Tuesday, 5 July 2011

In time for the 12th of July


The sunset was rose last night, a soft warm wash of colour that turned the grass and leaves green/gold. One day lily had opened in the bed in front of the house, harbinger of things to come. More have opened today.

This lily bed grew from three roots that JG planted for me along the orchard fence line, roots that I dug from around the old house site. While there still was an orchard, before time and the black bears and the porcupines destroyed it. When we decided to build the house where the orchard had been, to take advantage of the slope in the ground for a walk out basement, the lilies had advanced to two patches, on two sections of fence. I dug out one patch and combined it with the other, making an oval bed about six feet long and four across. Every year the lilies push out another round and the bed gets bigger.

Unfortunately, so have the trees, even with JG having cut every second one out to allow the canopy to be more open. The lily bed is being drowned in shade and while the leaves come up as strongly as ever, there are fewer blossoms each year. I will have to move it again, I think, before long. There are fewer and fewer places with both good soil and sun as the trees around the house and yard recover from the big ice storm. One sugar maple that was reduced to a stalk with one branch by the ice and wind has recovered alarmingly and is now shading the whole front of the yard.

This is one tough plant, this orange day lily. It is quite similar to the tiger lily of my southern Ontario childhood, but without the black stripe. I think the plants that I have are descended from lilies brought here with the first settler as we found them around the site of the original house. And they still grow at that site in profusion. When the ice storm broke the trees around the old foundation, the lilies there bloomed marvellously and shoots crept out into the grass, enlarging the bed each year. Now the shade is growing back, but there is still a huge patch getting enough sunlight to allow me to cut swathes for the house.

I think of our house as new, even though we have been living here for almost fifteen years. Although I notice that all the rooms need repainting, know that we have replaced the roof shingles once, am convinced that I need a new bathroom floor and cabinet, still, the house is the 'new' house. I, as well as the lilies, have deep roots here now, though. I have watched my friends' grandchildren grow up, seen other of my friends grow older, lose a husband or cope with his illness. When I shop, I regularly end up having conversations in the soup aisle or in front of the eggs. Even so, it doesn't seem very long ago that we bought the land here. That was 1974.

This old dog is doggedly learning new tricks, though. I am struggling to replace my old typewriting double space after a period with a single space, much more modern and stylish. I can do it maybe half the time, even when I am thinking hard about the change. I have a new sewing machine with a different threading pattern - I have to refer to the book every time I thread it. And what is worse, the pressure foot lever is in a different spot. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to retrain sixty years of reaching with my left hand into a right hand reach. I am loving my Pffaf, even so.

This afternoon we replaced my clothes line pole. We needed to replace the line and pulley, both worn out, and JG was afraid that the cedar pole we put in in '96 would be too decayed to hold the weight of the ladder needed to reach the pulley. When we dug out the old one (actually, JG lifted it out with the front end loader of the tractor) it was pretty eaten away at the soil line. The new one is now in place and I will soon have the new line up.

And maybe I shall go and look at paint colours.


  1. I tried to remove those orange daylilies from our back yard, but they are tenacious. I don't mind them (and replanted them elsewhere) but didn't want them right there.

    I cannot break Cuppa of the two-space habit.

  2. I love the daylilies too. I did have a little patch of Tiger lilly's but Mr. J keeps mowing them down before they can bloom. I enjoyed your post today.

  3. We always had tigerlilies at my childhood home in NE Ohio. Those things were indestructible.

  4. I love daylilies, and I never get it when people call them weeds...

    Your photos are so lush.

  5. What? what is this about not doing two spaces at the end of a sentence? Even the iphone adds a period all on it's own if you do 2 spaces. it's iphone approved!!

    when did this change come about? no. i won't have it.