Today I continued chopping down forsythia and then hauled a bunch away. It was a great day for it, as long as you didn’t mind the strong sun, high heat, and humidity. There was a fairly consistent breeze, which helped.
Somehow I failed to apply sunscreen — I didn’t even think of it, which is entirely out of character. I wore 3/4 length sleeves, specifically so that the sun wouldn’t burn my shoulders, and yet somehow I didn’t think to apply sunscreen to the rest of my arms, nor to the not-insignificant space between my wide-necked collar and my hairline.
For some this wouldn’t be a big deal. For me, with my Irish/Polish ancestry and general allergy to sunlight, it’s a massive error. My neck is currently flamingo pink and only getting brighter. One summer, I went canoeing for a day without sunscreen and ended up with 2nd degree burns. This can’t possibly be that bad, but it’s certainly that stupid.
Anyway, at least I accomplished a lot. Three or so more forsythia chopped — one being the big one on the corner — plus some inroads into the very large forsythia on the far side of the driveway. And almost all the branches hauled away!
If you aren’t familiar with forsythia, the photo at the top of this post might be alarming. Surely I can’t have intended to cut away all the leaves and branches! But indeed I did, because forsythia likes nothing better than to grow back from scratch. Within a few weeks, those bare stalks will all have new growth, and by this time next summer those will be fully fleshed out shrubs. Plus, the pretty yellow flowers in the spring grow only on new growth, so the more I cut them back, the prettier they are the next year. It’s a weird little (not little) plant.
I’ll tackle that one last.
My reward for working in the yard: black raspberries growing in a corner of the yard. More will be coming ripe in the next few days. Now that I can get to them, I’ll be able to eat them before the birds do for once.
My brother-in-law lent me his truck for the afternoon, and I was able to cram all the forsythia I’ve cut so far into the truckbed. I did have to tie it down with a tarp, and I confess I was not entirely sure that everything wouldn’t go flying when I started driving this up Route 8 to my parents’ land. I spotted a classic Mustang following me for a few miles — out for a showing at Cruisapalooza no doubt, or maybe just for a sunny summer jaunt — and I noted how far back he stayed, wisely keeping a wary out for flying tarps and springing bungees.
But the bungee cords held firm and nothing escaped. I tossed the branches in a field of goldenrod — let the forsythia battle a new plant this year! — and drove back home to guzzle water and shower off all the sweat and bits of twig and bugs.
It’ll take all week to regain the energy to go back for the next round, and from the looks of it I have three or four more two-day bouts yet to go. Next time I’ll remember the sunscreen of course, and if I can load the branches directly into the truck instead of staging them in a pile I’ll save some effort.
This hasn’t made me any more inclined to spend time landscaping or gardening my tiny plot of earth. But I do feel some accomplishment every time I look at where those bushes were and are no more. Small victories are still victories.