The last week was very busy--very eventful on all fronts. On Monday, we had the end-of-the-year picnic and awards ceremony for the boys' club. Tuesday saw us bidding farewell to a dear friend who has enlisted in the Army. We've made sure he knows his wife and children (who are our Godchildren) will be well looked-after. Wednesday morning, My Darling worked on the addition--siding and trim are in order these days--and Thursday and Friday the kids and I busied ourselves inside.
Saturday My Darling did more work on the siding, and then Saturday evening we went to Mass. Now, we almost *never* go to Mass on Saturday. We just don't. We are a Sunday morning family, and we like it that way. Our Sunday Mass begins at 11:00, and Benediction comes anywhere from 12:00 to 12:30. We arrive back home mid-afternoon, depending on our errands, and spend the afternoon together as a family. This weekend, though, there was to be a May crowning of a beautiful image of Mama Mary, and we wanted to attend. Fortuitously, when I turned to leave the Church, there on the steps stood our dear friend, Fr. E. The Godfather himself (and another very dear Fr. E.!) was waiting to meet for supper with the Bishop, and so we indulged in a few minutes of long overdue conversation. What a lovely surprise!
We ran our errands, did our grocery shopping and picked up materials for the house, and prayed or Rosary on the way home.
Since we attended the vigil Mass, Sunday was left entirely to us as a family. What a strange thing it was, to rise, share our breakfast, and then not ready for Mass! (And for those keeping track, it's about 3 hours between the end of our breakfast and the time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist--one of the reasons we so prefer the late morning Mass!) Instead, Sunday was very leisurely. My Darling brought a couple of chairs out to the side of the house. I filled my bird feeders, and we sat with our steaming mugs of coffee and watched the finches and siskins vie for position with the grosbeaks. When my Monkey awoke, he came out and joined us, snuggling in my lap with his cup of hot chocolate. The trees whispered quietly above us, and the sun warmed our backs.
I also began looking critically at my front gardens.
When the whole day stretches before a gardener--a day full of the promise of clear blue skies, gorgeously mild temperatures, and twelve bags of mulch waiting in the wings...well, it's a good day in the life of a gardener! Considering that last year saw my energy waning about this time (I was, after all, busy!), there was plenty to be accomplished this weekend. Three gardens were waiting on me, and no help for it. I removed sod for Pete's sake--sod which had the nerve to establish itself atop the permeable fabric I had so carefully laid beneath the mulch. Ugh! I sweated. I yanked. I pulled. I grimaced. I may have grunted a time or two. And the birds chattered furiously above me, scolding me for daring to invade the area below their favorite feeder!
Ha! I was not to be deterred. My poor, neglected gardens needed some TLC, and I had no intention of allowing them to sink even further into disrepair.
And so I dug in. By the middle of the afternoon, I had weeded, thinned, and mulched my front beds, and clipped several thousand dry, dead twigs and branches from my poor crab apple tree. I increased the amount of waste in the compost bin by nearly half. I also collected some large rocks from the backyard, and built them into a wide-based pyramid in the center of one of the gardens, with a flat-sided rock at the pinnacle. I topped it off with a large terracotta saucer, and filled it with water, so that my little friends at the feeders can catch a drink and a splash with their meals. They love it! And what a beautiful contrast it is to see the bright yellow of the goldfinches against the warm brownish-orange of the clay beneath their little feet.
My children also worked hard that day. The Pickle and the Reepicheep delighted in helping me by hauling weeds and sticks to the compost. As I pruned my beautiful little crab apple tree, Reepicheep picked up the twigs and stacked them for the village to toss into the mulch machine. Monkey had a great time helping My Darling, picking up nails or small scraps of siding to be discarded. And the Frog did a wonderful job lending a hand with my little Bug. It truly was a glorious day. Perhaps I'll get back to posting pictures, and snap a few of what we did.