Saturday, June 28, 2014

There are some muscles …

Do you water ski? I used to, back when I was a kid and my family camped along the Ohio River every summer. The first skiing session of the year always made me think, "There are some muscles you only use when you water ski."

Likewise, there are some muscles you only use when you're pushing an immobile riding lawnmower.

Yesterday was do-or-die day for cutting the grass. I kept putting it off, hoping for one more rain that still hasn't happened. The dust seriously aggravates my eyes and ability to breathe following a mowing session, but I just couldn't keep postponing the chore.

Our house divides our front and back yards, and it takes about 90 minutes to do each section. I had finished the front and was very carefully skirting the blackberry bushes, which are protected from the birds with netting.

You know where this is going, don't you? Yes, one of the mower blades nicked a corner of the netting and that corner was all it took to wrap yards and yards of it around the shaft of the blade, rendering the mower useless for anything but a large and quite stationery industrial-type lawn ornament.

I had to push the mower a fair distance to get it to a place where I could work on it. And after trying to untangle the mess on level ground I had to push it some more, up onto some bricks to give myself a little more room. This was a disaster in the making, but fortunately the mower did NOT slip off the bricks and land on my arm.

But those pushing muscles. Oh, are they sore today.

After one frustrating hour, I had to go get a neighbor to help. All I could think was that the blades would have to be removed. Our neighbor simply continued doing what I'd been doing – cut with a blade, tug with needle-nosed pliers. I felt bad asking for his help. But I was willing to let him do it if he was willing to jump in and finish what I'd started.

By the time I finally finished mowing I'd been outside for SIX HOURS. That heat and sun will take it right out of you. I was bushed. Beat. Dead-dog tired. The only perennial work that got done yesterday was moving the plants from the back of the truck to a spot in the shade, so they wouldn't fry.

Today is supposed to be warm, but overcast – a pretty perfect day for gardening.

Speaking of gardens – we were, right? Just now? Heh. – FIVE deer were nibbling the tomato plants as dawn filtered in this morning. I'm so mad. It looks like from now on I'm going to be a squash gardener. They haven't touched any of either the summer or winter squash plants. I sent Hershey out to chase them away.

And as for the berries, I replaced what was left of the netting, because those hybrid berries are so much bigger and easier to pick (they're thornless) than wild ones are. But look what's been going on behind the mulch pile:
I love free food. Heh.
There are hundreds of berries, dozens of bushes and more growing IN the mulch pile. I shall very carefully extract mulch from around those plants, because the spot where all this is growing is easy to access and there will be more than enough fruit to share with the birds.

I'll need to wear long sleeves and gloves to pick them, since they're wild and DO have thorns. But wow – what a haul. Can't wait!

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