I love a tree — and the earth.

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The most exciting thing that happened this week was the delivery of trees, and the most beautiful one that came was the pineapple guava. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautifGL P1020536ul specimen of tree. And so big already, stretching its arms wide, eager to grow on a trellis in the corner of my yard, behind a sitting area.

The trellis will provide support for a generous eight feet in each direction, sideways and up, and the tree will be one part of the design that blocks out things like the neighbors’ big boat across the fence; it will be one of the many plants that help to turn my yard into a sheltered and cozy oasis.GL P1020588




Early in the week workers drove noisy machines into the hard soil and clay to make trenches for irrigation pipes, and for electric wires to the spot where a fountain will play water music.

Landscape Lady brought more plants in the back of her car and we carried them together to the back, succulents and yarrow and salvia; lavender, phlomis and kangaroo paws, some still in bloom or with fruit, like this darling dwarf pomegranate.

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Now when I look out the window I can see so much more than the sea of dirt. In addition to the many pots of colorful plants, huddled in the spot reserved for the play house, I see orange or hot pink paint, drawing out the lines for paths and planting beds, so the edging will go in the right place, after the dirt goes in the right place. Landscape Lady has had to draw these lines several times because the workers tend to smudge them into oblivion.

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Huge trucks have dumped three kindsGL IMG_0866 dirt of dirt/rock into my driveway: base rock to form a good foundation for the gravel utility yard, compost to mix into the unknown stuff that was packed into the pool cavity, and vegetable planting mix to fill the boxes.

This is what it looked like before it all was carted to the proper places. Tomorrow another truck will roar slowly down the street and back into my driveway to dump three times this much, 20 yards of soil ! that Andres and Juan will push in wheelbarrows to the back yard and mound up in the planting areas. Waterlogue 1.1.4 (1.1.4) Preset Style = Natural Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = Normal Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

In the front yard my chard and collards and kale are growing; they liked the recent rain. The late sunflowers are pretty still, waving at the people walking by; I let the Waterlogue app paint one for me. I weeded and trimmed salvias and roses and more things out front, and staked the heavy mums again, on one of these gorgeous fall days that make a person fall in love with the eGL P1020602arth.

This afternoon I made my first-ever solitary trip to the apple farm that has supplied our family for at least 25 autumns now. It’s a little late, so they only had four of their 27 varieties for sale: Arkansas Black, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Rome Beauty. Even their names are delicious! I brought home Ladies and Beauties, and ate one as soon as I got back in the car.

I stopped to get some supplies for yet another koliva, the ceremonial dish we Orthodox make for memorial services. Tomorrow we will have prayers before Vespers, in memory of a parishioner who helped me learn to bake communion bread many years ago. As she doesn’t have any family in the parish who might want to do it, I offered to make the koliva.

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In this town I can’t get single colors of Jordan almonds, which are very traditional to include, so I sorted out the colors I wanted from an assortment. The bright chocolate-covered sunflower seeds looked appealing, too, so I picked over and separated some of those. I don’t know yet which I will use for decorating the dish of boiled wheat — except for the chocolate pastilles; they will go on top for sure.

Some recipes say that pomegranate seeds are essential, to mix in with the wheat and nuts, etc., but of course they aren’t always in season, and they weren’t when I made my first batches. Now I guess you can often find them frozen in upscale markets, but certainly in centuries past not all memorials were held in late summer or fall. So I didn’t worry about not having them. GL P1020612

Now that Pearl has moved back to California, she has a giant pomegranate tree right near her front door! And this time I have the seeds to add to my recipe. A pomegranate is a wondrous thing; I remember an orchard of them near my house as a child, and the first time I broke into a fruit and discovered the honeycGL P1020587omb of juicy red seeds. My grandson Liam eats each seed carefully, biting it and sucking out the juice, discarding the (mostly) pithy part.

One pomegranate yielded just over a cup of seeds. I boiled my wheat tonight, and ate another apple, and now that I have told you some of the story of my week, I will go to bed happy and in love.

9 thoughts on “I love a tree — and the earth.

  1. And now that I have finished reading this, even though I am stretched out on yet another hospital recliner listening to my mother in law breathe gently after a dose of soothing morphine, I will try to sleep, and with a smile on my face I’ll hope to dream of playhouses and apples.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Gretchen, Congratulations! I am glad that the garden project is developing. I always remember your departed prosphora baker and visit her grave when I am at the cemetery. God bless you, dear. I was going to take James to our sister parish this morning to visit the church and bazaar.   Love, Christie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so excited about your yard. It is going to be so lovely. I love the trees and shrubs you are planting and most I have never heard of or seen before. I have a olive that Ron bought me and it looks a lot like that Pineapple Guava. Your bread sounds lovely and I never think about having to buy pomegranates. I think that is something I have had in my life my whole life. I am glad Pearl has them by her front door.

    I love how your yard is coming together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thank you so much for all your photos! I love looking at them. You asked for a pic of my birdbath, I just don’t take pictures. I don’t know why, I just never have. My birdbath is the saucer from a large pot. I had started with a lovely clay one from my mother-in-laws yard, but it was hard to keep clean and it cracked after a freeze. I have a family of bunnies that drink and feed and need a low trough. The squirrels are quite cute when they drink. I had seen an owl bathing in the lid of a plastic storage tub on line, so I tried the saucer. I don’t really like to encourage the raptors, but they are awe inspiring when you see them. The large hawk that stands in my birdbath is quite fat from my overfed doves. I am looking forward to seeing your water feature. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love watching what’s going on in your yard! I haven’t eaten a pomegranate since I was a child. I always ate them like Liam does. Are you supposed to swallow the whole thing? (I need to learn my pomegranate etiquette!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love hearing about what you cook for your church. It’s always so fascinating and sounds so exotic 🙂 Your new plants are exciting me — it makes me want to go to the nursery soon and pick out some favorites that are not yet on our property. Yarrow. Sedum. Bleeding heart. I may need to wait for spring. Your yard is looking so exciting!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pineapple guava…I ate one recently that grew in Sebastopol and it was a wonderful shock…so good. I hope yours will grow mighty and bear much. Your primary colored candy looks like little pots of paint and makes me want to get out my watercolors…maybe the app painting influenced my thinking as well?
    Your photos are lovely, even the big mounds of dirt!

    Liked by 1 person

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