Danny In The Garden

August 30, 2010

I nearly fell asleep at the dinner table last night – right into my pheasant at Frankie’s. Danny spent the night and after reading aloud a variety of books, including one of my all-time favorites “The Monster At The End Of This Book,” featuring lovable furry old Grover, we finally turned out the lights well past midnight.

And he was up and raring to go at 7 a.m.

Good lord.

He ran into the yard and laughed about the trees sticking up in the grass. “Auntie W”, he said, “I don’t think those trees should be in your grass!”

He wanted to look at the butterflies but we were quickly sidetracked by the veggie garden. Why, he wanted to know, was so much of it empty. I explained how the watermelon had occupied all that space and that I was planning on planting beans and spinach for the fall. “I want to plant!” he enthused.

He carried out the pitchfork, hopping from foot to foot. He started unhooking all the panels.  Just as we had half the garden disassembled, he told me it was way too hot and he wanted to go in. Well, there was no going back at that point! He sat in the shade of the fence while I quickly got the dirt broken up with the pitchfork and planted the spinach, the lettuce and the spinach. The peas, to be located at the upper side of the bed that still had the panels in place, will have to be planted later.

I found a brown spider carrying an egg sac and we watched her scurry under the grass clippings. Then we (me, really. Dan is not a bug fan) moved the clippings so we could watch her some more). We talked about the funnel of web in the corner by the tomatoes and how that was home to a big huge spider. He wandered around by the pond, looking at the fish as I got all the panels back in place. When that was accomplished – by this time, I was in rivers of sweat because Dan was right, it was way too hat – Danny turned the water on and ran down to see the water seep out of the soaker hose. He really liked the way it wound through the garden and water “just came out everywhere.”

We went inside.

Not too much longer after that, we were back outside and actually remembered to turn off the water. We sat on the patio and Danny ate ice cream and I ate watermelon. Then Danny ate watermelon too. He got a kick out of the compost bin, sliding the rinds through the slot below the cover. I hung the suet cake and he asked why I was putting out a sandwich.

We spent some time looking at the fish in the pond and he made sure I made photos of a floating feather, the brown fish and the spotted fish. Dan hung over the bridge to check out the pumps and the webs underneath. He splashed in the water. He asked me if fish had ears. “What a good question.” I said, resorting to that time-honored stall-for-time answer. “I’m not really sure. I know they can feel vibrations and that’s why they swim away when we walk up to the pond.” He said, “I don’t think they have ears, Auntie W. Look.” He clapped his hands right above the water – what a smart kid! – and the fish did not react. “See? No ears.” I said, “Well, I know who you could ask about that. Your dad would certainly know if fish have ears.” He looked at me and rolled his eyes. “My dad wouldn’t know THAT.”

My brother was a zoology major and owns a company that keeps ponds and waterways in biological balance.

We went to look at the butterflies and then sat in the hammock flipping through my butterfly identification book and talked about Butterflies We Have Seen. A monarch floated by and he shouted. We found a picture of a moth we had seen at my mom’s the night before, a strangely painted creature, appropriately called a virgin tiger moth. It looked like stained glass, or indeed like a tiger.

We went back inside.

And then went outside again, to swing in the hammock and try to dump each other out. For a moment there, while I was swinging him, I thought he might fall asleep. His eyes popped open and we needed to go back inside.

While I took a shower, he sat with Eliza and did indeed fall asleep, almost into a coma.

Then we went back outside. I turned on the hose to water the hydrangeas and the impatiens and naturally, it was Danny’s turn to water. He sprinkled with patience and repeated “Keep it on the plants” until he could stand it no longer. The hose went into the air to sparkle like glass and shower the air. When it came down all over him, he cooed in surprise. And I laughed again.

He walked back down the path, this time not even pretending to “keep it on the plants.” He then threaded it through a garden stick I have to guide the hose and pointed the spray head towards the impatiens.

What a smart kid.

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