We had pea-sized and some marble-sized hail last week; however, the berries were fortunately too green to be destroyed. I’m afraid that some farmers’ crops weren’t as fortunate.
It’s been a wild summer weather-wise here with high humidity, ominous clouds, abrupt thunderstorms and even tornado warnings. Maybe the weather is trying to stay more newsworthy than the ongoing COVID pandemic.
We’ve been doing yard work for a few hours each day. We went on a mission to try to get rid of the Caragana—that was a challenge. I’m sure there will be more shoots erupting next year, but at least the bushes are gone. (Where was my head when the nursery man recommended some Caragana as a ‘quick growth’ solution when we moved to the acreage 15 years ago?) We even cleared out some of the Calgary Carpet by the front walk which didn’t have room to expand and replaced it with feather grasses and sages. I look at every area of the acreage now and ask how we can cut maintenance. So far, it’s not working.
The burrs and thistles in the garden patch are especially challenging, and I’ve engaged in regular tugging contests with the thistles. My goal is to be able to get to all the berries, and anything that gets in my way or pokes me as I’m trying to get there is going to be yanked out—hopefully by the roots. Once the berries are ready to pick, it’s a few hours a day in the berry patches which will be a welcome respite from pulling weeds.
I’m not the only one anticipating the berries. Small flocks of cedar waxwings, the red-winged blackbird family from by the pond and other fruit-eating birds are also lurking in the trees by the garden waiting to peck. The blackbirds are already screeching at me when I go to the patches.
There is fresh bear scat on the avenue which tells us that the black bear is back—if it ever left—and it, too, will be waiting for the berries to ripen. So, once again it will be a race to the berry patch and singing loudly while I’m down there. I read somewhere that bears don’t like singing. Probably the neighbours don’t enjoy it much either.
Speaking of projects in the yard, we decided to try to get our hot tub working again. It’s been sitting unused for about 12 years. Since the arthritis in my hands has gotten more painful this summer so that all my fingers except two now have bony knobs on the finger joints, we decided to try and see if the hot tub would help the arthritis and relieve other joint and muscle pain after gardening.
This rejuvenation of the hot tub has been quite the adventure, but I’ll tell you first that it’s operational and being enjoyed. The warm water also relieves arthritic symptoms, at least for a couple hours.
We had a contact who maintains pools for a living so he gave us advice by text and phone as we went through the steps. He was amazed that the pump still worked and that there were no leaks given the time. We figured that if it worked, it worked; if not, well, at least we found out that much.
The main job was cleaning, and you wouldn’t believe the ‘stuff’ that came out of the jets. We vacuumed, scrubbed, filled the tub and ran it, netted out all the ‘stuff’ and cleaned it some more and on and on. Nothing like another project for the summer!
I haven’t read as many books this summer as I thought I would. It just seems like the more I’m at home, the more jobs I see that need to be done. I think everyone is feeling that way so many people are involved in projects. We do manage to sit on either the front porch or back deck for an hour or so in the late afternoon.
We also have mosquitos this year which is unusual in this area. I’d almost forgotten that loud whine around my ears and head. We are fortunate to have many bats around—and I try to remind myself of that fact when I clean up bat poop every morning off the front porch as they do love to hang there. We also have swallows nesting in most of the bluebird boxes—only one bluebird family this year out of the dozen boxes—and also the large dragon flies have mercifully come in recently to help eat mosquitos too. Still, mosquitos in the Foothills are not as common as in other areas, and I know Central Alberta for example has been plagued with swarms of them.
Like everyone else, we’ve been sticking close to home. We have been taking more drives out into the foothills. Those of us who live so close to the mountains sometimes forget that people come from all over the world to this area—well, not this year, but usually—and we have the stupendous views and activities right from, or near, our doorstep.
Now if I can just get to the berries before the birds and the bear, we’ll have berries in the freezer for another year!
I hope everyone is well. “See you in September” – if I’m out of the berry patch by then.