Hump Day: Lulled by the sounds of early summer; lured by poppies

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

‘Tis the season for twice-weekly lawn mowing, flower planting and landscaping. Thankfully, though, I have someone else doing this all for me as I have a son who enjoys this type of stuff.

He’s pretty good at it, too! The front and back yards are starting to look like a botanical garden compared to what they used to. My house’s previous owner was quite the gardener and kept the flowerbeds well kept. Unfortunately, when I bought the house, the flowerbeds were left untended except for my next door neighbour who took pity on them. The poor plants wept for joy whenever they saw her coming.

These days, though, are spent running around garden centres for bags of soil and various plants and trees to spruce up the property. What was done last summer is looking pretty good, actually, so I can’t wait until next summer when everything blooms and the trees start to show some growth.

I’ve never really been a gardener. I like nice landscaping as much as the next guy, but if the yard relied on me to look nice, well, let’s just say it would be waiting a long time. I’d rather pay someone else to do it — or in the current case offer someone free rent to do it! Either way works for me.

What’s pretty astounding this year are the number of poppies. If you have poppies, you’ll no doubt know that the number of seeds they drop is quite significant. A couple of years ago, I think I only had two or three and I think those seeds blew in from somewhere else. If you haven’t seen poppies other than the plastic ones worn on lapels around Remembrance Day, mine seem to be quite a bit larger and more orange than red, really. They’re tall, lanky and quite delicate. A heavy rain can really do a nasty job on them, so it’s best to photograph them when you can.

Speaking of which, I really need to invest in a special camera lens for close-up photos. I see bees and ladybugs on these new flowers around the property and it would be great to capture some of the photo opportunities I see passing me by. Maybe before that, though, I should actually invest in photography lessons so that I’d know how to use my camera. It has so many bells on whistles on it that my ‘don’t read the instructions’ life mantra is really not serving me well. Basically, all I do now is put it on the automatic setting, point, shoot and hope for the best.

I paid enough for the camera, so you’d think I’d be bright enough to invest in some training on how to properly use it to its full capability. Oh well, in my experience, I just tell people that I’m taking “five or six” photos and make it sound like I know what I’m doing. In reality, I’m just playing the odds. Out of those five or six, I just pray that one of them come out less blurry than the others.

I recently posted a photo of my dog Milane on Facebook. It was a really cute photo taken right after her latest grooming. I got lots of compliments online about how she looked so cute. She did in that particular photo, one out of about 50 I took during that session that didn’t make it look like she was abused, 30 years old (for a dog, that’s old!) or deformed in one way or another. That’s my secret: Take 20 and post one. One of those suckers is bound to turn out half decent!

During summer, I do enjoy the rustling sound of the trees, I have to admit. It’s so relaxing. This time of year, too, the air is filled with the scent of lilac trees. My next door neighbour has a large lilac tree and the aroma that comes from it is really nice. So summery! When I take Milane out late at night for her last “business trip” of the day, the quiet street and empty park are perfect for listening to the leaves rustling in the wind and for taking a whiff of that hypnotic real lilac aroma – something that chemicals in air fresheners and detergents just can’t replicate.

The splash pad is on in the park now and doesn’t seem to ever shut off. That, too, is another sound in the neighbourhood when I take the dog out late at night before bed. The splashing water on the splash pad’s concrete will remain largely undisturbed until the kids return the next day to spend hours running in and out of the water laughing.

Early mornings are great, too. The quietness never lasts until the local street traffic starts, the transit buses start running and the traffic on the nearby thoroughfares starts to create the humming sound that will go largely unnoticed as the day passes — once you get used to it. It’s kind of like white noise at this point. You don’t even know it’s there until you hear the odd tractor trailer, revving motorcycle or siren from an ambulance, police cruiser or fire truck.

I don’t have a deck on the back of my house, but I may just have to invest in one someday. Instead of being stuck inside the office working, I could at least be sitting on a screened-in deck as I work away. Since I work from home, I might as well take advantage of the situation. Hmmm… I wonder if I could write off the deck construction on my taxes? Probably not, but I’m willing to risk it. Is prison food any good these days?

Surely, I can pick a better reason for going to jail than taxes. Maybe with all those poppies growing in my back yard, I could start producing opium. And from that opium, maybe I could just start producing heroin. Oooh, I could buy some cool plants from the garden centre with that kind of money, couldn’t I? See? Gardening has already turned me into a drug addicted dope dealer. I knew there was a reason I didn’t garden.

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