Monday, August 11, 2014

An August Mixture - of Weirdness

I'm back. I hope. Too much 'life' going on the past couple of weeks: I'm really hoping I can now go back to my admittedly self-centered quiet life. I worked hard to make pottery for our local Market's Garlic Festival (biggest and best Garlic Fest in Eastern Ontario, really and truly) and it went well. I sold lots of garlic pots, told quite a few people that no, they could not buy my garlic-design pillows, gave away many many garlic-themed bookmarks.... lots of fun, lots of really nice people who stopped to chat, but boy, was I tired yesterday! In bed by 9pm!

Next thing is this Saturday - my local arts group is putting on an outdoor arts festival (yes, everything's a festival these days) and I'm kind of in charge of the layout, the setting up and so on. It's in a large fenced field which is normally the Large Horse Ring for the Carp Fair. After having had thousands of cars parked on it for Garlic Fest, it'll be interesting to see what state the grass is in. Only a gardener would think of that, I guess.

Meanwhile, I'm finding it an unusual year for a number of things. I tend to get kind of irritated when people proclaim it a 'weird' year for this or that, you know, as in 'this is such a year for weird weather' because when I go back and check, no it isn't. Weather is weird every year. So I hesitate to say it, but really, this is a weird year in a couple of ways. One is the bugs.

Oh, the bugs. I have never suffered so many mosquito bites. Usually we have a crop of the darn things in May and another one in August. The May ones are large and make loud zoomy noises and you hardly notice their bites until they start to itch. The August ones, however, are tiny, silent, and must have blunt stingers because their bites really hurt. They don't itch afterwards, but maybe that's because I feel the bite in time to smack them and so they don't get to load me up with mosquito poison. Anyway, they hatched in July and late July and early August and now mid-August..... hard to paint pots when you have to whap yourself on the leg or whatever every few minutes. Can't keep them out of the Studio because I refuse to keep the door closed. I like the airiness of the open door too much. Apparently there are about 40 species of mosquitoes here, and I'd say they are all doing very well this year. (How can you tell a Canadian in the summer? He's the one hitting himself every couple of minutes.)

Another thing I can't keep out of the Studio is the snake. Oh, the snakes this year! This is a Northern Water Snake, about 3' long but fat and dark and cranky. He seems to figure we are partners. I provide the mice, and he eats them. So far so good, but does he have to come in to the Studio in the afternoon when I'm trying to be peaceful and paint bees on my pots? Then I can't get him out. I've gotten to the point that I just pull my feet up to the top rung of my stool and wait for him to circle the room, sniffing all over in his snaky way, and then slither out again. If I try to persuade him to leave he gets quite aggressive, curling up, shaking his tail (in his daydreams he's a rattler) and darting his head at me. Being as brave as I am, I immediately shriek and run. Sometimes I see him near the pond, no doubt hoping for a frog to eat. Yuck.

And speaking of mice.... this morning early I looked out the kitchen window while the coffee brewed and watched first an Eastern Phoebe pecking bugs off the driveway, hopping around and then flying off with a juicy grasshopper, and then a fat brown mouse darting along in and out of the juniper branches hanging over the path. Funny how they scurry, sort of hunched up to be smaller, in little bursts. Wonder what their wee shiny eyes actually see. Most years I see a few mice, this year I find them while weeding. And they're all fat  and sleepy. Must be lots of seeds and berries. My cat, by the way, considers them in the nature of remote-control toys and chases but never catches them.

Nor does she catch chipmunks, of which we have a zillion this year. I thought for a few days that I might get an actual tomato from one of my 6 plants, but now I see it has been nipped off and is lying on the ground, yellow on one side, with a large bite taken out on the other. Sigh.

And weeds. I'm arranging for someone with machinery and know-how to come and cut the stuff that's taking over my driveway and he said he's never seen such a year for weeds. He's right. The drought in 2012 led to enormous seed-set in 2013 which has now led to a bumper weed crop in 2014. Wonder what 2015 will bring.

Whatever it is, it'll be weird!


  1. You brought back memories of when I used to be selling my work at craft fairs, thoroughly enjoyable but so tiring!
    I never had a snake visiting my studio when I was painting and carving, I don't think I would have enjoyed that, is your snake of the poisonous variety, I hope not!

    1. No, they aren't poisonous. And I'm not sure he'd really actually bite me, he just postures like he might. I don't really mind snakes, but I don't really like them either. I just hope he goes away soon!