Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rattles and Ramblings

I heard a rattlesnake in my garden this afternoon. At least, that was the first thing my instincts told me when I was out weeding in the back. While I was thinking that, though, I was also thinking that it couldn't be true, because we don't have rattlesnakes in western Washington. Still, I looked around, confused, trying to figure out what made such a distinctive noise. Then, I saw it - hidden in the overgrown grasses was a lone seed pod leftover from Gabriel's poppies.

Poppy seed pod

He had planted them in the midst of the border area that had gotten so overgrown this summer. They bloomed red, splashes of color amidst the grasses and creeping buttercups and other unwanted plants. Some of the pods dried on their stalks, and I had brushed up against this one with my shoulder. The seeds inside shook and clattered against the raspy brown hull. Thus, the jolt of hearing a rattlesnake in my ear. (I've only ever heard one real rattler in the wild, on a hike I took with another gal. I screamed like a ninny that time. Thank heavens I didn't scream today.)

We have had unusual warm weather the past few days. Since when does it get over 70 degrees in November in Seattle? I've tried to take advantage of the afternoons by getting out and cleaning up the yard. Our poor yard has been so neglected the past several years. I'll get one area cleaned out, and then it will be forever before I get back to it again. Today I spent some time weeding the hedgerow against the north fence. Last year I planted some native wild roses and a few other native shrubs. I want more habitat for birds, and I have fond memories of bicycling in the summer down country roads and smelling the amazing perfume of the wild roses. Plus, once they get established, I won't have to water them. I only got about half way done tearing out weeds from the bed, but it looks better than it did.

Half-weeded bed

I was thinking while I was working that I never regret making time to get outside and work in the yard. I had put aside plans for a field trip this afternoon, feeling that I really needed to focus on getting our home together. The kids built little tents for themselves, and ran around with capes on.

There's a boy in that tent

Fly, Girl!

I even caught them cloud gazing. I found a huge snail for them to hold, and we enjoyed the birds and the leaves and soaking up the lingering afternoon sun. Sometimes it can be so difficult to change into my work clothes and get us outside, but it feels so good once we're out there, and the work is satisfying. Sure, the laundry is still piled up, and the dishes will have to wait another day, and I didn't get any more boxes unpacked, but this sun will not be here much longer, and the weeds won't get any better on their own.

Finally, I am well overdue posting our Halloween costumes. Annika was a unicorn, thankfully satisfied to wear her dress-up outfit. Gabriel was a magical kind of pretend bird. I'm pretty proud of the mask, but feel kinda bad about the rest of the get-up. He liked it, though, which is what is most important.

Gabriel's mask (made by me)

The kids getting ready to trick-or-treat