Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Things Sure Are Looking Up
by James Glaser
April 30, 2010
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My tomato plants are chest high, and I have way over a hundred green tomatoes with many starting to turn color. My squash plants have a lot of little yellow squash on the vine, and the zucchini are starting to fill out, too. The cucumbers are looking good, and so are the green bell peppers. The watermelon seem the only slow thing I planted.

Wanda and I are catching up on our planting of shrubs, and we might be all caught up by the end of the week, if we don't buy any new plants or have people give us some.

My neighbor to the East is willing to sell me an acre of land, and I will be closing on that this coming week. It has huge oak trees on it and several big pines. I don't think it was ever used for farm land, it is just a piece of woods filled with big and little trees. I don't plan to take out any of the big ones, but I will open up some areas for a walking trail. All I can say is that it sure is pretty.

For some reason everyone in Madison seems to be in an upbeat mood. It is kind of contagious. You go to the restaurant, and people are getting up on their own, and grabbing the coffee pot and walking around to all the tables filling cups. You can see the smiles on people's faces, and stopping in for breakfast gives you a nice start to the day.

I don't know why everyone decided to be in a good mood at the same time, but I sure am enjoying it. Now that we have been here a while, people are starting to wave or honk their horn as they drive by. I suppose with all the activity in our yard, it is probably kind of fun to watch the progress.

My picket fence is around my garden now, but I'll have to wait a few weeks before I can paint it white. It surely looks nice, and with the tomato plants as tall as they are, it looks great from the road as you drive by.

That fence around the garden is not going to keep animals out. A deer could just hop right over and raccoons can crawl over, but I always wanted a fence around my garden. In some ways, it is like rocks around a garden, but a fence is more of a visual boundary than rocks are. It kind of makes the statement that this area is for growing food, kind of a utilitarian area, while the rest of the yard is for flowers.

It is almost like the vegetable garden is set aside for work, while the rest of the yard is set aside for relaxation, even though both areas take a lot of work. Plus there is the fact that a white fence makes a wonderful backdrop to show off flowers growing along it. It is hard to incorporate vegetables into a formal garden setting. You can do it but it always seems to me to look like cottage garden with flowers mixed in with the food plants. We don't have a cottage looking house, so that kind of a mix won't work for what we are trying to do with the yard.

Now that we have such a good start on the yard, we are putting a focus on the inside of our house for a while. We are going to paint our kitchen cabinets and put lights under them so they shine down on the counter. Also, we are going to tile the back splash. Wanda has one color idea, and I have another. We will be working that out this weekend at Lowes.

After that we will be jumping into the addition to give Wanda an office, and we will have the start of my studio. We still have to move two storage buildings that were here when we moved in. Then there is the tree house, and we need a covered car port.

I think we can be on this pace because our children are all grown up, and we have so much time to fill. Plus there is the fact that we are having a ball doing everything. Yes, things are looking up.

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