Rinse and Repeat

By , May 21, 2014

Our recent run of hot, sunny weather has ended for now. We’re glad, because we needed to get clean.

We received an inch of rain over the 14th and 15th of the month. That moisture kicked plant growth, already stimulated by high temperatures and sunshine, into high gear. In the ensuing dry days, the spruce trees released their pollen.

Rainy day on the bay. THe color in the puddle is spruce pollen (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

Rainy day on the bay. The color in the puddle is spruce pollen (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

It took a bit for us to notice the pollen, even though we had been paying attention. I knew I had only a few days to harvest spruce tips at the optimum moment. I’d decided not to make spruce wine this year, but I wanted to make at least one batch of syrup/honey for gifts, and for Aly (see Sprucing Up). I picked them at peak perfection, and in the next days they tips expanded to release their pollen.

The odd colors puzzled me at first. Spruce pollen is yellow green, like the tips, but when it settles on dark surfaces (garden soil, rocks, piles of moose poop) it turns them an odd gray. They look slightly out of focus.

Neither of us are allergic to pollen, thank goodness. It must be wretched for those who are. Still, working hard in the dusty pollen makes one cough.

At its height, we could see the pollen rising like a mist, flowing across the trail like incoming fog. Vast, sickly colored swatches of pollen floated in the water all around.

So, we welcome the rain. A few days of it will rinse everything, and clear the air. The forecast says we’ll have showers through Thursday. By then, the pollen release may be mostly over. If not, it’s rinse and repeat.

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