April 11th, 2006


They Call Me...Wisteriabane.

So yesterday I went out in the yard with my new pruning shears slung across my hips like a gunbelt, swaggered up to an overgrown thicket and said "There's a new sheriff in town..."

I discovered that the plant I had previously labelled as Generic Bindweed is, in fact, Japanese wisteria. I was fooled because it hadn't bloomed yet, but then, as I was ripping down a tangle that had bowed one of the ten thousand dogwoods in the yard double, I saw a telltale purple plume.

It's a beautiful flower. I confess, the sight of a great purple hive on the side of the road in springtime fills me with a certain pleasure...as long as it's on someone else's tree. But it is Eating My Trees. So it had to die.

I spent a good hour or so while waiting for the cable guy to come out just massacring wisteria. Some of the trees sprang back immediately, some remained bowed double, a few are permanently corkscrewed, and two saplings were beyond saving and joined the wisteria on the brushpile.

I felt good. I felt that I had Accomplished Something.

I scratched idily at a bug bite.

Then another bug bite.

Hmm, lot of bugs.

Oddly, that looked more like hives. And that's some kind of weeping blister there.
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Thanks to the fabulous linky skills of my readers, I now know exactly what the poison ivy looks like, and exactly where it is. I got it in contact with one particular tree, which has the red-centipede vines going up it, and which like a moron, I was grabbing and hauling on. (Since the gods look out for drunks and fools, I somehow did not get it on my palms.)

Other fun identifications in recent days are the lone trillum (woo!) a whole thicket of fiddlehead-esque ferns coming up, and Yet More Dogwoods. Some of them must have reproduced on their own, but a couple had to be planted. The previous owners had a real thing for dogwoods. I don't mind. Who doesn't love dogwoods?

We're almost out of the old place--just cleaning and a few random items left to go. I transferred the plants over this morning. The potted honeysuckle is so enormous that the only place it would fit was the front passenger footwell. It engulfed the seat and draped a companionable vine over my shoulder. I reached for the gearshift. The honeysuckle wanted to drive. I let it throw the emergency brake, but that's as far as I go until it gets a learner's permit. Other, rather better behaved plants lurked in the back seat and tapped at the windows.

Athena adjusted to the new place quite easily. I was worried that she wouldn't understand the concept of stairs (let me re-state that while a dreadfully sweet cat, Athena is, by leaps and bounds, the stupidest pet I have ever owned--and I've had guinea pigs) but she went up them with ease. Coming down is a little more awkward--the front legs and one back leg seem to have the hang of it, but the other hind leg is not clear on the concept, so she occasionally has to scramble sideways, in a vain effort to outdistance her own butt. (Like I said...not the smartest of pets.)