This is a post I published on Cowbird, and I wanted to share with you:
This morning we toured the Shinzen Japanese Gardens at Woodward Park. As you can see from the pictures, it is a beautiful place, filled with spring flowers and budding plants. The peacocks were guarding their nests with loud shrieks; the pounding of the drums reverberated through the gardens. The day started beautifully with a promise of temperatures in the 80s. The park was filled with people, all enjoying the sunshine, the gardens, and blue skies. It was perfection.
Later, at home, and sitting out in the backyard, I started reading the flurry of Cowbird stories about the winter weather many of our writers were experiencing. The same types of posts, and pictures, were also on Facebook. This is my response to all those stories:
>>I’m sitting out back, on the greenhouse pad, in a wicker chair, wearing capris, and my feet, in tennis shoes, are propped up on the low wall. I’m reading posts, blogs, and stories written by people who woke up to snow-encrusted landscapes this morning while I listen to the neighbors’ air conditioners come on. Although feeling a bit guilty, I am loving this wonderful weather, here in California, under a pear tree in Fresno.<<
For all of you wondering where spring is, it is here, in California. You are certainly welcome to visit it.
A lovely cool morning. Cool is a relevant term here in the San Joaquin Valley in the summer time. Seventy degrees is pretty nice for 9:30.
I am sitting on the patio, enjoying a slight breeze that jingles the wind chimes. The birds are calling to one another or complaining about the cat that is slinking around in the backyard. The morning sun dapples the yard with leave shadows. I can see that the spiders have been busy as the sun glints off their web city built on palm fronds that fell last winter and still await Terry’s chainsaw and the green container. The pile is growing smaller and soon the spiders will need to migrate.
Have I mentioned how much I love summer mornings in Fresno?
It is lovely out here on the patio. You know the one, the patio that needs its own caretaker. There is a delightful breeze blowing through the yard as sit at the patio table and type. My wind chimes are jingling in the breeze. I’m trying to enjoy as much time outdoors as possible. I know a hot, dry summer is headed our way and the afternoons will be spent indoors, with the air conditioner running.
I baked a pan of brownies, did two loads of laundry, made croutons, all after returning from my docent training at Kearney Mansion this morning. Next Thursday I give my first tour so I was anxious to work my way through the house, being sure I can open and lock the doors and operate the Victrola. I was terrified I might break it, but I think I have it figured out. Of course, when I have to operate it with 20 children staring at me, I might not do as well. Operate it and talk at the same time!
While I’ve been sitting here, the neighbor’s cat has come by:
I call him the neighbor’s cat, but he pretty much lives in our yard. He likes it because it’s quiet with lots of secluded spots for sleeping and I keep food out for him; that’s why he was here, to get a snack.
It’s such a pleasant afternoon for all us of out here.
Took my laptop out to the backyard this afternoon to work on a few invitations and notes. The weather is absolutely perfection. Sun is shining, 79 degrees, a slight breeze. I’m sitting on the bench under the pear tree, listening to the leaves rustling and the windchimes singing. You can see “my office:”
I could do this everyday.
Having a patio is nice. It shades our house; it’s a place to sit and read the paper on a Sunday morning; the cats use it as their bedroom; we occasionally eat there. The amount of work, however, to keep it clean, is mammoth.
For one thing, it is a big patio. Probably the same size as the tiny SF apartment. The two trees in the backyard shed their leaves which then blow up on the patio, along with piles of dirt. I don’t know where all the dirt comes from. Over the years, I have probably hosed off an acre of dirt, yet the backyard does not get larger.
The spiders like the patio because the bugs love it, too. For a long time we had a pest control service that kept the spiders and all bugs under control; but the use of poisons bothered me even though they said it was all organic. (Hey, killing something doesn’t seem organic to me.) We had to be sure and leave the gate unlocked for the service rep to come in the back yard which also meant taking in all the cat’s food and bedding, and cats too, for that matter. Then there was the cost. I have apartment rent to pay now, in an expensive city, so I’m cutting costs. The spiders are happy and making their home again in the patio roof. Their webs are just more to clean up, however.
I usually clean the patio early spring, mid summer, and late fall. Today was the mid summer cleaning. It will be around 108 today so I did all my errands and chores, which today was the patio and greenhouse pad (that’s another story), before 11 a.m. It will probably be too hot this evening to go out back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.