I start to feel a bit bummed out this time of year. The mad rush of spring prep and planting is done. The gardens are in between weedings and look incredibly healthy with the consistent rain. I’ve fallen into my routine of maintenance. The momentum has slowed, I’ve had a chance to take a breath. I realize how tired I’ve been. I sleep. And then I start to get lazy.
There are more strawberries to harvest, but I’ve already made 30 half pints of jam. The strawberries that remain aren’t enough to do anything with but eat fresh or on muesli -which is nice but I’m tired of crawling beneath the scraggly asparagus ferns -asparagus beetle larvae getting caught in my hair. I’m tired of tiptoeing through the plots, brushing aside leaves to look for red berries, smacking at mosquitoes. My histamine levels are at an all-time high. I’ve taken to taping my bug bites and poison ivy with masking tape to keep me from itching them. I’ve found for some reason it also alleviates the agony. Either that or the visual of seeing giant white blocks of tape on my body makes me feel like it more accurately represents the magnitude of the itch.
Eric says I smell like A-1 steak sauce because of my new homemade bug spray which is cinnamon and tea tree oil in an apple cider vinegar carrier. It works well for 20 minutes but then I need to reapply, so it’s not just a one-time steak sauce, it’s perpetual steak sauce.
The mulberry tree is ripening -early this year. I keep meaning to go out with a tarp because I refuse to harvest by hand anymore. I spend more time moving the harvesting ladder than I do actually picking berries. But there’s a patch of poison ivy beneath the tree and -my histamines. I’ve also heard that sometimes you end up harvesting more sticks and debris than berries. Plus, did I mention I was tired? It makes me a bit sad that the things around this property that used to bring me great joy as a child are the things I most dread now that I am an adult. I suppose that’s what happens when you get older.
A friend came over and brought a store-bought iced coffee. I remember being home from college and iced coffee being the highlight of my week. I find it too sweet now with sugar and too thick with cream. Black iced coffee just doesn’t do it for me either. I am becoming one of those old ladies who tapes up her legs and won’t drink the coffee and grumbles at the thought of picking berries in the sunshine and smells like steak sauce. My fingers are also peeling with that same fungus I get every year from working in the dirt gloveless. My wardrobe consists of dirty cut off jean shorts, stained tshirts and sneakers that smell like wet dog even though I don’t own a dog. I am hideous.
As I type this I can hear the clank of what sounds to me like stones being moved in the creek bed and if it’s those darn kids again trying to make a swimming hole I might just shout. For now I will ignore it as best I can until I go back there and see for myself and then I’ll just be angry and have to put up another posted sign because nobody (not even those kids, whether they know it or not) wants the DOT coming in and “repairing” the creek. Then their swimming hole dreams will really be over and so will any semblance of a natural landscape.
I am starting to sound like Great-Aunt Margaret and Great-Uncle Luther. This was them before they got old and crotchety and yelled at kids for throwing stones in the creek. I suppose it’s the only way that I can get my face on that creepy caretakers wall. I need to care more about erosion and dirt than I do about iced coffee and mulberries. In that case, I am winning.