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Spring has sprung, the grass has riz

(… and if you don’t know what the title’s about, here ’tis.)


I’m housebound today awaiting a delivery that requires what they still anachronistically call a “signature,” even though in these crazy COVID days it merely means the driver is required to catch a distant glimpse of whatever small portion of my face I’m allowed to reveal in her presence (as shockingly as a Victorian lady might reveal a glimpse of her stockinged ankle).

FedEx being FedEx, they’ll probably turn up around sunset. In the meantime the dispatchers and customer service mavens will have absolutely zero idea where the shipment is. Tasmania? Timbuctoo? Lying in a ditch somewhere half a mile from my house? Unlike the more efficient organization that sends forth the Brown Truck of Happiness, FedEx knows not where its trucks and drivers go after they leave the warehouse.

Still, I should be grateful that FedEx not only reaches these far reaches of the PNW, but sometimes, miraculously, manages to get two trucks a day up this tiny dead-end street that doesn’t even appear in their databases. Even the Brown Truck of Happiness people can’t manage that. And I am grateful. I am. Can I be headbanging and grateful at the same time?

Also, the driver of that second truck, the one I await today, is really nice, as are the people shipping me nice stuff. So yes, I’m going with grateful.


But all that is merely to say that my housebound status gives me a chance to do a little extra blogging. You get a “lite” blog today, and depending on how things go, I may prep another blog or two, then start one of the blogosauri we talked about last time.

Several readers have asked for more pix of Ye Olde Wreck, more recently known as Mo Saoirce Hermitage. Here you go.

We have the first rhodie of spring!

It seems a little late, but the year has been like that. The daffodils and skunk cabbage that usually harbinge* spring in February staggered out of earth around April. The colossal, mutant PNW camellia bushes that usually burst with blossoms in March also chose April this year, and late April, at that.

The sedum rock garden that performed so spectacularly from the moment I planted it two summers ago has done nothing this year. Except fill in. It’s filling in quite nicely.

None of its spectacular color displays yet, but those may come later. Meanwhile, look at all that green, green, green greenery. I tell you, the PNW is so gorgeous it (almost) makes those nine months of rain worthwhile.

Although most blooms made late appearances, this one set of plants decided suddenly to thrive.

I planted those purple puppies two years ago from 4″ pots. They survived. Even grew a bit. But until about six weeks ago, meh. Then … it was like a floral detonation. The plants themselves doubled or tripled in size and at the same time produced huge crops of blooms. All over town, those same plants, whatever they are, did the same thing while most other flowering flora sulked.

Glorious work, you flowers!

Now, can somebody tell me what they are? I diligently stuck several of their little plastic marker-tags in the ground so I’d know, but either something carried the tags off or they’re buried deep within foliage that I’m not going to disturb. I’d like to get some more of these beauties.

And speaking of the grass being riz …

It’s as much as 18″ tall on my lot across the street even though it was cut only a couple of weeks ago. Neighbor J mowed a portion of it yesterday after I gave her some lovely big end tables I have no space for. But the grass has most definitely riz. Time to track down The Wandering Monk again.


Searching for some of the rock garden and sedum links above, I was reminded of what a depressing, angry, fearful, authoritarian, propaganda-driven spring we suffered through last year. I’ve never been much of a gardener and probably never will be, but I’m reminded now of how flowers and other plantings helped me keep my head on straight in 2020 while so many others were losing theirs.

I hope your spring 2021 is better in all ways.

That’s it for now. But after a break in the sunshine, I’ll continue prepping future blogs for you.


* I don’t care if it’s not an actual word. If something’s a harbinger, then surely it can harbinge.


  1. Comrade X
    Comrade X May 12, 2021 2:24 pm

    Looks like you are having the same beautiful day up there as we are down here.

    I’m waiting for that brown truck and the F-x one today too, but no signature will be required so if my gate happens to be closed when they come they just drop it there. It’s far enough from the main road to not be an issue for someone with sticky fingers.

    Things are blooming here too. What I like is the humming birds are beginning to come back and doing their thing. Been noticing the Osprey’s flying over again, really love it (not) when they drop one of those ell like creatures in the yard they find in the river.

    The better half is out buying some “flowers” to plant right now. Can’t wait to see what she picked out.

    I love all the seasons but spring is the one that makes you remember if you happened to forget during the winter rains why you live in the PNW.

    Sounds to me like you are enjoying life, young lady!

  2. Fred M
    Fred M May 12, 2021 2:33 pm

    Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the robin (biddy) is?
    Your home is a great testament to Spring. The potted plant that looks like a Roddy is beautiful, and the rock garden is growing to beat the band. Outstanding! This to me, is a glorious time of year where plants and animals harbor the call of life and God’s goodness.You are very fortunate to have a lifestyle that seems to suit you well. Just don’t go out at night dancing and prancing to the full moon au natural.

  3. Granny
    Granny May 12, 2021 3:28 pm

    Lovely! Here in Idaho, there’s only one small patch of snow left hiding under a tall fir tree, which kind of tree, I know not. This is the only place I’ve lived where it can almost hit 70 degrees during the day in Spring and plunge down to 32 at night. Our last frost date is next week. Somehow I missed the snow run off which usually floods our little valley quite a bit. I was gone for 2 weeks and when I returned most of the snow was gone. And I mean we set records this winter – not since the early 90’s has there been this much snow where I live. I had a constant 6′ around the house and the steep driveway was not for the faint of heart. Whoooosh and hoping the snow berm on the other side of the road would catch me. I’m glad Spring has sprung.

    Love your writing Claire!

  4. Steve
    Steve May 12, 2021 6:44 pm

    I didn’t know ospreys were anywhere but here on Cape Cod.

    Queep Queep.

    No snow again for yet another winter. If I didn’t know better I’d say things might be getting warmer…

  5. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail May 12, 2021 7:38 pm

    Claire, thank you for sharing your pictures. I remember the rock garden from last year; it appears that it is filling in nicely. Are you by chance impacted by the Great Drouth that is coming this year?

    We have both the magical of Red/White/Blue and Brown as well as the Blue Truck of the Borg. I actually have had to sign for things, even this year – when one is a martial artist, they are sometimes not willing to “take you at your word”. I actually think we have had up to three deliveries by the Blue Truck of the Borg in a day; Red/White/Blue and Brown are only once.

    We are in the midst of another round of potential rain all through next week – great for the garden, and hopefully pushing off the arrival of Summer until the End of May (no worry, the heat wave will commence one way or the other).

  6. WolfSong
    WolfSong May 13, 2021 10:54 am

    That grass makes me so jealous!
    Mine is still brown and crispy as we anxiously await the rains that we are hoping come.
    I’ve got a small hay field that I typically get several thousand pounds of hay off of a year…I’m not sure I’ll get a first cut even, if we don’t see moisture and soon.

    But your grasses there, if someone around you has small hay eating animals, could easily be harvested, dried and baled. If one were so inclined. 😉

    Oh and the flowers/rock wall looks fabulous!! 😍

  7. larryarnold
    larryarnold May 13, 2021 8:54 pm

    Other than our grandkids, in Georgia, everything is going pretty well. Our married daughter called on Mom’s Day (After I sent a HINT) and she says they’re muddling through. Our other daughter also called. She’s in the midst of running graduations at work, but took time to call, and also send a big box of chocolate-covered strawberries. Mom’s happy, so everybody’s happy.

    Down here in Texas we’re recovered (mostly) from our Big 100-Year Freeze. Daily highs have crept up into the 80s.

    We have a sage bush which we really thought was dead and gone, but the local Texas Master Gardner experts kept saying, “Don’t cut until May.” Our sage is leafing out and preparing to bloom, though there are a few branches which apparently froze.

    Our grass is high enough to cut, and there are a few dandelions to deal with. My SIL says, “Don’t buy firewood,” as she has enough downed branches to replenish our woodpile.

    Turns out much of the indigenous world can take a sub-zero week better than us humans.

    For poly-ticks, I’m in the middle of my every-other-year self-imposed “Track gun laws through the Texas Legislature on my website” binge. This year we have a new record of 187 bills. The session ends May 31*, and so far none of the ugly bills have any traction. It looks like we’ll become one of the 20-plus no-license carry states.

    In 2000 the thought of that would have been hilarious.

    *The Texas Legislature meets for 180 days in odd-numbered years. Our poly-tickians have to come home and make a living the rest of the time.

    Spring has sprung
    In Texas: Spring has sprung, Fall has fell, Summer’ll be hotter’n Hell.

  8. John Wilder
    John Wilder May 13, 2021 10:33 pm

    I am sunburnt.

    It was worth it.

  9. James
    James May 16, 2021 10:30 am

    “Harbinge.” It may not have been a word yet, when you put fingers to keyboard, but it is now.

    Most word-inventors seem to make nouns out of gerund verbs (i.e., “parenting”). You launched a verb from an existing noun. That’s much, much better. Possibly even betterer.

    Gorgeous photos!

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