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Jun 30, 2018


Summer is a busy time, though some people think that it isn't. "So, what are you doing with all your time off, now that you don't have to drive here and there for school?" people have asked me. I smile politely, but think, "You have no idea." Yes, summer is busy. Mind you(1), that is partly my own fault. I am a project maniac. For some reason I feel compelled to constantly take on new projects. One of this season's tasks is to go through the whole house and garden. The aim is to minimalize and tidy. To reduce the clutter in a house, apparently you need a system of three boxes: one for items to throw away, one for donation, and the last for items to sell. So I am applying this system, and beginning to feel liberated. The garden, however, is the battleground for me. I have avoided it up until now(2) because of the heat, but everyday I look out of the window and see the growing need. Weeds, and lots of them. Right around my vegetable boxes, there is a mass of happy weeds, enjoying the sun and the irrigation. They don't just survive; they multiply, prosper, and have a great old time(3) just spreading. I should probably just make friends with them, and reduce my work. But no, my plan is to clear the whole area and to lay down landscaping plastic and bark to create attractive, weed-free pathways. I am determined. So, every now and then I will visit the jungle and pull a few weeds out while planning my project. Of course, I quickly get into a bad mood because it seems overwhelming. I usually get bitten by a few mosquitos, get a spider in my hair, and a splinter or two in my fingers. On one of these occasions, I was pulling out some litter from the hedge, when on the floor, a glow of white caught my eye. I bent over and looked underneath. There I found a group of three speckled eggs, quails' eggs. They were bright against  the background of dry, brown leaves, and looked perfectly smooth. I picked them up. They were surprisingly heavy for their size, and cold to the touch. I wondered where the mother was. The sunlight shone through the hedge in patches which moved with the wind, as if spotlighting the nest. It was a cosy place, safely tucked away, chosen with care. I knew that the eggs would not hatch; the mother was gone. I suddenly felt silly about getting so annoyed at my work. This nest that I had stumbled upon, like all nests, was a place of hope. What was inside was beautiful and vulnerable. Tiny, perfect eggs, laid by instinct, were part of a much greater plan than mine. So, I left them there, in the leaves, not far from my weeds.

1. 'Mind you' is a great, casual addition to conversation. It's like saying, "Well," "But think about this", or "However".

a. The car is expensive! Mind you, it is top quality, so it'll run well for a long time.

b. She wears very expensive clothes; mind you, she has a very good job and can afford whatever she wants.

2. 'Up until now' is the same as saying 'Until now', but it gives the sense of the length of time.

a. We have always paid to park in the center of town up until now.

b. I asked for a quote from the plumber last year, and I've heard nothing up until now!

3. 'A great old time' is one of those English phrases that has a word that is not necessary, but one that adds feeling. You could say 'a great time', but the word 'old' implies a little sarcasm to the context (weeds in the podcast), and a carefree length of time.

a. Last night I dropped my car keys on the road while it was raining. I had a great old time looking for them.

b. The old school friends talked into the night having a great old time.