Rain Reign

A delightful pop-up thunderstorm, whose lightning to the south put on quite the show as the storm slowly made its way across the prairie, visited last night. FINALLY.

It rained, hard enough, for about half an hour before lumbering on to the next town. This was good, as I’d only watered the plants in containers before succumbing to a severe case of the I-don’t-wannas and hoped for the best.

I got up this morning and went out, as I do almost every morning in the summer, to investigate the potential aftermath. Peony bushes always look like downed swans to me after a storm, the flowers gracefully drooping to the ground under the weight of rain. The weeds, as I’d expected, had rioted overnight. The sun was shining and the scent of the earth was heady stuff; I entertained rebellious thoughts of maybe skipping work for a garden-health day…

[The scent immediately brought me back to a very specific time in 2003, when we were living at 1005 and were being paid a visit by my friend Kristin and her family. They had been visiting relatives in St. Louis and asked if they could swing by our place on their way back to their home in New York. I said yes, of course. I had never met her in person – we had been online friends for a couple of years at that point, brought together by similar stories exchanged on the message boards at hipMama – the boards were a lifeline to many back then. Anyway, after saying yes, I was like what am I doing? What if it’s weird? What if they think we’re weird? What if it’s painfully awkward? It was awesome, of course. We had dinner and the kids engaged in a huge water balloon fight and the spouses (both tall guys named Jim) got on well. But my favorite moments were when Kristin and I visited several gardens – my small one out back, my friend Janna’s huge one down the street, and the plots out at Meadowbrook. I might have even had a plot out there that year – I can’t remember. I think Kristin was impressed with the utter fertility of the place. At any rate, it was the smell of the Meadowbrook gardens on that specific day that has stayed with me – humid air, warmed soil, the dill that ran rampant in all the garden plots every year…]

… but I sucked it up and went to work. I came home later and started tending to this.

Greens

When I planted the greens, I knew I’d be getting more than the seeds I was planting. I’m not one for neat beds, that’s for sure; calendula had lived in the bed the year before, lamb’s quarter lives EVERYWHERE in my yard, always, and I know from experience that if you let even one dill plant go to seed, you’re going to have it in unexpected places in the spring. And so it is with the greens patch this year. It smells delicious.

I did weed a huge patch of zinnias. I opened a beer and brought my radio out to help the task along. Jim came outside and chatted with me as I picked and pulled. Mattie Flicktail Lonesome settled into the garlic to observe the dogs in the yard behind us.

Garlic Cat

Mattie and her son, Teacups Nibbles Lonesome (not pictured), are quite fond, this year, of hanging out with me in the yard, just like the CSN&Y song. They’re mostly fond of rolling around on top of whatever I’ve just planted, but it’s still pretty cool to have them out there. Back in the Chicken Days, I talked to the girls incessantly while I gardened; now I mostly gruff at the cats to quit rolling around in the flowers or to stop eating the grass that inevitably makes them hurl.

Times have changed, obviously, but the calendula, dill, and lamb’s quarter still reign (and smell) supreme.

3 Replies to “Rain Reign”

  1. I had similar feelings of trepidation at first meeting many of my o line friends–friendships forged on the Unschooling boards on AOL, back in the mid to late 90s–but all the initial real life get togethers became joyful “homecomings.” Many of these women still are my dearest, must trusted friends, all these years and Life Events later. My kitties and small chia-pom mutt keep me company in the garden, as well.

  2. I love your garden friend, and hadn’t known her middle name previously.

    Having just been to Urbana, I can say I love so many of the smellsl. I didn’t get the post-rain smell, but I enjoyed many others.

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