Thursday, April 12, 2007

a sign of the times?

A little break from life in my "Garden of Eden" to wax (un-)eloquent about media and culture. Indulge me for just a minute and take a look at the following "news" headlines:
- Wife doused with gas, set afire; son also hurt
- Smith's baby's dad? Answer may come soon
- Coyote attacks young boy playing in back yard
- Mom admits trying to drown 2 daughters in tub
- Fleeing suspect caught after fake leg fell off
- 2,000 stolen wedding gowns seized at border
Looks typical for the National Enquirer, no? Or perhaps some other supermarket tabloid like Star Magazine, or The Sun in the UK? Sadly, the headlines above are (apparently) considered legitimate top news stories taken straight off the website. What's worse, this is not the result of an isolated slow news week. While all of these "news stories" have appeared in the last 48 hours, this particular week hasn't even been as bad as the usual drivel that has appeared over the past six months. How we can put "American Idol sends another contestant packing" in the same short list as "Iran may have nuclear weapons soon"?

General nausea aside, I'm not quite able to discern whether this is more upsetting because of the commentary it makes on the state of our media, or the commentary it makes on the state of American culture. (Maybe it's not either/or: maybe it's BOTH). Is it because the media think these nuggets of information are honestly worthy of our time and attention, or are these headlines really the things about which we want to be informed? Does knowing that a woman tried to drown her child or that a man's fake leg fell off make me a better, more informed citizen of this community, this country, the world? It's as if we are so in love with ourselves, so infatuated with our own dysfunction, that we are utterly blind to the things around us that actually do matter. We're like the spoiled teenage debutante obsessing over the state of her makeup and the gum that's somehow gotten tangled in her hair and the bad shoes that her friend has decided to buy for $400 and the boy who's run off with her best friend...all the while completely oblivious to the fact that she's standing in a house that's burning down.

Admittedly, I don't know the cause for this sensationalism, and I'm even further away from having a solution. But this I know: the line between cheap entertainment and real news shouldn't be so blurry.

Monday, April 09, 2007

completing the curve and building up

Just a few quick photos to show off the garden progress for the weekend. The trellis is in (obviously), and I planted seeds for snow peas today. I also put one butternut squash seedling and one yellow squash seedling in the ground this afternoon just to see how they do. Not to sound callous, but if they die I have a few "backups" growing in the seed tray inside.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

mother nature strikes back

I realize it's not all about me. I know that. But I feel as if this morning's meteorological activity was Mother Nature's way of reminding me that no matter how much I try to arrange and construct and organize and plan my little corner of creation (read: putting plants in the ground when and where I want to), ultimately she is in control.

Today is April 7th, the 18th day of spring and the day before Easter in a year that has been unseasonably warm thus far. Nevertheless, here was the scene out my front and back windows at 7:15 this morning:

It's beautiful, but I mean...are you kidding me??

So. I guess this means no planting today, at least until the temperature promises to be good and stay above 32 degrees...which likely will not happen until early next week. Nevertheless, I did finish the "S" garden path yesterday, and I hope to build a bean trellis this afternoon if my fingers don't fall off from the cold. Will post updated pictures when I have them.

P.S. - I looked out my bathroom window 20 minutes ago and just happened to see two squirrels "going at it" on a tree limb. Come on, now, Mother Nature...wasn't the snow enough? Do you have to rub it in with an unobstructed view of copulating squirrels? Please.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

the transformation begins

I spent most of last Friday and Saturday working on my front yard garden project. I definitely panicked a few short hours after my last blog post when I got about halfway through tilling the left side of my yard. Looking at the churned dirt, I thought to myself, "My God, what have I done?!?" But since the plowing began I have come up with some semblance of a plan, at least for half of the yard. I built a little retaining wall along the sidewalk. I planted a Bing cherry tree and began to brick in a path mulched in red bark. The path will eventually form an "S" shape, though I've only had the time and supplies to do the lower curve. I planted rosemary, thyme, and sage along the front as a border. The other night, I put seeds of carrots and chard along the section next to the sidewalk. Meanwhile, in my seed trays indoors, I have all kinds of plants sprouting: pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow squash, zucchini, marigolds, peppers, thyme, basil, etc. Too bad I will have to wait a few more days to put them in the ground since it is supposed to freeze (or come close to it) for the next few nights.

And, of course, all of this sprouting and growing and gardening is happening concurrently with Holy Week, which makes for a consistent theme of growth and renewal in all that surrounds me. I love the springtime!