Bill Moeller Commentary: In the Good ol’ Summertime: Thoughts on the Season


Well, how has your summer been, so far? Yeah, mine too.

Outside of some self-inflicted incidents I’ve already written about, mine has been as normal as can be expected.

I’m not referring to the thermometer readings, of course. I think I’m safe when I say that we have been equally disappointed on that topic. I’ve already written about the fact that sitting in the shade of the neighbor’s tree and bushes has meant a lot to me.

It’s been a pleasant place to sit there and catch up on a few things I’ve put off for so long. I hope that you’ve also had your own little “hiding place” to, at least, exist in for an occasional hour or two.

I’ve noticed one thing about the garden in the small patch of landscaping I manage to keep from total disintegration each summer, and that’s the fact that the soil itself is harder and much more resistant to “work” with a small hand trowel than it’s been in the past.

I’ve tried to fight that condition in the past by mixing sand into the soil after I remove as many of the rocks that I can dig out with a normal hand trowel. But it hasn’t been enough. Just mixing lawn clippings with the soil hasn’t been enough either.

I’ve always saved those grass clippings but there’s one thing this year that I can’t explain — and that’s the fact that when I loaded up a nearly two-year amount of them into the wheelbarrow, there were almost no angleworms mixed in with the clippings. Why? I’ve always kept the clippings moist. And the “worm farm” in special bins I keep in the carport is overflowing with them. 

One attempt to be creative in flower growing has been a success, though.

While most of my flower bed next to the sidewalk has, in the past, been reserved for perennial flowering shrubs, this year’s experience with bulbs turned out to be a success — at least in my mind.

Here’s the way it worked. In the late fall of last year, I planted a field of daffodil bulbs in a special section. When they had bloomed this spring and began to die off, I dug them up and replaced them with a collection of special gladiola bulbs.

That group has almost finished blooming as you read this, but they were a success that  can be traced back to shopping for vegetables in Safeway. I saved all of those metal strips that hold bunches of vegetables together and cut them into smaller pieces. With the glads (as my father — who had a small sideline business selling the bulbs — called them), I wrapped one of those strips around the stem of the prettiest flowers and then set those bulbs aside in a separate box when I harvested them in the fall. The end result from those selected was exactly what I hoped for this summer — a mixture of beautiful colors gathered together. All right, so it was gaudy, but I like it.

I’ll bet that one of my other flower beds has something in them that yours might not: two walnut trees.

All right, so they’re not trees yet, but I’ll try to coax them along. Well, one of them anyway. There’s no room for more than one. There were several of them at various times — planted by squirrels — but I haven’t seen one of those for a couple of years, perhaps because my cat, Sam, used to chase (but apparently never caught one). If he had, he would have brought it into the house to chew on, as he has done with mice, rats and (unfortunately) small birds.

In closing, here are three more things you’ve probably heard your parents say, and might have said yourself in later years:

“You’re going to spoil your dinner.”

“It’s for your own good.”

“I’m telling you for the last time.”

Never had much impact on me.


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at