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Happy Things

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Well, Phoebe's birthday party was a roaring success, despite overcast and a warm drizzle that intensified into a light rain by its end. We didn't mind; we were wet anyway at the water park. I was hampered only momentarily by having forgotten the bottom half of my Tankini. I wore my clamdiggers and went in anyway. Phoebe and her friends had a wonderful time. The angelfood cake had mocha icing. She liked her presents. Biking was fun and there was almost nobody at the water park, so the girls went down the big slide 50 times without waiting in line.
Things that make me happy:
I heard my big love's very own voice coming out of the telephone this noon. He called from a South African pay phone to wish Phoebe a happy birthday. He seemed a little surprised that I had been agonizing over his whereabouts and welfare for oh, 30 hours. Of course, he was fine, didn't I know that? Hmmmmph. But his voice was a tonic, a balm, the only thing that could fix me. After 14 years of marriage, should I miss him this much? Oh, yeah. That's how it's supposed to be. Hurry home, Big Stuff!!!
This miniature African violet loves hanging above my kitchen sink, basking in even north light and the steady steam from the dishwater. I feed it orchid food, and water it with rainwater, and it pays me back in a ridiculous profusion of blossoms. Every year or so I trim the lower leaves off it and repot it in fresh soil. That's it.
Another blue blossom, this one much harder-won, has issued from a small Vanda alliance orchid that I bought two years ago in Columbus. Blue orchids are rare, and you have to go to the Vanda alliance to find them. This plant started putting out tier upon tier of leaves when I repotted it. Vandas like baskets; they like sun, and a lot of air circulating around their roots. Finally, finally, it sent up a spike with these fabulous blue stars on it. No wonder they call it "Blue Star." Another victory for the orchid hobbyist. Ahhh.
Plants that give: The sugar snap peas are almost done.At least half of them turned out to be snow peas, but that's OK with me. I love 'em all. We've had enough rain to make them put forth another flush of pods. Yum, yum. Only problem: Cardinals and house finches love them, too, neatly excising the peas from the pods. Darn 'em. But I don't blame them. You have to be fast to get an unbitten pea around here.

Remember the snake baffle, made from a cardboard mailing tube, that protects my Carolina wren nest under the eaves? Well, here is evidence that it works. Three baby Carolina wrens fledged yesterday from the copper bucket nest, thanks to that innovation. Happy day! Here's one perched in an Asiatic lily. Note yellow clown lips. Good perch choice, don't you think?
When I go to release snakes like the copperhead I caught last week, I get to visit the Buttercream Cows owned by our friends the Fleemans. I used to visit these cattle before we even met the Fleemans. Now they're good friends, and they have the loveliest cattle around. They're Limosins, a French breed, but they're Cadillacs to me. Signing off...


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