Home Columns & Editorials Iva's Input Ha Ha!

Ha Ha!


`You thought that spring had come, just because you looked at a calendar and got out your flip-flops and sunscreen (I wear sunglasses all year, so that’s really no indication), not to mention making pool plans.  Think again, Hummingbird-watcher.

I DID hang out four loads of wash on the line to dry; they didn’t even freeze.  Planted several new flowers–I did break down and cover them up when the frost warnings went out, though (Jeez! How could you NOT to that for a Maidenhair Fern?).  Also covered the teeny-weeny tomatoes that are out in my west side pots (I cheated and bought a ”Bush Goliath” plant with a blossom already on it at Home Depot a couple of weeks ago.  Another precocious “Patio Giant” plant has a tiny green orb about the size of a chocolate chip.  We’re going for speed here.).  All of the other greenery has to fend for itself and seems to be doing all right so far.

I noticed a while back that it MUST be Spring (Isn’t there a song with the line, “It might as well be spring”?) because there were lambs out in the fields.  Lambs are definitely Spring.  I love lambs.  They’re so NEW!  They go hopping about in the grass or in the barn or wherever; they jump straight up and come down on stiff legs then kick and go running off in some manic pasture ballet.  They’re just fun to watch. They even sound cute.  Then, of course, they grow up to be sheep and are just plain stupid.  A mamma sheep will give birth to twins,–or even triplets once in a while–and be fine with that, then, all of a sudden, one day when everybody shows up for lunch, she’ll look at one, maybe two, of them and say, in effect, “Who are you?  There’s no place set at this table for YOU.”  Then she’ll refuse to feed the unfortunate ovine juvenile.  “Let ‘im starve.  Nobody I know.”  We used to have these outcasts in a big cardboard box under the kitchen counter–it was the warmest place in the house–and we’d take them out to feed with rubber nipples on Coke bottles–those small green ones.  What entertainment!

This particular aspect of sheep behavior used to make me think of when Edgar Bergen, the ventriloquist(Does anybody do that any more?) and his sidekick, Charlie McCarthy, were talking to their bumpkin friend, Mortimer Snerd.  Mortimer was looking sort of down-in-the-mouth and they asked him what was wrong  Mortimer allowed as how the farm’s mamma pig had just had a litter of piglets ( We used to get those under the kitchen  counter occasionally too).  So Edgar and Charlie both said that they thought this would be a happy event.  Why wasn’t it?  Mortimer shook his head and replied that there were thirteen little pigs but “she only set places for twelve.”

There seem to be blossoms of some sort on my paw-paw bush (Asimina triloba) but I’m not sure that this will net me any paw-paws this year because in order to get fruit, the tree has to have a nearby tree of a different rootstock in order to be pollinated successfully.  I do have two trees (also known as the American custard apple or the Indiana banana; it’s Ohio’s state native fruit–another important something brought to you by our ceaselessly busy state legislature) but the second one doesn’t seem to be mature enough to do any flowering on its own ( Hanging out with “older women” apparently is not thrill enough.  How can that be?).  So, we’ll just have to wait and see how this comes out.  The pawpaw, according to some researcher at Indiana State University, may have some anti-cancer drug possibilities and may contain a safe, natural pesticide.  Maybe that’s why deer don’t like it.  It’s loaded with vitamin C, minerals, protein fiber, amino acids…it’s all good…except for the emetic and narcotic properties of the seeds.  Throwing up and tripping out…could get ugly.  You can buy a head lice shampoo made from pawpaw; maybe that’s the pesticide thing.  We’ll see.

The recent rain and breezy weather have taken a toll on the azaleas and the crabapple blossoms but I’m on the look-out for more summer-type flowering plants to provide some seasonal color  through June, July , August and beyond.  One of these days, Bob, the Landscaper Dude, is going to fire me, no doubt.  He probably has some grand plan of how the place should look–every plant in its appointed place, all flowering synchronized with the phases of the moon or something, color co-ordination of blooms by season and location or fragrance, even.  I, on the other hand trot off to a garden center in the wilds of Geauga County or a fund-raiser sale or some kind soul’s divided hosta and find something that trips my trigger then haul it home to stick in the ground someplace that he had no plans for whatsoever.  Latest along this line were the pussy willows that got transplanted from the Bray Estate over on Garfield Drive.  They seem to be settling in nicely.  We might try for some showier ones later, if these work.  Still searching for French lilacs–the really dark lavender/purple ones.

I  do  have butternut saplings available if anyone out there would like to give them a good home.  Hang on to them for twenty or thirty years and they’ll be worth their weight in gold.  Do not hold your breath while waiting.