gardenphyllisophy1By Phyllis Galowitz

I can’t even say I’ve put my garden to sleep. Not completely, but I’m ready to move on. I’m tired. Cleaning up after hurricane Sandy “did me in”. We in Andes were lucky. There was no real damage to my property, but branches were strewn all over the lawn and it was exhausting, picking them up and piling them along the edges, just to get them out of the way before the snow buries them and while I think of where they should go. I didn’t plant the garlic or divide the phlox or cut down the remaining perennials, which have multiplied extensively, or pick up the hosta leaves, laying flat on the ground from the frost, the rain and now the snow! Yes, there’s still plenty to do, but I’ve turned my attention to inside things now; the outside will have to wait until spring.

The house takes on a new look at this time of year. Suddenly I’m living in a jungle, with all the plants that have to winter-over inside, and it’s time to plant flowering ornamentals to bloom for the holidays, like amaryllis, jasmine, paperwhite, Christmas cactus, cyclamen and all those beautiful plants you’ll see in catalogues and receive as gifts at this time. I don’t have room or enough sunny windows to display them all, but anyway, my focus is on my newest love, Lili, the kitten I adopted this summer.

Picture3She was 8 weeks old when she came to live with me. I was never a cat person but this adorable, mixed breed, with its soulful eyes, the “runt” of the litter (I was told), just made my heart flutter. “Whatever did I do?” I thought as she spent her first day in my house, climbing up the shower curtain, hiding in the bathtub, getting locked in the closet. I was free to go anywhere, do anything and now I have to think, “What will I do with Lili?” when I want to go to visit one of my children or when they want to visit me and bring their dogs! Life was much simpler without her, but I’m smitten! (Also, I admit, plants and kittens are not very good together.)

Lili is 5 months old now and she’s just been spayed. Would you believe that in another month she could have had kittens! Well, I guess I put an end to that. It took a couple of days for her complete recovery and she’s back to doing all kinds of kitten things. My house is not as neat as I’d like it to be. Toys are everywhere, but Lili is immaculate. Her mother taught her well to groom herself continuously and saw that she was litter-box trained, but what she didn’t teach her was not to scratch my quilt with her long nails, not to dig up the soil in the houseplants, not to jump all over me when I’m trying to sleep, eat or read a book.

But she’s such a love. She likes my taste in television programs and plants herself on my lap, facing the screen, enthralled by the political campaign, the photos of the devastation caused by hurricane Sandy and the earthquake in Guatemala. She loves the movies that come from Netflix periodically and the Andes Public Library. She even likes Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. She’s happy to play with me, but not demanding if I’m not in the mood. She waits patiently at the door, purring like a motorboat, when she hears the garage door and my footsteps returning from my hours away from her. I’m enjoying her antics and learning as much from her as she is from me.

Yes, the garden will just have to wait until spring. ~