I must be getting old and my northerner blood is asserting itself. I simply cannot get much done in hot weather. I do what I can, but it doesn’t take much for me to feel all melted.
It’s been a seasonal day here, about 15 degrees celsius; I feel as if I had the strength of ten, or that I was twenty years younger. For two days I’ve been able to get much accomplished: sewing, cooking, cleaning, and even the piddly little chores like sharpening my ancient carbon steel knives. I’ve made salsa today, and I’ve got pork roasting for pulled pork. I made spanakopita last night, which is fiddly but fun. (No, I didn’t make the phyllo, which takes four people and a very large table.) I cleaned the grill and fire-roasted the vegetables for the salsa this morning, ran out of propane, went to get more, got the barbeque sauce made for the pork, got the pork in the oven, did dishes, fed husband, made the salsa (to be canned this evening) and cleaned the yard.
Cleaning the yard here always starts with doggie patrol. You know what I mean – two dogs, one yard, and their favourite places are under the swingset and the clothesline. Since we weren’t using either for about a week, I had neglected the daily routine and they had left souvenirs everywhere. I’m the only one in the house who can bend down that far without losing balance and landing on nose or shoulder, so the duty is mine. And I insist on a clean yard; I hadn’t ventured far from the door, though, for the last seven days and the little monsters took advantage of it! There is nothing nastier than hanging clothes and realizing that there is something very yucky on your boot, or worse, the sheets sweeping through it – which means another round of washing.
The gardens were badly overgrown with some weeds I’ve never seen. I checked first to make sure they weren’t the dreaded and dangerous hogweed, which is poisonous and acrid. Then I pulled with vigour and they turned out to be shallow rooted, despite being the size of small apple trees. This should allow more light into the kitchen windows! I deadheaded the echinachea, with plans to dig some of the roots this fall. They may be past prime, but it will be good to make up a tincture before winter’s colds and flus. I was able to reach some young vigorous trees that had taken root in the eavestrough beside the garage, as well. They were well on their way to being a second tier in our canopy.
My gardening neglect is because I can’t grow food here. The herbs went in an old wash tub and did well, but the yard itself is shadowed by black walnut and maple, as well as cedar. And if there are three trees under which almost nothing will grow, these are it. Add oak if you like, but it’s a wonder there is any grass. I had to seed down some spots anyway, since an old gazebo, the splash pool and the bouncy castle had taken their toll on the lawn. If we get a warm day or two the grass should sprout and root and fill in well next spring. If I’d had any say in the matter, the black walnuts (messy trees, and the squirrels get the nuts well before we can) and biggest maples would come down, sold for furniture making. They are at terminal growth and it’s going to be nothing but decay from here. Cedars can go anytime; I would never plant one. They are scraggly and poisonous to anything around them; they harbour the ninja squirrels who raid local gardens and the nut trees.
Is there anything cozier than coming in from a good day of gardening, to smell something delicious in the oven, and sit down to a cup of tea while the clouds race outside, and the wind talks in the trees?