A Math Problem

Here’s a math problem for you: The Unruly Gardener is 60.25 years old. She has four bins of 2.5″ river rock weighing a total of 7.0 tons. Using a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and her 2.0 hands, she moves 2.33 of those bins to the landscape in 1.5 days, working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first day and from 8 a.m. to noon on the second day.

Question: Keeping sheer survival as a minimal outcome, how many pain pills will the Unruly Gardener need? Continue reading


Our neighborhood has a website, of course, with a conversation space called “The Back Fence.” It bears the typical messages about traffic, Christmas package thievery, problems with the swimming pools, and lost & found quadrupeds. Along with these come some that might not be typical in your neighborhood: sightings of coyotes, rattlesnakes, coral snakes, tarantulas – stuff like that. Continue reading

Ode to A Greenhouse

The Best Little Greenhouse in Texas

Summer’s here. It came late this year, for which we’re all grateful. To be honest, I like riding my bike in the heat, and I absolutely love hot nights with their exotic breezes and air-conditioned bedrooms. Even if we didn’t have a hundred 90-degree-plus days up in Connecticut each year, I do remember a third-floor walk-up with a thermometer that read 96 degrees and no air conditioning. Takes a whole lot of the fun out of those hot nights. Continue reading

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!

                                                        Wild nights! – Wild nights!
                                                        Were I with thee
                                                        Wild nights should be
                                                        Our luxury!
                                                                       Emily Dickinson
I hadn’t known a thing about night-blooming plants until I spent summers in southern California. My friend Mary had an enormous flat-leafed plant that looked like a Christmas cactus on steroids. It lived in a broken yellow recycling bin and its foliage wasn’t anything to write home about. But it had a habit of creating the most complex, astonishing blossoms I’d ever seen, with one of those mild flower fragrances that gets kind of disgusting if you put your nose too close.