Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deadly Nightshade Discoveries...

It felt weird starting the work week on a Tuesday. It wasn't bad but it felt odd. It was nice to have those sudden, unexpected realizations that it was, in fact, Tuesday and that there were less days to go until the weekend than there usually are when you start work for the week.

It was a quiet day in the office. Days after holidays usually are; everyone's tired and crabby because they want to be back at home, sitting in the sun, working in the garden...whatever they did to enjoy their Monday. I was quiet too but mostly because I was tired from my early morning starts over the weekend. Ironically, the puppies did NOT want to get up this morning and would rather have continued sleeping. It's too bad they don't feel like that on days when we actually can sleep in.

I spent the day in the office working quietly on my project. I did sneak in a bit of research though. I've been trying to figure out what a shrub in my garden is. I've searched everywhere to find it and I can't find anything that meets the description. It's a very pretty little plant- dark green leaves, purple stems and clusters of little purple flowers with yellow tongues.

Well, after several attempts to search out the name of this pretty plant, today I found it. It turns out it's deadly nightshade- a very toxic plant. I've heard of it, naturally but I didn't know what it looked like. It's supposed to be fatal to animals if they eat the berries. Since I have two curious little pups who like to eat things from nature, I wasn't about to take any chances. I now no longer have deadly nightshade in my garden. It was pretty but it's not worth the risk.

I find myself becoming more of a 'mother' with my dogs every day. Pulling up the nightshade was the canine equivalent of putting stickers on the poisonous chemicals used in the home and putting a lock on the door so kids can't get them. I also find myself treating them like children- they know the tone of my voice when I'm not happy with them and a simple "What'cha doin' " brings them scurrying back from wherever they've disappeared to in order to make mischief.

So, even though it took a while, I'm glad I discovered the name of that plant. I think I got it all. We spent the evening pulling it up and getting bitten by mosquitoes. I also had to chop down part of a sapling tree. The old lady who owned my home had two enormous trees at one point but she had one cut down because she didn't like it and the other was damaged in the storm. The one that was damaged continues to grow branches from the stump. At first, I didn't mind it because it was a nice backdrop for my flowerbeds around it. I've quickly realized that it's not such a good thing. The limbs are very flimsy and elastic and all it takes is some heavy rain to flatten the big branches to the ground and promptly flattening all my flowers beneath it. I've chopped off a lot of the problem branches so hopefully that will help.

I'm finding gardening and yard maintenance to be an ongoing battle. I planted vegetables which are doing ok but the weeds around them are doing much better. The more I weed, the more weeds grow. I keep pulling them and still they grow. I would rather like to find out if there's anything I can do to stop the weeds growing. I have weed killer but I'm a bit tentative about that because of the puppies. I've tried mulch. I'm reluctant to lay down landscaping fabric because I think it makes the ground beneath it too claylike and hard to work. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm open.

Still, the one nice thing about weeding is that it gets me out in the garden after work. It lets me get down on my knees in the dirt and be at one with nature. Also, it lets me be at one with the puppies because they really like to launch themselves at my face because it's closer to their level than usual. It's nice to spend time outside with them so I won't complain too much.

Of course, I will complain that I have to mow the grass again tomorrow if it doesn't rain. The Dog Whisperer has just mowed his and it makes mine look twice as long as it really is. This time he's abandoned his diagonal mowing technique and gone back to the normal straight rows. Of course he did mow shirtless but I didn't look. It's best that way.

Happy Wednesday!

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