This is the most frustrating time of the year.

The trees are in bloom, the plants are in bloom. The grass is doing whatever it does. We spend a huge amount of money taking allergy shots, buying tissues to sneeze in and feeling miserable for months on end just to have the cycle repeat itself over and over each year.

Our noses are red, our eyes watering and we feel terrible, but isn’t our yard lovely’We don’t feel like going to the door to talk to the neighbors who want to tell us how pretty everything looks. Just go away and let us die in peace. I cannot control the leaves. As fast as I blow them into piles, another gust of wind shakes more down and I have to start over. I perform a manual survey of our place to see what made it through the winter and what gave up the ghost. The wimpy plants have to be replaced with something that will last through the hot summer and fall, only to freeze again and die.

I’m thinking plastic.

The pool fills up with leaves. I take them out. The pool fills up with leaves. I take them out. I do this six or eight times a day. Empty the basket; empty the basket’on and on.

Once the leaves have stopped, then the trees start doing something different.before the leaves come out, the tree grows some kind of bud on the ends of the limbs which immediately falls into the pool. Now I’m cleaning out the little baskets about ten times a day.

Then comes the worms and the frogs. This is beginning to sound like Egypt at the time Moses dropped in, isn’t it’

The little worms and frogs fall into the pool and as much as you try, it’s impossible to save them all. As close as I can figure, during the night they must get drunk on something and decide to go for a swim. Thinking that the big human will come out and rescue them sooner or later.

It usually is later. I find their little corpses in the morning’Poor things, looked like they swam half the night’.but they have smiles on their faces, so I guess they died happy in the big pond.

I can deal with all of those things if I just set my mind to it. What I cannot deal with are the fire ants. Last year I was cleaning out a flowerbed when I stepped into a pile of these nasty creatures. By the time I got them off of me, I was bitten in ten or fifteen places. Not only do they hurt, but they leave scars. This is definitely a species I don’t try to revive. No mercy for them in any way.

I’ve tried everything, most of the stuff you buy at the store. I’ve sprayed water on them. Nothing works. They just up and move ‘sight unseen to a spot about five feet away in the middle of the night. Probably at the same time the frogs and worms are getting plastered. I try to move the ants in the direction of my neighbor’s yard, but that doesn’t work since my neighbor is trying to send theirs over to our place. We cannot reach d’ente. At this point I’m not certain any longer whose ants belong to whom.

My latest tactic is to just kick the fool out of the mounds in the morning on my way out to get the paper. This seems to highly aggravate these little beasts and they spend most of the day rebuilding so I can start over again in twenty four hours. I don’t know if this works or not, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I do notice that the mounds get smaller and smaller. Whether this is the result of a diminished population or ant urban planning, I’m not sure. But if I can’t see them, then as far as I’m concerned they don’t exist.

I’m going to have to stay out late one night and see exactly what those frogs, worms and ants do after midnight.