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Mt. Ararat

          Anyone know where Mt. Ararat is? I only ask because its been raining now for over 40 days and 40 nights, and its getting time to park this ark. I’m not sure if the current weather events count as a biblical catastrophe, since technically it hasn’t been exactly raining all that time; sometimes it was snowing. Regardless, all the animal pairs as well as my socks, hats, mittens, cuffs and elbows are a bit more than damp. They’re moldy. Of course anyone who’s kept pace with this space for the past couple of years knows that Spring is my favorite time to complain about the weather, and you might think that I’m just crowing Chicken-Little-ishly, but you’d be wrong. This Spring the weather is not just bad, it’s hideous. The yardstick I’m employing involves the fact that I normally take the last two weeks of May off from work to work… at my landscaping. Normally, during that period I’ll be able to grab a day or two to actually relax, and I cash that in by taking a picnic up into the Shorty Creek drainage where I loll about admiring the wildflowers whilst noshing and napping in the sun. This year said drainage is still knee-deep in snow. Irregardless of the rampant flood warnings raining down on us like a plague of locusts, Shorty Creek – and, indeed, Neihart in general – retains its snowy reputation.

          In Great Falls, where my landscaping activities are largely centered, its not been snowing  -only raining – so planting tender annuals has proceeded despite the moldy bodily nooks and crannies, and I suppose the dim, damp, grey cover has been largely good for my plantings (there have been years in which the last two weeks of May involved 100+ temperatures, which made the tender new-hires of the plant world shrink and shrivel along with my income), but not so good for anyone’s Gross Domestic Happiness. For that I look to the time of enforced quietude due to being rained out of working.  Its such a treat to sleep just as long as I want, and then to do whatever the heck I want to after waking. I can go for a long (damp) hike, work on the house, cart dirt around, change the oil in my truck, wash my sweaters, watch a movie, read a book, stand on my head, bake a cake or just keep on lying in bed and imagining the world without poverty for pretty much as long as I want to. How long can you lie in bed before getting bored?

           Longer than I have. I keep getting interrupted by new things that have to be done. One of those turned out to be assembling a new wardrobe which I got while browsing around department stores whilst waiting for the rain to stop. The one I found isn’t from IKEA, but it should  be. It’s that iconic. Cheap and un-assembled. As a matter of fact, its so unassembled that when I got the box home and opened it up, I found not just the expected bag of screws and nails and hinges, but a pile of particles and a bottle of glue so that I could make particle board to screw the stuff into. I’m just happy they didn’t include an acorn from which to grow the tree to chop down before chipping it up and stirring in the glue. That would have taken longer than the four hours it took me to assemble the thing. Thankfully, I’m a female, so I could read the directions, which shortened the assembly time significantly. “Insert panel AA into slot II, using the brown-colored, philips-head 5/8ths inch screw, while singing Dixie and crossing your eyes.” I did it all and got it done. Were I a male, I’d still be re-arranging the pile of un-used parts and drinking beer.

          I also had the opportunity to begin my indoor gardening enterprises in earnest. My house is so full of greenery now I can barely breathe for all the clean oxygen in it. I’m growing miniature corn, herbs, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and flowers, flowers and more flowers. I’ve got hanging baskets of flowers strewn in front of the windows so thickly I can hardly recognize myself in the mirror for all the bruises on my head. I focused on hanging baskets because in this country it’s the only way to keep the deer hungry. My friend Steve eschewed this natural solution for just shooing the deer away. That lasted for about a week, after which he erected a $3000, eight-foot high chain link fence around his garden. The department of homeland security has taken notice, and is taking notes.  One year I tried draping bird netting over the flowers I wanted to grow, only to discover that deer also like bird netting. As it happens, the deer like anything I plant. At my old house they used to climb the six steps up to my front porch in order to eat the tomatoes, which are poisonous to them. They’d  ignore the gaillardia growing naturally in the meadow, and head straight for the gaillardia I’d planted. They’d spend long hours stalking my window boxes, until finally bringing them down with their sharp little hooves.  Here I’m counting on keeping the front door locked to keep them out, but am still not certain that I won’t lose my crop to depredation by deer. I just hope that whatever they do, they get heartburn. Do any of you want some venison? Let’s talk.



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