Sumac stealth

“Ugh, it’s hot. My app says it’s 97.”

“My app says it’s 94. Rain at 2:00.”

“Mine’s showing it holding off ‘til 4:00”

This conversation, nearly verbatim, happens to an embarrassing degree in our house. I’m not sure whether it speaks more to being married for more than thirty years or to being over-reliant on our devices.

It was really too hot to be poking around scrub land behind retail space in search of sumac, but there we were. Finn’s tags fell off somewhere along the way this week necessitating a trip to Pet Co. We left the dog home and brought along gloves, spade, and two empty containers.

My mother was famous for plant-grabbing. She’d drive up into the woods behind our house in Pittsfield as far as the road would go, and fill the trunk with small trees which eventually, of course, became big trees. My brother claims she got permission from the landowner. I’m not so sure.

I’d seen her pull over on Route 43 or Dalton Road and dig up what to any other eye might appear to be a weed, perhaps with a spoon that she happened to have in the glove box. A little savage. Let’s just say she was a resourceful opportunist with a very good eye. This being her birth week, I figured why not honor her with my own sly acquisitions?

Last weekend, we more legitimately came by a clethra and a yew. These are all for the fence line along the back edge of the property. I also had to buy and plant two flats of pachysandra which the workers stomped to extinction on my neighbor’s property. Part of the price of our new fence.

And speaking of that neighbor. The son has come home with his girlfriend to live and turns out, the girlfriend is interested in learning how to quilt. Would I want a student? I almost said no, but I’m already thinking what I’d bring to a casual show and tell for a first lesson. And if the main reason I don’t want to proceed is because I can’t think what to charge a recent college grad with no job, then is that really a reason?

I sent my neighbor away with a few books and gave her Jude’s blog’s name. Ruth McDowell’s too. The young woman is an engineer so it occurred to me that McDowell’s precise piecing method may appeal to her. That’s a place to start, answering the question: What are you drawn to?

Meanwhile, I finished this with a little help from my friends (speaking of Jude, also Maggie and Jenn) (mostly re: a disappearing head. I think I fixed it!)

11 thoughts on “Sumac stealth

    1. deemallon Post author

      We have had such trouble growing shrubs along the lot line that I would actually welcome that.

      Reply
  1. Joanne in Maine.

    I’m cutting down trees and you are planting. But I have no fence or neighbors behind the house. Trespassers, yes. there’s a Town path back there- the walkers just keep moving onto private land. We cut Sumac one year down by the Goodwill. For the dye pot. I used to garden with a big serving spoon- silver plate. that and a very sharp old chef’s knife. Good tools.

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Besides shade, our challenges include two black walnut trees and the poisons their roots emit. You’re funny with your tools! You and my mother would’ve been simpatico.

      Reply
  2. Nancy

    Dee~ Oh, you plant-knapper you! How nice to have a new neighbor with a common interest. Could be fun. This cloth is sure beautiful 🙂 The power of this bird!

    Reply
    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks Nancy. We’ll see about the neighbor. It’s one thing to say you’re interested in quilting and another thing to actually be interested.

      Reply

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