White After Labor Day

Have you noticed how quiet the Laundry Maven has been? She was busy last weekend.  It was the white load washed on Saturday night, to be dried Sunday morning, that made her head spin a bit.

In that load were two favorite pairs of summer trousers: khaki and white.  And as they went into the washer, she wondered if it was time to put the white ones into storage until spring.  Was it okay to wear white after Labor Day?  Sunday morning as she pulled clothes from the washer, the words “winter white” confirmed her decision: white would be perfectly fine to wear to church that morning.

Pulling out the pants, the Laundry Maven noticed a pea-sized black spot on the back of the pants.  Reaching for the stain remover, her mind easily switched to the idea of khakis for church.  It was a sign – no white today.

Mave turned the pants around to check the front and was confronted by multiple huge black blobs.  She instantly knew she had washed an ink pen.  From Will’s uniform shorts.  She hadn’t checked pockets.  And, she hadn’t told Will that she never checks pockets.

Timidly, Mave pulled item after item out of the washer and gave each a quick shake to check for more ink spots.  Nothing.  The two pair of uniform shorts came out.  Nothing.  Perfectly fine.

Bravely those white pants had sacrificed themselves and enveloped completely around that ink pen.  Bless them.  Their summer season ended as the school season began.

Mave felt incredibly lucky but sad.  The pants had only been worn a handful of times.  But the Malcolms are recyclers.  Will and Liam have grand ideas of turning them into puppets.  However, after looking through pictures from an outing to Cape Cod this summer, Mave may hand them off to the gardener in the house come spring.

Mave is checking pockets from now on.

Mutant August Weeds

It’s August.  It’s August?  But we were just counting down the days until school was out.  And making glorious lists of all things possible in summer.  Now, we are making lists of all things that need to be crammed into summer.  Because of that meddling word: “August.”  What can we make happen and what do we cross off the list? Visions of growing a red rose bush against the barn wall danced through my gloved hands as I ripped out all the weeds beside the barn.  That was on Mother’s Day. Mmm… the future splendor of that hidden garden scene.  I planted the bush and my gardening friend planted the bare branch for which the climber could rise high against the barn where red bits of beauty would pop out as I walked through the garden gate.  Succulents would cascade off the window ledge.  Crazy giddy that.

I watered the bush regularly for a couple weeks.  I made a mind-map of where I would let the vegetation be natural and where I would plant wild flower seeds and late-summer blooming zinnias.  I bought the seeds.

Then came crazy old June.

And in mid-July, I eagerly opened the garden gate – anticipating the ocular sensory punch.  It got me right in the gut. Here, fill in any words of shock and disbelief.   Mine: “Huh, I guess I didn’t get the roots.”  Taming ten-plus years of a weed garden will take more than one clearing a season.  I decide to wait until I have a good chunk of time to tackle this.

Come early August, I walk up to the edge and peer into the jungle.  I see a few red specks.  Roses blooming under that tangle.  I see succulents through the sprouted volunteer bush-tree.  And I am amazed by the vegetation.

However, I back away quicker than I approach.  What is happening here?  Why does this look like a giant’s salad bowl?

Time to readjust the hidden garden vision.  I recognize this climber from last year: it will turn red in the fall.  And that will be the red beauty this year. Oh, that glorious summer list.  I crossed off “clean out the mutant weeds” because I crossed off “research mutant weeds to see if they are poisonous.”  Perhaps "mysterious weed research" is on the list for when the snow flies.

Right now, we need to go fly a kite.

Garden Feet

Last night, I gardened until post sunset. I didn’t put much effort into the flower garden before our vacation to Iowa, but now home, I went to work. At the garden store in late-July, flowers are begging to leave the shelves. Their blossoms – if any – are stretching high, competing with the others in their crazy small dirt compound.  I found chock-full pots of purple cone flowers and brown-eyed Susans. They were in the big pots. Normally I wouldn’t pay for those, but I was desperate and noticed they were so big that I could split them before I put them in the ground.

At home, Liam helped dig the holes in my ledge-filled land. This was good division work for Liam. “If I paid $9 for this big pot and split the big plant into three plants, how much did each plant cost?” I realized over the summer that the lines of multiplication and division had become blurry. Note to self: Come August, encourage more than reading books and drawing.

With my garden gloves dirty and my back aching, I shoved off for the night, looking forward to seeing my work in the clean morning light. A friend picked up the boys for an overnight and Bill was traveling, so I had the house to myself. A bath? Shall I have a quiet bath? With bubbles? With candles? And a book? And the book light that I adopted from Will? Ohhh, yes.

Then the top 98% of me looked at the bottom 2% of me and said, “No way I’m getting in the tub with those.”

“Give them a bath before you get in the tub!” Well, that’s ridiculous. You don’t wash before you have a bath! My current parenting line, “Be kind to one another” washed over the negative comment. I ignored the complaints and dropped my dirty feet into the tub, despite the protests from the upper majority.

This was one of those soaking baths. After reading for a half hour, I felt well-rinsed, perhaps even clean. I finished the last few chapters of my book, drenched my hair, and escaped from the tub. When I’m done in the tub, I’m done.

Drying my feet, I noticed dark dirt shadows on all of my toes. Well, I had two choices: scrub them tonight or buy more plants tomorrow morning.

It’s tomorrow morning and the plant store opens in 20 minutes.



Banner photo by Lukas from Pexels