Saturday, February 20, 2010


photos: sign of spring!, garden planning in the snow
It's official. We're into countdowns these days. Bella has a countdown for everything. 11 days till Christmas. 5 days to Valentine's. 3 - 2- 1 day to MOJO! And somewhere between 14 and 21 days till our new house becomes home.

Let's back up to Mojo. Tomorrow the kids and I will drive to Charlotte to pick up the much-anticipated sequel to Boz. Our new little boxer bundle is just 8 weeks old - much younger than my former puppy experience (we got Boz at 4 months - crate and nearly potty-trained). So my excitement is unblemished. No prior experience with sorrowful sleep-inhibiting serenades, puddles of puppy pee, or chewed shoes. And Bella's excitement is infectious. She has created "mojo" dolls - carefully cutting out the photos I printed for her -- which come with us everywhere and star on any handy stage (in the back seat of the car, or on the table at dinner, or perhaps just on Dexter's head while he attempts to watch the Olympics). She's learned how to spell Mojo and dog, and wrote a "my little puppy" story to share with her class. Each morning is greeted with a mojo dance complete with the daily countdown. Puppy fever has reached epidemic levels here.

Now that other big countdown. 14 days looks almost do-able at this point. For a long while, it seemed very unlikely. Daily I would visit the house - and while JD was busy all the time -- I couldn't really see much progress. The house was untrimmed, showers untiled, cabinets unbuilt, lights unhung, appliances unavailable or undeliverable. And the whole place buried under a foot of snow. But this week - this week - such lovely progress. Countertops were installed Tuesday (did I ever discuss my search for "green" countertops? Or my thoughts on paying twice as much for products that incorporate the waste produced by cheaper materials? perhaps that's best left alone). They look lovely. Sinks of course went in with them, and the cooktop appeared. Cabinets are multiplying (somehow I just never realized my laundry room would also receive gorgeous bamboo cabinets. Even the little cabinet by the door, designed to hold our muddy shoes, is pretty), light fixtures have appeared, and the tubs no longer stand alone in the bathrooms. All week our homesite buzzed as a singular stimulus package - our treat to the local economy.

And I'm dreaming even bigger on the garden. Last weekend I decided to stop acting like a Californian and treat the snow like the good former Iowan. A mere inconvenience - not an absolute obstacle. While the kids snowboarded and slid "penguin-style" on the hill, Kirk and I staked out the vegetable garden. Orange flags and tape work very well in the white snow! My former design turned out to be a little too small - so I'm expanding and re-working it. And I'm taking a 4-week landscaping class - hoping to develop some actionable plans for butterfly gardens, native flowers and grasses, and lovely understory trees and shrubs. I'm starting a list of "must haves" which is getting rather long.

So to the list of countdowns -- add spring. This week I saw my first sign -- a lovely pussy willow in full bud. I know the countdown to spring is more a dance than a straight progression -- but I'll take every little step ahead. I'm making room on my list for a pussy willow or two.