Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Here is a picture taken from outside my front gate.
My little set-back garden is on the left inside the low brick wall. It includes a cut-leaf maple (low and leafy), a vine-leafed maple (tall and out of control), tiger lilies pushing out above the azalea bushes, enkianthus, and the plum (apricot) planted to celebrate our first daughter's birth.
One can view the lovely job the city did of paving the road and leaving my little flower strip below the wall.
Every morning I sweep the street, starting at my gate and then the house to the north and the whole street to the south as far as this picture shows.
Sweeping the street makes a big difference in the way those passing through respect the neighborhood.
The neighbor to the south is a librarian and works 30 minutes away, going out each day by car. Her bright red car spends the night parked beyond the wall behind the plum tree. The van parked on the right belongs to someone living in the 3rd floor apartment. (apartment dwellers do not clean as it is not their property).
To the south of the library lady is an elderly lady taking care of an even more elderly mother ... a full time job. She has lots of trees that drop leaves. flowers, seeds, fruit, all year around. She is very happy that I am taking care of our street.
At the end of the street on the right, there is an apartment with the door standing open. That is occupied by an elderly gentleman who is recovering from a stroke. Behind that apartment on the corner is a house occupied by a very elderly couple, and not seen on the left end of the street is a small house where up until a month ago, the wife ran a day-care in her home. (now she has found a place outside her home to run the facility).
As I return, I dump the contents into a plastic bag that hangs to the left of my door. You can see this is not a huge task just to keep the area looking clean and respectable.
I rather enjoy taking a few minutes each morning to step outside. Oh, yes, and as I go along, I pull a few weeds.
Often I chat with the neighbors too.
That chat brings us to the little parking area beside the small apartment. Until about four weeks ago, it was waist-deep in weeds. (Well, at least above the knees for me).
For years there have been signs posted by the neighbors that people pick up after their dogs ... but, let's face it ... I doubt anyone could find the poo among all those weeds. The other complaint was about mosquitoes.
I decided it was time to stop complaining and start acting, so each day I added to my little bin, weeds. I began with the wild grass that was about to go to seed. First I cut off the flower ends of the bunches and took them away. Then I pulled out the bunches one-by-one and disposed of those.
Next I attacked the leafy plants in the same way.
One lady came by and stopped to ask me if I was collecting herbs. I told her I was just removing weeds and she asked why ... they will just grow back.
I told her that was true if I allowed them to go to seed and we would have the neighborhood we deserve. Ah, that is true, she said and thanked me.
Last Sunday as I was pulling out the last row of weeds along the fence, the neighbor to the left came out with garden gloves on and helped to pull the last of that row. She said that mosquitoes were fewer and there had been no doggy-doo for weeks.
A parent with a child riding on the back of his bike passed through on the way to the pre-school and exclaimed to the child how much nicer the area looked.
The care-giver for the man with the stroke came out and handed me a chilled bottle of tea.
Yesterday the car-owner (who had exclaimed to my husband about how much nicer the area looked) drove off and left the lot vacant. I took the opportunity to finish off the section under and behind the car. No longer in stealth mode, I guess. The gentleman came out with his cane and finished off the weeds on his side of that fence saying the mosquito problem was much less. AND, no one is tossing trash into the lot any more.
The neighbors are standing out and visiting with each other. We all exchange pleasantries as we pass along the street. I checked with the flower shop lady as to what flower would grow best with least care and she recommended salvias. If you look closely you can see a row of five along the fence.
I still am working on the weeds behind the house of the elderly couple. It is a bit of a challenge because of the fence but the flowering weeds have been cut and another week may have that spot looking clean too.
Sunday's Sermon was about Matthew: 13 - 24, the man sowing good seed and it coming up among weeds. We take care of the good stuff and let God dispose of the weeds. Hmm, Have I been wasting my time? I just might look at my neighborhood as the good stuff. the trash and doggy-doo and mosquitoes have been taken care of as a result.
And, as to quilting, the pile of 4-inch blocks got too big for its zip-lock bag. Still no idea what to do with them but they have been up-graded into a larger bag.