I needed to be talked down from the cliff several times this week. Between the vole damage in my vegetable garden and the replacement of dried and dead annuals at the job sites, I saw the entire summer as futile. The icing on the cake of my week was watching a pair of wild turkeys polish off the rest of the wineberries. It took me a moment to figure out what they were doing. They were doing a comical half leap to reach the berries. I could barely muster the strength to chase them — not that it mattered. They were back in a matter of seconds. They know a good thing when they taste it.
Wineberries are a wild raspberry. They are much too fragile for the commercial market, but Rusty Gordon at Ghost Island Farm had some small containers of just-picked ones for sale. The cones are a beautiful fuzzy red that is lovely in the evening light.
The voles have started an assault on my beets and carrots. They also ate the roots of my artichokes. I loathe them. I asked the Terminex man what to do. His reply was, “We don’t do voles.”
I have started mulching with the tops to my garlic after it curved. I cut the tops and remembered a gentleman from last year. He said garlic was a deterrent. It’s true! They have not gone near the beds from which I harvested this year’s crop. Do I have to resort to monoculture?
Violet helped me plant some field peas. I am hoping they will keep the weeds down and improve the soil. As an added perk we love eating the tiny shoots when the plant is about three inches tall. I cut off a large amount with scissors, wash them and use them as salad greens.
If you park at the Tashmoo Overlook, you will be able to see the large amount of butterfly weed growing in the field. These numbers have increased over the year regardless of the twice-annual mowing of that field. Perhaps it is because of the mowing. What do I know?
The window box at Lorraine Parish on sidewalk level is particularly nice. She used just a couple of yellow flowers to make the other colors more vibrant. I’m taking scrap paper in the car this week to jot down other great pots and/or boxes. It will be handy to keep up a cheerful mood while sitting in traffic.
I’m going to use more platycodon (aka balloon flower) next year. It is just starting to bloom and is making quite a statement. The Fuji blue is very nice with almost any color phlox. There is a short one — sentimental blue — only about eight inches tall. It is a great on the border edge with a dwarf cauticola sedum. That sedum, with blue-green leaves, won’t bloom for another few weeks. It is very attractive and so low to the ground it will escape a marauding deer. Deer love sedum. They will take Autumn Joy to the ground as an appetizer before they go for the phlox and every single daylily bud.
Speaking of daylilies, it’s time to dead leaf them and cut down the spent flower stalks. Some varieties will rebloom in the fall. Check the labels before purchase for reblooming.
I grew up with guns — in fact, loaded guns. My dad had a hunting camp with its own shooting range. I am used to various NRA speeches and signs. “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them,” “This property protected by Smith and Wesson,” “Don’t worry about the dog — worry about the owner,” “Western justice here,” etc.
What I’m about to say is disloyal to my Appalachian upbringing.
How many more mass murders will be perpetrated by individuals who have “legal weapons?” The young shooter in Colorado had purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition from the Internet. Let me quote my son, Reuben: “If the Internet were a real place, you’d be ashamed to be there.”
I loved Michael Bloomberg’s statement. Like him, I would like to encourage President Obama to take a moral stand, exhibit political courage even if it costs him the election and reinstate the assault weapons ban for starters and then some reasonable gun control laws. I do not believe Mitt Romney has any courage, so he’ll never take a stand on anything for very long.