OK, I was bored. Aren’t we all? So, I put on my Lone Ranger mask and matching black gloves and went to Walmart. After filling the cart up with plants, I came home to be Lady Farmer or Cowgirl Rancher. Since we moved here 35 year ago, and we built on a granite rock, I have been trying to live up to my Iowa roots and grow plants at 7,000 feet. It ain’t working. Every year I plant and pray. Every year God laughs and laughs, and they die. I am neither a Farm Girl nor a Cowgirl.
I was driving by a tent last summer and it had some metal flowers. The sunflowers caught my eye. They were no more costly than the nursery real ones, so I bought a few to fill in that stupid spot that will not grow dirt. They were bright and shiny. And they did not die.
Not being one for excess, (over excess maybe), I bought whirlygigs. The are all colors and go “whirr” round and round. Then, Bill found a pig on a tractor with wheels that spun. Next was a hummingbird, two flying pigs—and yesterday my younger sister, Maggie, gave us a metal sun about two feet across with two inside spinning sparkling disks. We have the SUN. And they never need to be watered. So, we did not start this craze, but who did? I looked it up.
There is not enough space to list yard ornaments and I just mean summer. Forget Christmas and Halloween, I mean only June, July, and August. In New England, lighthouses are big, and solar-powered of course. In the Midwest, Iowa, it’s pigs, in metal or ceramics. Down South little children running amok are popular. Both coasts, California and Florida, are into flamingos and fish of all kinds. New Mexico and Arizona are full of lizards and cactus. Not the prickly kind, the metal kinds. Totem poles and Tiki poles are in Hawaii and Alaska. You figure it out. Wooden chain saw bears are everywhere in Ruidoso. Texas has anything, and I do mean anything, with the Star of Texas is upon it. Wishing wells are popular down South—and in New York? They are putting face masks on all their statues of George Washington. Poor George.
Solar power is the new thing. I, myself, have multicolored crystal balls, glass dish water and bird feeders, glass with solar. It looks a little like Christmas without the guy in red. The only problem with it all, while splendid or even “splendiferous,” they do not smell like flowers.
I still must get up early and water about half an acre full of geraniums, petunias, and pansies. They depend on me and they are all in pots. You cannot threaten this ground to grow. And we have a new threat. Squirrels! Six years ago, we had one cheeky little bum we called Bandit. He came right up to company and begged for food. I had a party of Penwomen: refined ladies, artists, writers, and music composers. When I came out front on the porch where I had six tables and chairs, the little #&! had gotten food from three tables.
“What a cute pet squirrel!” they proclaimed.
“But we don’t have a pet squirrel. He’s a Bandit.”
And it stuck for six months. He came with or without our having company and ate most of the petunias in hanging baskets. When I pointed my finger at him and told him to stop, he ate more. These are BBBs, Bandido Bad Boys. I gave them retired shell covered nuts and almonds. I was trying to be kind and I still have plants to protect. When I came out this morning to water, an angel had lost its head and a wing. Three pots were dumped and the dirt was in piles. A large bougainvillea was dirtless. When I put back the dirt, I found shelled almonds. Those dirty rats with fluffy tails! Bill had to fix the angel. Now that is bold, to not fear angels. Happy gardening. Roaring Mouse, looking to put black pepper in pots. Out.
From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org