Celebrations and the Stumps of Shame

Celebrations surround the nursery right now.  Fertility, fresh-paint, rainwater, summer’s-coming, nest-construction, salmonberry-snacking, digging, hatching, hammering, growth!  Everyone is in on it!

A new office (a.k.a. officeaj mahal) s under construction, a swallow is building her nest in the still-open ceiling joists, a red-headed sapsucker darts back and forth between the insect-rich swamp and her nest tree and rabbits converge on the tender nursery plants from every direction: one lives under the storage shed, one by the big Cottonwood and one under the Quince bush.

My niece Cassie and her sweetie Ty are preparing for their wedding in the field adjacent to the nursery.  They constructed a wedding arch from Vine Maple poles on Sunday.  Family members have painted and cleaned the little cabin where my office has been.  The father of the bride has been leveling, seeding and mowing, mowing, mowing the field.  Wedding planners and decorators wander about with clipboards and measuring tapes.

During a work party last weekend, my brother and the next-door neighbor  conferred about wedding parking while two bears lolled about in the planned parking area.  They didn’t care about the two humans and the idling mini-van.  Work party participants tied up the littlest dog when they learned of the bear siting, but after the cleanup neatly piled all garbage (oopsie) on the patio for later hauling.  One of those bags proved particularly interesting to our ursine residents. I did a bit of Monday morning bear K.P.  Bears really like pizza-flavored paper plates, chocolate and licking meat trays. Not much for onions.

It is fun and interesting, if a bit scary, to have bears in the neighborhood, taking advantage of the natural abundance.  The salmonberries are ripening, and I like the idea of bears eating our salmonberries.  Wait a minute…whose berries are they, really?  Bears don’t care about rules regarding property rights, littering or civilized dining manners (no, no, let Fifi go).  I think they do know which day is garbage day in neighboring Reintree, though!

Civilizing the gardens around the cabin has been part of the wedding-prep duties. Two ivy-covered stumps have long been a source of personal humiliation (they were objects of ridicule for my Native Plant Society colleagues at a meeting a few years ago). Thanks to my big sister April, the Stumps of Shame were finally stripped of their illicit foliage, planted round about with Piggy-back Plants and Lady Ferns, and given a big Goatsbeard as a centerpiece with a little Evergreen Huckleberry on one side.  Today I topped the stumps with a little soil and planted native Sedum and Woodland Strawberry.  I spruced up the overgrown native garden by the driveway, pulling buttercup and pruning Western Red Cedar and Red Huckleberry limbs to give the Scouler’s Corydalis more light.  I added some Foamflower, Small-flowered Alumroot, a Bilberry and some native Sedges.  Gardening is FUN!

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