When I was a child, I couldn’t wait for summer, because my birthday is in the summer and I had three whole months of not having to get up early for school.
Nowadays, I dread summer, because my birthday is in the summer and I have three whole months of getting up early to fight insects and pasture weeds. Life just isn’t fair when you grow up, is it?
I live in a log house in the middle of the woods. In March or April, depending on how warm it is, I start fighting the carpenter bees who love to nest in unpainted wood. I’m supposed to spray insecticide every month from March until September, and plug up their nest holes. That means toting around a two-gallon sprayer that I have to hoist waist-high to make the spray reach the underside of my porch roofs. My back aches after an hour session like that.
Every morning when I walk through the woods to my barn and pasture, I have to douse myself and my clothes with insect repellant. If I don’t, the ticks and mosquitoes will have me for breakfast, making me itch for weeks and threatening to give me Lyme Disease. I’ve tried those “natural” sprays that often contain cintronella. The insects around here treat it like salad dressing. It’s as if they relish (pardon the pun) going through flavored flesh to get to the blood feast. So I have to use Deep Woods Off, with 25% Deet, and I hate that stuff.
Meanwhile, I’m raising a great crop of rocks in my pasture. Several years ago, I actually paid some folks to pick up rocks. They worked all day and still didn’t get them all. I worked hard and had a nice stand of Bermuda for a few years. Last fall, I planted rye in one pasture, but didn’t get the seed scattered until early December. So it didn’t start coming up until February. Not exactly the winter crop I had hoped for. I had to keep my horses off that pasture for several months, trying to get a good stand. Horses will keep eating until they’ve pulled up the grass by the roots, so now one pasture is nothing but rocks and weeds, while the rye pasture has a mix of Bermuda, rye, thistle and wild daisies. I almost cried while bush-hoging it this week.
I moved to the country because I was tired of city traffic and living within spitting distance of my neighbors. It’s peaceful and quiet where I live most of the year. Summer, however, is a different story. There’s nothing peaceful about the drone of mosquitoes or worrying about weeds and Lyme Disease.And that’s why winter has become my favorite season.