Another Day in the Country
© Another Day in the Country
It’s “upgrade,” “repaint,” “clean-up,” “re-do,” and “spread-more-mulch” season in Ramona.
The town streets looking so nice! It’s quite an improvement. I think everyone in town stands just a little straighter, showing a little more pride in “home, sweet home,” because of the lovely streets.
There definitely was a run on caulk as Jess took on the job of painting the porch ceiling at the Ramona house. The ceiling on the porch usually is not a spot that gets weathered looking — unless there’s a leak in the roof.
I don’t remember ever painting that ceiling, but we’ve certainly applied a lot of coats of paint to the exterior of the house these last 30 years. Boards were shrinking, bugs probably chewing on them, time taking its toll, so everywhere there was a crack in the porch ceiling, Jess filled in with caulk. We kept making trip after trip to Clark’s in Herington.
“Better get more caulk,” Jess reminded me. “I’m running out, again.”
Hosta has become our plant of choice in shady areas around our houses in Ramona, and we had a couple big ones that needed to be moved. We divided them up in sections and began planting Hosta under the trees and in front of the porch at the Ramona House.
“Now we have to get more Cyprus bark,” my sister said. “And mulch that area in front of the newly painted porch with its newly planted hosta.”
“I always thought spring was when you wanted to put down fresh mulch,” I said, looking around at fall leaves that already were coming down and collecting in corners.
“Now we need a scarecrow,” Jess announced.
We have guests coming from California, which is a delicious incentive to get extra things done. We want Ramona to make a good impression on our more citified friends.
“Let’s go see if we have any scarecrow stuff left in Tony’s old shed,” Jess suggested.
I was halfway hoping that we could make a trip to a thrift store and get some inspiration. When we located what was left of old scarecrows we’d used before, it was plain that they would need more than inspiration to make them presentable.
Twenty years ago I had more energy! I do recall one year we made something like 30 scarecrows — there were 10 of them in one yard at the house we called Cousin’s Corner. I think that was my favorite scarecrow-making year.
We made scarecrow kids playing baseball, others were riding bikes, one was pulling a wagon full of toys and one little girl was playing dress-up down by the corner, standing knock-kneed in her mommy’s shoes with her granny’s purse and a long string of pearls around her neck. She was so cute!
I found her in the shed. The shoes were moldy looking. Her little black-checked velvet dress was filthy. Her hair was full of dirt where mud dabbers had tried building nests.
What a mess!
I held her at arm’s length, stripped off her dress, unwound the pearls as I took her home to wash her up — as if she were a real little kid. When her dress dried, I let her borrow one of my sun hats, gave her a new purse I rarely used and sent her out to play in my front yard.
I think I’d forgotten just how much fun it was to make scarecrows in the fall. There’s something celebratory about it when Mother Nature is powering down for the winter.
Years ago we planted a Bald Cypress tree in the front yard. It’s really taken off, reaching its branches up and out, and weeping down toward the ground.
“You sure you don’t want to cut these limbs off higher so you can mow under there?” LeeRoy asked me one day when he was trimming trees in my yard.
I had to admit that those low branches made mowing a real pain in the neck, but I hesitated cutting them higher. There was just something about those delicate fronds falling down like a curtain around the tree that reminded me of my childhood.
“I keep thinking that would be the nicest place to have a picnic,” I finally admitted. “But we’ve never done it.”
I haven’t given up hope, so the Cyprus has continued to bonk me in the head and knock off my sunglasses all summer long as I’ve been dodging under those branches every time I mow the lawn; but we still haven’t had a picnic there.
My friendship circle is getting old enough that getting down on the ground is about as tricky as getting back up, so it really isn’t realistic; but I still love the idea.
Next spring I’ll probably just trim that tree up higher like it should be!
Meanwhile, it’s fall, and there’s a scarecrow picnic going on under there. If you drive through Ramona, and if the wind doesn’t blow it all away, you’ll see a little family enjoying the fall weather on a blanket spread under the Bald Cypress.
When I first made the woman (with my clothes on), I put a funny Zebra mask on her face that I’d made at school with my art kids.
“That looks really creepy,” Clayton said when he came by.
I’d done it again — made something for Halloween that was too scary for the kids, so I took off her mask and gave her a couple of children to enjoy while we’re all spending another day in the country.