Sunday, February 27, 2011

On the Market

It has been a few weeks since I have blogged. As you might imagine I have had my hands fuller than usual. For 18 months besides a few things, my only concerns was finding a job and keeping this blog going. Well, as of January 3 I have been employed by the Federal Government. Better yet, I have been in training for a job working for the Federal Government. I will not tell you much about it because I am sworn to all kinds of secrecy and they might shoot me if I actually said what I was thinking. Let me make it clear: I know why a toilet seat costs two hundred when the Federal Government buys it.

Seriously, the other day I received yet another piece of mail from my employer stating that my security clearance was granted and unless "they received any derogatory remarks regarding me", I was cleared to work for them. I said "yet" because I have been getting on average two to three pieces of paper for all the benefits, websites, security passwords, and you name it. I need a secretary to keep up with my correspondence regarding my new job.

If I were making a few hundred thousand dollars or doing anything of a vital nature I would understand, but I am not. I guess we are all possible terrorist these days so beware!

Well, back to basics. The weather has stabilized. Today it is actually sunny and in the 50's. In preparation for putting my house on the market I have cleaned the front and some of the backyard from the winter debris and the miserable seed pods from the Liquidambar tree. In LA I loved this tree because it grew there and gave a semblance of fall in a land of palm trees.
Here with its spiny, tripping seeds it is just a pain in the a....!

The garden has recovered from it downtrodden appearance. It has slowly lifted from being crushed by the snow. I have still to do surgery and remove dead or broken branches, but there is time still for that.

I have taken out all the willow's broken branches from the pond. I don't know how the poor kois and goldfish have managed to survive in all that mess. I wish I could take them to Florida when the time comes as they are part of my family but I fear that this will not happen from logistical and practical reasons.

In spite of the harrowing winter the garden still is looking good. The bones are there and just a little sun and warmth will bring back its emerald quality to make us all forget how tough a winter it has been. I suspect that once I am gone from here and permanently in Florida I will somehow miss aspects of this. It will certainly not be the cold.

Yes, the house is officially in the market since last Wednesday. It is not even March so I got it taken care ahead of schedule. If you are in the market for a nice house check out the following link with the Trend MLS: (You will have to accept the MLS terms to view the listing). There have been few inquiries as I have been beating the drum for quite some time but there is plenty of time. When it all happens I will figure out a new job in the Tampa region. What I am now doing is not for me.

I will miss my old house when I finally sell it. I bought it a particular hard time in my life when I was breaking up with someone I loved very much. It served to shelter me and give me a reason to carry on. I have celebrated in it with multitudes of friends and I shared it with my dear Taxi for oh so many years. I wanted to scatter her ashes in the garden and I probably will before I leave. It will not be as easy as all my friends think it will be for me to leave. Many think I am escaping and in many ways I am. I am not escaping from, I am escaping to a new life and a new beginning. For a boy that escaped from Cuba at ten, I have gotten used to a gypsy life. I love new adventures. Happy Gardening!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How Much Snow is Too Much?

I don't know if I have lost my tolerance for winters because I have already moved my soul to Florida, but this winter seems like a test to all in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region of the country. Philadelphia has had more snow so far this year than just any other year on record. If this were the end March or April then there would be nothing further to discuss. The reality that we are barely starting February and another major storm is anticipate Thursday, is something to concern gardeners and all others alike.

The garden has really gotten pounded. Everything is on its side, squashed, or broken. Normally, I manage to get out in the garden with a broom and shake of the snow off to keep the plants from caving under. This year, I have had the flu or cold or whatever you want to call it and have not been able to keep up with any of my usual snow clearing duties. Normally this time of year it is cold but I start pruning and cleaning up beds because we can have odd nice sunny days with warmish cold weather between 45-50 (like it is today). Unfortunately, I am worn out with this flu. I guess this is why some people move to warmer climes, they just get worn out. I am feeling a bit like my garden. I am trying to get up but just can't quite make it.

The recovery from this weather in the garden will be tough going. It will require propping up plants that are not beyond recovery until they regain their vertical stance. Many will require minor pruning and some will require major pruning. Some will have to be cut to the ground if not pulled out entirely. At this point, I advise against doing anything more than uncovering them from the snow or whatever ice has hardened them to the ground as has happened in my garden.
Many of my roses were staked to create particular floral patterns. The one above bloomed along two arches that seemed to create a half circle. In some ways this one is better than most as it has been flattened to the ground. So when I can, I will reattach it and try to recreate the visual effect for house sale time this Spring.

It has taken quite a bit of effort keeping the pond from freezing over. The nearby lakes are totally iced over. I would not mind having a small rink in my backyard if it weren't for the Kois. The would die high concentration of the methane gas created by rotting leaves on the bottom kept in by a solid layer of ice. I have run the pond filter round the clock not allowing it to ice over so the methane will escape.

I have been holding putting the house on the market until the garden would reel in potential buyers this Spring. I guess, it will probably still happen, but the garden will not be up to its past splendor. I guess, they won't know what it looked like them and will quite happy to have it in any state - I would! Happy Gardening.