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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 57

Update from the Red Oak House garden.

An early warm spell lured Mr. Green Jeans into planting his tomatoes on May 1. Last week's cold snap killed most of his precious hand-raised heirloom seedlings. He says it is worth the risk because of our short growing season. I'm not much of a risk-taker, but the vegetable garden is his territory so I try to stay out of it (figuratively and literally). He had said he was going to grow some hybrids this year, but changed his mind when he planted the seeds back in March. He came in from checking the damage and said, "Remember when I said I was going to grow hybrids?" Off to the greenhouse, we went--a rare outing for him these days.

During the same warm and sunny spell (a bit of a rarity in this dry and windy spring), I planted my patio pots. Later I was able to bring all of them in for protection and all is well, albeit they are in need of some sunshine.

For a few days, the patio was cleaned off and ready for summer enjoyment but we are back to the temporary "greenhouse" now.

We've been eating asparagus from our bed and anticipating lettuce. The peas and carrots and garlic have sprouted. Our freezer is full and we have figured out how to go two weeks between runs for groceries. On my birthday, the second load of mulch was delivered so it is back to the wheelbarrow/scoop shovel routine for me when time permits.

Giant allium showing ill effects of the cold snap

Aside from the sadness of not being able to be with my parents, we are coping well enough with the pandemic and count our blessings each day. Recently I was able to accompany my father to a medical appointment, to tell him how happy I was to be in his presence and sorry that I could not be with him each day as was my practice. This was two days before the 75th-anniversary of VE Day so we talked about what his life was like at that time--he was in France driving for a general, who asked him to stay on. He opted to come home and fourteen years later short of one day, I was born.

On a recent window visit with my mother, I chanced upon my nephew, who is with the ND Air National Guard and in town assisting with the pandemic response. I know his visit was a bright spot in her day as she so loves her grandchildren.

Now our daughter, Rachel, who has disabilities and usually lives and works in a congregate setting, has come to live with us and we are settling into a new routine. Today we made a window visit to my mother and then took a long bike ride at Sibley Park, where the Missouri River valley has turned a lovely lime green on a puffy cloud day.

All those little pods will release "cotton" later this summer

In the knowledge that we will be doing no traveling anytime soon, we are earmarking discretionary funds for long-awaited kitchen upgrades. Why not invest in a room so important to us at Red Oak House is our view. We both love to cook and entertain--someday the entertaining component will return.

Now and then I join my other twin, Chelsea, for some birding at the wetlands east of Bismarck (donning masks and driving separate cars). She has been taking some wonderful photographs of the birds so stay tuned for a future guest blog featuring her photos. Here is a teaser, one of the hundreds of photos she took of an American Bittern.

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