The Mother of All Colanders is holding four pounds of elderberries. Fortuitously, the wine recipe I used had called for exactly four pounds of berries. And yes, it is necessary to wear gloves when harvesting and destemming them; they are messy!
When you read this, my one full week of vacation will have ended and my heinie will be warming my work seat. Sigh.
Of course my vacations involve no vacating, nor really any sitting at all. And I almost never do take a whole week off: I just usually dribble the two-week allotment out over the course of the year, granting myself a three- or four-day weekend here and there or as Tom’s art junkets require. This year was different. We did some structural work to one of our outbuildings and needed a full week to do it.
It’s been years since I got out my Sawzall (reciprocating saw). Nothing satisfies more than the polite buzz of that saw tearing through something: without the plaintive whine of the cordless saw, the zip-zip of the chop saw or the quasi-authoritative whir of the table saw, the Sawzall just gets the job done, quietly, with spooky effectiveness. Now I am wondering if it will again be years before it’s put to use.
Structural crap aside, I did practically wear out the knees of my work pants while weeding the garden paths. It’s been such a year (you know the ones) wherein one must shuck all unnecessary nonsense in order to simply keep the cogs of the machine well-oiled and turning, and this summer it meant I couldn’t attend to the garden paths as I would like. (Of course, had I had the 25 yards of woodchips required to cover those paths, weeds would not be a problem, but, well, it’s an off-year for the tree-cutting crews around here.) The garden beds themselves, though, of course are weed-free; a girl needs her standards.
Princess of Pigweed, I would say to myself while creeping on those knees. Professor of Plantain, Duchess of Dandelion. Shepherdess of Sheep’s Sorrel, Priestess of Purslane, Lady of Lambs’ Quarters: the irony that the majority of the weeds I was pulling were edible was not lost on me. Bursar of Burdock, Contessa of (inedible) Crabgrass. Luckily, the week had been a wet one, and the weeds came out in clumps, few tools required. And as I pulled, I marveled yet again at how strong my old arms and back remain. I can do this for another fifty years, I thought, which would bring me to 95, sweaty and muddy and happy; more wrinkled, more gray. I am sure lifting beams and wrangling posts and heaving rafters won’t be in my future fifty years from now, but…milking a goat and pulling some path weeds? Not a problem, no sir.