Joy of Summer

It hadn’t been easy, growing up without a mother, but somehow Joy had managed. Her father did the best he could, but as the only veterinarian for their village, he’d been gone more than he was home. But after his death she has hard choices to make. Can she find a way to stay in Summer, the little village she’s grown to love? 

As I started to write the title of the blog, all I could think of was that it sounded like a title for a cheesy bodice ripper novel!  In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. A few weeks ago in a prior post, I bemoaned the loss of something quintessentially summer…watermelon with seeds. I was surprised at how many people I have since spoken to, that agreed with me: Seedless watermelon sucks. Well, I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share with you that my local grocery store had REAL watermelon a few weeks ago. It was lucious, rich, textured…just like I remembered. And yep, …there was some honest to goodness seed spittin’  going on too. That’s what summer should be about. Snow cones, and water balloon fights in the backyard (or ‘thumbs over the ends of hoses’ fights, those work too!),  sparklers and black snakes, mouthfulls of Bubs Daddy bubble gum. And fireflies, or lightning bugs as they are known in some parts of the country. I love being out for a walk at night and seeing their ethereal lights dance in front of me, just out of reach. I know you can catch them and put them in a jar, I just have no desire to. I’d rather watch them appear, then disappear, and magically reappear feet from where they were a moment ago, and pretend to not know how that happened, just enjoying the sense of wonderment again. 

I miss having summers off. As an adult, the only time I really regret my career choice is during summer, when I wish I had become a teacher just so I could have had summers off…either that or found a way to become a professional paid student! But I’m so envious of the sounds of kids playing, having fun in the summer. Our house backs up to a number of others, and I can hear laughter of the kids playing from about six houses down some days. As a telecommuter, trust me, it can be challenging to concentrate. On the other hand, our house is also located rather close to some marsh lands, or as the DNR prefers to refer to them, nature preserves. Because that sounds SO much better than marsh, doesn’t it?  There are benefits of course to living near them, first and foremost being it’s packed full of wildlife. The frog chorus at night is something to behold, and we hear it from the ‘balcony’ seats, on the side of the road opposite the marsh. I’m sure if our house backed up to it, and we couldn’t even open our windows at night because the volume was so deafening, I wouldn’t feel quite so charmed by it. Another periodic gift the marsh gives it’s nearby residents, is the coyote choir. I’m not sure what will set up the howling, but when the pack gets going it’s both thrilling and chilling at the same time. I don’t know what makes people think it’s safe to let their pets run loose around here, I really don’t. Seems to me cats and small dogs might be fair game for coyote food, and I’d be terrified my pet might not come home, but that’s just me.

The worst part however, about living by the marsh, are the mosquitos, and in Minnesota, we know how to breed ’em BIG. Mosquitos lay eggs in standing, stagnant water, and this year it seems we’ve gotten into this never ending cycle of a couple of days of big rain, followed by a day or two of sun, then more rain. So in addition to being full of rich, green grasses and cattails that are taller than I’ve ever seen, our marshes are chock full of standing water and yep, you guessed it, lovely mosquito eggs. And you’ve never even seen a real mosquito until you’ve come here. There’s an old saying, about how a nearsighted one got confused last week and drained a 747…OK, maybe not really, but sometimes it almost feels like they’re that horrible. So the DNR does what they can, and “mosquito bombs” us. What’s that, you ask? Well, in summer, helicopters fly overhead, and drop pellets into the marsh (and onto decks, patios, porches and our public boardwalk) to help control the mosquito population. The first time they came around, the “chopper” as I now fondly refer to it, flew so low over my house  that I felt the cavitation in my chest and through my toenails. I was pretty sure I could put a spitball in a straw and hit a rotor without even trying very hard as they went over the neighbors house, then to the marsh, dropped the pellets and made the turn right past their house and then came back over mine, all within about 20 seconds. I wanted to drop to the floor and scream “incoming”, as I covered my head. I know it helps, it would be so much worse if they didn’t do it, but even so, it’s just a mite freaky. I mean, what happens if an engine fails? Or if the tail rotor goes wonky? I mean, I just know it’s MY house they’re gonna ‘find’ first, and suddenly I’ve got a lovely new piece of art in the shape of a helicopter blade decorating my mantle. Next thing you know, you’re a drive-by side show for half the city.

“Look Howard, there’s that house I heard about. You know the one where the mosquito bomb helicopter was hit with a spitball in the tail rotor, apparently throwing the yaw all wonky, and down she went. You can see one of the main blades sticking out of the side of the house, right above where the mantle sits. Rumor has it the owner was the one who shot the spitball. If that’s just not the perfect example of a karmic kickback, I don’t know what is.”

Maybe I’ll stick to marshmallow guns at family reunions. 


14 thoughts on “Joy of Summer

  1. I was in the Army with a guy from Minnesota a hunnerd or two years ago, and he said the state bird for your state was the mosquito. Cracked me up!

    Those critters are nothing if not ubiquitous. Every winter here in West Texas I’ve found mosquitoes in my house in February. FEBRUARY, fer cryin’ out loud! And that’s after weeks and weeks of temperatures down in the twenties and even the teens (degF, for y’all degC folks).

    I’m like that little kid I read about years ago who asked his Sunday school teacher just why, exactly, that Noah didn’t just squish those two mosquitoes when he had the chance.

    I’ve wondered the same thing a thousand times. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise child, he was. Only thing I can think of, what would the bats then? Of course, I personally see no need for bats myself….
      I’m pretty sure I know why you’re finding mosquitos in your house in February…southern migration!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have teeny tiny mosquitoes here, Beth, I’m relieved to say. We also seem to be having constant rain, so our water isn’t standing still for mare than half a hour. That’s how I see it anyway… happy firefly spotting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marshmallow guns sound much safer. And I’m in total agreement about the watermelon! Our supermarket only has the seedless (read tasteless) ones at this point, but sometimes later in the summer they get the “real” ones in. But…

    I went home to southern Manitoba for a visit a couple of weeks ago, and was treated to real Texas watermelon (yes, with seeds). The Mennonite community in that area uses watermelon in one of their traditional dishes, so entrepreneurs actually drive down to Texas and haul back truckloads of watermelons, which are then sold in the oddest places. I got mine from a bin in a small-town hardware store, where the smallest melon was 20 pounds. I did my best to consume the entire thing singlehandedly. YUM!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, THERE ya go! That’s right, sista. If y’all want a good watermelon, Texas is the place to get ’em. To my tastes, the best of the Texas melons are the Black Diamonds grown down southwest of her near Pecos. Yep, the same Pecos, Texas, where Judge Roy Bean held court. Tiny little town with lots of history. And really fine watermelons and cantaloupes. The seedless stuff? A waste of time. Think not? Try a Pecos Black Diamond, vine ripe and fresh out of the field. I won’t rub it in at all while you recant. Well, not much. 🙂


  4. Well for all I know maybe ours are trucked up from Texas,I’ll have to take a look and see if we have labels anywhere that say. Black Diamond? Sounds like something an amateur shouldn’t even attempt, sort of like the difference between bunny hills and black diamond ski slopes, right? I defer to your greater knowledge. I do believe I’ve had a yellow watermelon, and how funny that you just ask that. We have been blessed with a new grocery store opening in the past 2 weeks that has a lot of incredible items, I noticed yellow watermelon yesterday. I have to go back on Wednesday to see if the Cotton Candy grapes came in on the shipment, and will get on then. If you’ve never had those, GRAB them if you ever see them. Green grapes that taste like cotton candy…I’m so not kidding!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cotton candy grapes? Seriously? Those, I gotta try!

      I’ve never had a bad Texas watermelon, just so you know, but the best of the best all seem to come from Pecos. Just an FYI, there. The general consensus is that it’s the combination of the soil type (sandy loam that’s more sandy than loam) and ground/irrigation water that has more saline content in it than most folks would find palatable as drinking water. Reverse osmosis filters are big business there, I’ve heard. Anyway, their cantaloupes and watermelons are absolutely first class. Primo stuff. 🙂


  5. Hey, how’s your bod, sista? I’ll tell you abou mine if you’ll tell me about yours! 😜

    Ok, got rid of the straight-jacket sling today!! Yippee!! The racket you hear up there in the far north is me doing my happy dance out here in the middle of nowhere!! And no, you don’t get video. It’s ugly. Stuff you just don’t wanna see. Trust me.

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that the ante now goes up in rehab. Ouch. That’s ok, I guess. I do rehab twice a week, but I don’t have t wear that wretched sling EVER AGAIN. Except for protective coloration in crowds of people who don’t know my shoulder is recovering SLOWLY from surgery.

    The doc suggested that, and it’s a good tip. Keeps some well-meaning moron from back-slapping me there and going, “Hey, Random Dood!! How the hell are you?? Haven’t seen you since before your shoulder surgery…oh, sorry, dood… Oh, crap! Would somebody call 911? I gotta be in, uh, New Guinea, yeah, that’s prolly far enough, before this guy regains consciousness…”

    (Said moron crashes through the doors and heads for his ride in the parking lot, whereupon he disappears in a cloud of rubber smoke and the shrieking howl of an engine being tortured relentlessly.)

    Ok, that’s my story and its sticking to me. Or whatever. So, sista? Sup wichoo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Woot, woot!! So glad you have freedom!! I keep trying to reply to this and have nothing but trouble, on my own blog. Ever since I changed my email address, it’s been awful. Anyhow…
      Things are coming along well, I would say I’m about 98%. I’m almost completely upright again, just a little tugging left in my hip flexor but it is almost gone. I had a massage last night and my therapist said this was the first time she hasn’t seen a disparity between how my hips appear, so hooray!! I can roll onto that hip too, so that’s good, and if I’m careful I can reach my toes. So from a seated position on stairs, I can paint my toenails. Important girlie stuff. I’ve graduated from PT and just need to keep strengthening on my own. I see the surgeon in about 4 more months for a check up. I’ve been riding my bike trainer, and can unclip from pedals just fine, so next week I think we’re planning to get on bike trails for real. I can hardly wait!

      Liked by 1 person

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