I keep disappearing, but for good reasons. We've been spending a lot of time going up at what we're referring to as "the Ridge." It's an adventure just getting out there. Like when we had to stop and encourage this big black snake off our road so we could pass.
We've mostly been trail-building and getting to know the land. It's so incredibly peaceful out there.
Everything is getting named, an Icelandic tradition I find appealing. My husband named this stump the Octopus Eye. But do you see what's growing at the base of it and over the top? Poison ivy, my long-time nemesis. I've been pulling lots of it out by the roots and even though I wore gloves and long sleeves, I wasn't nearly careful enough. I ended up with it ALL over my arms and face. I finally gave in and got a prescription for prednisone, but by then it was healing. I was glad I had it though because...
this happened next. The mosquitoes absolutely ate me up, right through my clothes. I counted 80 bites and then stopped counting. And every one of them itched like crazy. So I spent last week taking the prednisone and long cool baths in water with vinegar added. Today I was finally feeling human again, so we were back out there this morning. We've invested in some mosquito repellent with DEET and permethrin to treat our clothing. I don't think I got a single bite today.
I am no longer bringing back bags of poison ivy for trash pick up because I don't want to risk getting it in my car. Instead, I pull it up by the roots, drop it on the ground to die, and throw my gloves and clothing straight in the wash when I get home. I'm also clearing out loads of Japanese wineberry, an exotic invasive plant that has some hellacious prickers on the stems.
Those weird prickly pods of the wineberry actually open up into tasty berries, but I don't want a non-native plant crowding out the native blackberries we've also discovered growing along the trails. This photo was a couple of weeks ago, and we're starting to find more ripe ones on the vines.
And we have blueberries, too! I'm very excited about that.
I've been using leather gloves to pull out the wineberry and then I jam it into the back of the car to drop in the curbside pick-up at home. I curse a lot while I do this task because the prickers are so sharp they often get right through the leather. But I'm nothing if not determined.
And once in a while, we stop at the winery just down the road, to sit outside under the awning and have a glass of their old vine Zinfandel. It's supposed to storm all day tomorrow, so I'm already counting the days until we can go back next weekend.