18 February 2008

Spring Tease

I see signs of spring everywhere. Chalk art on the sidewalk. My colorful sock drawer. Even the compost bucket looked particularly beguiling this morning. It's supposed to start raining again tomorrow, but this weekend has been glorious.

Friday morning Jer and I went to the yard and garden show at the Convention Center. Our official mission was to scope out deck builders and get answers to a few existential questions, e.g., which comes first, the hot tub or the lumber. My own sekrit, stealth mission, though, was to score some plants. We were successful on both fronts, though I'll poke around some more in Angie's List for contractor recommendations.

I found primo specimens of all three of the plants that I wanted, including an aloe vera for kitchen emergencies (I brought several from California, where they thrived, but all of them mysteriously turned to slime in Portland); a tiny witch hazel with adorably weird winter-blooming whirly-birdy flowers (I'd noticed a couple around the 'hood in the past few weeks and was completely taken with them); and, eternal optimist that I am, a Meyer lemon. It has two ripe lemons on it already, so even if the tree-ette doesn't make it, we'll still have had a crop. At $22.50 per lemon.

Saturday I pruned the "big" rose bed, which I didn't get to last weekend, and yesterday I spent a couple of hours on the stepladder, loppers in hand, trying to tame the out-of-control climbing-rose arbor on the east side of the house. It's President's Day weekend and I got the roses pruned; I feel like part of some vast and ancient tradition.

Today I planted the little witch hazel (shown here on the kitchen table). I'll probably try the lemon in a container, at least for this season; I have a beautiful pot that's just the right size. The aloe is top-heavy; it desperately needs dividing and repotting -- I got my money's worth on that one -- but another day. I also cleaned the grill and the grill cover, which has been off most of the winter because, duh, the grill was too greasy to put it on. One small gesture in the face of entropy.

Another highlight of the weekend was hearing the great Michael Smith in a small venue up by Ladd's Addition. He's a low-key yet utterly compelling performer. If you like singer-songwriter-type stuff and don't know Michael's work, you're missing some wonderful music. (note: He's Michael Peter Smith, not to be confused with the "Christian music" Michael Smith.)

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