Monday, January 30, 2012

Kentucky Elms

Hopping along the trunk of the downed tree diagonally across from my Capitol Hill house appeared to be the activity of the day in these parts.  Since the homes here are at the century mark, one presumes the tree was as well.

The elms that line our block of Kentucky Avenue, SE are well known, in any case, standing nearly twice the height of most of the houses and big as a wine barrels at the base.

We prize them around here, even having chipped in to inject them with some protective juju a few years ago, in uncharacteristically neighborly fashion. We don't know what caused this one to keel over and just hope it's not Dutch Elm or some other dread disease that might doom the others.

"It was around 100-feet tall," Joe Cartwright opined, rocking back and forth on his heels like a codger, though he's scarcely 60. He's been doing this a lot since his retirement. Joe and his wife Susan have the place across the street from the tree, and so are the ones whose view is most  impacted by our canopy catastrophe. Quietly reviewing the carnage, he said, gesturing heavenward, "These trees are like the ceiling of a cathedral."

I was thinking a chuppa. We're a multicultural lot.

Ugly Garden Four or is it Five?

The less said about this garden the better, but I will try.  A fringe of green (which qualifies it as a garden) makes a valiant effort along the edge of the kinked chain link fence that defines perhaps the least welcoming entry of any home on Capitol Hill.

Perhaps the residents consider it a carefree patio. Swept free of debris and leaf (difficult to do considering the canopy of trees that line the broad avenue it faces) and neatly bricked from steps to stoop, chairs and tables would sit steady, with no need of a matchbook or wadded gum to prop uneven legs and keep the coffee from sloshing.  That is if there was furniture to be seen, which there never is.

What anger led to this? Consider the effort to upend and flatten the soil, the tedium of laying brick against brick against brick. This cannot be a happy place.

The house is occupied, the gate is ajar today. Someone is breathing behind the tinny slam of the storm door.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wither Winter?

Loving the colors of this little Capitol Hill house, catching the sun as it's setting on yet another balmy January day. Bizarre weather we're having.

For the first, oh, 20 years of my life in Washington the best thing I could say is that the weather -- at least the winter weather -- was a vast improvement over New York. There one walks among goliath buildings with winds whipping with hurricane force for months of days and nights and one often found one (meaning me, by the way) screaming soundlessly into the wind O GOD TAKE ME NOW I DO NOT WANT TO WALK ANOTHER INCH.

Sorry for helling. I meant yelling -- but that was such a perfectly appropriate typo that I thought I'd share.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gnome Busting

Down the block, the garden of twee continues its alarming and sinister growth. Each month there's something new  -- another fairy on a rock, one more miniature bench -- added to a repulsively sweet scene that I described here and will not go into again, except to point out the chateau (above left) that recently sprouted among the fauxfirs. There's even a bloody gnome at the front door (right). Well, actually, OF COURSE there's a bloody gnome at the front door (right). In fact, the gnome was the first step in this unholy installation.(RIGHT).

Although, I'll concede, that it is a tastefully beige gnome. The Restoration Hardware approved version of gnomehood -- gnomekind?.

Thankfully, Utah State University's agricultural center has issued a video tackling at least the gnomish aspect of this garden pestilence...this frightening creep of adorability. "DON'T BE FOOLED BY THEIR CUTE NATURE," we're warned. If you have a gnome anywhere in your vicinity, take action NOW. Pink flamingos are said to be useful deterrents and small dogs appear promising.... watch here:

Stop COOING. This is repulsive stuff. And I want this man's job.

Thank you once again Diana McLellan for your Utube vigilance.

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