Three Thoughts for Thursday

Unusual color combinations, seeding grass, and monsoon autumn rains in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. An unusual combination: Brightly colored autumn leaves landing on spring green grass. That’s what happens when September in Iowa includes monsoon rain one day and chilly temperatures the next.
  2. A reason to be thankful: All the recent rain means the grass seed planted two weeks ago is coming up without much extra watering.
  3. A reason to cheer: The monsoon moisture has stayed in the ground and out of the basement. Which means the Man of Steel’s basement project is a success. (Insert crowd cheering noises here.)

What are you thankful for this week? Leave a comment.

Last Spring, This Spring

Geranium Roots

Last spring and this spring couldn’t be more different, as a mason jar full of rooted geranium slips shows.

Last spring, I started rooting geraniums in March, which turned out to be too late for an early spring.
This spring, I started rooting them in February, which turned out to be too early for a late spring.

Last spring, warm weather hit in mid-March.
This spring, we’re still waiting for warm weather in mid-April.

Last spring, the geranium slips didn’t have enough roots on them when the weather was warm enough for potting them.
This spring, the geranium slips have so many roots, they may be hard to pull apart…if it ever gets warm enough to pot them.

Last spring was dry.
This spring’s been rainy.

Last spring ended with a drought.
Let’s hope this spring ends the drought.

Three Cloudy Thoughts for Thursday

After a month and a half with nary a storm cloud in the sky, a few welcome rains have fallen on our little patch of earth. Not quite enough for the weather powers to declare an end to the drought of 2012. But enough for the resident man of steel to go a few rounds with the lawn mower and for me to think of these three rainy thoughts for Thursday.

  1. Apparently, Japanese beetles don’t like the rain. Though it’s more fun to imagine them huddling under the eaves because they can’t find itty-bitty umbrellas to match their itty-bitty kimonos.
  2. All it takes is one good rain and one swath around the lawn with the mower, and the kitchen floor is covered with grass clippings.
  3. Every rainy morning, my pathetic tan, acquired during early morning walks spent soaking up a year’s worth of Vitamin D, fades a little. So much for my dream of attaining the tan and toned body necessary to audition for the Jane Fonda role in a remake of one of my favorite movies, On Golden PondYouTube Preview Image

How about you? What movie do you want to see remade and what role would you play in it?

Hungry for Iowa

Spring Along Our Gravel Road

Spring is lovely along our Iowa gravel road.The rain washes away the dust kicked up by cars passing by, so the foliage is a deep and vibrant, soothing green. Every day is a feast for the senses.

The lingering scent of rain from a night time thunderstorm.
Toads betrayed by small movement in the grass.
Does hiding the shadow.
Cardinals singing in the treetops.
The stream rushing and gurgling under the bridge.
Goldfinches fighting for their turf in low bushes.

Each spring morning, I rush outside to greet new blossoms.
First the magnolias, the rhododendron, the red buds, and the daffodils.
Then the bleeding heart, the tulips and the lilacs.
Now the iris, the clematis, and the columbine.
Soon the peonies and the daisies.

I can’t bear the thought of missing the arrival of these friends. So most years, I stay home in May, determined to fully savor its beauty. But not this year. Not this week. Tomorrow, we pack the car and leave the beauty behind for a few days. I hate to miss the arrival of the peonies and daisies. But I know how much my daughter misses our gravel road after a year in Ohio while her husband finished grad school.

She misses the ancient silver maples in our yard,
The sight of leaves and grass,
The smell of trees and space and flowers,
The fairy ring where she played as a child,
The regularity of a gravel road each mile,
The greenness found only in Iowa,
Beloved by Iowa girls like my daughter and me.

She’s hungry for her home state, as I was during the seven years Hiram and I lived in South Dakota. So hungry, I could hardly bear it. So eager for a taste of home, I lived for my mother’s visits and feasted on the time she spent with us.

My mother left her roses,
And her yard work,
And her rhubarb,
And her invalid husband
To feed her daughter a taste of home.

So the peonies and daisies will have to bloom without us. Hiram and I are off to see our daughter and new son. Packing our car with Iowa air and comfort. Eager to share our feast with our hungry, Iowa-starved children. Bringing them the taste of our gravel road as my mother once brought a taste of home to me.

Perfectly Happy Again

This morning’s thunderstorm ended a long spell of sunny, dry late summer weather. It started near the end of August, perfect timing since the growing season was winding down. After a summer of abundant rainfall, the crops didn’t need much moisture. Neither did the lawns.

Things were so good for so long, I grew uneasy. It was the middle of September. The windows had been open and air conditioner had been off for over a month. The temperatures were warm in the day and cool at night, with no hint of furnace weather anywhere.

This kind of thing doesn’t happen the midwest. Perfect weather lasts a week now and then, but never a whole uninterrupted month. Even in summer’s glory days, if we manage to escape tornadoes, lightning strikes, hail, straight line winds, and blinding fog, the humidity is so oppressive, a person can hardly catch her breath.

As a rule, I think our part of the world’s less than perfect weather holds other disasters at bay. That’s why I grew increasingly concerned when this string of low humidity, cloudless blue sky, cool nights, and warm days drug on. Something bad was going to happen, if the weather didn’t break soon. I just knew it.

So when the rain began during my morning walk, complete with unexpected lightning that could have fried my computer and struck me dead, it washed away my uneasiness. The world wasn’t perfect in my neck of the woods anymore. It was messy and muggy with a hint of mildew, just the way I like it.

I’m happy again. Perfectly happy in my imperfect world.

“Iowa in March” Top Ten

Yesterday’s blog listed the top ten differences between southern California and the Midwest. Today’s list provides unwelcome proof that March in Iowa, in strong competition with November, is the state’s least favorable month.

10.  As soon as the sun starts rising at an optimistic time, Daylight Savings Time begins
and pushes dawn back an hour.
9.    It has rained for five days straight. SInce today is March 10, it has rained for half the
month.
8.    When the rain becomes unbearable, the snow begins.
7.    The gravel road and our driveway look like something the cat drug in.
6.    The mice in our garage, cowed by winter’s cold and relatively inactive, have perked up
and invaded my car again. As always, they leave Hiram’s pick up alone.
5.    Our daughter is “getting away” for spring break. Apparently, even Minneapolis is more
glamorous in March than is our fair state.
4.   Morning walks are gloomy. (See above picture.)
3.   Hiram blanches at the mention of “FAFSA.”
2.   Pretty pastel Easter decorations perpetrate the cruel hoax that spring is just around the
corner.
1.   Our one warm March day pushed the daffodils above ground, but they’ve been
shivering so much since the cold return, they won’t contemplate exposing themselves
further.

There, I’ve expressed my hostility told March and feel much better. In the 21 days until April begins, I’ll keep my umbrella handy, stock up on mouse traps, and knit gloves for the daffodils. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the effort.