Twenty-one jars of peaches takes just as long to process as sixty-one jars of tomatoes. Who knew? But at least they're done, and now sit golden and glowing like jewels on my shelf. And for the first time I made peach butter (like apple butter only peaches) and it is fabulous! I had an inch in a jar leftover that wouldn't fit in the 4 pints, and I thought, "I need to run buy some bread so I can try this." And I dipped a spoon into the little bit to taste it...and decided not to waste time going for bread. I just ate the thing straight from the jar. My, that was yummy!
While I was slaving at the kitchen sink, my poor husband was out chopping out part of our hedge. Now understand, I don't usually like the idea of eliminating greenery. I'm all about plants. But this hedge has been the bane of our existence for eighteen years. When we first moved in, it ran all the way around both the front and the back yards. It hadn't been properly pruned in many years and was leggy and out of control, and parts of it were about nine feet tall and five feet thick. We did some hard pruning at the beginning and got it down to a manageable size. And then when we put in the backyard fence we chopped some of it out and cut some of it to three feet high.
But even that reasonable height still meant an awful lot of pruning, and we've literally worn out three industrial electric trimmers. We bought another, but both of us find it too heavy to manage, and we've finally reached the stage where we're willing to admit defeat. We looked into a professional service to come trim it for us, but they want about $800 and they'd have to come three times a summer. Whew!
So we took the bull by the horns and my husband has chopped out about 150 feet of it (don't worry, there's still plenty left along two other sides of the yard). We've hired our burly sons to come dig out the roots for us. So after I finished seven hours of peaches, I went out to help haul the cut brush into a huge pile in the backyard until we can get someone with a truck or bin to haul it away for us. I imagine every rabbit in the neighbourhood perking up and shouting gleefully, "They're building us a condo!" We'll have to get it moved out before they move in.
We have had interesting reactions from people in the neighbourhood. Who knew how many people were aware of or emotionally attached to our hedge? Who knew how many others feel they have a stake or say in our landscaping? As my husband was out wrestling the thing into submission, every person walking or driving by had comments. Some acknowledged that forty years of one hedge is enough and it was time for something new. Some felt we were being reasonable when my husband explained it was either get the thing under control or sell the house. Some empathized with the whole getting-older-and-slower thing. And some felt it was too drastic and were horrified. To which I felt like responding, "Fine! We'll keep it. What time shall we expect you over to trim it for us?"
I still have plenty of hedge left for the birds and other critters to populate, never fear, and now I have a blank slate and must decide what to put in the hedge's place. It's surprising how much space it took up. The yard feels huge now. What to do? A tidy border of hostas or something to delineate boundaries? Cover it with gravel and not try to enclose it at all? How about I put up a 150-foot bench on which my neighbours can sit and contemplate the universe?
My body hates me this morning, but we got a lot done yesterday, I have to say. No one can say we don't know how to work. But I am looking forward to spending Labour Day NOT labouring. Definitely time to curl up with a good book and not move for a while.