Building Rabbit Fences

May 30, 2010

This morning, it is bath day. Sparrows, robins, finches, wrens and more are vying for room in the waterfall basin, or splashing in the upper shallow part of the pond. It’s a mess of water, feathers and scrapping. There is this image of birds like the Disney movies, cheerful and chirping and just happy to be alive. In reality, they fight constantly, dive bombing each other, screeching and complaining. And always worried about getting a better position, for water, for seed, in a tree, than their counterparts. A great deal of drama goes on in the avian world!

Yesterday, I was headed to the lumber yard to buy my 1 x 2’s to assemble fence frames around the veggie garden. Eliza agreed to come along, if we could stop at Target, because she needed just a few things. Seeing as I like hanging out with the girl, I agreed. We stopped at Target first and “a few things” turned into a summer wardrobe (doesn’t this child already have clothes? because I remember buying them!) and two pairs of shoes.

The gentleman at Home Depot watched in pity as I tried to figure out how 8′ pieces could be cut most efficiently to fill a 12’9″ space. I’m so good at this at work – figuring spatial relationships on paper – but total crap at it in real life. He smiled gently and said “I can figure that out.” I then tripped over a forklift. Glad Eliza was there to laugh with. He asked me if I wanted the scrap and I said yes, figuring there may be a need for 30″ pieces for something at sometime. God, am I my dad, or what?

I asked Tony to get the tools I needed to assemble the frames, as I did not have the mental stamina to go into the tool room and look at the disorganization that has run amuck. He said it wasn’t as bad as it could be, but brought everything up for me anyway. The boards were laid out in a square on the patio and I began stapling the chicken wire to the short piece first. I placed a chair on that slat as it kept rolling up. I realized that using the wire as a guide to 90 degree angles was not working out, but managed to get everything stapled to all four sides. Then I laid slats down on top of the bottom slats, making a sandwich of slat, wire and slat. Nailed them together. As this one was my “learner”, everything else went much faster and by 9:00 pm, I had all six panels created. I was very grateful for my decision to say yes to keeping the scrap, as my careful calculations did not take into consideration 2 panels for each long side, so I wound up short 8 pieces. And wow – there were 8 pieces of scrap. And lo and behold, I was getting low on chicken wire, so with the shorter sides (30″ vs 34″) I was able to turn the wire on its side and stretch it to fit the smaller panels. Sometimes, things are just so serendipitous, aren’t they?

I was just in time with these panels, because I was dragging the first one over to the garden, a baby rabbit bounced away. He then hid in my neighbor’s lily-of-the-valley, but I kept an eye on him. My salad greens and green beans are growing like mad and I want to be the one who eats them. Peas are sprouting, radishes are just hysterical in their growth and the zucchini gets bigger each day. The brussel sprouts don’t seem to be doing much, but I understand the roots are settling and growing.

Today, I will place stakes in the garden and attach the panels to the stakes with wire. Everything needs a very good long soak, as we’ve been a few days without rain. It’s comforting to water when you’re not rushed off your feet. It’s a good time to think and just be at peace with yourself and the world.

The hydrangeas are blooming, the asiatic lilies are glorious and the coneflowers are starting to unfurl. The clematis in by the porch is finished, but the one on the backyard arbor is just getting buds. The fall clematis has taken the new trellis by storm and needs to be pinned back ¬†with plant tape, as it is reaching out instead of back and looks like Medusa on a bad hair day. The delphinium is blooming, a pale blue that reminds me of bridesmaids’ dresses back in the 70’s. The scabiosa is unfurling and the foxgloves are magnificent. If only I could get these to reseed successfully. I have sprouts everywhere in the spring, but they never come to fruition.

The yellow “buttercups” are about to bloom. This is another “heritage” plant for me. Back in the 70’s, when we moved to Country Club Hills, our neighbor was gardening with what we called weeds. Karen was so ahead of her time. On her daily travels, if she saw a native flower she found attractive, she stopped, dug it out of the side of the road or out of the prairie, and planted it in her garden. Of course, nurtured by better soil and waterings, they exploded in color and texture. It was a shock to my mom, who was married to a row of alyssum backed by a row of petunias, backed by a row of dusty miller. But then my mom saw the benefits of these flowers that didn’t need a lot of care or constant watering, and Karen gave her a cluster of these yellow wildflowers that love sun and still thrive in shade. Those buttercups took over the back garden in Country Club Hills, then came to me in ¬†Chicago Heights. Back to my mom in Manteno, and back to me here in Tinley. They have also been distributed to friends here, making Karen another immortal. Even beyond her perennials, Karen has always been one of my favorite people, who looks at every glass as completely full, can make lemonade out of rotten lemons and sees life thru a unique, quirky perspective that makes everyone around her feel joyful and loved.

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