Someone told me the other day that we do not have four seasons here in Minnesota, that we actually have five.

“And they are,” I asked him?

To which he replied: Summer, winter, fall, spring, and mud. That’s hard to argue with, because like a lot of people around here who live in the country on gravel roads and long driveways, mud is the season here, for sure, right now.

I have sawhorses out there to keep people out of my yard. Exactly what the UPS driver is going to think about this escapes me, but I just know how he or she will feel about backing back down a driveway that is long. Not good.

The driveway, which I keep clear of snow, and which gets full sun, is fine. The yard however which is north of the house and in the shade of trees is a whole ‘nother bad deal. Should you want to get around in the yard, in and out or whatever, you do it before noon, which is when the heavy clay soil here thaws down about six inches and turns into a substance akin to flour and water.

And the ruts? You can see everywhere I walked in the yard the last few warm days by tracking my boot prints here and there and everywhere. It kind of looks like I was lost, should one judge from the tracks back and forth, as I walked from building to building. ( I was looking for my half-inch socket set, which I last had last fall. After making mud tracks around and around, I finally came across it sitting in front of a small trailer in the back shed that had a flat tire last fall.)

The tire is flat again. Some things should not never come as a surprise.

So we have five seasons, eh? I have yet another season to add to that list: The season of Asian beetles, which are coming to life in the south windows of the house as the bugs warm up and begin to move around. How they get through those walls—spray foamed, and through the windows, new and also foam-caulked—is a mystery.

The only good thing about them is they’re small. Now that they’re warming themselves up in the light over the kitchen table, they apparently fall asleep and fall onto the kitchen table. You only have to squish one of them to realize they smell bad. 

The small part? I keep a vacuum cleaner over there by the south windows, and once a day at about noon when they’re coming alive by almost the hundreds, I fire up the vac and suck them up.

You can imagine what the vacuum cleaner smells like.

I have to add to this that the Asian beetle is yet another government/committee/citizen solution to a problem that turned into yet another problem. We imported them because they eat an aphid that invades pecans. The beetles also like an aphid that invades soybeans, which is how they got here. Just another one of many examples of human solutions to problems that turned out to be problems.

On this list of problems which we have solved by creating other problems, I have creeping charlie, introduced in the thirties to hold down soil during the drought, and Chinese elms, also about then. There’s more of our “solutions” to talk about, but I’m busy.

I have to go suck up some more bugs. Hoover’em a last ride to vacuum heaven.