Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Week Away

I spent the last week in Montana for a vacation and a family reunion. It was a relaxing week filled with canoes, deer, wine, spiders, air conditioning, and lots and lots of sweets. The highlights:

  • We didn't break down this year.
  • I discovered why you should always balance a picnic table by sitting across from each other.
  • An eagle dropped a half eaten fish 10 feet from my head.
  • I found a turtle in a parking lot in Whitefish.
  • Canoeing on Flathead Lake.
  • Visiting with good friends in Missoula.
  • Meeting new family members at the reunion.
  • Pinochle!
  • Canoeing on Canyon Ferry Lake.
  • Surviving a week in the sunshine and not getting a sunburn.... until the last day (see canoeing on Canyon Ferry Lake).
  • Driving over Lolo Pass and seeing places that I've written about for work.
  • Actually enjoying time spent in Pullman.*

I had a great time, but after visiting Dad's garden on the drive back, all I could do was think about my garden.  It was over 100F where we were driving through and even though I knew that my friend was diligently watering my tender plants, I was worried. It was hot, so was I going to miss out on the last of my peas? Would the slugs have demolished all my kale? Would the neighbor kids have picked all of the daisies that were starting to bloom when I left? Had the lettuce bolted? Would my first tomato ripen and be eaten by squirrels before I could take a picture to brag to Dad?

All of that worry was for naught.  The peas are still going strong and I will have a bucketful to pick.  My kale is still growing, and while the slugs are thriving, there are still some leaves for me.  I don't think a single daisy has been picked, only about a quarter of one plot of lettuce is bolting, and my tomatoes are just changing.

There was one hazard I hadn't considered, though, that did indeed hit the yard.  The Maintenance Man (dun dun DUN!). I immediately noticed the new sign posted in our yard advertising lawn service when we pulled in, but didn't think much of it.  After we unloaded the car and I went walkabout, I got mad. Then I went past mad to pissed.  We had an informal agreement with the old maintenance guy that we would take care of the planting strip where we did our gardening and he would leave it alone.  I still got a bee in my bonnet when he would mow over something on accident, but for the most part we got on peacefully.  But this sign was advertising a new company.  A "real" company, not just a guy who came to mow the lawn on Saturday mornings and did the occasional pruning.  This company took it upon themselves to spray some sort of killer on the "weeds" in some of the beds.

  (peppers are in the pot against the wall, strawberries in the two in front. The big pot in back is a blueberry)

 Now, let me take a break to tell you that I have an ongoing battle with weeds in two of my beds.  In most of them there is just a few dandelions and grass that try to come up, and I pull them on my daily walkabouts.  But there are two beds that the weeds want desperately.  I pull them when I can, but the "grass" grows tall and the weeds grow big and I can't keep up.  I have now just moved my pots over that area in an attempt to smother them and block out sunlight.  The hose resides over the other half, and along the fence I pull the weeds weekly to allow space for the black-eyed-susan vines I planted.

The new maintenance guy weed-wacked that whole area, then sprayed it with some sort of herbicide.  The entire area by the gate smells like vinegar.  My blackeyed susans are gone. The poppies I planted over the tulips are gone.  This is when I got mad. I had a helluva time getting those susans to sprout and was really looking forward to the blossoms this summer.  Now I'm not going to get anything out of all that work.

Then I continued walkabout outside the fence.  And I got pissed.  The company left my nasturtiums.  They left the zucchini plants.  But then in one "open" area, which had seeds waiting to sprout, they sprayed that damn weed killer.  You know what else they got? Half of my pole beans. HALF. I don't know how you could mistake them for weeds, they are obviously planted in a straight line.  And they look exactly like the other beans that DIDN'T get sprayed.  So what's the story? I feel like a cartoon character with steam coming out of my ears.

So I wrote a letter.  Reading it now, I did a good job of bottling up my anger, because my letter was to the property management company asking about the maintenance company.  They don't deserve my anger (this time).  Now I just have to wait to see what they say about the toxicity of what they sprayed.  Hopefully it was an organic whatever and that area can someday be planted again with something edible.  This year is probably a loss.

I'm tired of having to deal with all this house crap caused by other people.  Time to start searching the housing market.

*I know that last one is hard to believe, but it's true.  I stayed one night with a friend and didn't punch any Cougars.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hotter than....

It's never hot enough for this to be OK in public.

The back view was worse.