The big bad winter is approaching too fast and I still have too many issues with house and garden. They must get done before the ground freezes and the snow comes.
First, what is done and getting there. The air conditioner is covered. It might as well have stayed covered with our almost non-summer. Most of the leaves from the neighbour’s two walnut trees have been cleaned from the eavestroughs. That’s two cleanings and one more to go. One of the two handy guys I “employ” is looking after this. I’m out there whenever I can (read not working, promoting my book, doing house chores, sleeping, etc.) to rake the leaves from the lawn, garden, patio and walkway on one side of the house. This is a continuous job. But that is the price I pay for having much needed shade in the summer, so I accept that.
What I don’t accept is winter – all five to six months of it (as last year’s was). I don’t think winters were that long when I was growing up. I remember Mom and Dad out digging in the garden in April. For fall, Mom and Dad were kept busy. Dad had to literally take down the screens and put up the windows. Mom had to clear out the garden and finish up the canning – she made some green tomato sauce which I wouldn’t eat because the tomatoes were green. Not sure if she made red tomato sauce but she made a mean pickled mustard beans, rhubarb jam (sometimes with strawberries), black and red current jams and jellies, and huckleberry apple, which was for pies. That’s what I remember. She would put them all in the root cellar in the basement and bring the jar(s) up when needed.
I don’t can anything. I’m afraid of food poisoning. And sometimes home canned foods can go bad. As I write in my memoir, Mom could open the canned jam, etc., sniff it and just know it was bad. We never got food poisoning.
Instead I dry herbs and blanch and freeze excess vegetables = when the garden produces them. This year when the carrots grew large for a change I didn’t plant enough to freeze. I had some beans for a change but only enough for a few meals. I did get some from the farmer’s market and froze them; same for corn-on-the-cob which I don’t grow – partly because of space and partly because the racoons stole the good crop of corn my ex-husband and I grew in our Aurora, Ontario garden in the mid-1970s. There are enough racoons in this area that even the meanest-looking scarecrow wouldn’t frighten. It isn’t called “scarecrow” for nothing.
The main outside issue is the big juniper tree in front – the one destroyed by God’s horrible winter weather. The juniper has come back somewhat and is still continuing to do so but not fast enough for next winter. God didn’t listen here so now I need to find someone knowledgeable to do something to protect this juniper so it will survive and next spring continue to comeback. I know what has to be done – burlap wrap, not against the tree but on high stakes around it, plus spray something (I don’t know what) on the tree to prevent winter burn on the green parts. The so-called arborist (retired) who promised to help me with tree damage kept putting it off. Yours truly had to do some trimming back of the boxwood and silverlace, with some help from Alex next door on the dead silverlace on his side of the fence. Some of the silverlace on another fence and the gate to my garden from the driveway came back somewhat and was looking nice with its white flowers as it twined through the part of the dead tree (from years ago – it was a silverlace prop) that I hadn’t cut back.
Finally a couple of weeks ago this fellow who I had called the Good Samaritan (GS)came and trimmed off the dead boxwood which I hadn’t been able to do – he did a good job of that, but really messed up the silverlace and took down most of the dead tree under it, except for the main stem (narrow) and two branches. He left it leaning over into the bushes (more juniper) nearby. I had to tie it with bungie rope to the fence. It will act as part of the stakes for that low-lying juniper – and that is something I can do, but not the big juniper.
The GS also left a mess of branches by the boxwood and at the back of my driveway. I had to pay one of my handyman to collect it and tie it all up.
The GS’s actions has taught me another lesson. Trust few people in your life. Be wary; be suspicious. I usually am (except for those close to me I know I should be able to trust), but this time I was so thankful that God had sent someone to help. Obviously the wrong person. Now God has to make it right for the winter with my trees, especially the big juniper in front – without me having to fork out a lot of money.
Then there is all the stuff inside but I won’t go into that now. I would like to go to the last weekly Farmer’s Market near me before it closes today for the season.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes