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Something called “summer” sailed right past me this year. On an inordinate number of days, mid-spring, the air was hot enough to fry my fingers to the railing outside the senior center entrance, and bugs greeted me eagerly for their ritual taste-testing runs.
Then, on yet other day, it might be the kind of cold my friend, who regularly recorded our weather expectations, would announce it was: “Cold enough last night to freeze the balls off my sycamore tree.”
We always decide what kind of summer it was going to be based on her tree’s voluminous blossoms surviving the weather’s idiosyncrasies.
People do things like that and other things, too, all indicative of that we live in Iowa. (It’s a story I’m told we, by tradition, must stick to.)
When my friend passed away, and I was no longer being advised of the expected weather, I adjusted to accepting repeatedly given false encouragements I would have time this year to plant the garden of my dreams (imagination) and reap the harvest (also of my imagination).
I narrowed it down to just a few ordinary vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce, onions, radishes, pickles, squash, (maybe) okra (OK, maybe not), and a few herbs …
As the season struggled toward identifying itself as a possibly non-cropping year I began eliminating some of the proposed inclusions.
The first to go were the early things: lettuce, radishes and onions. That was OK. There were a lot of people who had over-estimated their needs and were ready to share.
But then it got down to my having to determine what I really wanted and what was doable for me.
That eliminated a huge portion of my dream garden, but I tenaciously hung on to the tomatoes and peppers, eventually planting them in urn-sized pots I could more easily reach and care for. I had a lot of help or I never would have been able to get even that far along; I became satisfied … sort of.
But then came the bugs of the season, different bugs; these liked plants.
It wasn’t just bugs. There were other undetermined creatures interested in my garden. I was told there were deer coming into town from a nearby forested area. That would explain the half-chomped peppers. And the tomatoes, there were worms to be reckoned with. I’d seen them before, but now I was told they are “good worms” (what?), a crawly version of the precious hummingbird sphinx-moth and should be protected.
Oh, good grief!
Where is the old summer I remember?
Lois Eckhardt may be reached at P.O. Box 413, Wellman, IA 52356.