Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spring - Rain, Ticks, and Poison Ivy

We are resurrecting our small raised bed garden and generally reclaiming this half-acre woodland that is our corner lot.  Most of it is in fact woods: maple, locust and black cherry; the latter is the dominant tree.  Black cherries are tall straight trees that I'm told make great furniture wood.  An arborist friend also called them "self pruning."  Think on that for a second and you will get the picture.  Limbs, sometimes very large limbs, regularly depart from the trunk; only once (knock wood) has a large one actually hit the house, leaving a substantial gouge in the frame of a window behind which Carol sat reading.

Locust are more tenacious with their limbs but ours are mostly very old and thus subject to similar discharges.  a couple of decades ago, a large locust limb landed (say that three times fast) on the hood of Carol's Mazda 626 as we were leaving our property for an ice cream run into the village.  I removed it and we continued our drive to Stewart's Ice Cream shop, got our treat, then dropped the car a few doors away at Smitty's Body Shop and walked home.  At some point Carol mentioned that, had we been a half-second earlier at that spot, the limb would have fallen through the open moon roof.

What does all this have to do with the title?  Not a thing, but it got me thinking about how seconds and inches can change our lives.  That got me thinking about how often I hear grumblings about: too much rain, too many bugs, noxious weeds, etc.  Some of us can find fault with nature in any of it's variations, maybe wishing for some odd utopia, a Camelot perhaps.  It has been raining a lot for June, so much so that I don't think we've seen two clear days strung together.  I know that come the dry hot summer, we will be wishing for rain and griping about the heat.

In the course of our property reclamation project we attacked the weed bed in the rock and gravel area bordering the finished part of our basement, a place Carol christened "The Moat."  It was overgrown with weeds that had taken root through the gravel because of last year's neglect.  I worked in the moat while Carol cleared weeds from the border rock wall.  We located several stands of poison ivy during the operation, prompting Carol to employ herbicide; this is the only foliage that ever receives such treatment on our property.  Anyway, a couple of days later a few small eruptions appeared on my left  arm, not too bad at all.  Add to that a tenacious wood tick feeding on my right hamstring and the spring triad is complete.

Anyway, summer is only a day away, officially.

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