Fighting with blackberries

June 10 – At last! After being stuck inside day after day because of the heavy rains, with just 4 days in May when the rainwater continued to fill the pond and puddles, and the same during the first week in June, it DID NOT rain yesterday! If I were Irish, I might be dancing a jig to show my delight, but I am satisfied just to continue saying to Dale time after time, “No rain for the entire day, or for most of the week ahead!”

Daytura plants

Datura plants

Poor Dale, even with his bad back is not content to sit around and watch his wife work! After trying, quite unsuccessfully to use the weed eater in the pond area, he tried to get the mower with the high back wheels to work, but it didn’t give in to his pleas. That should make our local motor repair man happy, as he will get the two on-the-fritz machines to fix! Since he couldn’t mow, Dale sprayed the plum tree, checked again on the garden soil, and dug up some small datura plants to move to the fence area.

For the last month he has hoped to get the tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage planted in our garden space where vegetables grow so well. He has been faithfully keeping the soil in the pots moist. Do you wonder why he has to do that when we have had so many inches of rain? I wondered too, so I asked him. “Since they are in such small pots, in comparison to the amount of soil they would be surrounded with in the garden, they lose the moisture and would die if I didn’t water them every day.”

Strawberries from the patch

Strawberries from the patch

Oh, well, I may not know all of that stuff, but I do know how to hoe and pull weeds and fill the canning jars with pretty good-looking tomatoes in the fall. Sure do hope we have enough to can this year, with nothing in the garden yet. Dale thinks that in a couple of days, those tomatoes will have a new home. Right now the little green tomatoes on those potted plants vary from marble sized, to several as large as a golf ball. Checked the strawberry patch and picked about a dozen berries! What a shame. Usually I am able to freeze about 50 quarts each year, but about 12 was the limit this year. Those plants are really big and beautiful, with large leaves and strong stems, as they continue to make new growth for next year. Some rows didn’t even bear a quartful this year.

Just heard the TV weatherman say in a “that’s-the-way-it-is-folks” voice, “Hot and humid for the next several days, in the nineties.” Must admit I am not too keen on the promised temperature, but I’ll be glad to put up with that if the rains don’t come, allowing us to do the mowing we haven’t been able to take care of for awhile. Our poor pasture trails haven’t been mowed in several weeks, so we don’t walk them just about every day as we used to. The pond area is overgrown as anyone could tell, but this morning I used the push mower to get right down to the pond itself, then continued on around where I have always used the riding mower. Can’t do that any longer, as there are five or six muskrat excavations that won’t let me mow across them. One of those animals was swimming around in the pond several days ago, probably calling under his breath, “Well, you’ll never get me, my friends, because even if you try, I’ll hide right here in the water! Dale is going to fill those ditches, but I am afraid they won’t be covered for long.

I fought the blackberries, and the blackberries won

I fought the blackberries, and the blackberries won

As I continued to do a lot more trimming in that area, I mowed round and round and round, but didn’t quite finish the job. I did manage to have a run-in with a couple of the blackberry bushes that were leaning over the path as I mowed past them. They sure can rip open the skin, very easily. By the time I had done a lot more mowing, I decided to stop that job for awhile.

Earlier this morning the three laundry loads dried beautifully outside. That’s another point with the rainy weather than continued on for so long. I do NOT like to use the dryer, even though it probably is easier and doesn’t take as much time as using the outdoor clothesline. How well I remember Ma hanging out loads and loads of clothes. After all, with seven kids and their parents, she had to use her washboard and then the old fashioned washing machine often during the week. Whenever possible she hung out the clothes in the wind and bright sun, and often told us to “just feel how soft these clothes are!” Of course, she didn’t have the choice I did. She never did own a dryer!

OK, I need to move on to other things, so will write more later. It’s almost summer already, and where has spring gone, the season that I usually enjoy so much, with its balmy days that are so appreciated after a cold and snowy winter? Maybe June will live up to our expectations of long warm and bright days, with plenty of time to work and play in the sunshine! I hope so! – CHRIS

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