I love a typographical error in the columns. Oftentimes it gives me some ideas for the following week. Last Friday’s paper misread my hometown of Rew, Penn. as Rue. It is easy to misread my handwriting. That’s right! I still put pen to paper, and my editor is kind enough to enter it into the computer on my behalf.
At any rate, let’s talk about rue. It is a woody perennial with unusual gray-green leaves and interesting yellowish-green flowers. It is lovely as a backdrop. Deer loathe it, so planting next to some of their favorites, like day lilies, could offer a bit of protection. Be forewarned, it is a phototoxin, which means if you handle it midday on a hot and sunny day you could get a severe skin reaction akin to a chemical burn. However, touching it on a cloudy, cool day will not cause any ill effects. The expression “rue the day” comes from a middle-ages practice of throwing it at one’s enemy. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!
As far as Rew, Penn. — it was founded by Daniel Rew sometime after the Civil War. Oil had been discovered at Titusville, Penn. in 1859, which set off exploration all over the northwest section of the state. Mr. Rew found oil in Rew. Our neighbor Bradford had the title for years as the high-grade oil metropolis of the world.
My Pinetree Garden seed catalog arrived last week. It wasn’t long ago that the catalogs did not arrive until after Christmas. I would eagerly await their arrival, and while away some happy hours mid-January perusing and dreaming. Now, I can’t decide if I’m already behind or too far ahead. This may be the underlying problem of my entire life.
A couple of months ago I freshened up some clay pots and boxes with some ornamental cabbages. I love them. They last most of the winter and still look good by spring. The other day they were nothing but unsightly stumps. It seems my hens had helped themselves to fresh slaw for lunch. It must have been a picture to see them in the pots pecking away?
What my own animals don’t eat in my garden is fair game for wildlife. I realized after admiring the winterberry in the Up-Island Cronig’s parking lot that my own had been polished off by birds. They had just finished all the crab apples and apparently moved on to both winterberry and viburnum. I do not set out seed for wild birds. I have barn cats and feel it’s unfair to my feathered friends to lure them to a certain demise.
Because the weather has been so wonderful and unseasonably warm, I’ve taken to moving plants around. I have baby foxgloves, sweet William and hollyhocks all over the place and am sure they would prefer being settled into their new homes before spring. Some are quite tiny but since they are biennial, they should bloom next year.
I planted radishes in August in hopes of a fall crop. They promptly went to seed before forming any sort of bulb. So, as a lark, I replanted in mid-October expecting nothing. I am now eating absolutely perfect ones. They look worthy of a photo shoot for a seed catalog. I also planted carrots in September, which are fabulous right now. I guess I need to consider climate change and repeat next year. Fall crops have taken on a whole new meaning. I never bothered thinning the carrots but they seemed to develop a decent size anyway. I can’t bear thinning. I hate their little lives to be in vain.
Hopefully Grover Norquist is at the end of his 15 minutes. How did he manage to get all those elected officials to sign some lame promise to oppose all new taxes? I can just hear the brouhaha if the liberals had signed some sort of pledge with, say, some socialist to push all governmental regulations all the time.
The nonstop spin concerning the fiscal cliff is beginning to wear on me. I’ve experienced plenty of cliffs in my life, financial and otherwise. I’ve always survived and the country will too.
The folks over at Fox News channel have themselves in a snit. Guess they cannot accept the fact that President Obama won. Of course, as we know. Can’t lives on Won’t street!