Greetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy** Memorial Day!

Ol’ Robbo is nursing a pair of very achy knees this afternoon after putting in a great deal of extra work in the yard this long weekend, much of which involved squatting and kneeling.  (I’m thinking I may need to get a couple of those copper-weave braces that Brett Favre and Jerry Rice are hawking on the teevee these days.  Of course, if I actually had some gin in the house at the moment, that would work pretty well, too.)

I won’t bore you with a detailed account of my goings on, but if you indulge me in just one  item I promise you a couple nice pics at the bottom of this post.  I mention it because it’s a job I’ve been dreading and putting off for some considerable time.

You see, we have a short, steep hill going round one side of the house.  It’s covered in shade virtually all day, and is the path the runoff takes when it rains heavily enough to overwhelm the drains out front.  So grass never grew there and it was always either baked hard or a muddy slough.

Some years back we decided to make the best of the situation by simply laying in a wide path of river stone. (Without actually measuring, I’d estimate the entire area is roughly eight feet wide and maybe twenty to twenty-five feet long.)  It looks nice enough, and eventually Ol’ Robbo is going to get around to trying some rhododendron on either side.

However, either last year or possibly even the year before now, we had a freak rainstorm one spring morning.  It dumped something like four or five inches in one hour, and the resultant cataract coming down the hill threw the stones all over the place, leaving large tracts of the underlying groundsheet uncovered.

I’d been hemming and hawing about putting it right ever since.  One simply can’t rake stones of that size (everything from an egg to a Russet potato), nor can one effectively shovel them.  The only thing to do is pick them up one by one and either fill up a bucket or else simply toss them back where they belong.  I thought it would take forever.

However, as Sam Gamgee’s Gaffer said, “It’s the job what’s never started as takes longest to finish,” so this morning I said to myself, “Self, let’s do this.”

Turned out it really didn’t take all that long at all.  Thus endeth the lesson.  But, as I say, all that squatting and carrying took their toll.

Thank you for your patience!  Now how about a couple more flower pics?

First, here’s another of those big bomb peonies.  I actually found this plant hidden back in the raspberries when we first moved into Port Swiller Manor.  I dug it up, split the root ball in half, and replanted the two at opposite ends of my rose/peony bed:

And I include this second pic even though the flower is not completely open yet for fear that I won’t get another chance.  This has always been my very favorite of all my peonies because of its soft, delicate coloring and pure, simple petals. (In fact, I used to have two of this specimen but one died.)  Here’s the thing though:  This is the only bud on the entire plant.  The plant itself seems perfectly happy and healthy, but there’s not so much as a smidgen of a suggestion of any other buds forming.  I find this…disturbing.

Anyhoo, there you are.  The wisteria are nearing peek bloom now and the scent is wafting across my porch even as I type this.  Next up I believe the jackmanii clematis next to the garage is about to let loose.

**”Happy” refers to the fact that this weekend has become the unofficial start of the summah season.  What would be the appropriate word when speaking strictly of remembering our fallen military members?

UPDATE:  ARGH! Checking my usual web haunts just now, I see that while I was out schlepping in the yard all morning, Oregon Muse over at Ace’s Place used Capucine as his “Who Dis?” girl today!  I suggested that entry to him a couple weeks ago after seeing her in “North To Alaska” and he agreed!  I coulda been a contender!  See what happens when you leave the innertoobs for real life?