May 26th, 2006


(no subject)

Today, I went looking for the post office, to pick up a letter, which turned out to be a payment for something from Warsaw, Poland, which was kind of ironic, because I had just mailed a set of prints to an unrelated person in Warsaw an hour before, which, granted that is the sum total of my commerce with Warsaw in the last year, sort of amusingly fell on the same day.

However, I hadn't been to the local post office before, since we just moved. I got there eventually, but finding it was an experience.

I did the thing where you get on a road and start trying to figure out numbers, and get panicked, and then suddenly the road switches and you're on EAST Whatever Road, and the numbers are going in the opposite direction and then you cross a road you absolutely know you shouldn't be crossing, and so you turn around in a parking lot and go the other way, and find yourself back to Whatever Road, and so you must have overshot it, so you turn around again, but you can only find a residential street to turn on, and then it's lined with cars like the Death Gauntlet, so you wind up going halfway to New Jersey before you find a spot you can get the car turned around in. (Did I mention that for some reason there was a hundred pounds of cow manure in the trunk? There was.)

But lo! What is this? I turned around yet again, in the parking lot of the vitamin store, and managed to crawl into the parking lot of something that looked promising. A big brick official-looking building, big seal out front with an eagle on it--yeah! That must be it!

And that, boys and girls, is how Ursula visited the Mexican Consulate.

(I eventually located the post office in back of a grocery store, claimed my letter, and slunk out again. Who even knew we had a Mexican Consulate in Raleigh?)

Pollinators Ahoy!

I stepped outside to look at the garden, as I do every few hours--whether waiting for something new to surprise me, or half suspecting that it will vanish when my back is turned, I'm not sure!--and I startled a hummingbird hanging in the air over the lilies.

He looked at me, a bit belligerently--this was his garden, his yard, his flowers, he'd found them, how dare I come hangin' around? Wanna mess with me, primate, wanna, wanna? I'll peck yer eyes out! Hummingbirds are belligerence wrapped up in a oil-slick rainbow. You have to love them.

When I did not reply appropriately by taking to the air and fighting for control of the garden, he decided I was just too unspeakably boring for words and zipped off to dip his beak in the pink cherry sage. (I love this stuff. I hadn't seen it before--it's a native of Texas, so I'm sort of cheating on the whole native thing, but at least it's the correct continent. It's gorgeous, hummingbirds love it, and it takes full sun and drought like a trooper.)

After the hummingbird had decided to go lay claim to another yard, I peered over my plants. Exciting discoveries lately have been up at the top of the yard, by the mailbox--it's choked with oak seedlings and badly overgrown, but lurking under it all is pineapple sage, a great favorite of mine. And there's a daylily exploding with buds that's apparently too far up the driveway for the deer to browse that I'm eagerly awaiting.

I've also determined that the thing I thought was a black locust is actually a silktree. Well, crud. It's an invasive non-native. Should really kill it. The pictures of the flowers are lovely. Hummingbirds like it.'s an invasive non-native and should die. Argh! Who knew gardening came with so many moral dilemas!? I thought "Natives and well-behaved immigrants," would be an easy philosophy to hold to. (Hmm, the forest service has a real hate on this tree. Maybe it better come out.)

On the other hand, I saw them selling bishopweed at the garden shop and wanted to find somebody on staff and give 'em a tongue lashing. Bishopweed! Dear god! What are you people thiiiiinking?!

But happily, as I stood looking at the rest of the garden, I see the pollinators come out at work. A fat bumblebee climbs over the brazilian verbena (non-native, I know, I know, I'm guilty, but the butterflies are supposed to love it! I'll deadhead religiously, I promise.) and a sleeker, more dangerous looking bee crawls into each individual cup of the beardstongue (Native! Native!)

Despite the gardening guilt, barely assuaged by buying some Joe Pye Weed and native snakeroot when I went to pick up the manure, it's nice to see the pollinators out in my garden.