Lily of a Day

Thank goodness the temps had dropped enough to where my free Sunday wasn’t a scorcher. With the sun shining and a light breeze, it was a near perfect day for working outdoors, and that is where I was nearly the entire day, and for sure I had my Panama hat on all the time. Knowing that summer will be gone before we know it, these are the days in which I work to get as much of my outdoor “stuff” done as possible.

Before heading out to work at today’s project, I stopped at my office to get my Sunday morning spiritual exercise fulfilled. It was another refreshing contemplative session, and when looking at the clock afterwards, I found I’d been at it longer than normal which likely meant I was in need of added time to get myself squared away for another week. There’s no question I had on my plate last week, some very much unexpected happenings as well as duties to perform which I wasn’t prepared for, so I’m hoping this week will be a little more standard to where there won’t be any sudden surprises.

My entire morning and part of the afternoon was spent working at cutting up branches and clearing brush, and most of it was due to the recent storms we’ve been having. Of course I just wouldn’t leave things well enough alone because I also had to start trimming and cutting back shrubs and tree limbs that were growing out of control.

I always laugh to myself when seeing how poorly most people take care of their trees and shrubs to where they think that if you plant one, you just make sure it gets enough water to make it thru the first winter, and when Spring arrives, it manages to start growing, you consider your job done for the rest of the life of that tree or bush. Absolutely not so!

With the exception of a few species of trees and shrubs, they all need to be trained in one fashion or another. Just in these past ten years, I’ve been babying an Autumn Blaze Maple tree which is a hybrid-cross between a native Red Maple and Silver Maple. In spite of what was said about taking minimal care of them, I noticed some branches were turning downward which I very much dis-like. Just this summer, after giving it a little pruning early this Spring, I’d say that tree is going to be worthy of a calendar cover because of its Fall colors and uniform growth.

I almost didn’t purchase it because of it being related to Silver Maples which I’ve hated nearly my entire life because of how they don’t grow uniformly, and their branches easily break during storms, but in the end, I took my chances and purchased it, and thus far I’m very much happy with it. Many months ago, I shared a photo of its colors with all of you, and being so impressed by its beauty, I created a screen-saver image of that photo on one of my computers.

Just now thinking about it, I’ve yet to see any of them being planted by our City, and when knowing how easily they adapt to urban environments as well as being nearly disease-free and pest resistant, perhaps the people in charge of buying and planting those trees, don’t know about Autumn Blaze Maples. I’m also glad its wood is far harder than the Silver Maple’s, and in spite of it being a slower grower that the “Silver”, at least it’s not as snail-like as our native Sugar Maples which continue to be my all-time favorites.

I killed a few more Japanese Beetles today, which now has me concerned about how much more invasive they’re going to be in our area in the coming years. It shocks me to see how quickly they can strip the leaves of trees and plants. I hope we’re not going to start losing Linden trees from all the stress those beetles place on them. I also noticed they like stripping the leaves of Raspberries which is a bad thing this time of year because now’s the time they produce the canes for next year’s berries. I’ll have to look and see what the Japanese have done to control their native beetles. I’m now being naughty when saying, “If it’s not the China-virus, it’s the Japanese beetles we have to contend with in these troubling times.” While out working today, I was thinking about whether our bug-eating ducks will eat those beetles which would be one more reason for people to start having those breeds in their gardens to naturally keep their insect populations down. I do know from personal experience, ducks absolutely love eating grasshoppers and crickets.

After I finished up on my marathon brush clean-up, I took a little break and then went out and completed my last mowing for the week which would’ve been done if we didn’t get yesterday’s rain. After doing one big mow yesterday afternoon, I was far too wet and tired to do the last, so it had to wait for today, which ended up being my lily of a day.

The pulling of weeds and volunteer trees has become all the easier for me now that I have my handy-dandy leather work gloves which I purchased at Fleet Farm. It’s the first pair I’ve ever had that are plenty long, yet fine enough to where I can easily pick up small things. They were more expensive, but definitely worth it, and as chance would have it, I purchased the last pair like them, and luckily being my size.

If there’s one thing I hate about Summer nights in Mason City, is having to listen to those idiotic stock car races out at the Fair Grounds. I dare say there’s not one area of our community where you can’t hear them. Can you imagine the loss of hearing that’s taking place with everyone associated with that nonsense? Believe it or not, I got suckered into attending one of them in my life, and truth be told, I had to leave about halfway thru because of the gaging smell of exhaust and the ear-pounding noise which seemed to never stop. Yep, there’s always those different strokes for different folks.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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