It’s a jungle out there – at least in places

Applesauce - ready for the freezer

Applesauce – ready for the freezer

September 30 – Yesterday morning after I had finished my studying on the front porch, I started towards the door, opened it, and like a shot, a skink just about flew into the living room! After I had checked behind the door, in the nearby coat closet, and all around the floor, I figured that was the end of my experience with that little guy. Oh, no it wasn’t! An hour or so later, while I was working with apples in the kitchen, I noticed it was time for something special on the Today Show. On the way to the TV, I was more than surprised to see that lizard lying on the rug, taking a sun bath.

Now if Dale had been handy, he would have caught it with no problem at all, but I knew I couldn’t do it with just my hands. Instead, I went to the cupboard to get a big round plastic container, several inches deep. Just the right thing, I thought. According to plan, I quietly walked back into the living room, container in hand, ready to plop it down on the lizard. Great! My plan worked perfectly except for one thing. Even though my aim was perfect, with the container right smack on top of it, that lizard quickly shot out from under and rushed ahead, quickly escaping! Well, that was a little disgusting, and I wasn’t going to be outsmarted by a young lizard… Down on my hands and knees, I searched under the recliner, but found nothing. Quickly I went to the back of the chair and held it up. No, nothing under there. By the fireplace? No. Nowhere that I could see, so I just gave up, thinking that we might have a visitor or guest for awhile.

Blue-tailed skink

Blue-tailed skink

Several hours later, our neighbor Janice was cutting Dale’s hair, when I heard him shout, “There’s the skink, right there on the rug by the sink! Pick it up!” I was not the one to obey that kind of order because as I have said earlier, I just am not good at tasks like that. When I made a half-hearted try, that skink shot away from me and started off in another direction.

Dale, with only part of his hair cut, jumped out of the chair and chased it till he held it in his hand–before it jumped out and started off again! Of course, he didn’t want to grab it by the tail because then he would have only the tail left in his hand, while the skink escaped. Finally, after scurrying here and there in several directions, he had the skink in hand at last, then deposited it outside the garage door before calmly taking his seat again while Janice finished the job!

There has been a job I have wanted to do for awhile, maybe even a month, but with so much mowing and taking care of the tomatoes, I haven’t had the time. So after working inside most of yesterday taking care of business matters and  answering mail, I just had to get out into this just-about perfect weather. After peeling several baskets of apples and making applesauce (putting most in the freezer), it was time to do battle with the jungle!

Weeds in the "jungle" before cutting commenced

Weeds in the “jungle” before cutting commenced

Armed with a big clippers, a slasher, and my camera, I was off down the mowed path to clean the huge weeds of the jungle area near the creek. I had to be very careful not to take a step too close to the creek, because the big rains we had this summer washed out some of the banks. Those huge ragweeds with thick stems, and a big tangle of wild grapes had to be clipped off, but I could use the metal slasher otherwise. How good it felt when I looked back after the cutting and found a much neater area. Now I can mow that section and bring it back to normal. As usual some kind of vine had entangled itself in the barbed wire fence under the juniper tree; after cutting and yanking and struggling with the vine that just didn’t want to let go, I finally was satisfied with the looks of the place.

While this was going on Dale worked at the sink cleaning a bucket of persimmons he had picked earlier this morning. What a messy job! I had checked on Google to find out just how persimmons could be taken care of with the least problem and still be good (?) to eat. First, the writers said that they could be mashed with a potato masher! Well, that sounded easy, except that I haven’t used that utensil in a number of years. I just use the beater when making mashed potatoes these days. SO,  I made a trip down to the basement to try to find the masher. Looked on the bottom shelves, checked the top of the cupboards, and finally checked another set of shelves. A quick little prayer went up, and guess what? There in a box of spatulas, big spoons, old knives, ice cream scoops, etc. was the potato masher! Felt great just running back up the stairs to the kitchen where I handed it to Dale who was rather surprised.

Mashed persimmons in the deyhdrator

Mashed persimmons in the deyhdrator

He cleaned the persimmons, put them into a strainer, mashed up the fruit, and let it fall onto a big cookie sheet. He had originally planned to put it in the oven to make persimmon leather as the recipe said. I suggested it would be just as good to put the mix into the dehydrator where he has dried all kinds of fruit through the years. So that’s what we did with the sticky stuff, filling two sections with it. Hope that leather will be tasty enough to warrant all the work he did. – CHRIS

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