Long time readers may remember my obsession with growing the world’s hottest pepper. Trinidad Scorpion? Check. Fatalli? Check. People keep developing the new world’s hottest pepper, so keeping up is half the fun. Imagine my excitement when I heard tell of “Dragon’s Breath”, a tiny little pepper brand new on the scene that scored a whopping 2.48 million on the Scoville scale. (For all you non-nerds out there, basically Satan would eat that pepper and be crying like a baby).
Sadly, before I could even Google “Dragon’s Breath pepper seeds for sale”, Gene put his foot down. And he doesn’t do that often. In fact, the only time in recent history is when he reminded me that bringing home geese would be tantamount to asking for a divorce. (Probably because I was watching the goslings at the feed store, and telling him how incredibly cute and fuzzy they were).
Apparently he doesn’t believe I’m capable of handling a pepper that can literally kill you if you eat it, and requires storage in a specially sealed container. I said I should be allowed to pursue my dreams, and that if civilization ever breaks down the pepper numbs your skin enough to perform surgery, so it’s a First Aid kit must have. (It was developed for use on people who are allergic to anesthetic – growing it is actually furthering science!!!).
He reminded me of the time I chowed down on a Fatalli pepper and drooled fire for 3 days because I accidentally swapped the “hot” and “mild” pepper labels, and added that I wasn’t ready for that level of responsibility. Sigh. I have to admit, he got me there. I still have flashbacks to that day in the garden, when all I wanted was a snack. I’ll just content myself with growing the Carolina Reaper, which is holding strong at spot #2 on the “World’s Hottest” list.
Pepper drama aside, we’ve been spending the last few days putting the tractor to good use. We finally got the tiller yesterday, so we spent hours prepping our fields for planting. And then we drove over to our friend’s house and did their fields too. And by “we”, I mean “I”. Gene accused me of being a tractor hog. He created a monster when he showed me how to do it. There’s something about the rumble of the engine, the smell of the dirt, the swath of destruction in my wake, and the warm sunshine that’s totally addictive. The only thing I would change is the bugs.
THE BUGS. I can’t even, with the ticks. I took Ceri and Chupi for a walk yesterday, and pulled 2 off her on the trail, then 3 more off her at home! They don’t seem to stick to Chupi, which is good. They do, however, stick to me just fine. There may have been some screeching involved. And a panicked phone call to Gene. Possibly even tears. The thing that gets me the most, apart from the obvious, is the fact that they literally appear out of nowhere. I was sitting at my desk, writing away, when all of a sudden there was burning on my arm and boom – there’s a tick. I had just looked at my arm 30 seconds ago, and no tick. Clearly spontaneous creation is a thing in the Northland.
I’ve started to spend an inordinate amount of time checking myself out, actually. Because I constantly feel them crawling on me. The other day I was hanging out with my friend Jennifer in her field, and I felt one crawling up my leg.
She’s all, just take your pants off and check! I must have looked shocked, because she added that folks dropping trou in plain sight doesn’t even warrant a second glance around here. It’s that common. And I have spent a good amount of time wandering the aisles of the grocery store, staring down the front of my shirt, making sure nothing’s moving around down there. Sure enough, no one even bats an eye.
In non-creepy-crawly news, the summer birds have come! We’ve had our hummingbird feeders out for two weeks now, in eager anticipation. And they’re finally here! The first time I saw one I was writing in my office, and heard it bounce off the window (don’t worry, it was fine). I have NEVER lived in a place where birds bounced off windows as much as they do here. Every few minutes there’s a thwack noise from somewhere in the house, and it always leaves behind a feather smear on the window. I was warned that grouse crash through windows with somewhat frightening regularity (the locals call that “dinner”), but for us it’s the song birds. Usually they’re fine, but every once in awhile we’ll find one on the porch, shaking off the stun. We’ll move them to a safer location and after awhile they’ll fly back to the feeders for a post-concussion snack.