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April 10, 2005

Hatching Day

Five years ago today, Master Graham Kiloran Maas was hatched. That’s right, hatched. In our family, all baby creatures are hatched, whether they be mammal, amphibian or dinosaur.

This preferred method of being born came about a few years ago when Graham got it in his head that he needed to be hatched each morning. A very elaborate process was developed which began with placing his four blankets, named Red, Blue, Green and White, in a different order over his tiny, tucked up body each day.

Then I had to drape myself over him and squeeze tightly while the “egg” began to shake and flex until it popped open. “Who are you today, Baby Egg?” I would ask.

“A baby kitten,” Graham would answer.

“Oh, a baby kitten,” I would reply, “just what I always wanted.” Then we would snuggle a bit and call each other Baby Kitten and Mama Kitten, and I would hope that this sweet, cuddly boy would never grow up.

Some days Graham was a baby kitten, others a baby duck or a baby puppy, but the routine was always the same: layering blankets followed by hatching and then snuggling.

His animal repertoire expanded as he grew older and learned new creatures, and recently, he’s been accessing other resources, such as “My Giant Book of The Animal Kingdom.” He has already mined the two pages of ocean animals, which included a squid, a dolphin and a humpback whale. Humpbacked whales are hatched. Who knew?

Lately, he’s been in the bird section of the book and I’m pleased to announce that I have already hatched a toucan, a hornbill and a crane this week. On Friday, Graham was a baby pheasant and I was able to find an old pheasant feather given to me in high school. He immediately stuck it into his shirt and told me his feathers were coming in.

When my folks arrived that afternoon, we all went out for dinner. Driving along in the minivan, we discussed his pheasant-hood. If he was Baby Pheasant, and I was Mama Pheasant and Daddy was Daddy Pheasant, did that mean my parents were Grandpa and Grandma Pheasant? That set him off into gales of laughter and me into the odd thought that we were a modern-day version of the Partridge Family and I began looking around for Shirley Jones, David Cassidy and Susan Dey to break into the chorus of “Come On, Get Happy.”

Today, on his fifth birthday, Graham woke up, marched into our bedroom and demanded that I come to his room to snuggle with him. As we curled up together, he asked, “Am I five today?”

Yes, you are,” I said.

“Am I taller already?” he demanded.

“Why, yes, you are,” I assured him.

He continued, “And what about my shadow? Is it taller, too?”

“Yes, even your shadow is bigger,” I told him. “Today, you are a big five-year-old boy, just what I always wanted.”

What’s happening in the garden now


The two Magnolia “Merrill” trees have begun to bloom, with huge, fragrant, shell pinky blossoms adorning a completely bare tree. Both trees have more blossoms than last year. With rain projected for the evening and tomorrow, their show could be very short-lived. There are bees already buzzing around the blooms!


Both the yellow spring crocus and purple wild prairie crocus are in bloom. I have very fond memories of picking ice cream buckets full of wild prairie crocus as a small girl in North Dakota. My mother and I would comb the hills surrounding St. Ansgar’s Lutheran church on a Saturday morning, sidestepping the cow pies while we picked.

Graham spotted the first yellow goldfinch of the season this afternoon. I placed a small bag of yarn clippings in the flowering crab tree outside his window for the neighborhood birds to use for their nests. It would be fun to see a nest with stripes of blue, green and white in it.

With temperatures in the low 70s this week, the perennials are popping up everywhere. The “Walker’s Low” nepeta around the fountain bed has come back very nicely, and the snake’s head fritallaria have appeared underneath the flowering crabs. Lots of daffodils are appearing, so we should have quite a display in about a month.

The emerging Turkish tulips are blanketing the dry stream bed area. Each year they multiply to form ever-larger clumps. Soon we should see their cheerful yellow, red and orange faces.

Garden Chores for the Week

• Still haven’t cut back the Jackmanii or Sweet Autumn clematis
• Plant peas around the teepee and lettuce in a bowl and in the ground
• Start fertilizing the azaleas and yews with MirAcid
• Start fertilizing the emerging bulbs
• Weed the prairie bed. Any grasses appearing now are turf plants trying to reestablish themselves, not prairie grasses which emerge later in the season.
• Identify which perennials to move or dig up
• Begin planning which annuals to put in containers. We purchased a gorgeous pair of copper pots at Smith & Hawken last weekend for the entrance to the pergola. For those pots, I’m thinking of using variegated cannas or purple miscanthus for the tall bits, and either an orangey begonia or coleus and some purply foliage plants. I’ve been combing the latest White Flower Farm catalog for ideas.
• Begin digging dandelions

Seed Starting Update

April 5 – Two more celosia have germinated. I thought one of the “Freckles” violas had germinated but it was just a piece of perlite that had gone green with algae or something. I think it was a way for the seed tray to say, “Psych!” to me.

April 10 – The scabiosa seedlings have developed their second set of leaves and need to be potted up. One plant is pushing up against the plastic cover over its head. It definitely needs to get moved.

The other seedlings? Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Big sigh….

Posted by maasx003 at April 10, 2005 4:35 PM | Family | Gardens


Happy Birthday Graham!
Jackie, you have surely hatched a fine specimen (not sure what he is today, so dont want to run the risk of insulting his being).
Enjoy the cuddling years.

Posted by: Dvora at April 12, 2005 2:56 PM