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Another Day in the Country

Another perfect day

© Another Day in the Country

It’s a quiet day in Ramona, my hometown. It’s Memorial weekend, and we are all looking at the forecast.

Will it be nice enough to eat in the park? Will the wind blow us all away as we gather at Lewis Cemetery? Will the train whistle drown out this year’s speaker as he reminisces about the good old days?

Memorial weekend is not an occasion in ALL CAPS as it used to be, when extended family were coming back to Ramona.

Everyone has become older, which makes the trip more arduous or impossible. My generation is slowing down, choosing priorities, being more cautious, taking fewer excursions. I hope they aren’t having less fun.

I bought more plants yesterday when I went into town. I swore I was done since they are more expensive this year. It was hard to find those six-packs that I used to depend upon — until yesterday, that is.

They had those smaller, hardy, ever-blooming zinnias and rose moss. They were $3.95 for six plants. After finding most plants this year in single pots and costing more than that, it seemed like a bargain.

You always can find a spot for those hardy little plants with their cheery colors. In a couple of months, you will be so glad that you did.

Then, Jess found vinca plants that were the exact color of the paint on her gable and she had to get more of those.

After all, they are perennial. We always are working toward having the majority of plants in the yard be the kind that can come back without us being there to supervise.

I began thinning out the iris when they finished blooming and decided to put the extras around the blackberry bush that’s been sitting like an orphan in the middle of the backyard.

I decided to make a flower bed around it to give it more attention. I’ve tried to give that thornless bush away several times. It’s mainly there for the birds. Once in a while I get a handful of berries. Kids who visit my yard get a kick out of it. Maybe this year it will be a star.

The ducks are improving, having mastered a couple of adult life skills just yesterday.

When I let them out of the chicken house pen, they found the pond on their own without my having to show them where it is and encourage them (by clapping my hands and scaring them) to get them to go in.

They also found their way back into the pen in the evening, treating it like it was home base — which it is.

“Fantastic,” I told them.

No longer do I have to bribe them with peas or herd them with the help of Jess and a long stick. We are making progress.

That’s part of the reason why I’m having such a perfect day. I’m digging in the dirt, planting — how much fun is that? I let the chickens out across the way, and my three hens who were forcefully evicted from my backyard are back over begging for treats at my back door again.

“OK, OK, give me a minute,” I tell them, because I have to go into the house through the garage door, get the treats, and then come to my back porch door as if they are a completely wonderful surprise and say, “Here you go, girls! So nice to see you.”

They wander around my yard for a while, disrupt some mulch — like leaving their calling card — and mosey back across the street.

I stop to remind myself of what a perfectly wonderful day I am having.

“Plop, plop, plop, plop, SPLASH,” I hear the ducks going back into the water.

Some geese were flying over, and they were a bit disturbed by the honking and headed for the safety of the pond.

The big splash is Daffy, the bonus duck who is twice as big as the others.

Jeannie is out mowing the ditches around town, sprucing up Ramona for the holiday crowd. (We’re always hopeful.) Everyone is busy doing something.

Last evening, Jess was trying out her new weed eater, and Art came by to demonstrate a battery-powered branch trimmer. So now, she wants one of those, too. She has been amassing tools to make yard work easier.

Everyone in town is doing something. Kathy has been mowing. Don’s watching out for his cats while he spruces up the yard. David is healing. Jane is taking care of their mini-farmstead. Their kids stop by to check on them. Jess has gone to work. Art’s hanging flags on our main street. Neighbors are walking their dogs, mowing, painting, and planting.

We’ve begun putting out flowers on loved ones’ graves, honoring that old tradition that’s been going on for years.

I need to buy more ribbon. And meanwhile, I’ve just stopped for a moment to pay close attention to this perfect day.

It could change in a heartbeat, I know. Some four-legged critter could decide to have duck for dinner. I could trip on that loose porch board and clobber myself good. The phone could ring with bad news.

I hold all the possibilities at bay, knowing we come from strong stock and can weather the storms when they arrive.

Meanwhile, it’s a perfect day — not too hot, not too cool. There’s a soft breeze blowing. I can hear a train whistling as it comes by the edge of town. The doves are cooing, and clouds promise rain on another day in the country.

Last modified May 31, 2023

 

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