We had a rainy Sunday, the kind of cool, overcast day preparing to dissolve into rain, the kind of day best spent reading on the couch, the sort of Sunday for reading the New York Times. I planned to pick up a copy at the general store when it opened. In the meantime, I extracted the last of last year’s blackberries from the freezer before joining Tim for coffee.
“A good day to paint the lattice,” he said.
“Mmm,” I agreed, as I saw a rainy day on the couch recede.
He was right, of course. It had to be done, even though painting lattice is a loathsome job; I know, because I painted it twenty years ago, when it was first installed. We’re now replacing it – the unintended consequence of finally building the stone patio we’ve been talking about since the lattice first went up. While we were talking, the lattice turned soft and green.
Tim had already measured, cut, and sanded the 3” x 8” sections that fit between the porch and the ground. He’s good at the carpentry part. Paint? Not so much.
“I’ll help you,” I said, figuring I’d still be able to buy a paper at noon and settle in for a languid afternoon.
“Great!” he said, and went off to set up sawhorses in the garage.
The first piece took forever; the second went faster; by the third, we’d developed a system and rhythm. We finished in time for lunch, which we ate outside. It still hadn’t started to rain.
“It’s perfect transplanting weather,” Tim said.
We’d been talking about transplanting two lilacs we’d heeled in “temporarily” three years ago, and we’d bought a few irresistible perennials the weekend before.
“Divide and conquer,” I suggested, still dreaming of Sunday Styles.
The rain started as he dug the holes for the lilac and I installed the new plants. But because I’ve never passed a weed I couldn’t resist, I weeded the new perennial bed and – while I was at it – the asparagus patch.
The rain gathered momentum; we kept digging. By the time the lilac and peony were tucked in to their new holes, it was raining in earnest. I was wet to the skin and obsessed, no longer with reading the paper, but with planting grass in all the places where we’d torn out overgrown shrubs and perennials in an effort to make the gardens more manageable.
“Let’s plant grass,” I said.
“Really?” Tim asked, water dripping from the end of his nose.
“We won’t have to water!”
“If you say so.”
He was shaking his head, but he turned to the task and raked the soil.
I cast seed and mulched it with straw.
“Okay,” I said. “I’m getting cold.” I was wet to the skin and my overalls were weighing me down.
“Just one more thing.”
“We have to take a picture of how dirty we are.”
The photos hardly do us justice.
By the time I stepped out of the shower, the rain was pounding the roof, doubling the comfort of now being both warm and dry. We drank hot tea while the rain bounced off the ground, all thoughts of fetching the Times washed away. A library ebook I’d been waiting for had just become available; I looked forward to downloading it after supper – until I remembered the berries.
By the time the lids of the jars “popped” indicating a good seal on the jam, we’d finished cleaning the kitchen and headed for bed, where we collapsed after our rainy Sunday, not a minute of which was spent on the couch.
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