Just applied the fifth coat of varnish to the tiller. It is perfect varnishing weather, which, I have to try not to think about, is also pretty much perfect sailing weather. Warm. Light breeze. Not too humid. It was so dry this morning, I was able to mow the lawns before nine o’clock while Daniel was working in the beds on either side of the front steps. The nut came loose from the lawnmower handle again, so I had to stop almost before getting started and run over to Oly Supply. Last time I got nuts and washers that matched the ones that came loose, and bolts the same length as the originals. The tall, quiet guy who showed me where to find the metric fasteners asked me if I wanted to match the length of the bolt from the mower I’d brought in as a guide, or did I want to get longer bolts. Match the length, I said. I wondered why he would ask, but I didn’t follow up. Now I know. This time I got longer bolts and wing nuts instead of the regular ones. I also went straight to the metric fasteners on my own. I like learning this way best of all. Becoming increasingly proficient by accumulating bits of practical knowledge through a combination of advise, help, and trial and error. I finished up the lawn and as I was going around cleaning up the stubborn dandelion stems by hand, I found the missing nut. The washer will turn up eventually.
Trash day. This week, recycling. It is supposed to get hot, though yesterday the prediction overshot the day’s actual high of 77. Just in case, I changed the bedding yesterday in preparation: just sheets and a thin cotton blanket. I remember visiting Boston in the summer and lying perfectly still under just the sheet so as not to generate any excess heat. Mum must have advised me on this, because I would have been too young to reason it out for myself. I would slide my hand under the pillow to find a cool spot, would try to conserve the experience, only allowing myself infrequent dips into the cool. Sometime in the night I would turn the pillow over for a moment of relief. The room smelled like brick and plaster and the pink tea roses from Mr. Nick’s. After so many cold summers in Oysterville, the heat here is surprising and marvelous. It seems as if it must be a fluke, but last summer was hot, too, and no one else seems amazed. I love it. But the lawns will need to be mown soon again and that will be miserable. I’ve started watering in the evenings even though I know it is wasteful. June is in the driveway awaiting a shipment of seam compound from Jamestown Distributers. Today I’ll put the fourth coat of varnish on the new tiller—halfway there. We might be ready to launch in a week. Sailing before long. Work in the yard consists mostly of pulling weeds: ivy, blackberries, thistle. The thistle is terrible because of hay fever, but not hard. Ivy is the most gratifying. I love to see the shapes of the trees emerge, and the dappled sunlight loosed on the yard in the evening. But, really, it is the least urgent and I only do it to give myself relief from the harder work of blackberries…and writing.