One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Last Weekend

Surely it is Spring, for the days are simply flying by.   And with things growing and blooming so very quickly, it’s hard for a humble (and sort of busy) garden blogger to keep up and stay current with it all.

I’ve been wanting to tell you about a weekend of digging I did – nearly a month ago now – during which I turned my attention to the overgrown oregano garden in the backyard.    There’s some sort  of vine that grows there; there’s a real abundance of it, in fact.  I’ve not identified it, but I can assure you its nothing like poison ivy or something I’ll later come to regret.   P has woven much of it into the fence that surrounds this particular patch of real estate, a project of hers that continues every year.

But there’s even more of this vine than that project can keep busy, so in the center of this patch, I fabricated a Folly – a sort of teepee kind of thing, really – with some large fallen branches.  I’ve trained more of the vine to start growing on it, and hope to add some morning glories and cardinal climber a little later in the season.

Near that garden, there’s an opening in the mostly-forsythia hedge that borders our neighbors’ yard on the south side.   Once I’d finished with the Folly, I had some energy to spare and turned my attention to some more of this mystery vine and a bit of privet hedge at this break, weaving the two together with more sticks and some old grape vines until I’d fashioned an arch we could pass through from one yard to the next.

I’ve misplaced the photos I took of that when it was done, but it’s been growing (the vine and the privet at the heart of the project are both still alive) for a while since, so I need to get back there to examine it and see how it looks now.   I promise, I’ll show you soon.

But for now, what about some flowers?

A busy Spring hasn’t been a bad thing, to be clear.

I’ve certainly been enjoying having my weekends off on the new work schedule and have spent a few of those weekends working full out in one garden or another, happily weeding out the grasses and loosening the soil for the coming season, leaving most of the none-grass in the garden beds to grow a little longer, until proper identifications can be made.   With the birds winging about and chipmunks squeaking and squealing as they dash from here to there and back again, it’s always entertaining to be out there in all the excitement.

And a few evening walks have been rather fruitful as well, as regards wildlife sightings, such as the fox, the great blue heron (“Old Joe”) and the kingfisher of which I’ve posted images recently.   I’d heard that the whales were all quite visible in the waters just off Provincetown and Race Point a few weeks back, as they always are when they first return in Spring, but I never did make it up that way to see them for myself this year.

Of course our concert weekend with the Chorale was a bit too busy for gardening, what with last minute rehearsals, platform set-ups and performances, so I had no problems with it raining almost continuously throughout that particular weekend.  I could sing and such with no worries about weather anything needed watering and it was terrific weather to bring people inside to hear a concert.  Both performances went well and were great experiences.  It’s so exciting when it all comes together at the last minute.   I think I’d forgotten how much I enjoy that post-performance buzz one gets (by which I mean the one that comes before the after-concert cocktails).

It’s been fun to explore some new paths this spring.  Riding the high of that performance, it was an easy job to sign me up for a different singing gig the following weekend, when members of the Appalachian Mountain Club hosted a “Marshes and Music” weekend here on the Cape, at the Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster.

They do similar retreats in New Hampshire, at which musical members gather for a few days and split their time between rehearsing and hiking, biking and gen’l exploring, culminating in a concert on Saturday evening, but this was the first such weekend here on Cape Cod.   Of the approximately one hundred participants, about forty came together as a chorus, while much of the balance formed an orchestra.  It was quite cool.   There was a need for a few extra singers to fill out the sections and so this Bass happily joined up.   As a bonus, there turned out to be evening meals and wine, not to mention the pleasure of singing a wonderful piece I’d not been introduced to previously.

The chorale program consisted of a representative sample of G.F. Handel’s Israel in Egypt, which takes the Old Testament tale of Exodus as its source material.   Handel was clearly on the side of the Children of Israel and so the work includes some rather merry choruses which detail the many plagues sent to torment the Egyptians (Sadly, we were only able to do the one about hailstones – the one about flies and lices sounds like even more fun to sing, but a real bitch to play for the accompanying strings.).  It was a pleasure to sing only in English after the previous weekend’s multi-lingual repertoire, too.

Here’s the lovely boathouse at the Camp where we had the pleasure of rehearsing.  The whole experience sort of reminded me of All-County music festivals in which we participated in high school.     You gather with people who are mostly strangers and begin to work rather intently on some music, to perform after only a few rehearsals.

I don’t know that I thought I’d experience that again (nor do I think I fully appreciated the experience in high school), so the Marshes and Music weekend was a special treat, at least partly because it was exciting to present myself with some new challenge and earn a few extra confidence points from meeting it head-on and having some fun in the process.

As a bonus, in between rehearsals, I got the treat of tramping about the grounds of the camp some, exploring a little of what Spring was doing there and of course, I got to visit their bayside beach, which offered a nice east-facing perspective on my usual stomping grounds.   If you look down the shoreline in the image below, you can see the COJ bell tower rising into the sky, which more or less marks the mouth of Rock Harbor, where I am often walking in my neighborhood.

Although it was bright and sunny, there was a strong wind to keep it cool at the beach (as evidenced by the white chop on the often-calm bay) and so I didn’t stay for long.   While many of the weekend participants enjoyed a schedule of bike rides and nature walks, I did also have a few regular weekend errands and things to tend to in between rehearsals.

Our performance Saturday evening (after just about six hours of rehearsal) was great fun and casual, with mostly just our fellow musicians as audience.  This time around, there were no worries about shoes being polished or tuxes fitting propertly or even if shirts were tucked in – this was all about the Music.  The pick-up orchestra accompanied us on many of our selections of Handel, which was a real treat, and when we were finished, they performed a few selections of their own.  I enjoyed myself greatly and may even look into AMC membership, not only for the possibility of participating in such a weekend again; I really ought to be a member.

Our weather turned a bit chilly this past week, but except for a few moments of hail, even this was largely unremarkable.  Especially when I heard reports of a return of serious snowfall to my old Adirondack stomping grounds.  Fortunately, things have already warmed up again in time to herald the arrival of The Merrie Monthe of Maye.

Such news makes the candy-colored tulips a little sweeter, doesn’t it?


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