As the morning warms, they warm to their work. I’ve taken honey from their hives already, six jars - three for me, two for friends and one for Samantha.
I breathe lavender again. Perhaps the world is not perfect, but it is often much better than tolerable.
I hear footsteps on the decomposed granite path behind me. “Mom?”
“Good morning, Samantha.”
“You’re working hard!”
“There is always so much to do.”
Samantha bends over my right shoulder. “What’s that in your apron, mother?”
Ah, the accusatory ‘mother’.
“My pistol, dear.” I glance at my .32 caliber revolver.
“I have a permit to carry it.”
“That’s not the point! Why are you gardening with your pistol in your apron?”
“There might be pests about.”
“Garden pests that need shooting?”
I look up, straight into my daughter’s lovely brown eyes. “Yes.”
She blinks and looks away. “What sort of pests?”
“Africanized killer bees, but mutated giants - they sometimes buzz by at this time in the morning.”
“You shoot at them?”
“They’re as big as humming birds, but not so quick.”
“And you hit them?”
I shrug. “I get my share. I'm a good shot, as you know.”
“What if you miss and they get mad?”
“I use this.” I hold up my close quarters weapon.
“That’s my old tennis racket!”
Samantha kneels beside me. A lock of her hair sweeps like a raven's wing across her brow. “What are you working on?”
“More pest elimination, dear.”
“Aren’t those mouse traps?”
“You have mice in your garden?”
“Ah.” Samantha pauses, thinks. “What then?”
“You catch ants in mouse traps?”
“A few.” I inspect the ground for lurking ants before pushing a trap beneath my pink geraniums.
“Solenopsis Gigantica, or so I’ve named them.”
“You’ve named them?”
“Yes, the ones I’ve caught don’t match anything in my entomology books. Global warming already seems to have done some strange things with insects.”
Samantha looks sideways at me. “What do these new ants look like?”
“Well, they resemble fire ants, except they’re three inches long.”
“Are they venomous?”
“Oh, I imagine they’re quite lethal.”
Samantha quickly stands up. “Mother, would you like to take a break? How about a cup of tea?”
I set the last of my six traps and place it carefully beneath the lavender. “Yes.” I push my way to my feet. “I feel a bit weary. Tea sounds nice.”
“Good!” Samantha takes my hand. We stroll away from my flowers, up the path to the back porch.
Behind us, one of my traps snaps shut. Then another.