Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today we're gonna sit on the roof of the porch just in front of those two windows.

MARK’S ARTICLE – August 25 , 2010
“Frontyard view”

ROOFTOP – No, we’re not climbing to the peak of the roof this morning. It’s too steep and too wet. I might make it, but I’d probably lose a few of you.

So, plop your buns down here on this flatter part of the roof here above the porch. We may be putting a bit of a strain on the porch supports, but, even if they give way, I doubt the fall would kill us.

We might make the six o’clock news, though. -- “Several Montgomery County residents were given a scare as the result of a collapsing roof above the porch of one Mark Hayter. No one was seriously injured in the fall, but the melee following the mishap was not pretty.” Yeah, I can’t help thinking some of you would blame me.

But, forget that. Some of you no doubt notice that we have different view this morning.. For you first time roofsitters let me say that we generally face the backyard, but from our perch above the porch we’re looking out on the front. Isn’t that something? You can see the garden without craning your neck.

Yep, it’s still there. Remember? Kay wanted a garden, so I dug and planted one for her. My efforts paid off bigtime. I managed to cultivate two tomatoes and a bell pepper. Digging, planting, watering, fertilizing and weeding. Two tomatoes and a miniature thin-skinned bell pepper.

A couple of weeks ago, Kay told me that it was time to plant a fall garden. I instantly called Freeman and passed along the news. He thanked me. I would’ve called our dear friend Catherine to remind her, but I just didn’t like the way I sounded when I practiced the call. I didn’t sound at all like I was doing her a favor by reminding her. With Freeman, I don’t care. Freeman knows I’m up to something the minute I call.

Eventually, Kay reminded me again about the fall garden. It was then that I realized she was telling ME to plant a fall garden. I’m not making this up. I confess that my voice was marginally raised when I said, “Darling, don’t push it.”

She then told me that she didn’t mean for me to plant the garden. She would get the plants and take care of everything. That’s what she said. Of course, I had to wonder why she had to inform me twice that SHE needed to do that.

Well, take a look down there. The original bell pepper plants snapped out of it and started producing. Kay pulled up the old tomato plants and stuck in some new ones. She built up the soil a little better than I did. Shaded the plants from the afternoon sun with dishtowels that she draped over the stakes. I think she’s showing me the proper way to handle a garden.

The way I see it, it’s a win/win for me. If her garden does lousy, there will be no use in either of us putting in another garden next year… or ever. If the garden does well, then we’ll get some good ‘maters, and she’ll have to do all future gardens, ‘cause it’s obvious I don’t know how to do it right.

We don’t have any tomatoes down there at the moment, but we’re rich with birds. Look at ‘em going after the birdfeeder. Birds are the least generous of animals… possible exception of a shark. Birds do not like to share or wait. You’re not hearing any “please” or “thank you” down there. Those are mean chirps meant to scare off whatever specie is currently sitting on the feeder stoop. The stoop won’t support the weight of a squirrel or even a blue jay. A cardinal is about the biggest bird it will let feed. There are a lot of those down there.

Yep, a lot of birds, but do you know what there is not a lot of… anywhere? Anywhere I’ve been. Butterflies. Over the past several years they’ve become more of a rarity. I hate that. A wonderment they are… butterflies. Some of ‘em migrate over 3000 miles. Did you know that? I’ve read it, but I don’t believe it.

I saw a butterfly flutter across the parking lot at church last Sunday. That thing flew three feet in a stagger, then all of a sudden it went up about two feet and then two to the left. Three thousand miles like that? Fragile wings that look like they could break in the wind. Life expectancy of a just opened kid’s racecar set. Oh, yeah, they can make 3000 miles. Easy.

If I had waited for the Sunday butterfly to cross the entire parking lot, I would’ve missed church. – “Kay, where is your husband?” – “He’s standing in the parking lot timing a butterfly.” I doubt there would be a follow-up question. Kay would just get a big ol’ hug.

After all that, maybe I don’t see butterflies now ‘cause they’ve all migrated somewhere. In Canada, maybe. In October they’ll head on down to Mexico. Probably skip my house. They always have in the past. I’d put up little butterfly feeders if I thought they would come… and if I knew what they ate. Probably pie crust.

The birds down there seem to eat nothing but sunflower seeds. If I put the Wild Bird birdseed out, they just pick around the parakeet-looking food and grab the sunflower seeds. Kind of like me with a can of mixed nuts. I save the filberts and Brazil nuts for Kay. Hit the cashews pretty hard.

So much to talk about up here. I was hoping I’d have time to mention my new sprinkler. It’s out back. Last year’s sprinkler walked off. Maybe I ran over it with the lawnmower. All I know is I can’t find it, so I bought this round looking job that will water in a circle, a square or triangle. No idea how that works. Made in China. You could’ve knocked me over with a Volvo.

I’ll show you the sprinkler during the next roofsit. Right now, let’s watch our step on the way down. If any of you want a closer look at the garden, feel free. It’s a masterpiece. I’m still banking on Freeman’s garden, though. I might give him a call when I get at ground level. If he didn’t plant more squash I’ll have to get after him. He doesn’t scare me. We’ve got an understanding.


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