Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Birthday That Keeps on Giving

Weeks ago I ordered three Fat Albert Colorado spruce trees from a local nursery; they were finally planted on Friday. They are to shield the corner of our yard from passing cars and possible future building, but are so lovely I'd have put then in anyway even if we didn't want the evergreen coverage. The Fat Alberts will max out at about 25 feet, and be much fuller around the bottom than a regular spruce, which will offer us good visual cover from the road. They are stunning.

In what was quite possibly the best birthday present of all, Monito fell asleep Friday night at 7 pm and slept through to the morning. He was up at 6:32 am and H-Mama swept him up and took him away and let me sleep in with Pequita. Once we all got going around 9ish, H-mama went out to buy a replacement part for the lawn tractor that I cracked mowing over a big rock. She was unsuccessful in finding a store open with the part we needed but had managed to buy my birthday present, five hellebore plants for the shaded spot near our front door. I've been wanting some of these in my yard for years, and finally have the beds ready for the plants. She also bought a very cute cast iron owl for me. We left the lawn tractor in a pile of bolts, belts and cracked bits and loaded the kids in the car and drove to our former landlords' house. They are moving to Hawaii in a month and had offered us free pillaging of their established and lush perennial beds - too good an offer to pass up as we rebuild our flower gardens. We were most successful, coming home with Bachelor buttons, Jacob's Ladder, forget-me-nots, hardy sage and marjoram, yellow iris, hens and chicks, two kinds of allium, three kinds of flowering creeping ground cover, and columbine. We will likely be going back in a few weeks for more.
Once cannot drive to our old landlord's house without passing the local quarry, which - fortuitously - had a sale going on. Two sleeping babies + sunny weekend day + a love of all things rocky, and voila, a fabulous two hours of activity. The kids woke up within the first thirty minutes, but this was all for the best because there were skid steers moving rocks everywhere and the babies LOVED watching the activity, climbing all over the boulders and getting filthy. I regret that I didn't have my camera.
I don't know how many other people there are in the world who go out to fetch some free plants and end up buying 6.25 TONS of rock on a whim, but we did. We bought a huge boulder to put on the corner of our property. Every winter we get a couple cars skidding onto our lawn since we live on a rounded corner lot. Most stop at the road's edge, but not all. I want to protect our new spruces and also discourage foolish people who speed when it's icy from careening into our yard. The boulder we bought outweighs H-Mama's Toyota. We almost didn't get it, because the fellow heading the sale told us it was $400 per ton [= a $900 rock] because it was not just your average rock but the very dear type of rock they split into slabs and use for architectural facing and stone furniture. The manager happened to wander down from the office as we were picking out some meager stone scraps with which to make a project for the kids and overruled the price quoted us on the boulder, giving it to us for the same price as all the other rock, over $300 less per ton, saying, "Happy Birthday, Ma'am". We also selected two massive lichen-covered field stone slabs to sink into the yard for the kids to climb on. Homestead Mama and I both love an expanse of sun-warmed rock upon which to climb in the summer, and since our yard didn't come with one we are retro-fitting one in. We can imagine our kids playing on it for years to come. In addition to all this, we ordered 2.5 tons of thick cut stone to line our driveway garden beds. We now have a bit of prep to get the sites ready for the delivery - there is a huge truck with a 24' boom to swing it all into place. I will be placing the driveway edging rocks myself, but this is where all the lifting and carrying 50+ lbs of baby 8000 times a day will come in handy. My shoulders have never been stronger.

We rushed home at 6 pm from with our plants and I raced to put them in the ground before their roots dried out while H-Mama started mowing the yard with our neighbor's mower. Monito took this opportunity to climb onto a 2' high pile of rocks in our front yard [yes, some would call us rock crazy; I prefer to think of us as avid hardscapers] and found a twelve inch metal spike that used to hold a bit of our house together. He had a lovely time whacking it on things until I noticed him chewing away on it. Sad boy had to finish out the evening on Mum's back in the Ergo carrier. Harder for me to dig this way, but safer for the wee bairn. Pequita entertained herself by shoveling mulch in and out of the birdbath.

H-Mama ran out of daylight in which to mow around 9 pm and came inside. I was already inside with bathed, pajama-clad exhausted babies. Monito was asleep within seconds of starting to nurse, and Pequita and I ate watermelon and watched Sesame Street on the couch until H-Mama came in to put her down. We had boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner at 9:45 while we watched Top Chef. A most stupendous birthday.

Homestead Mama will be home from work for three more days because it is a holiday weekend and she took Tuesday off from work to celebrate the adoption. It feels like a birthday bonanza. Yay!

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