Thank you so much for your get-well wishes for the small Bears. They are mostly feeling better now. Still coughing hard, still a little pale and tired, but at least the fevers have broken. This was a whopper of an illness. I really hope you don't catch it. They had fevers for five straight days and fairly high ones at that. I thought for sure I'd be next but so far, so good. I feel a bit run down, but not sick. Maybe I was already immune to this one.
I continued my bustling busy-work all weekend - baking more, doing more laundry, stitching and crocheting, cleaning up around the kitchen and family room. If anything, I'm probably run down from all the housework I've been doing. I go into overdrive when people are sick. I don't even know why, really; I think it's a combination of stress, worry and boredom. I'm not good at idleness under the best of circumstances; illness in the house frays all my nerves.
We were able to get outside on Sunday; they rode their bikes on the patio in the backyard while the Bear and I tackled some garden cleanup. They helped too, pulling last year's detritus from the flowerbeds and piling it into bins. All winter, I've cringed a little every time I've looked out the kitchen window at the backyard; it got cold early this winter and stayed that way until recently and we weren't particularly motivated to clear up the beds before now, so we let everything wither naturally. It looks neat and tidy now, though, and it was a beautiful day for yard work. The view from the kitchen is much improved. The side yard, on the bedroom side of the house where we have grapevines and herbs, stacked firewood and the inevitable trash bins, will always look a little dicey. But it gets good sun and the stockade fencing hides an awful lot.
While we were inside for the past week, spring showed up. I couldn't believe how close to blooming the plum trees already are. I think we may have flowers within the week. The winter jasmine is blooming in full force right now. We pruned them severely a few weeks ago and they look healthier than ever. I love the flowers but the plants themselves are a pain in the neck, with their runners that root themselves straight down into the ground.
We planted two types of new lavenders in the fall and I'm eager to see what they'll do this year. Our big, old lavender finally gave up the ghost this past summer. I was sorry to see it go, but they don't last forever. I like the new ones; there's a Spanish and a French, I think. We had an English before. I didn't plant that one, the remarkable gardeners who sold us the house did (sometimes I wish they'd come with the house, they were that good). Oh, and my rosemary is blooming. It bloomed last year too. That was the first time I ever saw flowers on it; I like this new trend.
I'm not really that much of a gardener, truth be told. I like to work outside when the weather is nice, and I love being able to clip flowers from my own yard for display in the house. To that end, I've taught myself some basic pruning and maintenance techniques, to keep things growing and producing. In late spring and summer, I can count on my roses, Jupiter's beard, primrose, coreopsis and Shasta daisies to give me enough flowers to make a small kitchen-table bouquet, usually in a mason jar. In the fall, I swap primrose for chrysanthemums. It's enough; my flowers get me through the year pretty well. It's only in cold weather that I buy any, and then it's mostly tulips, and cheap bunches of daffodils in early spring.
We tested the sprinklers in the backyard yesterday. I think this is the first time in history that they have a) operated properly and b) not needed replacement parts. I was expecting more yelling and swearing, with maybe a tense trip to Lowe's for tiny plastic bits. But no - the sprinkler gods were smiling upon us this weekend. May they be so benevolent in dry, dusty June.