Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hours Swiftly Passing

I saw Jim off to work this morning, tended the cats, tidied the kitchen.
A quick tour of the front porch showed yesterday's transplants to be in good order--needing only
a gentle watering.
I loaded buckets and baskets into my van, added a change of clothes, and drove to the other place.
There was no sign of the feral cats, but the kibble dish was, as usual, empty.
The water bowl was dry, and has been the case lately, there were crumbs of dirt in the bottom.
I suspect that the resident raccoon is enjoying the cat food as well as whatever dainties it chooses 
from the garden.

I lined the pots of small roses along the back patio, noting as I did so, how well the Double-Red-Knockout roses are doing in their new situation.
One of them was hosting a gathering of Japanese beetles, so I marched back around to the garage to slosh some varnish remover into an empty paint can--I use a trowel to knock the beetles into this deadly solution. 
The Rose Queen cleome by the drive was showing damage from tiny green caterpillars. They are essentially the same shape and color as the seed pods which dangle from the bristly cleome.
The plants are not pleasant to touch or smell--I wonder why the caterpillars brave them.
I located 5 of the nasty little 'worms' after gingerly lifting stems and leaves and squinting intently.

In the vegetable garden both weeds and veggies have lurched into fast growth mode since the 
rains of the weekend.  
The okra which has been languishing suddenly realized what it is meant to be doing, and has thrust up a quantity of green pods.
The pepper plants have taken a new lease on life, each little bush loaded with dark green peppers in all stages of development. 
Blight has finally discouraged the tomatoes, the earliest cucumber and melon vines are spent and 
mottled with yellow.

I snaked the tired vines out into a heap at the edge of the garden, picked the green beans dangling from the latest sown bushes--noting that I missed a few while picking in the twilight of Monday evening.
I yanked up the oldest bean plants, now riddled by beetles and producing only thick misshapen beans.
The garden is still wet enough to coat my boot soles with a thick clumping of reddish mud.
We couldn't get at the long row of beans during the heavy rains.  In consequence many had grown thick and tough.  I leaned over the plants, removing the overgrown pods and tossing them on the ground.
Halfway up the row, back aching, I rebelled.

Collecting my containers of produce I stomped around to the back entry, pried off my muddy boots and headed in to take a much needed shower in the newly refurbished bathroom.
Emerging, clean and freshly garbed, I looked longingly at the wing chair by the open living room window. A glance at the clock startled me:  I had already been working here more than 4 hours--what?
No time to loll in the comfy chair!

It is a strange thing to work alone in the big garden, to trudge in and out of the house which is familiar from our weeks of refurbishing, a space which holds oddments of our possessions, yet is a place where we have not lived.
It is odd to be in a house without the cats!
No furry shapes curled in a chair or lounging on the kitchen counter, nonchalantly eyeing the birds that fly past the window.

I bundled the containers of veg into the van, tossed in my muddy clothing, a routine that has become ridiculously familiar during the past month.
A detour to the shop at the edge of town where Jim is working--to hand over his cell phone which he had forgotten; a stop at Wal Mart [groan] for a few necessities, a quick word with an elderly friend waiting for her ride home.
3 PM by the clock in my own kitchen.  Veggies to haul in and wash;
supper to start for Jim.
At sundown I made yet another trek with peelings and such to tip onto the refuse heap behind the shop.
The boy cats skittered along the drive; at the edge of the freshly mown front field Willis hunkered, intent on some small prey. 
In the pasture across the fence, cows munched, placid in the gathering dusk.
A light breeze stirred my long hair, nipped at the back of my neck.
Behind the barns the sky glowed orange and dusky mauve.

I have a strange unsettled sense of having lost part of the day.
I know where I was, I have the evidence of my labors.
I feel fragmented, in need of gathering myself and my belongings into one place.

1 comment:

  1. What a day! I know what you mean about being alone gardening; I never feel so alive as when I'm out there, even in our small patch, with no one disturbing me. It's a rare treat these days though. Love the photos.