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What’s under all that snow (03/16/2011)
By Frances Edstrom

The receding snow has uncovered a number of things I had been trying to forget.

The deck furniture, which came with the house and was in pretty bad shape last fall, looks even worse now. There might at one time have been strips of yellow and white vinyl on the high-backed metal chairs, but now they are a uniform dirty color. I looked up on the Internet to see if anyone fixes such chairs, and found that I could buy strips of the vinyl in many fancy colors and fix them myself, but John and I are frightfully unhandy. Our friends laugh at us behind our backs and don’t know we know, but we do. There’s just no hope for it.

The rose bushes are covered with leaves, and I mean to dig them up when it gets a little warmer and give them to my daughters. Last summer they were like the penny candy store for the deer in the neighborhood, and I’ve decided to go out of the rose business. One morning I looked out to see the little Deer family chowing down on the roses and the hostas. I rapped on the window pane, and they looked up as though to say, “You got a problem, lady?” Later I took the puppy out and was mourning my roses. Only one little blossom was left, at the top of a bare branch, swaying in the wind. As I gazed on it, the puppy jumped up and ate the rose! Roses and I are parting ways. I agonized for months about what to replace the roses with, but after that first big snow storm the whole thing slipped my mind entirely. Now what?

The Siberian Irises need thinning. They were beautiful last year, but one bunch didn’t bloom, too shaded and root-bound I think. Where to put them?

Then there’s the dead tree in the back yard. You know it didn’t look all that bad this winter. Looked just like all the other trees. But now, as I anticipate soon seeing little smudges of green on the branches of the other trees, I know there won’t be any on that tree. I also know that I will nag, and John will say he’ll talk to someone about it. But…

This wasn’t under the snow, but out of sight somehow — the garage floor is covered with sand. Covered. There’s enough there to sweep up and put in a barrel for sanding the sidewalks and steps next winter. The trick is to get to it before the BIG thaw, which will make it all wet and weigh about three times what it does now.

There is a window well below the kitchen door in which an evergreen bush grows. Last fall, some dog toys dropped down into it, and before I could find something long enough to fish them out, it snowed. Now, there they are, reminding me that I couldn’t figure out last year how to get them out, and am not a lot smarter or resourceful this year.

I meant to shop the sales at the end of the summer to find two hammocks, as there are two spots already fixed with O-rings on which to hang them. But of course by the time I remembered that I wanted to do that, the hammocks were gone, replaced with snow shovels and fake Christmas wreaths.

A new dog and a lawn are not always compatible. My plan last fall was to put up gates that would effectively make the dog take the route that I wanted him to in order to do his business. Naturally, it snowed and the opportunity was lost, so the dog took the route he wanted to, which led directly to the front yard, which now looks like a mine field. Back to the drawing board on this one, I ‘m afraid.

Last is the herb garden. Where to put it? The most accessible place would be outside the kitchen door, but that is where I get the least sun. The most sun is in places where the deer like to graze at the salad bar (24/7 We’re always open!), and I don’t feel like feeding them this year. I’m mad at them. But hey! Aren’t these great problems to have? Spring and summer are coming for sure.

Book Club Report

My sister recommends “Room” by Emma Donoghue. Did I tell you about the Donna Leon mysteries? She writes about a police detective married to an English professor in Venice. Somehow much more interesting than modern day Washington, D.C. or L.A. 


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