I went outside with the camera to take some pictures yesterday afternoon dressed for winter almost, with one of Carl's long-sleeved shirts on and my heavy bluejeans with an all-over spray of Off covering the rest of me. Many people are not fond of Deet, and I'm one of 'em, but I prefer the bug spray to hundreds of mosquito bites.
I know there are alternatives out there and I've tried a few: Wearing a dryer sheet in your belt loop doesn't do a thing....though I suppose if you wore a few hundred of them, the mosquitoes may have trouble biting through the layers. I could see myself sailing through the gardens in full dryer sheet-regalia, resembling a large, smelly parade float.
Carl's mom, bless her heart, is very Health Conscious and has often admonished us for wearing bug spray. She feels it is dangerous, and I'm sure she's right. However, I told her it's just not possible to be outside for twelve hours a day unprotected from the vampires. She then offered up a few solutions, one being, 'You shouldn't eat sugar, because mosquitoes are attracted to people who eat sugar.' Well, cross that one off the list, ain't gonna happen. (In an odd sort of laboratory test gone wrong, she was here last weekend with Carl's dad to see the gardens and despite being dietary 'sugar-free' people they fled for their vehicle a scant few minutes after stepping out of it, seems my mosquitoes are a special breed undeterred by the flavor of people with healthy diets).
Her other suggestion was to use tea tree oil which I do remember vaguely trying a few years back. It came in a teensy little bottle, wasn't cheap and, our resident mosquitoes seemed to love the stuff, coming on in droves. Maybe some day I will try being smothered in tea tree oil, I am ready to be wowed by the results. It probably would work...if I wouldn't mind looking like a professional wrestler/body-builder posing for a beefcake photo all oiled up with no place to go. I could see potential safety hazards, slipping with a trowel (or chainsaw!) due to oily hands, losing control of the lawn mower, or causing a dangerous glare which may blind passersby (if the sun ever shines again) and the rays bouncing off my oiled-up ample person would strike a motorist causing them to run in the ditch. And yes, I do have a lot of time to think while GAD-ing around in this garden-maybe my thoughts are a result of overdosing on Deet?
Joel spotted the antique store first; we are determined to find another Yawman & Erbe file cabinet to match the one I bought for my birthday, it's sort of a quest, if you will. No Y & E's to be had, but I found another cast iron lantern for the garden and a teensy plant urn that matches the big ones. Carl found a clock for what he thought was $15 (turned out to be $115, so he decided against it, ha) and we're debating on some cast iron lawn furniture. Antique stores are fun, but they also tend to make Joel and I (and believe it or not, even Carl!) antsy after awhile for it is really nothing more than a bunch of people's hoarding junk with price tags attached. I told the guys we could try it with Dad's stash, throw a big 'sale' and make people think they're getting bargains, but they're right, a few huge dumpsters will be much faster.
When we got home around 9PM we watched the last of the movies I rented...forget the name of it, but it was low budget and ok. Lots of watermelons involved, must have been symbolic of something, but beats me.Back to this mosquito thing, while we were at the antique mall, the owner told me he had one of those carbon dioxide mosquito eater machines that run off propane for sale if I was interested. He said it works great and sucks up mosquitoes by the bagful. I was a bit interested, but then got to thinking about it...would it work to haul it around the garden while I'm weeding? Sort of like a Star Wars era R2D2 /3CPO robot combination/shop vac following me around? I had a feeling it would be another failed attempt at thwarting the all-clever mosquito on it's own turf, but at least my wallet would be much lighter to tote around. I passed on the gadget, though the thought of how much entertainment value I would be denying the neighbors did cross my mind.
The models are so CLEAN......how do they do that? In one picture, a lady is wearing all white(?) clothing and she is spotless and grinning. Wow. Clearly I have failed yet again. My attire is sort of a cross between a football player and a rag bag with my ever-present knee pads, because you never know when the need to kneel might break out; and a gargantuan, decrepit straw sun 'hat'. (Both Carl and I have straw hats and look like aging Amish people who escaped from the sect in 1978 on an endless rumspringa.)
I am always in possession of my trusty holstered Felco pruner at my side and lately I've been carrying a concealed six-inch root knife for dead-heading hostas in my back pocket that sticks up past my waist, too. Works great for opening the mail and for intimidating annoying salespeople who won't take no for an answer.
OH, I almost forgot my Birkenstock Clogs (How could I??) without my Birkies I would be in trouble (and yes, I have heard all the jokes about Birkenstocks) By the time I tie my hair up in the so-becoming bun, pull on the sweatband for my forehead, slather on the sunblock (if I remember) hose on the bug spray (hard to forget) and grab my cellphone (you don't want to know where I stow that thing, trust me) after a mere morning's work, my jeans are caked in dirt and are better able to stand up without me inside them than I am.
Last summer we had a wedding party here for pictures that arrived a bit early, before I had a chance to change clothes. I stood by the gate to the garden to greet them as they disembarked from their limousine and as they all sailed by with their beverages in their hands wearing their tuxedos and formal gown finery, not one of them paid the slightest attention to me. It was sort of like I was invisible, or more likely, they were frightened to make eye contact in case the hired help hag would try to beg a few bucks off of 'em. Gardening and beauty, I have not perfected it yet!
I'll let the flowers speak for themselves on the beauty score--all of these are discards from our hybridizing friend:
Well, I'm going to give Mom a perm today, maybe the sun will peek out later on? All we can do is hope!