Every year about this time, I say, “This is going to be the summer that kills me.”
Surely, this will be that year.
It got such an early start, even though, technically, summer doesn’t begin until Friday. That’s in towns that have a full four seasons, of course, not here. Here, we have presummer, postsummer, full-blown summer, and something that makes us wear long sleeves for a couple of days at Christmas.
Last week it got into the high 90s, and my dreams of pushing the mower around the yard faded in a puff of steam. The unrelenting rains had turned our lawn into a butterfly wilderness area, with the weed equivalent of wildflowers yellowing up the backyard. It really needed mowing.
It was so tall, though, that it choked up the mower and left piles of hay wherever I walked. I didn’t use the mower bag, because it would have needed emptying every 12 seconds, so I tried mowing again over the grass I had just cut.
We have a large backyard, though, and that would have kept me out there until postsummer, at least.
Reluctantly, I raised the chassis of the mower, but of course that left tall grass in my wake. The mown grass was about as high as a normal week’s unshorn yard.
The rain, of course, has been good if you like growing things. We got a late start on our garden, and only recently set out a few tomato and pepper plants and assorted herbs.
As I write this, my wife has just told me that we have a tomato on one of the plants – one that I set out, she said a bit enviously.
She does all the work on those vegetables, but the fact that I planted that one into the clay that passes for soil will forever give me bragging rights when things start turning red.
Last year was a good season for us because we had to shift our garden from one side of the yard to the other. That was because of an unfortunate soil-poisoning incident that someone in our house performed; I’m not naming names, but I forgive her because everything grew better against the other fence.
She is the expert at flowers. I can’t tell them apart, except for roses and maybe one or two others, but she has all sorts of things blooming outside. Her wildflowers put the others to shame, but they’re all beautiful – whatever they all are.
One thing we’ve never had luck with is fruit trees. Our plum produced a handful of purple fruit a couple of years ago, and the young apple has a few green marbles on it now, but the two cherry trees retired before they ever went to work.
I really had hope for the banana plants my wife set out a few years back. Bananas are always good. I stuffed a ripe banana into my mouth as I left for work the other day, and as my wife accompanied me to the door, I pointed to my full mouth and mumbled, “Banana.”
“Apple,” she replied, and kissed me.
That’s the kind of summer I like.