Sister Moon partied outside my bedroom window all night, Geeshy Sakes, that girl. By the time she went off to bed I was already awake. Looking out the window I watched her drop from the indigo sky and disappear into a moor of cotton candy clouds.
There was frost on rooftops all around, and the top of the laundry table was slick with ice. Funny how things turn around. Jack Frost rides by night, by day the temperatures get up in the 50’s, almost 60. Ooooo, perfect weed growing weather! But look, the poppy seeds I planted last Fall are pushing up through the mud.
I wish I had planted more. I did a pretty good job of spreading bulbs and rhizomes around the yard.
Irises make pretty flowers early in Spring, they multiply quickly and choke out weeds. When a patch becomes overgrown and frousy like this, it’s easy enough to thin it out and spread it around elsewhere. I just dig trenches along any fence or driveway, lay the rhizome down and cover it with an inch or two of dirt. They need very little water, they do quite well on whatever rain Winter has to offer. When it rains alot, they blossom more.
Today I wrestled out a patch of edible artichokes that had become so overgrown, many of them died last year before they could even develop. I dug them out and separated them, then put them in a row in my husband’s garden, where he has drip hoses set up. I found so many slugs – they’d eaten one plant completely, leaving nothing but the ribs of the leaves. I went over each plant, roots and stems, looking for slugs. They can get into the tiniest recesses. They move fast too, as soon as you disturb the plant they want to hide, they can really skedaddle.
As the weeds grow around our ears, the bugs are out and multiplying. Yesterday I heard a commotion in my husband’s shop, crash-boom-bang, bark-bark, CRASH! My husband came upstairs to show me the hairy mosquito that had taken three swats and a stomp to finally extinguish. Even Badges had gotten into the act, jumping and snapping at the tiny buzzard. It must have been an epic comparable to “The Revenant.”
Looking at this furry little predator in the cup of my husband’s hand, I realized it was time to patrol the property and all the tenants’ yards for mosquito breeding sites. The more I find out about mosquitoes, the more paranoid I get. Having found a dozen or more larvae cavorting in about three inches of water captured in a beer bottle standing next to my recycling bin, I know they are awesome breeders.
Last Summer I read that mosquito pupae can live in mud until they sense comfortable Spring temperatures and metamorphose into an adult mosquitoes over night. When females sense that the water is warm enough for eggs, they will instinctively seek out a blood meal (!), and then look around for those little clouds of milling mosquitoes – males, waiting for a babe to sail by. Males will take chase, and within a few days, we got eggs.
Now, ain’t that romantic!
You know what lots of mosquitoes mean – the trout will be jumpin’! I told my husband, I want a fishing license for my birthday this year. I’ve found so many red worms and night crawlers around the yard, I could open my own bait shop. I keep thinking of that trout, the skin fried crispy in a cast iron skillet, it makes my mouth water.
January starts out so dark, cold – ends so bright, cheerful. Just when I was having a hard time distinguishing one day from the next, fighting to stay awake until bedtime, feeling older and more feeble every day, the sun seems to have turned that corner and is heading her way back.
Like my friend who went away, and now she’s back, it feels good.