Inez Castor

Mother Nature is always looking for a laugh and I'm one of her favorite fools. The current opportunity provided for me to learn the best way not to do something has to do with pruning and gravity. Most folks get along with gravity just fine, but I've always had some issues.

As a very small child, I was convinced that as soon as I got just a little bigger, I'd be able to fly. After all, the last time I got a little bigger I could walk. It made perfect sense to me when I flew off the Hobbs Wall trestle.

And while pruning the lowest branches of the cedar tree, it made perfect sense to pull that limber branch down to the ground, stand on the end of it and reach as high as I could with my long-handled pruners.

The instant I started to exert pressure with the upper part of my

body by getting the pruners stuck in a limb too big, the slick cedar

slid out from under my foot and I was tossed into the air like a bungee

jumper on the bounce. There was that lovely moment of weightlessness

before the descent through face-slapping branches, a jarring jerk, and

then I was hanging by my pruners, a great source of amusement to the

jays that inhabit the cedar.

The drop was too far for comfort, but the shoulders gave me no viable

option. Once I landed, gratefully without injuries, my pruners hung

well out of reach. So there I was, swinging crazily at the pruners with a

rake while the jays laughed their tail feathers off and the cedar

teased me by swinging the darned things just out of reach.

This is the time of year that I get so tired from trying to finish

the summer's work before winter sets in that I blunder around bumping

into things and muttering, trying to remember all the fall jobs, like

mulching the snapdragons to protect their roots from frost.

The tiny flies in the kitchen can be induced to drink themselves to

death by leaving half an inch of wine or juice in the bottom of a glass.

May as well let the little fellas die happy.

Rats are moving indoors too, and though I hate to do it, I offer them

poison. They reproduce like crazy and will take over the whole house in

a matter of weeks. I put "One Bite" pellets in their entry way behind

the mantel, emptying a small packet there every morning until the

thumping and squealing stops. You simply can't share space with rats,

and all they have to do to survive is not come indoors and eat the


If you, like Carol, actually managed to raise beautiful tomatoes in a

difficult tomato year, don't give up on the ones that don't ripen. Sit

them green on the counter, leaving room for air circulation, and they'll

ripen indoors.