chores do not. Continue reading

The blob in my vase

I just had to share this cool moment with you. A short time ago, I walked by a vase that was holding two gladiolas (gladioli?) from my garden. These were flowers I had cut and brought into the house at least four days ago.

In case you don’t know what gladiolas are, here are some sample pictures. I’m not in any way endorsing this nursery. I just like their pictures of glads.

They look like a sword filled with flowers one above another. One problem is that they keep tipping over because they’re so heavy. When the stems snap completely in two, I bring them inside and put them in a vase.

But here’s the issue I’m having. Ants love glads. They invade the flowers by the hundreds, or so it seems when I bring a glad inside. As I walked by the vase holding the glads, I noticed a dark blob floating on top of the water in the vase. So I stopped to check it out.  Continue reading

Springing forward

The expression “Spring forward” has always bemused me. I’m not a person who leaps from bed each morning ready to greet the day with enthusiasm and energy. So I always find this first week after we change our clocks to be a troubling one. On the one hand, I’m thrilled that it stays light later. But I definitely don’t enjoy having lost the light in the morning or the feeling that it’s going to take me another month to catch up on that lost hour of sleep. “Spring forward” no doubt is supposed to connote cheerfulness and pep and maybe even dancing through meadows of wild flowers, none of which I want to do at what my body feels like is an hour earlier than my eyes should be open.

What does energize me about this week, though, are the flowers and trees that are blooming. Check out the view I get to see these days as I go about my day:

Continue reading

Beware the Tree of Death

My husband ran a trail marathon at our local state park this past weekend, and I went out to cheer him – and the other runners – on. The marathon organizers had put mile markers out, as well as other signs of encouragement or warning. The one I saw as I was walking back to the finish line said, “Welcome to Cemetery Hill.” You might think that’s a discouraging sign or a word of warning, but it’s the last big climb before the finish, and an old family cemetery sits at the top of the hill.

After the race, Chris and I were talking about the signs, and he mentioned one that has really stuck with me: “Beware the Tree of Death.” Now, before all you Harry Potter fans head out to the park and start searching for the real, live Whomping Willow tree, let me explain.  Continue reading