Colbert Lampoons Arizona S.B. 1070

I’m stunned that S.B. 1070 was signed into law by Arizona State Governor Jan Brewer today.

The last time living in Arizona was this embarrassing was in the early to mid 80s, when  then-governor Ev Mecham cancelled the MLK holiday and referred to African-American children (I believe it was a group of kids assembled on the state capitol steps) as “pickaninnies”.

The best commentary on this sad state of affairs? As usual, during a recent Colbert Report broadcast; click here, the immigration story is 4 minutes into the broadcast.

Meanwhile, to my friends in AZ with more melanin than me:  no DWB without proof of residency. Your drivers’ license may not be good enough to prove you’re here legally; and now you’ll have to pay yourself for any jail time you incur.

Endless Yardwork

It’s not quite Endless Summer…but at least all this work should make for a more beautiful yard for me this summer. What have I been doing the past few days? It hasn’t been anything art-related. Though last Sunday we had a great Irish house session at my home: 2 fiddlers, 1 piper, 1 flute, 1 guitar, 1 bodhran. It was great. A nice break from all the work.

So, all those plants I got at the plant sale (see the previous post) had to go in the ground, so I dug up the ground adjacent to my perennial bed, which of course has agaves and aloes in it, that’s the kind of perennial border you get around here:

…and I plunked in some of the plants from the sale, including some hollyhocks, we’ll see how they do….

Then, alongside my new path I dug up a narrow strip of ground; my ambitious plans for an annual flower bed. We’ll see how my dreams look in 2 months, when everything will be beaten down by the scorching hot days.

I have no reason to trust all the doves and birds that love to peck at the ground when I’m not nearby…so I covered up my new flowerbed with some chicken wire (now sold as “poultry mesh”!!)  I scattered marigold, globe amaranth, cosmos, nasturtium and anise hyssop seeds; they are heat tolerant and I’ve had some luck with globe amaranth before. We’ll see what happens.

Then next to the flower bed I planted a couple of somewhat aggressive groundcovers, a wedelia (yellow drops) and a creeping lantana; there’s still some bermuda grass in that area that sadly shoots up occasionally and I’d like to give what’s left of it some hefty competition. That plant is a scourge. No, it’s worse than that. It’s a plague. You can’t kill it.

Next to the 2 groundcovers, where the giant hole in the ground used to be, is my new Sweet Pete fig tree, which my mom gave to me Monday.

Here you can see what I did with my cactus pruner; I broke a blade hacking away at this agave, though. I think I got a bit carried away.

My mom gave me some soaker hose she wasn’t using, so I strung it around my fruit trees: apricot–which is just a fledgling–and my more mature tangelo, orange and lemon trees. The hose is partially underground and I heaped lots of mulch on top of it. At a slow low-water-pressure drip, the ground is soaked 3 feet deep in 12 hours.

I still have some chores left to do: install more soaker hoses, install shade cloth on raised beds, paint the work bench where my bee hive will stand, and plant a cactus garden. And then order some more decomposed granite to fill in barren spots. I hope to have all that stuff done in another month. THEN I can get back to sewing and playing music.

Plant Sale at the Pima County Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden

The University of Arizona’s “Campus Farm” is just down the street from me; it’s the large plot of acreage that is their agricultural program. They also have a lovely demonstration garden as part of their Cooperative Extension, and yesterday was the spring plant sale to benefit the Master Gardener program and the Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden.  Most plants–very nice plants suitable for desert landscaping–were $4. Uh-huh. What a deal. A lot of the same plants would be triple, at least, at a local nursery; and, they wouldn’t be as good. Here’s the line that formed well before the sale started:

Smart folks brought their own boxes, as you can see. I just staggered around with pots of plants in my arms.  As soon as the gate opened, there was a feeding-frenzy under the small ramada where all the plants were neatly arranged; here you can see the “hold” table in the foreground, where folks have stashed their plants they want to buy, and the actual sale in the background:

Here’s a close-up of some of the lovely plants on hold, including my own; I picked up a pink trumpet vine, a penstemon, a couple of hollyhocks (we’ll see how they do) and some xeric groundcovers including a Chihuahuan primrose, and some hummingbird and bee friendly perennials:

The trumpet creepers are in full bloom in the gardens; that rose arbor in the background has a very nicely controlled Cecile Brunner rose. There were so many people at the sale. I think I heard a beleaguered sounding Master Gardener tell someone in the garden that “those plants aren’t for sale”.

I’d like to have the time to be part of the Master Gardener program. What fun. I can’t wait to put my plants in the ground…..tomorrow, I hope! Bearbear and I walked by the largely empty ramada today, the day after the sale; it was quiet, no one was there, and I think there were about 30 plants left unsold.

Boston Trip April 2010

I had a great (but brief) trip to Boston, got back 2 days ago. I’m such a wimp; the 3 hour time difference between coasts has me beat.

The day after I arrived in Boston, my 86-year-old aunt Mary Stewart drove me from Hingham to Dorchester to have a SCRUMPTIOUS brunch at the home of–I hope I have this right–my second cousin once removed, Katy Miles. I am still wishing I could drink strawberry Bellinis every morning. What a great meal.

Above is the photo of our brunch. I’m going to try to get this right. The way I think of all my second cousins is this: they are the grandchildren of my paternal grandmother’s older brother, Ned.

Top row from left to right: Peggy O’Neil, Mary O’Neil Crisafulli, Patrick Tranford, Joanne Tranford (his wife), me. Second row from left: Mary Stewart, Nancy O’Neil Hannan, Christine Whittemore, Michael O’Neil, Katy Miles; and bottom row, Pat and Joanne’s daughter….Christine? I hope I got that right. She’s a nursing student. If I got her name wrong…sorry.  So, with the exception of Pat’s wife, everyone there is a blood relation.Unbelievable.

The next day was Mary’s birthday: 87!! Here she is at her party with her daughter Megan, who put me up during my stay and who was very gracious, even buying me organic half-and-half before I arrived to make sure I was extra comfy in her home:

Mary has a lovely garden. Though there is a spot with a plague of Siberian Irises. I helped thin them out, and in this photo below my work looks tidy; but I’m sure the minute it rains those resilient rhizomes will shoot up all over the place. I even moved the pavers to hack away at those things. I suggested lighter fluid and a match as the only sensible approach to dispatching that type of iris; with a garden hose nearby, of course; but I guess this approach is a little too…cowboy for that part of the world. Check this out, it’s so New England:

The following day I hacked away at the myrtle. Some people in Mary’s home love myrtle; and, because it was locally held in such high esteem, you can see the clumps of myrtle I graciously saved so they could be thoughtfully transplanted elsewhere and so that some poor soul in the future can try to thin the things. Good luck on that.

On Tuesday I met my second cousin Michael O’Neil at the new Institute of Contemporary Art. The main exhibit was dull and pretentious, but many of the works on display from the permanent collection were compelling and interesting.

For some reason Michael wanted a shot of me in the middle of the street outside the museum. Here we were just outside the only old landmark visible in the area, the tiny chapel that Michael said used to be used by fishermen before they went to sea, or when they came back; he remembered going there with his dad. It was locked up; clearly, the economic demographic has changed.

Here I am looking out over the harbor from the ICA; the view here is worth the price of admission. The red jacket is not mine; I packed only a carry-on and had to borrow warm clothes from my kin, I’m just too used to the warmer temperatures in Arizona.

Michael took this photo of me in the museum; I’m looking at the security guard on her way to tell Michael to put his camera away, immediately.

My brother John lives in Boston. He’s very busy but had some time to meet up; here we are at Mary’s home for a quick dinner. I’ve got my hands on one of Mary’s biscuits; and, she does make the best biscuits, I ate about a dozen in 24 hours. Between the biscuits and the Bellinis I can’t really decide which one I liked better.

John took this nice shot of me with Mary and Michael.

Such a lovely trip; I’m very thankful to be related to so many warm, generous and accommodating people. I can’t wait to go back!

Garden Update

I’m off to Boston on Saturday. I’m leaving this blog behind and just taking my fiddle and a small carry-on. Nothing personal, blog. I just like to make a clean break from the routine every now and then.

I’ll be on the South Shore; and Dorchester, where some of my 3rd cousins (my Newfoundland grandmother’s brother’s grandchildren, if I got that right) live, they’re having a brunch for me Sunday, YUM. I like visiting Boston. It reminds me of my childhood, and I remember a lot about that area from the 70s.

Here’s the yard update; I can’t wait to get this project more close to done so I can start to sew again:

I cleaned up the northwest corner, now devoted to compost bins and….my new beehive, whenever it arrives (hopefully before the bees, that would be a good thing):

This is just a shot of what I’ll fix up when I get back, improve that path with the 2 tons of decomposed granite I have left:

Here are new perennials I got at the Tucson Botanic Gardens annual spring plant sale 2 weeks ago, I made a soaker hose from an old garden hose, mulched the plants, and I’ll cover this area with nice gold decomposed granite, eventually:

It looks a bit bleak, but compare it to this, 10 months ago:

Yuck! Isn’t that chain link fence and oleander horrible? I had to live with that for 5 years. And the too-close-for-comfort view of the duplex rentals next door?  When the wall went up 9 months ago I was very very happy:

See you next week!