Perfect Gardening Days

Ferocious squash vine


Saddleback caterpillar on the old hammock

I’ve been having writer’s block.  Everything seems so rainy and boring – hardly worth writing about.  I get my kids fed, and chores done, and then I escape into a Diana Wynn Jones book.  I am in the middle of The Dark Lord of Derkholm, my favorite book ever.

This weekend I worked hard in the garden.  Yesterday, mostly.  It was a perfect day for it.  My perfect gardening days are not what most people would think of as good gardening days.  Not the clear, blue sky days.  I like drippy, miserable days where the sun doesn’t dare show itself, but there’s no lightening.  It was like that yesterday, cool and wet and not sunny.  Perfect.  I got another bed built, and am re-thinking my garden arrangement.  There are some really serious weeds out there, I’m not sure I can cope with them without the frost on my side.  And there’s some awful plant out there giving everyone itchy rashes.

A month ago Mirin, Rose and my dad all wandered around in the garden looking for passion fruits.  Mirin was unwise enough to be completely without clothing.  On the drive home, they started itching.  Mirin had itchy red patches all over his body – in some very uncomfortable and undignified places.  Rose had the most awful-looking rash over most of her face, including the tip of her nose.  My dad got some on his arm.

Not really thinking about how paranoid people are these days about that sort of thing post-vaccine industry-led-measels panic (and, naturally, assuming it was poison ivy  – there were no other symptoms) I met a friend at the library the next day.  Rose’s cheeks looked like a diseased child out of a medical text, but she was well in every other way.  Everyone moved away from her at the library, and it really freaked my friend out.  I had to write her a long email describing our lack of other symptoms, and how only people who went crashing through the garden had gotten it, right afterwards.

After working in that same part of the garden, I now have three big itchy red blotches on my arm and leg, and Ethan got some, too.  He wasn’t wearing a shirt, and has it on his belly and back.  No fun.  It was keeping me up last night.  So I will have to do a poison ivy hunt now.  It’s probably gone rife in there among the yucca.  As if the blackberries and sand spurs weren’t enough!

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