Gardening, Carpet Plague, Calves and Music

I know, I’ve abandoned my poor blog again. Life is simultaneously busy and tranquil — my favorite combination! — and I haven’t felt the need to write in a while.

This time of year gardening takes up most of my time. One of the biggest reasons I’m shifting my focus to edible perennials is so I won’t have this frenzy of replanting every spring, but of course in the short-term it makes my spring even busier as I create new permanent beds and put in asparagus, sunchokes, currants, a bay tree, various perennial herbs and some unidentified “berry” bramble suckers someone gave me that I think are blackberries. But the strawberry bed I put in last spring is producing in grand style this year, and Saturday I enjoyed the first ripe strawberry of spring, and there’s a gazillion more coming along behind it. So that’s a good reminder that the results are totally worth all the work involved, even if it takes a while to see them.


Another thing that’s been gobbling up a ridiculous amount of my time is The Battle Of The Creeping Spot.


So three or four weeks ago our cats suddenly decided to spurn their litter box in favor of one corner of my computer room floor. We’re talking deep plush carpeting here, not some easy-to-clean laminate or hardwood. I ungraciously disposed of the piles of poop, but it gradually became evident that the real problem was the steadily-intensifying aroma of Eau de Cat Pee. I took way longer than I should have to attend to that (see: spring planting time, above), but finally one day I attacked that corner of the carpet with everything I could think to throw at it. Rug shampoo, spot cleaner, pure baking soda, a special “pet stain” removal product, the works.

The next morning that corner of my (very orange) carpet had turned a dark purple.

Clearly something had gone very wrong here.

I went back over the corner with more spot cleaner, and when that didn’t get rid of it I tried putting laundry detergent into my rug shampooer, and then I tried diluted dishsoap and then I just went over and over it with plain water until it was mostly gone.

But the next day The Spot was back, and twice its previous size.

I won’t go into all the tedious details of this battle. Suffice it to say that for nearly two weeks I used almost every cleaning product I could think of on this spreading purple abomination, alone or in combinations, and some days I would win and other days the Spot would win. It was like something out of Dr. Seuss, but evil. At its largest it was about six feet in diameter, and I was doing a pretty convincing Lady Macbeth impersonation.

Guess what the culprit was. Go ahead, guess!

Give up? It was the baking soda. Apparently when you put baking soda on my orange carpet and then get it wet, there’s some sort of freak chemical reaction that causes a dark purple stain to appear.

Guess how I finally figured this out.

It looked like I had just about defeated The Spot, there was only the faintest shadow left and I was confident that another hour or so of going over it with clear water would finish it off. But by then the carpet was beginning to smell just a bit mildewy, and I decided that the whole room could stand a nice deodorizing.

So, I filled my rug shampooer’s receptacle with clear water and a little baking soda, went over the whole room, and then focused on the spot in the corner — shaking some more baking soda directly onto it and scrubbing it in — until it appeared to be vanquished.

The next morning my entire computer room carpet was covered with purple smudges and the original corner was a solid, hateful dark purple swath.

I was ready to burn it.

Instead I spent most of another week going over and over the carpet, sucking all the baking soda out of it. As I type this I think I have just gotten the last of it out, but I won’t know for sure until tomorrow morning.

The good news is that the cats appear to have lost interest in recontaminating the war zone.

Or possibly they’re just waiting for the carpet to finally dry out so they can start over.

BUT my computer room doesn’t smell mildewy today, it smells WONDERFUL, because yesterday Luke and Elizabeth gave me the best Mother’s Day gifts I have ever received. They made them in Sunday school. They are apples with lots and lots of cloves stuck into them and silk ribbons tied around them to hang them with, and now as I write this the air is perfumed with the heady scent of apples and cloves. I LOVE it!


In other news, a third calf has been born at Trinity. I need to buy some livestock panels so I can set the branding pen back up and set a date for my summer roundup. I may also spring for a calf table, since none of my new friends know how to rope (and neither do I) and it seems like a useful thing to have anyway if one isn’t of the Large Strapping Male persuasion.


Speaking of things my new friends don’t know, they are also all tragically unacquainted with the awesome thing of immortal beauty that is Star Trek. Not a single Trek fan in the entire bunch (except for Pastor Bill who can’t go see the new movie with me because he’s married and that would be a little odd). Hello, this is CULTURE, people!! I was going to have to go see the movie all by myself, but my friend Jenny took pity on me and agreed to go with. So I think that’ll be Thursday. I can’t wait!


Being a part of my church worship group remains one of the brightest joys of my new life. It’s amazing how fundamental singing with friends apparently is to my general sense of fulfillment. I don’t imagine that I’ll let anyone take that away from me ever again.

The group is still kind of finding itself. We had a magical combination for a while — two guitars, bass, drummer, three vocalists — and it was heaven. But then we lost our best guitarist and our male vocalist within a couple weeks of each other, and we’re feeling the loss. But there’s this nice sense of fellowship among the rest of us, a sweet sort of feeling that we’re all in it for the long haul and that one way or another the people we need will find us and the group will eventually be complete again, and meanwhile we still have this wonderful core group of friends to sing and play and worship with.

Tell you what though, last time we sang in church it was a train wreck. There’s a young boy who is learning to play the bongos, and from time to time he likes to join the group onstage. It’s not been a problem before, but this last time two things went wrong. One, the bongos had just been tightened so they were louder than usual, and two, he set them up between the drummer and our remaining guitarist, so they couldn’t hear each other well enough to stay in synch. It…wasn’t pretty. We have learned our lesson. Bongo Boy is still welcome to play with us, but from now on he goes down at the other end by the vocalists.


I wanted to talk about how the Sunday school teaching thing is going, but I think that’s going to get its own post somewhere down the road.

So I guess that’s it for now. Life in my little green corner of the world is blooming, and keeping me busy. If that Spot is still gone tomorrow morning I will have nothing much to complain about.

If it’s back I may have to rethink my decision to give up profanity, because I have nothing else left to throw at the blasted thing.

Categories: Animals, Cats, Christianity, Edible Perennials, food, Friends, Gardening, kids, Life, Self-Sufficiency, Star Trek | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Gardening, Carpet Plague, Calves and Music

  1. Mia

    ROFL on the spot. My grandmother has found that it’s actually the combo of the special pet stain cleaners that killed her carpets. All sorts of fun chemical reactions. Be careful…the stuff, et all, might be trapped in the padding by now. I like fribbit and smeggit for throwing at my own spots…out, out fribbin’ spot!

    Coolness on all the rest…sounds like a truly wonderful Spring in your life.


  2. Brooke

    I have so enjoyed reading today. It is like taking time out with a friend, which you are, and learning how to really listen. Does that make sense? Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your thoughts. I wish I was one of your kids! Love you!


  3. Debora

    Mia — I shall definitely try “fribbit” and “smeggit” tomorrow if that spot is back tomorrow. I’ll let you know how they work. :^)

    Brooke — Welcome! I’m glad you’re enjoying my ramblings; having this blog to vent in has helped keep me sane (or pretty close anyway) this past year. See you Sunday!


  4. I know the world can read this. But I have been riding a couple of horses right down the street from you. Just wondring if you wanted to get Mahogany out with us. No long trips – 1 hour- we could go longer if you wanted though. Either way is fine with me!


  5. oops wondering my computer is not literate I always have to keep her on the straight and narrow!! Ha Ha


  6. Debora

    Sounds like fun! What days do you ride out here?


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