Greenpoint: Summer’s end is busy season


GREENPOINT The sun’s going down around 7:15 and not rising until about 6:30, and I feel like I’m racing the darkness to get all the summer things done before the days really shrink to winter hours. It has me trotting back and forth from job to job on my days off from work, in the most inefficient manner possible.

Last weekend, for instance. I wanted to replace a beat-up shelf taking up a lot of space in the bathroom for a nice metal one my friend gave me, one that actually fits in the weird corner space. I moved out the old shelf and started sweeping the corner. While I was at it, I swept the upstairs hall — the dog has been shedding mightily — and started sweeping everything down the stairs, which I thought could use a washing after a good sweep.

While I was sweeping, I thought about the sweet card my eldest had sent me and decided to run downstairs to write a return postcard and get it into the mailbox before our carrier arrived. As I put up the mailbox flag, I noticed the chalkboard we use for our driveway vegetable stand was a mess from the rain, so I took it to the house to re-letter it and put it back near the stand — which I noticed was out of winter squashes.

So back to the house for a picking basket and snippers, and gloves to protect me from those prickers on the squash leaf stems. I waded through the sea of pumpkin and squash leaves on the hunt for acorn squash and ripe pie pumpkins. As long as I was in the garden, I picked the okra and weeded the carrots.

I restocked the stand, walking by the pile of firewood, and thought I might as well move a few wheelbarrows’ full as long as I was wearing my gloves. I went to find the wheelbarrow, which was full of yard waste we’d raked up the day before, so I brought it over to the compost pile, which the chickens had spread out while digging for worms and other fine treats.

I got the manure fork and rebuilt the pile. Old Rosemary the duck’s water was muddy, so I cleaned her dish and fetched her fresh water. The goats came out of their shed, where they had been sheltering from the heat, to see what all the back-and-forthing was about, so I got them some hay and refreshed their water.

Then I relocated the wheelbarrow I had left near Rosemary’s shelter and moved a couple of loads of wood to where my husband is stacking it for the winter. His back has been hurting, so I thoughtfully moved a few more loads, and then a few more, until I was so sweaty my glasses kept falling off.

I went inside for a glass of water and a rest. I was shocked to see the steps were covered with dust from someone not finishing that upstairs sweeping job. That’s when I remembered what I was actually doing: replacing the old bathroom shelf with a new one. Which looks great, by the way. But I never did wash the steps. I ran out of time.

My husband is dreading the short, cold days of winter. I’m kind of looking forward to the time when all the wood is stacked, the garden put to bed for the winter, the goats done milking and all the vegetables and cheese put up in storage. Then our long evenings can be spent reading, knitting or just talking by the fire.

Maybe we’ll even have time to wash the steps.

Greenpoint appears every other Sunday. Look for it next on Sept. 25. Reach Margaret Hartley at [email protected] or on Twitter @Hartley_Maggie. Opinions expressed in Greenpoint are not necessarily those of the newspaper’s.

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