Our Side of the Fence

My new ‘Nature Bible’ from Mary Reynolds. Check out the film about her ‘Dare to Be Wild’ on Netflix.

The new fence. Note the lack of plants. Last year, the yarrow cascaded over it onto the driveway. It was inhabited by sedum, yarrow, heuchera, phlox, and coneflowers.

The blue cube is something I took with me from my Mom’s home, a blue crystal paperweight, something that intrigued me as a kid. It is not perfect, it has a small chip on one corner. I am going to use it as an outdoor ‘wishing stone’ per Mary Reynold’s explanation (The Garden Awakening). Next to it is Achillea Ptarmica, the invasive, beautiful yarrow from my Mom.

For over a month we had a temporary fence in the place where there once was a wooden one. When we moved in, there was a fence in basket weave, what I deemed to be hideous, and so much so that I stained our side redwood to match our patio furniture (at that time).

The temporary fence, put up to allow Stewart to have some enjoyment of our backyard, worked well. Stewie has his faults, but despite the fact that he was and is supposedly feared by our neighbor, ignored them completely, just as he does when we are out walking when confronted by squirrels and most dogs. The new fence is beautiful, in place, and does not even have a courtesy side, as both sides look exactly the same.

I did notice that the fence that went up between the malbor’s and his neighbor in the back (where he was draining his patio) has a courtesy side and it is facing his neighbor’s yard (they put it up). I don’t blame them one bit as he was less than courteous to them.

Adjacent to the driveway and between the garage and the gate that completely secures our driveway, the temporary fence hemmed us in and allowed us a birds-eye view of the malbor. I mention one person because he is pretty much the only one seen in that yard; to a new bystander, it would appear that he was the only one living there. I wondered how our luxurious flowers would do in that plot. In previous years, its lush greenery and floral display was legendary. We had the dark red coral bells (heuchera) that were volunteers that had floated in to our property from the malbor’s. I transplanted them as I thought they were in the way of the fence posts and also did the same for the beautiful and fragrant phlox that volunteered by the fence. I moved them by the playhouse and although they haven’t yet bloomed, I think they are going to be fine. I took the invasive yarrow my mother gave me and planted it there, feeling that the rocky texture of the soil would not be an issue. I was right, and although it died down once, it came back with great vigor, taking over the area by shoots through the stony soil.

What am I getting at here? The area by the fence that used to be completely covered in flowers is like a dead zone. I have one of my mom’s poppies that is minuscule as they sometimes are, a single yarrow Angel’s Breath (Achillea Ptarmica) that resembles Baby’s Breath, and a single coneflower. Each of these three is very small, just barely getting by. The sedum that I had planted year after year and which took poorly on my side of the fence but which volunteered on the other side and took over beautifully is gone.

I removed a few weeds from this area. I also cleaned out the horrible marble stones that used to cover it completely, having been there when we moved in.

I have decided that although I may get somewhat involved in repopulating the plant life there, I am going to pretty much allow it to repopulate itself. I am going to try to be better about understanding what Mother Nature wants there so if the wild violets go crazy, so be it. I am taking Mary Reynolds seriously.

I have already gone about doing some things that are totally against my grain. I am going a bit nature spiritual and doing some of the things Mary has suggested. I have located a crystal and I have purified it as she said to do, burying it underground overnight, cleaning it with rainwater I collected (she suggested spring water or seawater), and I will purify it in the full moon’s light and have it take a day in the sun before using it as a wishing object to make my small plot of land more receptive to nature and to perhaps undo the ‘curse’ that has been placed on it. I am going to wish for peace, peace in the world and peace in my own back yard.

I am open minded.

I shall keep you posted.

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The Agony and the Ecstasy

The bouquet of flowers we received from the neighbors.

The girls were busy playing.

I was asked about the person next door, was it okay to say hello to him. I said, “Of course.” The girls said, “He is not okay with adults but he is okay with kids, right?” I said, “Yes.”

They opened the gate and went on the driveway. Instead of getting to say hello to him, they ended up seeing his daughter who had recently come to town. When she came in to town on the weekend, she immediately came over to speak to us, telling us how bad she and her mom felt about the terrible situation that we are going through. We updated her on what was happening, as she did not know everything, and told her where we were in this often untenable situation.

She was very sympathetic and listened and agreed with us and with what we are doing. She knows that we are not unreasonable and just want to have a peaceful situation.

Things have been better of late, but I often wonder when the shoe will drop once again. Obviously, we are hoping that it does not happen, but one must be realistic.

Earlier in the day, she had spied me from her dad’s driveway and had a huge bouquet of flowers from their garden. She asked if she might take some coneflowers and I said that she should help herself. This time, in front of her mom, she handed our oldest granddaughter a huge bouquet of flowers for us.

Needless to say it makes us feel better.

We are just hoping that once she leaves, that we don’t go back to the craziness of the earlier part of the summer.

Sometimes a bully needs to be put in his place.

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Grandma Bori and the silver coins

This is a funny story, a cute story, a story of the woman who incessantly shoved dollar bills into my pocket as I was growing up. I saw her all the time, on Sundays for the family dinner, and other times when I would just go over to see her and maybe take her to the doctor or on an errand. She also took several buses to come see us in the suburbs of Cleveland as well, bringing delicious fresh Auburn Bakery sourdough bread and a special tall and light version of cheesecake. She was a hoot of a woman, had had a pretty hard life, didn’t really get along with my grandfather, and yet stayed with him. That is what you did in those days.

They were like cat and dog, my grandparents. She married him so he would take her home to Hungary, where they were both from, but as so many things in life, something got in the way. In this case, it was WWI. She came by herself on a boat from Hungary when she was 19, so I am kind of surprised she just didn’t do it by herself. Maybe, despite what I deemed to be a less than perfect relationship, there was something there, even a little something. When Grandma died in 1975, Grandpa Bori was despondent and on her deathbed and later, he lamented his huge loss.

Grandma Bori was really upset that she turned in her gold. People were told that they had to turn in their gold coins. My Grandfather forced this issue. My grandmother regretted it forever. On April 5th of 1933, President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order which President Gerald Ford later rescinded. By that time, the damage was done. I have never seen any of those gold coins. Grandma Bori was smart enough to know that although the order was signed, that not everyone turned it all in. The Bori family did.

I thus have silver coins. Silver coins that inhabit that ubiquitous Safe Deposit Box. I have silver coins that I don’t know what to do with. Besides shoving dollar bills into my pocket, she started shoving Kennedy half dollars and other coins, all from 1964 or earlier. Dimes and Quarters and Silver Dollars started showing up all the time. She said to me, “Save these, don’t let go of these, you will never see them again. I made a mistake with the gold.” She did this in a thick Hungarian accent and broken English until she died in 1975.

So now, what do I do with them? I keep thinking that my grandchildren would be great recipients of these coins. I am pretty sure that my sons might look at me as if I were crazy if I offered them this silver.

We shall see. Meanwhile, Grandma Bori, please don’t turn over in your grave.

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Imperfect Produce


What a great idea, imperfect produce,” that might not have seen the light of day in the grocery store because it is too small, misshapen, or maybe off color (like some of my jokes, lol). Guess what, it may be imperfect produce, but I have news for you, it is named incorrectly. It should be called ‘Perfect Produce!’

Check this out: https://www.imperfectproduce.com

Mikey, our culinary guru of a son, turned us on to the idea. They are currently delivering fresh produce to us once a week. Here is the thing, we have had other delivery services that are quite good, stressing local sites of food items, for the most part. This delivery is superior!

Today we got three apples, one cantaloupe, six bell peppers, two lemons, two limes, three nectarines, three peaches, two garlic heads, and about six potatoes. We paid $31.86. Orders are made by the consumer. In different circumstances, the food wouldn’t make it to the consumer. Everything was dropped off at our front door.

The best part, nothing has gone to waste!

Let me tell you something else, the appearance may not be perfect but…

The nectarines, which so often are incredibly beautiful when you buy them and then you go and eat them to find that they are tasteless, are among the most delicious I have ever eaten. MK gave me half an apple before leaving to go somewhere. It was lackluster in size but OMG, the taste! So it may be expensive, maybe, but you are helping the food chain, eating what wouldn’t ordinarily get to the buyer, and it is GOOD! We in the U.S. are frankly used to not paying enough for what we get and often what we get is not the best quality.

It started in California and Chicago is the first city outside that huge state to have it. Well, we are foodies here, are we not?

Obviously, much of this produce comes from California, the biggest producer in the United States.

If you haven’t tried it, you are missing out.

I am in love!

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Planting

I decided to bite the bullet and clean out my half of the DMZ that is newly devoid of fence, left with eighteen inch cut off fence posts with lights, and dirt and stones.

The stones are marble stones, some of which date back to before 1987. They have denigrated to looking like nothing more than dirty stones, never looking nice and not really conducive to plant life.

I never liked them.

I was the newby on the block and so I went with it, out of respect for the neighbor. I had done work on them before, trying to clear out most of the stones so that my sedum could grow. I have made so many cuttings of sedum there and although I have planted so many, it is still not filled in. I ended up filling four five gallon buckets with the stones and I took them to my back yard to the wet areas and added them to the stones I already have there. It is the area surrounding the pond and it works well at filtering water when the rain comes down with such intensity as to push mulch into the pond.

It was quite a job, taking me several hours.

My take on it was like panning for gold. Mike had picked up what looks like something you would pan for gold with but with larger holes because of the steel mesh used. I cultivated the stones and dirt and then throw handfuls onto the ‘panner’ to sift out the stones from the dirt. It was one dirty job.

My shower was scrubfest as I needed a brush to clean my feet from the dirt which had gone everywhere.

I finished up by replanting the sedum I had dislodged and then swept up the driveway, hosed it down, and watered the sedum. I can only hope that neighboring poisons will spare them

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