Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)

I just identified another plant in the yard that I was curious about. It has beautiful wine-colored flowers and the most intoxicating fragrance that permeates the wood and leaves. Commonly called Sweet Shrub, Carolina Allspice, Spice Bush, or Bubby Bush, it is actually considered threatened in the state of Kentucky and endangered in Florida.

Read more about this wonderful plant here.

Late Double Red Flowering Peach Tree

When the bright red blooms popped out all over the tree in our front yard last year, I was stunned by its beauty. Not knowing what kind of tree it was, and seeing that it was old and in decline, I decided to find out so that I could get another one. It got pushed to the back of my mind until it bloomed again this year. I finally figured out what it is yesterday, and quickly ordered another one online.

Late Double Red Flowering Peach Tree
(Prunus persica ‘Late Red’)

A bright, sunshiny day

I loved today. It was one of those extravagantly beautiful days where the temperature is just perfect and there is nary a cloud in the sky. To make it even more sublime, I was given the day off with pay by my superiors. In case that sounds like the result of disciplinary action for misbehavior, it was actually a gesture of appreciation. Knowing today’s weather forecast, I certainly didn’t argue when it was offered.

For some reason, when I don’t have to get up with an alarm, I tend to wake up earlier than normal. My eyes pop open and my mind begins to ponder all the things that I should be up doing. I’m extra-tired this evening because of that, and also because I stayed up late last night thinking I would be sleeping in this morning. No such luck.

Anyway, I spent most of my day working out in the yard. It’s my form of therapy, and (depressing thought ahead) one of the few things in my life that I actually enjoy doing. I’m thrilled to report that some of the flowers I worried about surviving the frigid winter are beginning to poke their heads above ground. Seeing them feeds my spirit and I often take a moment to send a “Thank you” to the nice guy in the sky.

My sister and her kids stopped by this afternoon, and I sent them home with day lilies, irises, surprise lilies, and forsythia. Bessie smiled so brightly that I got a tan.

We are still trying to get our window problems resolved. Right now, we have plastic covering the outside of the windows that leaked during last week’s storm. The installers admitted that they covered the drain holes on the windows, so we no longer trust that they know what they are doing or that they won’t only make things worse if we allow them to try to fix the various problems. It looks like we will be having these windows removed and new ones installed by a different company. Wish us luck.

Regardless of the home improvement problems, I feel happy and content. I love this house, this land, and my wonderful partner. One year here, six years with him. I am a blessed man.

One step forward, two steps back

We were delighted when we had our new windows installed a few weeks ago. They gave the house a much-needed facelift, blocked outside noise, and promised to be more energy-efficient. We had researched the window manufacturer and gotten two recommendations from personal friends before choosing the installer. It was an added bonus that they actually provided the least expensive estimate that we received.

Huge thunderstorms rolled through today, and the rain came down in torrents. Honey called me this afternoon after finding water in one of the bedroom floors, and I rushed home to discover damp spots in the carpet under another window. We were devastated and frustrated, so Honey took a few moments to calm down before calling the installer to report the problem. We had to leave a message, because the business owners are out of town on vacation.

From what we can gather, the rain actually leaked in around the window and into the wall underneath. The outside of the drywall or the inside sill wasn’t wet, so it seems likely that the insulation in the wall under the windows is probably soaked.

We are currently in wait-and-see mode. Luckily, we haven’t sent in our payment yet, so the company should have a good reason to satisfy our concerns. Wish us luck…

Just passing through

In just a few days we will have been living in this house for an entire year. Time flies. There have been so many nights that I’ve laid in bed asking myself if moving was the right decision, but when I get up the next morning and glance out the window at the gorgeous surroundings, I know things are just as they should be.

This house felt very foreign to me a year ago. Signing the papers and getting the keys didn’t erase the decades of memories that you could literally feel when you stepped through the door. Months later, the 70’s wallpaper and pink carpet are gone, but I can still feel Bessie’s presence while caring for the flowers that she planted¬†everywhere in the yard. I have a sense of seeking her approval as I move sprouting bulbs to more convenient locations – always hoping that she understands my respect for the living things she nurtured so many years ago.

While living at my last home, one of my neighbors passed away unexpectedly after surgery. His daughter moved into the vacant house shortly after, and it wasn’t long before she walked over one evening to offer me a pair of her dad’s rubber boots. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. I always think of him when I put them on, and I like getting the opportunity to “walk a mile in another man’s shoes.” I often wear them while working in the yard here, and I can’t help but think about how I’m wearing Hayden’s shoes while tending to Bessie’s flowers.¬†We are all connected, aren’t we?

We used to sing a song in church when I was a kid that said, “This world is not my home; I’m just a’passing through.” As bad as I hate to admit it, this house is just a temporary dwelling place. Just like Bessie, I’ll be leaving it one day soon. I can only hope that a little bit of my spirit will still linger in the springtime flowers and the blooming trees, and that the next person who calls this place home will love and enjoy it as much as I have.