Thursday, June 9, 2011

Night gardening: A cautionary tale

Le me preface this post.  I am a perfectionist.  Unable to sit still and do nothing, almost to the point of manic, I have multitasking down to a science.  I can't sit and watch a movie; I have to knit and watch a movie.  Otherwise I might just go crazy.  At any given time, I could wallpaper the local library with my to do list, and I tend to try to stuff as much as humanly possible into any given day.

Ok, that said, let's get on with night gardening. 

It started innocently enough.  I was at the barn putting the chickens to bed.  It was just before 8 pm, and there was still day light, but no direct sun, so it was cool and comfortable up at the barn/garden.  I built two new beds over the weekend and haven't been able to fill/plant them yet because it has been too hot this week, so I saw my chance.  Take the half an hour I had before the sun went down, fill the two beds with topsoil, plant and water.   Piece of cake!

Mr. Farmer-Man went to get the wheelbarrow.  I started without him, moving shovelfuls of topsoil from the pile on the side of the driveway to the first bed.  By the time he got back, I was almost done.  How's that for efficiency! He started filling the wheelbarrow to fill the back bed, while I smoothed the dirt in the other bed and started to plant.  We'd be done in no time!

What I didn't count on was the mosquitoes.  While I was shoveling the dirt maniacally, there were merely a nuisance, and I swatted them away with my hand and with the shovel.  No big deal.  Now, kneeling in one place at the bed smoothing the dirt, they were swarming me with the frenzy of a shiver of sharks in a chum bucket.  I swatted while I worked, but, being me, I refused to stop until I was finished.  I am bigger than they are, I was not giving in!

I finished planting the bed and told A, aka, Mr. Farmer-Man, it was time to go in, as I had noticed the wild arm flailing he was doing at the back bed as well.  We could finish the second bed tomorrow. 

As I got into the car to drive back to the house, the itching started.  No.  Itching is simply too mild a word.  It was like my skin was on fire with itching and there was nothing I could do to put it out.  I was itching like crazy and A was telling me to stop because I was bleeding and trying to herd me into a cold shower. 

A cold shower and a lot of peppermint soap later, i emerged to survey the damage.  My entire left shoulder was a mountain of mosquito bite - there were so many bites such close proximity to one another that the entire area swelled together.  I had broken blood vessels all over my shoulders, arms and back from scratching.  And, because although I sew all day long and pretend to be a farmer in the afternoons, I keep my fingernails long, the rest of the skin on my back was punctuated with red claw marks from scratching.  I looked like I got in a fight with the bear. 

So, if you ever get the bright idea to try to cram some gardening in after the sun starts going  down, please save yourself the pain.  Oh, and I did have the forethought to put on deep woods off.  I cannot even imagine what would have happened if I had been completely un-repellented!

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