Spring is lingering, longer that usual it seems to me. Scattered across the garden are thousands of tiny petals. Many of the flowering fruit trees are passing into that lovely transparent leaf phase in which a bright lime-green shines as the newest life emerges from a dormant Winter. But, many more are not and the perimeter of the garden is still lined with the white blossoms of wild plums. Perhaps it is the cold nights that are at work. Missing this season are the usual migration of Wax Wings, who hover in near by plum trees and eat the petals as they fall. What a beautiful sight, with their red, black, yellow and dove grey colors and flitting tiny forms, dive and rise to catch the blossoms as they fall and then line up on the carved-out tea garden rock to drink rain water.
Fortunately Andie has forgotten how much fun she had dragging those smelly pond hyacinths into the house and adding them to her toy collection. Gophers rule at the present time and hyacinths are but all forgotten delights this season. That is, until they appear in the mulch pile and renewed interest in storing them in her bedside floor nest and reminds Andie how much fun it is to roll in the thrilling stench of icky stuff.
Our early morning walk was breathtaking this morning, a thick tule fog shrouded the village and that slight breeze which comes with sunrise swirled it around revealing and then obscuring trees and features, houses and cars. In the distance were the dawn sounds of neighborhood roosters and above us the cooing of morning doves. Live Oaks and apple trees, never seem fooled by such warm advances of an aberrant nature schedule and remain conservatively reserved in wait. All was quiet and the emerald green of this time of year belies the burnt, drought blighted hills we experience most of the year in our golden hills of California. The petals fall, our days unfold:
For reasons known only to herself Andie never accepted the Halloween pumpkin, which nested in the front door succulent planter. Immediately leaving the front door she would scurry by it to exit as quickly as possible it’s formidable presence. I do recall that we watched a Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin special on the TV one evening, but just assumed she was sleeping through it….maybe? It could be, because lately she actually stares at the TV or Computer screens sometimes when human profiles appear or dogs bark. She’s become especially sensitive to puppy sounds, which I often engage to liven up my non-existent social life as a hermit by posting almost nauseatingly sentimental animal themes on Facebook.
Once ‘urchins begging for candy day’ passed the pumpkin went out back to sit on a patio table for some months waiting for me to scoop out and roast its seeds. Never happened. I found out it was easier to buy them at Trader Joe’s for a bargain price. And so, The Great Pumpkin waited and waited in its state of neglect hoovering above and just out of sight on the table near the back door where Andie would rush out to explore, hunt for gophers, capture smelly dead hyacinths from the pond, or on specially lucky occasions, score a desiccated plum left over from last Summer.
Then one day as Spring began to unfold Andie and I had entered the patio where I picked up the pumpkin and heaved it into the wildflower garden to become mulch and thus please the machinations of Mother Gaia. I should have known ( shades of my embarrassing childhood throwing disasters)—- the pumpkin hit a lilac branch and furiously bounced back nearly creaming Andie and me. That was it for Andie. She knew for certain then that the pumpkin was malevolent and dangerous. It took the better part of an hour holding the pumpkin and coaching her forward to give it a sniff and put it in its place. Then, side by side I pitched it girly underhand into the bushes ( Yes, more shades of my childhood pitching skills). There it now sits with mouse holes and bird droppings a vanquished monster that Andie visits now and then on her garden rounds.
Andie’s predilections for Street treats continues unabated. As you, dear readers, know by now Andie loves gum and can sniff it out a mile away. The other day she spotted a bright pink blob on the street she thought it was gum and began pawing at it. I had to explain that it was a survey marker with a spike through it. Could have fooled me at first. Because the house to Methodist church had become somewhat torturous with 12 Step ephemera littering its parking lot and grounds, I decided to take Andi in the opposite direction….down the street, down a Redwood lined back alley and around the block. She found something fabulous ( in her eyes) a LOVE GLOVE! At first I thought it was a balloon and didn’t want her to swallow it so did the ‘drop it’ routine. ‘No Way Mr. Michael,’ the look in her eyes said. ‘Way’ I said. I finally got it from her with a bribe of kibble treats. I’ll be so glad when these teen years are passed.
There are times when Andie can be quite discerning. Recently she has discovered snails and yes, hoovers them crunchy little mollusks like a ravenous French Poodle, finding them delicious. So, of course I hit Google. The good news is that they are not poisonous, but contain parasites that can cause problems, especially those that inhabit ditches. Andy loves ditches, because that’s where she first found gopher holes. Note to Michael: yet another route.
Meanwhile I collected Andie and unpacked an aged collection of Bon Appetites, Julia’s French classics and Gourmet mags to ponder the mysteries of Gastropod delights. We were torn between the classic French butter and garlic, or the Northern Italian garlic and tomato applications that quiet the slime and fill the pallet with buttery goodness. Andie and I were very conflicted by the thought of the parasite problem. We finally settled on complete agreement that melted butter and a toasted slice of Sourdough baguette was the whole point. Ultimately, we decided to simplify going for a hot dog and beer for lunch instead.