I’m not even going to begin to tell you what bad shape my garden is. I have, quite possibly, just let the whole thing go since mid-summer. So, I’m in the big bed trying to pull out most of the grass so that I can get everything cut back and see where the soil needs added to since the whole flood crap washed away big portions I never got around to fixing.

And I wanted to plant some alliums because I had never seen them before I got them in my mystery bouquet this summer and I have such positive associations now. And they’re cool. But I bought the bulbs from the grocery store, so we’ll see if any come up. I know I’m going to be wishing I’d just bought them from Bates. I got them in, though.

There’s so much to do. Every bed needs to be weeded. Some beds need major dirt hauled in. I still haven’t dug up the irises I intended to dig up and the ones that are out in the yard need to be rescued as soon as possible.

And bless its heart, my coneflowers were a total bust this year. Not that many came up. A couple had yellow aster so I had to pull them out of the garden. And the rest never got a deep purple, but were so light purple they were almost white. And yet, today, I pulled a big tree branch out of the bed and uncovered a coneflower no taller than my pinky but in bloom, with a huge flower, though still light purple.

My dad taught me how to drive my lawnmower over the phone. I get a little freaked out over the “on” v. “in” feeling and I’m not quite sure yet how I want to hold my balance, and a couple of times I forgot that the whole point of needing to know how to drive the lawnmower was so that I could put the trailer on the back of it and haul some dirt around and I came kind of close to running the trailer into things. And I can’t put it away because I can’t figure out how to back it up with a half full trailer attached. But I moved it to where you can’t see it from the road and I think it’ll be okay until the Butcher gets home.

In other exciting news, the dog broke her right top canine tooth. I was wondering why she didn’t eat the bone I got her earlier this week. Now I know. I gave her some baby aspirin, but I don’t think there’s really a whole lot more to be done as long as she can still eat.

She broke off her bottom tooth when she was younger and, in a medical mystery, it grew back. But neither Dad nor I think she’s got a second tooth miracle in her at this age.

I’m not showing you pictures of what I got done to the big bed because I’m embarrassed that it took me four hours and it’s maybe just a four by four square. But, by god, the peonies have been freed from a shit-ton of grass and the ones that lost dirt around their rhisomes during the flood have been recovered with an awesome mixture of compost and soil from Lowe’s.

But, in my defense, I had to chase the dog over to the neighbor’s where she got in his truck and sat, trying to entice him to take her for a ride. He’s very good-natured about how much she loves him. But he’s convinced that it’s not him she loves but his truck and the fact that he throws his steak bones out in the back yard.

A Suggested Compromise for the Hunters in My Area

Let me say up front that people hunt in my neck of the woods all the time. This time of year, I hear them every day. Far away, up in the hills. And to them I say, “Not for me, but good luck to you.”

No, I am talking about the 1% of hunters who don’t go up in the hills to hunt, hills which are not very far away, hills which you can reach by… oh… crossing the street and crossing the creek and climbing. I am talking about the assholes who stay down here in the residential areas and shoot. And since I hear hunters up in the hills every day this time of year, I know what they sound like. And it’s not like it sounds when you shoot.

Listen, when it is so loud and close that I am concerned you’re shooting at my house, it is time for you to reconsider. If you must hunt down here, perhaps take up bow hunting. If you’re not sport hunting but shooting at, say, a coyote or a rabid dog or something, please shout a courtesy, “Coyote!” or “Killer beaver!” once you’ve put it down.

Then your neighbors will all go back about their business with no concern.

Because here’s the thing. I’d like to believe that you are like your buddies up in the hills and that you have taken all precautions and checked to see what is behind the thing you are shooting at (say, possibly, me), but it’s not like there’s just five houses down here. It’s actually pretty well-packed for “rural.” So, your poor judgment in choosing to stay down here to shoot does not make me feel like I trust your judgment about what you’re shooting at.

Get it together.