Apparently I have an aversion to following my own advice. I decided to peruse some of my mid-May columns from years past. I was hoping to plagiarize myself. Last year I lamented how things have changed in the world. Honestly, how old am I? I commented on geraniums, impatiens and tomato plants for sale and how I believed the purchasers would be sorry. They never are and I never put those annuals into open ground until almost Memorial Day. Anyway, I thought last year I would get moving in a more timely fashion but of course, I have not. The nights have been quite chilly and I still feel hesitant about taking baby plants from a cozy greenhouse or cold frame.
I have often mentioned that weather does not respond to criticism. That did not stop me this past week. I began complaining about the lack of rainfall and kept up the lament for nearly a week. It just doesn’t seem right to spend most of my gardening time hauling around hoses. Several are in disrepair and in need of new rubber washers. They wear out after a few years, unlike my reliable Goodyear all-rubber-American-made rubber hoses. Some get left out all winter and get run over by the truck and still are supple and useful. They do not, however, survive an attack by the lawn mower.
Just so you know, a hose left in a barrel or bucket and turned off at the house can siphon back into the well thus polluting it.
I always use the inexpensive Nelson yellow sheet-offs from Shirley’s Hardware to close the ends and between all connections. They eliminate the annoying task of kinking a running hose to attach sprinklers or other lengths. They can also be used as a sprinkler themselves if turned halfway. It sure beats the thumb-in-the-end method.
Since we are talking hoses, do plumbers ever use them? The outdoor spigots are usually in the worst spots — behind a thorny bush, and so near the ground that it is extremely difficult to maneuver. Plus, and probably the most annoying feature, is the short silcock.
Fighting the hose usually results in bruised and/or bleeding knuckles. I guess men have strong fingers and do not need to put the whole hand to the task. Or the manufacturer is simply too cheap to add another half-inch of metal.
Listen to me. I have quality problems. I do not have to walk a mile with a container of water on my head. We take the precious liquid for granted in our country. There is something wonderful to observe every minute in May if one is paying attention. Yesterday I saw a hummingbird flitting in and out of the quince branches. I don’t believe I’ve ever noticed one this early in spring. My redbud is blooming. It was new last year — a Mother’s Day gift from son Jeremiah. It has only a dozen or so blooms but I can see its ultimate potential. There are some striking plant combinations. Last fall I threw a number of coral bells (both the peach-colored and the lime greens) into a bed of vinca with no aforethought. This year, with the lovely blue flowers and the newly emerging heuchera foliage, it is downright striking. I have been tediously separating and transplanting baby beets. I can’t bear to thin them and have their little lives go in vain. It is not an unenjoyable task. I use two stools and move them along the row as I go so I don’t even have to get up. Rather than any guilt for my apparent laziness, I’m downright proud of my resourcefulness.
I hope you enjoyed your break from my political commentaries because that break is over. Between the Boston Marathon bombings, chemical weapons in Syria and garment factory collapses in Bangladesh, the news has been much too sad for comment.
What got me started again was watching a few sound bites from the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston. We really do have two distinct cultures living within our borders. To hear references to the “War of Northern Aggression” made me say “Oh, right! We Yankees have no idea concerning our political and ideological rivals.”
Take Sarah Palin (please). Former Reagan White House economic advisor Bruce Bartlett said of her demise as a Fox News consultant, “She was terrible at her job, and criticized internally for being uncooperative with programming suggestions and personally disloyal to Roger Ailes. She was interested only in promoting herself and in an ideology that may not win.”
Bartlett singles out Palin’s lack of substance for his harshest criticism. “Totally and professionally, she is the Lindsay Lohan of cable news.”
Here’s where I take issue with Mr. Bartlett. I think that last comment was insulting to Lindsay Lohan. She is afflicted with the disease of addiction, poor thing, and can’t help herself.
The half-governor, however, is simply mean spirited, self-serving and proud of her lack of knowledge. It’s remarkable to me that she pretends to have Christian values. WWJD?