2012 Kardia tou Thespiai garden update, Week One

Technically, I could have resumed garden work periodically in March, but frankly, it was a combination of sore joints (back, especially), erratic weather, and plain ol’ sloth that got me started so late.

Earlier in the week of 9-15 April, I put up another bird feeder, and the birds seem to be enjoying the yummy suet cake I bought for it. I got one with all kinds of berries in it, and I know if I were a bird, I’d be all up in that shit, for I am a fiend of sweets.

On Wednesday, my humanoid meat-based house-mate got a sales e-flier from Big Lots and noticed that they just got in a bunch of collapsible compost bins for $35, and he offered me yet another loan to get one, since this would be about $10 less than the neighbouring ‘burb of East Lansing will be offering them for next month. It took a few days to put together not because my intellect is prematurely enfeebled beyond the ability to comprehend a simple diagram, but because the plastic was not very pliable in snapping certain parts into certain other parts, and cos I am but a small Hobbit-like creature, I’m simply not big enough to conform it to my will and thus had to wait for when the aforementioned humanoid meat-based house-mate to have a spare five minutes.

Either way, the neighbour next door seems to find my gardening amusing.

Sunday, I FINALLY raked up the brush from last year’s wildflowers out in front. I could have done it last autumn, sure, but honestly? I really think the unkempt twigs look good in an Addams Family sort of way during the winter, so my instinct is to leave it until the thaw — and the reason I didn’t rake it all up after the first thaw is cos I was trying to put it off as long as possible until either a) I got a compost bin or b) I at least had a plan on what to do until there happened to be a compost bin. See, I’m clever like that. I also feel just awful putting yard waste out to the curb, even though I know the city is just going to compost it (or so I assume that’s why they want it in separate bags). So, I raked up and wrangled in my humanoid meat-based housemate in to helping me fill up the bin, after placing it in the most convenient sunny spot in the back garden. ZOMGZORZ, this bin is FULL at the mo’, and I’ve deputised one of the empty cat litter buckets for stuff for the compost bin.

The good thing about raking shit up is that I can see how well my fowers are coming back —at least on the one side. See, last year, half of the front garden was mowed down against my instructions NOT TO, and likely due to the dispersal of grass seed all over that side, not grass has choked out half of it. If I owned this place, I would sue. Now I have to return to back-breaking tilling to remove everything on that side of the front garden ALL OVER AGAIN. If anybody lives in the Lansing, Michigan area and wants to come by to help out, by all means, e-mail me.

Also, I was approved for a small ($300) PayPal credit line connected to my PayPal debit card. Excellent. Good side to this: I don’t have to insufferably beg for readers of this blog to give me money. Down side: I am racking up more debts. Fortunately: I have learned my lesson since my first couple years on my own, and will hopefully keep it all under control this time.

Current wish-list for the garden:

re-painting the porch: $90 (estimated)
re-gravelling the front path: $50 (estimate)
compost bin: $36
rain barrel: $50
a few more bird feeders: $30 (estimate)
wood for bat houses: $20 (estimate, for two)
windchimes: $15-$20
decorative thinger for the back door: $25
garden arch trellis kit: $50?
bug lights for front and back doors: $10?
porch swag hooks: $2

Plans for this week:

* Call property management and see if they’ll reimburse me (at the very least) for paint for the porch, so long as I’m wiling to do it myself.
* take out grass between city pavement and street, replace with clover.
* get more wildflower seeds, replace all that got fucked up thanks to idiots last year.
* try and make a dent on all that gill-over-the-ground that has taken over the back garden, including several spots I’ve already dug up.
* get a couple things off the wish list

I’m still waffling on which kind of decorative door thinger I want out back. Stars are great, and many pagans and polytheists have them, and clearly there’s perfectly fine Hellenic reasoning for having one and I see a lot of different stars, some of which are just gorgeous, but I’ve seen a lot of beautiful suns lately, and being a Leo, I’ve always been attracted to solar symbols —which, I giess kind of makes my decision, barring the discovery of any really gorgeous stars.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Because I exist to titilate…

I’m planning, for some time this year or next, to have a gallery showing at my house. I’m working on a few paintings, at least three of which will be too big to scan practically, so this will be the only means to see these outside of bad photos that will likely be blurry from my carpal tunnel syndrome —I’m not likely to sell many, if any of them, but if I do, the gallery attendants will get the first chance.

Until then, as always, I’m actively taking donations for the garden; while my last active donation drive brought in more money than the most-immediate concern, a minor financial emergency took part in reducing that more than I’d like it to have, and now here I am begging again.

My most-immediate expenses I want to get done this year include

re-painting the porch: $90 (estimated)
re-gravelling the front path: $50 (estimate)
compost bin: $45
rain barrel: $50
a few bird feeders: $25 (estimate)
wood for bat houses: $20 (estimate, for two)

Bolded are the most immediate things; I can put off re-painting the porch until later in the season (so I don’t crush my flowers) or even early next year, since it’s most likely that I’ll do my gallery showing next year.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t be asking like this, but in spite of my humanoid meat-based house-mate getting his tax return early and him showing little annoyance at my tendency to rack up IOU’s, his 19-year-old cat, who is a a Viking, Fat Bob the Cow-Patterned, Who Fought The Dreaded Vacuum Monster And Won (dead serious) is due for geriatric bloodwork, which will end up taking a sizeable chunk of what’s left over from the tax return after paying up bills.

Don’t do it for me, do it for this cat!

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Potential garden income?

There’s a pagan/new age bookstore in Lansing that hosts live readers, mostly tarot, but if I can set something up, I’d be the only tea & coffee reader.

It looks, though, like I’d need to supply my own heat source for brewing, and when I do this at home, I usually just boil it on the stove — which is far from portable. It looks like I can get a portable single electric range burner for about $25; not unreasonable, but not really workable right now, as the commune is still plagued by financial dramas (mostly the house-mate’s). I also really should get a new tea pot, since I imagine more people will be receptive to loose-leaf tea readings than Greek coffee — I can heat the water in anything, but steeping loose-leaf in a pot rather than the teacup is best.

If anybody can add something to the Tip Jar for a donation, ‘twould be much appreciated.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

New-ish front garden photos

These photos are a couple weeks old. There are lots more blooms now, and I intend to make newer photos happen soon. Also, here’s that “sea-horse” I mentioned:

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Back to more digging

I had to take a few days off from digging, cos I had a rash on my foot and wanted it to clear up first, but I shall resume later today. Today, I al;so have the first of what will hopefully be more and more images. This is some of the surviving wild-flowers from the front garden:

(and cos my scientific research shows a direct correlation between photos of cats and comments, here’s an 18-years-old pain-in-my-arse)

I recently received a healthy donation from my friend Phaedra which I’ve used most of already ($2 left!) on:
a hose divider, a birdbath, garden shears, another hanging planter for the porch, a suet cage for the winter birds, and seeds for strawberries, catnip, and (cos this is one of the few conditions I’ll allow for a donation) black Paeoniflorum poppies, which I’m planting next year (it’s already too late for this season). Paeoniflorum are an unregulated variety of opium poppy (as they’re obviously decorative), sacred to Nyx, Hypnos, and Thanatos. I also picked up a box of stick incense on eBay, cos I’ve lost the greater part of a 200ct box of Morning Star Sandalwood.

As I’ve already paid to replace my eyeglasses this month, money is running short again, but good for me that my birthday is on 22 July! This year is also one of those “landmark birthdays” that I hear so much about. You can also avoid making pay PayPal fees by just sending to ruadhan@NOSPAMpeacockfairy.com (remove NOSPAM from the e-mail address) If everybody who reads this regularly even just gave a single $1 personal gift between now and my birthday, that would be a big help. Also, there’s my Etsy shop, and (if you have a little extra money), I have one last “event pack” for my second novel, New Dance, that’s gotten a little scuffed, so $15, free shipping within the United States ($4 to the UK or Europe, ask me about anywhere else).

Also, in addition to Aphrodite’s sanctuary in Indiana needing funds for storm recovery, Sannion is having his wisdom teeth out, and could use a buck or two — if for no other reason than he is basically being sentenced to two weeks of eating nothing but cottage cheese and smoothies (as I was in the same boat in December) and could use some money for Economy Size tubs — and maybe a black pepper grinder for his cottage cheese.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Pond, Garden, & Lansing

Kagaya SW-008 CD (by fmben.com)The pond is… coming along.

I started digging it out on Friday (24 June 2011), and am only kinda-sorta along on it. My main issues are:

  • When I started this, my friend Chris and I initially estimated that, an average-sized man, in good physical condition (like, between “decent condition” and “prime athlete condition”) might be able to dig out this pond in a day or two, and that I might be able to do it in about a week. I now realise this is a complete fantasy, on both counts.
  • It’s become apparent to me that this entire residential property has been built on a claybed. Which is good for the integrity of the pond, but a real pain to dig out, and it really puts a damper on my plans for the dug-out soil.

aphro-eros-fish002The wide abundance of clay around here had pretty much given me another expense to worry about — on the good side, we live right near Michigan State University, once-upon-a-time known as Michigan Agricultural College (and still home of the state’s best Agri programs), and despite living in what is undoubtedly an urban area, the city limits are literally surrounded by farmland — manure is cheap and easy-enough to acquire (to fertilise the clay), so while an unexpected expense, it really could’ve been worse.

I also don’t think that Chris and I really *grasped* how deep thirty inches is — nor do I think he and I realised that the outline of the old wading pool that I’m using as a guide for the perimeter of the pond is at least as wide as I am tall — maybe even a full six feet (so over ten inches wider). aphro-eros-fish While it’s clear that digging this out is definitely going to take me the better part of two weeks (at the very least), I now seriously doubt whether or not an average-sized man in much better physical condition than the short fat man writing this would be able to get this done in a day or two. On the good side, at this point, I’d decided that if I could at least dig out the pond hole, I could easily budget for putting it all together next year.

There’s also a LOT of wild brush now grown out in the farthest part of the back garden, just before the alley. This pisses me off, and I have half a mind to just go out there with Roundup or something before the end of summer, and then just start new, next year. two_fish_by_sinnistvether-d3ioji4 On the other hand, I’d still have to cut down most of it before putting herbicide to it all, and at that point, is it really that much more inconvenient to just take the tiller to it all? Either way, I’m really wishing there were more Hellenists out this way — or at least that my friend Colleen would hold up to her promise of free child labour, cos there’s only so much that I can do on my own. And yes, I have a house-mate, but I’m essentially doing this all myself, cos he’s working third shift and is basically asleep during the prime daylight hours there are to do this.

The worst part? I’m not sure if I’m feeling overwhelmed by all this or not. temple-LOVE On one hand, when I come in, I’m kind of energised by all the work, in spite of being already incredibly sore after maybe only two hours of digging, and that’s good. On the other hand, when it hits me how much more money is still needed, I can’t help but feel like maybe I should call it quits. When I think of the big, beautiful gesture this will be for Eros, I’m energised and motivated again — indeed, I can’t help but see little omens in everything out in back, from the butterfly that sat watching my from the tiller to birds that will be silent until flying directly over the back garden. Then I remember the lacking of local community, and start second-guessing whether or not this was that great of an idea, after all — like, if I’m not doing this for a definite community, but only a potential one, isn’t all just really for my own ego? Psyche_Entering_Cupids_Garden_CGFA And no matter what I’m actually thinking, I always find myself wondering if I really believe those thoughts, or if it’s just the humidity getting to me.

I’m really trying not to let the low amount of money bother me, cos if I do, I tend to remember that the sorry state of the wildflowers out in the front garden bothers me even more. This soon after those idiot groundskeepers cut them all down, it’s clear that a significant amount of them are not going to come back. See, that’s because the morons cut them down before seed pods could form. It’s also pretty clear, at this point, that their machinery pretty deeply gouged up parts of that half of the front garden, which literally tore plants up and out of their roots. Eros_Edouard Rosset-Granger I’ve told property management about this, and I’ve told them that I want groundskeeping to buy me new seeds for next year.

It’s also seriously bothering me that, pretty much since that part of the front garden was torn up, my house-mate has stopped paying attention to where he walks out in front to get to his door on his car. I mean, it’s not like anything might still be alive on that quadrant — obviously, if you ask him, I’m being unreasonable and I, the one who has been gardening since he was eight years old, took horticultural classes in high school, am the one who can’t tell the difference between clover and juvenile Nasturtium (hint: they’re pretty easy to tell apart even if you’re a novice who is willing to pay attention to where you’re stamping your size 14 work-boots). At this point, I’ve kind of given up reminding him not to cut corners on the path I marked out MONTHS AGO, an which he was perfectly fine on keeping to until about two weeks ago. At this point, it’s clear to me that he’s just going to keep killing things on that quadrant of the front garden until next year, when I get my new seeds and tear it all up again.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

New Goal for the Garden

I found out about TerraCycle.net cos I love Method brand cleaning products and their refill pouches. The only downside to the pouches is that Lansing doesn’t accept plastic bags of any sort for recycling, so while it’s nice that they provide a significant reduction in waste and resources, before I noticed the url for TerraCycle on a new pouch for dish liquid, my only option was to throw them out.

Trophonius TerraCycle basically collects hard-to-recycle waste items and in exchange for you sending them in (usually at no cost to you, either), they’ll give you at least 2¢ or two “points” to put toward a charity or school of your choice. At 400 points, I can donate bees to an impoverished family through Heifer International.

So, I’ve signed up for several “brigades” (all stuff I use — Method refills, candy wrappers, hair product & make-up packaging and tubes, cheese packaging, old keyboards & mice, old cell phones[50pts], old digital cameras[250pts]) to save up for and send in; I’m also wait-listed for several others. It looks like items can be combined into a single box and sent in together, which is good, cos that makes for less boxes used at any one time.

I have my heart set on bees specifically because of Trophonios, and because bees are pretty essential to gardens. 190709192_60f0806718_o If you’re in the Lansing, Michigan, area, feel free to contact me (ruadhan[at]peacockfairy[dot]com) if you have anything to donate to the TerraCycle box.

Also, since I’m still pretty low on money, I’m going to point everybody to the donations button again, cos it’s absolutely necessary, still.

Now I’m off to put on some work jeans and my Crocs [shudder] and go dig a hole for Future Goldfish Pond™ — my goal for the hole? Not my pole, but a depth of at least thirty inches; considering that full-grown shubunkins can be about sixteen inches long, I’d really rather not have to bring them inside during the winter, so this will allow for hibernation. This is also a sacred garden feature. Plus, it also makes more sense that, if I’m going to have narcissus poeticus surrounding the pond, to dig the pond first, so as nothing gets destroyed later.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Quick Garden Update

Thanks to donations, this last week I picked up a small coconut hanging basket for the porch, a Greek oregano, a rosemary seedling, a new bag of potting soil, a large garden spade, a packet of anemone poppy (wind flower) bulbs, and a packet of hooks for the porch. If a friend follows through on her pledge to donate some more money this coming week, I hope to get a few things for the birds. Also, today, broke one of my shoe and clothing rules and grabbed a pair of Crocs from Big Lots (name brand, even) — but only cos, if the front garden has taught me anything about shoes, it’s that for gardening, you really need something you can hose off — at least I didn’t have to pay full price for them.

Before it started raining this evening, I also dug up some of the wild strawberries in the back and transplanted them to the basket (if only cos I intend to eventually clear out that area to make an unobtrusive parking space for a Stella — and why lose perfectly fine strawberries?).

It’s supposed to thunderstorm again tomorrow, but I still hope to get some digging in for that pond. At this point, I doubt that I’ll be able to complete the pond before the end of summer, but at the very least, I can dig it out and be ready in time for spring again.

Photos will come when flowers happen out front again — or, at least, I can get some more landscaping work in.

Again, donations are always appreciated, and (at least this year) absolutely necessary — as I’ve noted, I need new glasses this summer (though this is mainly my own fault; I got in the bad habit of wiping this pair with a paper towel, assuming that Viva “cloth-like” paper towels would leave my lenses unscratched).

I’ve also written up a draft of garden rules for visitors.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

I don’t do this proudly

As those of you who read my more personal diary may be aware, I have high generalised anxieties (though, being an extrovert, I’m pretty low on social anxieties), and money is one of the things that I get especially anxious about.

Now, DreamHost, my server provider, is actually pretty good on bandwidth and such, and I’m thankfully not popular enough to make site functionality an immediate danger, but the last few days, I’ve noticed a huge spike in hits — mostly concerning my Adonis post, for reasons I can’t figure out.

Then there’s the fact that this garden project is obviously very important to me, and money has so far been very short all year, so far. I’ve been made a generous donation offer by one of my best friends (for the near future — long story short, she’s feeling rich and is waiting for her next paycheque), and it’s clear to me that this is only a very small amount of what I need to bring the garden up to the point that I had hoped it would already be at this first year.

So I’m selectively signing up for advertisement space on this blog. I’ve enrolled in AzureGreen’s Affiliate program (an on-line store I’ve used for herbs and incenses and Wendy Rule CDs) and am considering signing up for others. This is all pretty much with intent to help fund the garden project, and could use some advice on where to look for other sign-ups. I don’t intend on using Google AdSense or similar services, cos I like a level of control over who and what I’m selling out to.

Now, the AzureGreen Affiliate program isn’t terribly great: While I like the 15% referral commission from all completed purchases made from my affiliate link, they only pay out after I’ve earned $100. So cos I can’t rely on it for needed garden funding, I’m obviously leaving the Indie GoGo campaign going. Also, you can click on the donations button under “Tip Jar” in my sidebar and donate directly.

I wish I didn’t have to do this, but AdFree Blogging can only go just so long until you realise you’ve got bills to pay. 🙁

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Tragic Garden Update

I had really hoped to post some garden photos this week — at least the front garden, which was stripped of about 90% of its grass and replaced with wildflowers during the first four weeks of spring up here. After I got home from Chicago on Sunday night, I noticed that there were many buds and even some blooms.

But, as those who read my personal diary already know, that can’t happen. There are no more flowers.

This is a rental property, and while the property management company has pretty much given me complete permission to do whatever I want with the property’s garden, there is still lawn maintenance that has to be attended to, or the city starts tacking on $75 fines for each warning. Fair enough — if I can ever afford to FINALLY make these garden plans a reality, this would have been the only year for any major maintenance. The downside to this is, if my house-mate and I ever find ourselves unable to borrow the lawnmower of our friends up the street and down a few blocks, property management wants to send a guy out to mow the lawn.

The groundskeeping supervisor has been out here before, and knows what I’m doing to the garden; it’s not difficult to understand or explain. Unfortunately, he’s not the one who came out here today, and I guess the guys that DID come out have no idea what it means when three different people all say “leave everything in front of the house alone, except for the border around the pavement; it’s a wildflower garden”. Even my neighbours told them to leave it alone.

When I caught on to the fact (from upstairs, my window is tiny, so I was going completely on sounds of lawnmowers) that these were a couple of MORONS sent out to take care of my grass, my beautiful flowers had been razed, and I was told it “looked like weeds”. My sprinkler had been taken far from the centre of the entire garden (indicating that everything there was intentional, you’d think) and my stepping-stones had clearly been moved onto the porch steps, and I was told that if I “really cared about anything [that had been cut down]”, that I’d’ve mowed the grass myself.

I’ve spent the entire day alternating between livid and heartbroken. My voice is raw and hoarse from shouting, and I’m already sick and tired of people telling me “at least it’s wildflowers, it’ll grow back soon enough”. I’ve spent significant portions of my livid time fantasising about the especially jerky one being Catholic — so that he’d have statues of their Virgin, grotesque crucifixes, and votive candles for me to smash to pieces and then say to him “well, it looked like garbage, what did you expect me to do?” Really now, I’d laid down a Bird & Butterfly mix — creatures sacred to Eros & Psyhkhe — it really IS comparable to Catholics and their Death Cult paraphernalia.

It’s hard not to get discouraged in all of this: I really can’t pay for more garden tools, seeds, flowers, and so forth right now, and so far, that seems to be my best option to fight off the immense anger from today’s events. As my humanoid meat-based house-mate noticed, on the rare occasions I’ve stayed angry for a few days, it makes me miserable; it physically exhausts me, and I can get very depressed, very fast. Despite returning from Chicago with plenty of money, it’s become very clear to me that I need new glasses, and it’s either New Glasses or New Garden Stuff — and I have a coupon to make New Glasses affordable to me next month.

I hate asking for more donations like this (especially since Personal Dramas™ have already made it so that I’m *really, immensely behind* on coffee readings), I really wanted to put off rebooting the donations campaign until I had photos to post, but I need something to help me focus on positive things and remain optimistic and hopefully that energy will help what was destroyed so heartlessly find its way back.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.