Welcome to A Garden Variety Blog!

Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups on my table.
--Tang Dynasty

I hope you, whomever you are,
will sit down "with" me for tea,
or flavored coffee or spiced cider,
and have a garden variety chat.
Now and then.
I am not so consistant about blogging
as I ought to be.
I *am* consistant about
drinking hot beverage
and the coffee/tea is always on the hob.

Come on in!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

First Frost Fantasia

When the frost is on the punkin
and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble
of the struttin' turkey-cock
And the clackin' of the guineys,
and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer
as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller
is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him
from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded,
& goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin
and the fodder's in the shock.

That is part of a poem by James Whitcomb Riley, Indiana's beloved poet. I taught in Indiana for many years and I remember First Frost traditions with pleasure. The elementary schoolrooms had long windows set above sill-high bookshelves, so there was plenty of room to "decorate" for the pleasure of the students and the teachers. Most teachers would bring in their geraniums from home every autumn on the day before we expected the first killing frost. There the plants would thrive and bloom in great bursts of red. Who could forget the geranium scent filling a room as the sun warmed the leaves and released the oils?

I only got to see and smell them when I visited the rooms for my bi-weekly half hour, since I was the music teacher, and music teachers didn't have classrooms. Don't believe me? Ask any elementary music teacher old enough to be retired. LOL! We had a piano on a wheeled cart, and pushed it down the hall from room to room.......

"Hey listen to the jingle, hear the rumble, hear the roar As she comes down the mountains, through the hills and by the shore "...... from the song "The Wabash Cannonball".

In my case, the jingle was the pile of bells and rhythm instruments on top of the trundling piano. The rumble, the wheels wobbling across those old asphalt floor tiles. The roar? Well, you'd never believe how many times that piano unbalanced itself on those wobbly wheels and landed flat on its back! We'd have to call the janitor to come lift it back upright, and I'd be late for class - again. I can still hear the rolling piano, and I can still smell the sun warmed geraniums.
Tonight is supposed to be our first frost. It should be light, and my geraniums would probably be fine. But as I readied the last herb garden bed for winter, it felt like a deep frost was coming. A flock of geese flew over my head in their undulating arrow shape, graphically pointing south, and calling "Go! Go! Go!"

So I also readied the deck for winter.
[An Indiana housewife would have said, "I red up the deck."]

The geraniums, the rosemary, and a fuschia are now crowded in front of my tiny sunny window, and the red birdfeeder has taken the place of the red flowers on the deck. It is pretty, but I prefer the geraniums! LOL!

Life did not bring me silken gowns,Nor jewels for my hair,
Nor signs of gabled foreign townsIn distant countries fair,
But I can glimpse, beyond my pane, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.
The brambled cares of everyday, The tiny humdrum things,
May bind my feet when they would stray, But still my heart has wings
While red geraniums are bloomed against my window glass,
And low above my green-sweet hill the gypsy wind-clouds pass.
If my dreamings ne'er come true,The brightest and the best,
But leave me lone my journey through,I'll set my heart at rest,
And thank God for home-sweet things, a green & friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.
by Martha Haskell Clark

[a post script referring to yesterday's blog]
We saw the feral cat today. He was on our deck nosing around the door! He *is* big, very well fed, a beautiful foggy gray with long fluffy fur - but totally feral. Larry checked the havahart trap to make sure there was food in it, and instead found no food and a well fed coon! LOL!