Funny little strawberries

Funny little strawberries

That’s what I grow in my garden – funny little strawberries. They aren’t much to look at, not like the huge store ones, but they have 10x the flavour. A lot of soil up here in BC is pretty acid because of all the conifers around, I suppose. Our yard is full of moss and surrounded by conifers, so it’s no surprise the strawberries grow well. They like acid soil and have crawled all over the place. They’d take over the entire apartment lot if I would let them.

This year, I found a way to keep them off the dirt without buying straw or other mulch. I just used pinecones. There are plenty of them everywhere around here, because of the conifers – pines – that are on the property. And it works! A couple of baskets of pinecones fixed my strawberry plot.

When I leave, my neighbours will eat the berries. One neighbour, in particular, I expect, who cleaned up that plot and ate the berries when I was away for a year.  The other gardener.

Which reminds me of another gardener, or so I thought. These people moved in next to me and I noticed they had a lot of plants on their balcony. Almost like a hedge, a privacy screen. When I saw them arriving home one day, I said a friendly “Hi” and “We’re gardeners, too.” I didn’t see much of them over the years, though.

Then something weird happened. I had a run-in with someone. She was blocking the door to the freezer room where the kind landlord has allowed people to keep freezers and in my case allowed me to use his extra freezer. Nice! Is this because he’s a nice guy or because I’m responsible? I guess a bit of both. I took over the garden when someone else who was supposed to didn’t get to it and weed it.

So, anyway, this person blocked the freezer room door open with her cart.  I said something like, “Hi – I’d like to come in.” But I didn’t want to move her cart, so I waited. I said something just to fill the time. Suddenly she snapped and accused me of saying something wrong, basically told me to shut up. “You made another comment.” Damn right – this ain’t a Russian firing squad. She was so hostile. She said, “You’re always so rude.” WTF? I donno. I called her a bad name.

Then I went and told the manager that I did that and that I was confused why this happened. He said I probably did nothing because this person basically did the same to him. She is the one who’s always rude, she said. She was trying to blame him for something. I’m sorry, he’s a pretty decent guy, and he is also the manager so there is no point trying to blame him. He’s just doing his job.  Cut him some slack. He doesn’t create the policies, man. I’m probably biased because I got a free freezer and two free gardens, but even so doesn’t that make it seem like he’s a decent and kind guy?

Oh, yeah, and he lent me a battery charger and found a neighbour to help me charge my crappy old truck. More about that on another day. I need to sell that damn thing.

The kicker – I said I didn’t know her, but the manager pointed out, based on my description, that she lived right next to us. Oh, yeah, she does vaguely match the dimension and coloration and age of my neighbour. Thing is, I wear glasses and if you aren’t within a metre of me, I might not recognize you. Apparently, then, I don’t acknowledge people, and that’s rude. Why don’t people assume I’m semi-blind, distracted, autistic, or a ditz and say, “Hi – I’m your neighbour, we’ve met.” But they don’t. They’re passive til they blow up like a psycho and say, “You’re rude.” Okay, lady – but that’s not the female word I called her, though.

I have no one to talk to, I’m lonely as hell, I still want to be friends with my crazy ex even though he divorced me, and I am going to be moving to a new area soon. Hopefully, I can make some real friends one day. Actually, I have a few friends up in the Okanagan. People who are actually happy to see me and are kind to me. It’s too bad they’re all religious. We atheists aren’t all nasty like the freezer-room-lady. No idea if she believes in anything, either, except that everyone else is the problem.


Tow time

Right now, while I’m typing this, my neighbour’s crummy old pickup truck is being towed away. I wondered if this was going to happen. It’s because the city is doing some road work. There have been signs posted for days, and there’s been a flyer on his windshield. Had I known exactly which apartment he lived in, I would have said something to him days ago. Probably would’ve left him a note. I had the nagging thought of saying something to the manager, for the owner’s sake.

And it would have helped me, too, because then I wouldn’t be listening to this noise at 10 p.m. and the road painting might have been completed by now, too. His is the only vehicle out there. Maybe he’s dead. He’s old enough that that is a possibility. But for once I didn’t interfere. I see myself as the kind of super-conscientious person always butting in to give unasked-for assistance. Noticing problems in the building and letting the manager know before they get bigger. Mostly he’s been quite appreciative.

When it’s been something in my interest, he’s a bit less responsive, but back to the truck that is now on the tow hook and heading away. How very odd to know I could have done the usual, saved the workers some trouble, saved myself some trouble, and saved the owner some trouble.  If he’s not dead, that is.

Apparently I am changing. How very odd. I’m taking care of me instead of everyone else. Does it have to be either/or? Well, it’s not just that. I felt I had become almost a busybody of some kind and wanted to refocus my interests. Back off and try on the “None of my business” attitude. Not like me, I assure you.

I have a garden at this apartment. A couple years ago we had a terrible drought, and I would make the effort to water this row of little rhododendrons or rhododendron-like plants that were shrivelling next to my veggie patch. Watering this year’s veggies recently, I noticed there is no longer any sign of those plants. Many larger dead-looking shrubs and small trees have been hacked down, too. I got it: this landscaping is not important. It was put there at a time of higher moisture, and they are not adapted to the current climate change and higher water demand. Actually, there’s another big local change that might have bigger effects than both of those, in this small yard area.

A neighbouring tower building redid its garden a couple years ago. Our yard used to be swampy and mushy to walk on, but when the other place cleaned up its standing water, our place became much drier. Hard as a rock much of the time. I had a good view of the works during the process. Not a pleasant experience at all, but I did notice their garden with its standing water was built over their parking garage, just like ours is. Not much drainage, at least not straight down. I guess their land is a tiny bit lower than ours, because when they “pulled the plug” to dry their land, the water in our mushy mossy “lawn” drained away. The installed a lot of big river rocks below the surface landscaping. The drainage is rapid, and there are no more pools there.

So, our place is dry. The plants are drying out and dying. And the management quite reasonably is not concerned about that. It’s the multimillion dollar 10+ storey building that matters, and not breaking watering rules so you don’t get fined. Money down the drain.

Dramatic little changes. The big picture is important to consider, and let some of the small changes happen. I still kinda wish I had said something about the truck before it got towed, but I’m experimenting with new paths, and that was the result. Putting my energy into things that are important to me. I’ve made some big changes this week, and I hope they pay off.