Much of my August was spent in Northern Michigan, but still my garden grew at home. The effects of the EPA lead remediation in my yard are everywhere.
Before we left for vacation, I had one more set of plants still sitting in temporary pots: my raspberries. I knew that they would hold up better in my absence if they were in the actual ground instead of in a pot where they would dry out much more quickly. As a result, I rushed the project and didn’t do things in the order I would have if there had been more time.
I’d bought the raspberries at the Master Gardeners’ sale a few years ago because I absolutely love red raspberries and I can’t find anywhere local that grows them. I hadn’t realized how much they would spread, and I was surprised at how quickly they overwhelmed the space.
I’d planted them once in my raised bed at the side of the house, then moved them temporarily to my former vegetable garden when I knew it was all going to be dug up. I figured they grew like weeds, so they could handle being dug up and moved around and then moved around again.
Now that it was time to put them in a more permanent space, I tried to figure out how to contain them somewhat. I don’t know that it will really work, but I attempted to dig a trench, line it with weed barrier, then plant the raspberries inside the barrier. I still need to complete a trellis for them. You’ll see the start of it in September.
Meanwhile, I got a little more of my art out, including my German garden weasel, but a lot of my garden art remains in storage where I put it for safekeeping during all the work in my yard. Next year there will be more that makes it out of storage and back into my garden.
Also an effect of the EPA work is the fact that the only vegetable garden I have this year is in my central raised bed, which was created with soil I purchased so it didn’t have to be removed. It’s a pretty haphazard garden. There are a couple tomatoes (all of them are volunteers), a few beans, and basil. Hopefully there will also be a few sweet potatoes later in the fall.
The main planting of vegetables in my yard have always been on the west side, but this area took time for me to remediate the remediation because I needed to turn and loosen the soil before I could plant in it. I decided there wasn’t enough time to grow any vegetables in it this year, and I was still recovering from all the EPA stress myself, so I emptied packet after packet of zinnia seeds into the bed. I hope to have a mass of flowers before the frost. The blooms are already quite happy.
And yet another EPA impact was the tiny, new azalea I planted in front of my house this summer. It was one treat for myself that I’d gotten when all the digging work was done. I’d wanted one to fill an empty gap between the other two by the porch, but I’d known the EPA digging was coming and I didn’t want to subject a tender little plant to that. The existing azaleas are white and pink, so I got one that’s white swirled with pink. I didn’t realize until it surprised me with blooms that it must be one of the new twice-blooming varieties.
I also knew when I left for vacation that I would return to a very different view in the neighbor’s yard. His back yard was up for remediation. It has gotten a little overgrown over the years, but all the critters from the cats to the birds have loved it as a little sanctuary. It had become a nice, green wall.
I knew it was likely to be gone when I returned, and it was. Since our return, it’s been a barren wasteland of compacted dirt. Maybe someday there will be some green returned to it. I keep watching for the EPA subcontractors laying new sod.
And of course, the cats. There are a lot of them. We have our three inside the house and now there is a motley crew of neighborhood cats hanging out around our house. At the moment, there are five who stop by for food every morning and evening: Jazzy [Jeff], [Captain] Scrappy, Spike, Mark [Mc-no-Balls], and Junior with Balls. I think the outdoor guys missed us while we were gone on vacation almost as much as the indoor cats missed us.
Aside from having their people gone for an eternity, the big news for the cats is that it is cicada season. Cicadas are everyone’s favorite plaything. One evening I was out walking Perry and we heard some raspy buzzing in the street between my car and the curb. Perry went over to investigate and the next thing I knew, he had a cicada buzzing angrily in his mouth. For a moment, I thought perhaps it was stuck there. To me, it seemed like it had to have been painful. But Perry carried it up the sidewalk for a good distance before spitting it out. Below is a video of him surveying it. Just imagine it buzzing like that inside his mouth.
I wasn’t sure what he thought about the whole experience. Was it frightening? Painful? Unpleasant? But the next night during our walk, Perry and I heard another cicada in the trees next door and Perry bolted in their direction, hopeful. I guess he enjoyed his close encounter with a cicada.