March 18th, 2006


(no subject)

Had our house inspection yesterday! It came out well--the inspector said "Well, you're basically buying a brand new 33-year-old house." Aluminum wiring, which is annoying, but every house in the area has it--this whole area was built up in the late sixties, early seventies--so it's what you'd expect to find, and since it's all in good condition, it's not a resale issue around here, thankfully.

Most of the problems listed were basically what you'd expect from a house in the mid-renovation stage--it's hard to rate a toilet when it's sitting on the back porch waiting to be replaced, nor can you call the cupboards "satisfactory" when the doors are spread out on the floor drying! But it's all good, overall, and despite what looks like a terrifyingly long list of things that need fixing, we're told that the house is actually in extremely good shape. (I shudder to think what a BAD house would be like...) I can't imagine being the seller, and having to fix all this stuff! Yeesh!

And the yard.

Ah, the yard...

Another jaunt through, while the home inspector and termite guy were working, (Termite Guy: "Nice crawlspace. No termites. Nothing that's going to attract termites. Looks great. I'll send you a bill.") and the backyard is even cooler than I thought. There's a mature redbud tree, and several previously bare trees in the wooded area in back are now revealing themselves as flowering dogwood! The area around the mailbox is a riot of newly sprouted grape hyacinth (one of my favorite bulbs) and daffodils, the cedar and pine in the front yard have hyacinth lurking around them, and it's just very exciting to see what's comin' up.

There's a bunch of stuff in the back I can't identify yet, so I'm delerious to see what they turn out to be! There's a holly-like plant with red berries, but the leaves are ovals pointed at the end, not stickery on the sides. There's some kind of small thorny bramble--blackberry? raspberry? rose? There's a huge shrub with small green buds coming up, but I won't know what until it blooms (and possibly not even then!) A few shrubs, pruned back so aggressively that I don't know what will emerge yet.

Weirdly enough, there's an avocado tree. James spotted it, said "What the..." but there it is, a small sapling, nowhere near avocadoing yet, but still a funny thing to find in the middle of holly and fir.

As far as I can tell, somebody landscaped the back once, a few years back, and then stopped caring for it. So I scuffed my foot in the needle-litter, and turned up the bricks edging a raised bed, and once I realized that, I spotted the tulips coming up--no flowers yet, but the leaves are distinctive. Tulips! Where the path down to the greenway meanders off, there's a drift of narcissus. Somebody popped in bulbs at some point--it's easy enough to do, god knows--and I can't wait to see what else is lurking, just waiting to appear. (I'll take photos.)

And on the bird front, while I was there, I spotted eastern catbirds, brown thrashers, titmice, cardinals, robins, a coupla varieties of woodpecker, crows, a red-tailed hawk--all the usual suspects, but a greater diversity than my current yard, and I'm not even feeding 'em yet!

Excuse me while I squee...

(no subject)

I went out to water my container garden today, and was struck suddenly by the realization that these guys would all be comin' with me to the new house.

It's only because I'm absurdly excited about the house, but I felt like a general who finally got word that my troops were getting sent back home. My deck has been a cruel place for plants--winter sun becomes deep shade early in the year, and the humidity and killing heat of the south can be terribly hard on potted plants. And my care is a deeply darwinian water-'em-once-in-a-while, with random fertilizer when I remember, which isn't often.

The few plants that have emerged are a tough bunch. The honeysuckle, as good-natured and enthusiastic a plant as you'd wish, who's never flowered yet, but charges along the railing like a slow-mo racehorse. The valiant clematis, out of place and against the odds, who nevertheless curls around a single post, determinedly mustering the energy for a single flower. The swamp jessamine, who should be dead a thousand times over, but clings to life with a native ferocity that belies it's tender billing (perhaps the nursery guy was mistaken.) The heat-tolerant lilac, brutally stunted by a late cold snap last year, but rallying. (I suspect the lilac is a whiner, as plants go. It will live, but it will complain to the other plants the whole time.) The Lenten Rose, who I largely ignored as a generic green thing, who shocked me by suddenly producing beautiful flowers. The rhody, a hefty, good-natured plant who is slowly losing ground to the squirrels and the heat, but who, in more hospitable settings, may yet recover. The columbine I expected to never see again, but who came up this spring and reported for duty.

I am not particularly sentimental about my plants, but I find I wanna hug 'em and tell 'em it's all gonna be okay now.

I suspect at least half will die of transplant shock, because that's life for ya, but I hold out hope. These guys are survivors. Some of them (Honeysuckle, I'm lookin' in your direction!) will stay in pots permanently, as they're too crazy to be integrated into polite plant society. But others can finally go into the ground, finally get a taste of sun that isn't the consistency of weak tea, and I hope that they'll enjoy it.