! ! !

Now that it seems safe to assume that my little lemon tree has survived the neglect and torture of its early days with me, I am totally focused on its upcoming move indoors for the winter. I assure you that I have read every word the internet has to offer on how to be a successful steward of a container-grown Meyer Lemon Tree in Garden Zone 7A.

Take what you know about how thoroughly I can obsesses about vintage cocktail glasses or bedside table lamps and apply that to lemon trees and you will know what the last few weeks have been like around here. The decision about which citrus fertilizer to use was agonizing enough but when it came to choosing a new pot, I was practically paralyzed with indecision.

After a week+ of back and forthing, I finally settled on a 16″ lightweight stylish lime green creation. Because of the no-frills way I was raised, I was a bit uncomfortable with the design and had some lingering doubts about if I could live with something that was fancy instead of strictly utilitarian. So I took the pot out on the deck to place it next to the lemon tree for further consideration.


And it’s not bad but it’s also not final. I might still go around to a few places today to see what other options I have. But the pot is no longer my main focus. When I leaned down next to the tree to set up the pot, what do you suppose happened?

I won’t make you guess. The answer is I almost died.


Dudes, it’s the first flower bud.

The Deck, The Creek and The Yahoos

unnamed (2)

Just add water. Plus 8-10 years.

Great news! We bought two Bloodgood Japanese maple trees to plant on our side of the creek edge for the purpose of blocking out the lookyloos. We only need to do two things until we have some small degree of privacy back:

  • plant them
  • wait 10 years

We have little saplings of these growing randomly around – mostly tangled in the massive rhododendron bushes in front  and the plan was to try to dig them out, but these were only $13 from Aldis and they will be so much easier to plant and will have a better shot at a long life. Although I don’t know. Last fall, we transplanted the one you can see above the pillow of the  chair on the left. It immediately dropped all of its leaves, so we figured it was dead and didn’t water it or care for it in any other way. It was late to sprout leaves but there they are. so who knows. The will to live, I guess.

Speaking of planting things on the other side of our dog fence, can any of you recommend a fast growing shrub with giant thorns on it?

Guess who came back? The adult yahoos from the house behind us! Remember when they went down into the creek last year to drive golf balls? Well, they came back and brought young teen yahoos, small boy yahoos and one slightly-built yahoo in a motorized wheelchair. 10 yahoos in all.

After Easter dinner was over at their mother/grandmother’s house, they brought out the clubs and headed for the creek. Since the creek is now fenced on three sides, they came onto our property between the dog fence and the creek and pondered out loud what they were going to do since the creek has about 6″ of stagnant rainfall in the bottom. As they discussed what to do, one of the adult yahoos swung his club next to my little tree and propelled dirt clumps down into the creek bed and a young teen yahoo stood on the inside of the black fence on the narrow strip of concrete wall. His yahoo sneakers were more hanging over than standing on so he braced himself by clutching the fencing as he leaned in and out.

I used the Calm Mom voice, which I know drives everyone crazy in a bad way – and I was even wearing an apron and wiping my hands on a dishtowel – as I came out onto the deck and said “Hey guys! We’d appreciate it if you don’t go down into the creek. That’s our property and we don’t want to take any chances that someone could get hurt climbing in and out of it.” The conversation then took an interesting turn and the alpha yahoo quizzed me about where my property ended on the other side of the creek and how far north and south it extended.

The yahoos took a few more swings at my sod while muttering that they didn’t believe what I told them about the property lines and then they shuffled back where they came from while I cheerily Calm Mommed “Thanks for understanding!”

I told him that my line was at the top of the far wall of gabion. It’s quite a steep angle on that bank, but it didn’t stop a young teen yahoo from climbing the split rail fence and standing with one foot on the gabion while trying to drive a golf ball straight up into the air to get it out onto the empty lot. When that turned into a fruitless proposition, about half the yahoos tried shooting the ball in the empty (except for dog poop) lot towards their mother/grandmother’s house while various other yahoos took turns speeding the motorized wheelchair up and down  the street. At one point, I think I saw the mother/grandmother -grey hair aflyin’ – taking a turn. One small boy yahoo climbed the neighbors ornamental pear tree and picked off some of the new leaves.


They made a stab at trying to line up shots in the mother/grandmother’s small backyard. Really, the yahoos need better plans. And then soon enough, car doors slammed , loud goodbyes were shouted and that was the last we saw of the yahoo golfers.

Oddly enough, The Poodle laid low while the yahoos made their presence known and did not come round to gawk at the creek, stare at my deck or examine the split rail fence closely.


Mother’s Day is coming and the yahoos always have a loud outdoor party in July. (No golfing then – the sport of choice is to aim fireworks at our roof.) Sooner or later, the yahoos will be back. So I need some damn shrubs with big thorns on them to block off access to where the little tree is. The bigger the better in terms of thornage. What can you recommend?


Art Imitates Life

On today’s episode of Early Morning On The Deck

I was outside deadheading the marigolds and clipping off the flowers from the basil plants when I noticed for the first time that the tall flower heads had a beautiful base on them that was neither leaf nor flower. Hard to imagine that I didn’t notice this before. As soon as I saw it, I thought that the designer of Stem #6016 on vintage Fostoria glassware must have been inspired by this.


I really enjoy looking at that area where the stem meets the bowl whenever I use one of these old glasses but I always assumed that I was looking at a flower not another botanical feature. Am I the only one that didn’t know this?

2 Things Of Very Little Interest To Anyone Else

1. We have a few cable channels that show TV shows from the 70s and 80s plus some B movies from the same era that have been gutted beyond reason to fit in more ad time. The ads are predominantly for male catheters, step-in bath tubs and reverse mortgages. I notice that the ads that run during Maude are almost exclusively for lawyers. Is it because the lawyers are trolling for customers who might identify with a loud-mouthed nag who never hesitates to confront people and is not beyond stirring the pot herself if things are quiet? The lawyers know their audience.

2. I was out on the deck early today living it up in the Zero-G , trying to drink my coffee while fully reclined and looking for vegan recipe ideas on my phone. [ gratitude for the life I have] It started to get humid so I was thinking about something cool to eat and I remembered a delicious gazpacho-like cold soup I had while I was in Tennessee last week. It was a puree of tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic. Then they wrecked it by adding small pieces of cooked shrimp. There was bite-sized bit of avocado in the center of the cup. It was really great despite the shrimp and remembering it made me think I could probably whip up a nice gazpacho for later.

The thing about gazpacho is that it’s like Thanksgiving stuffing – everybody has their own recipe and it’s all good so you can’t really make it wrong.


note to self: get it together, Suzette

Things were going so well right up until I went to dump the soup out of the stockpot I was working in to a plastic container for refrigeration. It is a mercy that I placed the container in the sink before I did the dump. So much precious soup gone down the drain but I guess it wouldn’t have fit in the container anyway. I tell you this because when I look back at my blogging history, it’s all comedy, aspiration and humblebrag. The truth of me almost never shows up here. The truth is I’m a messy mess.

As soon as there’s room for it when I take out my first cup of this, I’m going to dump in some McClure’s Bloody Mary Mix. I’m pretty sure that’s a vegan product.

So This Is Happening

I’m giving the strawberry pots another whirl.


I’ve never been successful with strawberries with these things. One year I got three berries, only one of which was edible. I did pretty well with Hen ‘n Chicks one year but I have those in a chicken flower pot this year and  even I have my limits. Portulacas did great one year and miserably the next. I don’t know. Maybe these begonias will be inspired by the towering tomato stakes.

You can see the remnants of Hurricane Sandy damage in this photo. The stand of the birdhouse village is warped and the thing can’t be straightened or positioned to appear straight. Next to it is a fallen branch belonging to our volatile and troublesome neighbor. Most of it is on his property with only the raw borken end of it hanging over our fence. At the moment, I don’t care because this is where the cardinals have made their nest and there’s lots of bright red streaking about to keep me entertained.

A Compelling Disincentive

grI’m thinking of buying one of those fancy zero-gravity recliners so that on a (fill in the blank) work day like this one, I can stumble downstairs and out onto the deck for a nice fresh air nap. The way my luck has been going lately though I’d probably die from a cicada flying into my gaping maw and plugging up my trachea while I slept. So maybe I won’t get one after all.

That Lovely Month

May 1st already?  Time for Occupy Gazebo.


The bundle on the table is my painting stuff. The bundle under the table is a filthy corgi.

At the risk of repeating myself, these roll-up blinds were a brilliant idea. Sometimes I like to do this half-way thing and let the lookyloos get only a partial glimpse. The blinds have helped me to understand that it’s not so much them seeing me that bothers me – it’s me seeing them that disturbs me. So halfway is good enough for privacy purposes. They go all the way down when the sun makes it unbearable to sit there.

I was going to work from the official office today instead of  from my extra bedroom, but why should I waste my time driving up and down the parkway? I can have lunch on the deck and then go buy bright red geraniums for the stoopscape.

Question: Do the commies still parade on May 1st? Related: little known fact about Suzette: I have an obsession with an Al Stewart CD called  Between The Wars which *deep breath* is  themed around of world events from 1918 to 1939. Each piece is done in a different style but one that suits the particular subject matter of the track. I am amazed at how much history I knew and forgot and remembered again when I first listened to this. Listen to any part of this work and see if the brilliance doesn’t take your breath away. Where else are you going to find a pop music piece meant for general audience that makes a quiet allusion to how the Japanese takeover of southeast Asian rubber tree plantations away from the French and the resulting global shortage impacted  European supply? I just reread that sentence and it sounds so dry but it’s not. It’s brilliant. I just used 4 times as many words as the complete reference in the song lyric:

“Far away, figures bend to tap the
Endless seas of rubber trees
To coat the wheels of Paris taxis”

I know the hipper parts of the interwebs are busy today with Jonathan Colton’s First Of May but they don’t even know. And so for May 1st, I present to you Joe the Georgian.

lyrics here

[Editor's note: If only I could think of a post that would include a reference to A League of Notions, even though I do not care for that cheap shot at the Pope at the end.]