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By Staff | Sep 17, 2010

Where the heck has summer gone? It was just a few days ago that I suddenly noticed the sun was getting out of bed before me.

In case you’re wondering, I always wake up at six bells. You can take the cows away from a dairyman, but you can’t wmake him sleep in. Ever.

Somewhere in the misty depths of this summer’s dawning, I seem to recall descending into the earthy depths of a sewer trench. This was part of an effort by our youngest son and me to overhaul our home’s septic system.

We talked ourselves into that project by telling ourselves that it ain’t rocket science. All we had to do is convince water to run downhill.

Our septic system has since been trouble-free. But it seems like the thing will always behave itself until the dead of winter, when the outside temperature is approximately that of liquid helium and we can’t open the windows to dispel the smell.

Time will tell if we were able to intelligently redesign our septic system.

Another dim memory regards our garden. As usual, it didn’t get planted until rather late.

But we were thus able to take advantage of some late-season sale prices at a local greenhouse.

One of the bargains my wife and I found was spaghetti squash. We’d never experienced spaghetti squash, so we decided to give it a try. We were able to purchase a pair of plants for a pittance.

After being transplanted, the forlorn little spaghetti squash looked as if they would soon be quashed by the elements. It seemed like the valiant plants might not survive, so I lavished them with water and attention.

Other projects eventually took precedence and I left the squash to fend for itself. This should have killed the puny plants, but no. I forgot that the main goal of the squash family is to send tangled tendrils everywhere and to occupy as much area as possible. They’re the nose hairs of the vegetable world.

Those two stupid plants produced enoughsquash to make a strand of veggiespaghetti that would stretch to the moon and back.

We have tried the “spaghetti” and found it so-so at best. Maybe we can cook it up next winter and peddle it to vegan ice fishermen as a substitute for night crawlers.

I also planted some popcorn, including a variety that is Japanese. This might explain why that row of corn screamed and tried to run whenever I made those Godzilla-like grunts as I walked through the garden, stalking weeds.

Last winter we would have traded nuclear missile launch codes for a single fresh garden tomato. Those reddish orbs sold at the supermarket aren’t what I would call tomatoes.

They’re some sort of industrial product, a substance that seems to have been mined out of the ground.

Of course we now have more tomatoes than we can ever hope to use.

Being typical Midwesterners, my wife and I hate to throw anything out, so we have taken to giving tomatoes away. We have even reached the point where we’ll leave anonymous sacks of tomatoes on doorsteps.

It feels like an act of vegetarian terrorism; the only thing missing is setting the sack ablaze and ringing the doorbell before dashing off into the night.

A large portion of my summer, I now recall, was spent mowing the lawn. This summer’s persistent rains turned lawn mowing from a leisurely diversion into a perpetual perturbation.

There were times when the grass got so far ahead of me I seriously considered hiring the neighbor to put the lawn up for hay.

Which brings me to our 1947 John Deere A. A good portion of the summer was consumed by the process of revivifying that old tractor, although my wife might switch the word “wasted” for “consumed.”

This is because the old A has no apparent purpose other than for me to go putting up and down the road. Which is why I purchased a sickle mower to go with the A.

I explained to my wife that my only plans for the mower was to clip weeds around the yard.

“Liar!” she replied. “You’ll start out just mowing some weeds. Then you’ll go out and mow the road ditches. Then you’ll have to buy a rake for all that hay you’ve mowed.

“Then you’ll have to buy some cattle to eat the hay. Then you’ll have to build a new shed for the cattle. It’ll never end!

“That stupid mower will wind up costing us a small fortune!”

Her points were valid; the risks she described are quite real.

So maybe it’s a good thing summer is safely behind us. But I still would like to know where the heck it went.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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