I’ve been busy with work, a couple extended garden projects, picking blueberries, fun, and cats. July began with a whole lot of blueberries. I went to pick them three times and I hit blueberry jackpot twice by coming upon overloaded bushes and massive quantities. Most are in my freezer now and should last through the winter.
Near the beginning of July I also found myself with an empty raised bed, so I took my friend Jane’s offer and adopted some of the sweet potato starts that were at Patchwork and were looking for their forever homes. I wouldn’t normally have tried them, but I had space and it’s really late to try to start anything, so I took what was available.
I have the smallest of gardens this year. In addition to the sweet potatoes, a few volunteer tomato plants came up in the one garden bed not affected by the EPA soil remediation. I let them go and added a few bean plants and a small patch of basil. It’s minimal, but I’m thankful to have anything this year.
Between the soil remediation and the time it’s taken me to remediate the remediation, I decided there wasn’t much hope for getting any real produce from the spot that had been my main vegetable garden. At the beginning of the year when everything was uncertain, I’d gotten almost a dozen packs of zinnia seeds so I could sow some flowery joy where there was sadness. Sewing them still seemed like an appropriate response to the melancholy after the remediation, so that’s what I did. I’m hoping that by late summer I will have a mass of their blooms. I’m starting with three volunteer zinnias that I found surviving despite the soil replacement.
Also, I worked to make a new blackberry trellis. I tried to take my time and incorporate what I’ve learned in the last 10 years of gardening. My old trellis was removed in all the EPA soil remediation. It was pretty rickety with weird additions to make up for me making it too short at first, some of the cross beams were starting to rot, and the whole thing was held together with disintegrating caulk. The new one has taken a while to put together. Most of that time was devoted to painting it. It took three coats of paint everywhere, including each polka dot. Of course the cats had to help! Two got painted.
And all the while the neighborhood cats have kept me company while I garden. I like having them around. They’re goofy and fuzzy and always interested in what I’m doing. Perry takes almost daily walks, and the Ladies have surveyed all the goings on from their window.
Meanwhile, July has marked the return of Wild America in my yard. Raccoons! Possums! Hawks! Oh my!
First, hoards of raccoons returned. With all of John and my experience, we have a zero raccoon policy. If they are in our yard and fiddling with our property, we assume our furnace ducts are next and the vandals must be relocated. We trapped several at the end of June and the beginning of July. Here’s some wild footage from the cat cam I left out to capture their comings and goings:
There has also been a lot of hawk activity. There is a nest in the alley across the street from us. There are about four babies and they have been very active in the last couple weeks. They are starting to fly around the block and they call to their parents constantly. It’s a little unnerving. I tell the outdoor cats to be very careful. I don’t think the cats believe me.
And then there are the wild antics of Captain Scrappy. I think I could watch this cat play for hours. His favorite toys are dirt clods. He jumps around with wild abandon. We all need to be more like Scrappy.