Everywhere I turn folks are irritable, frustrated, and somewhat cranky. The remark “It’s August!” seems to cover it. I was thinking it was a Vineyard phenomenon, what with the added traffic, both vehicular and on foot. My friend Sharlee had a house guest last week who gave a most sensible explanation: back in the caves, we became very concerned in mid-summer about our readiness for a hard, long winter. It is actually built into our DNA to have this sense of urgency and concern. I love anything anthropological to explain our uniquely human behavior.

Laurie Clements called to inquire about a remarkable shrub on Franklin street that resembles a lilac. I forgot to go to check it out but from her excellent description I’m guessing it is a crepe myrtle. They are blooming like crazy right now, hot pink, white, or a cool lavender in color. They have interesting exfoliating bark and are one of the few impressive summer blooming shrubs.

I went ahead and harvested the rest of the winter squash, both butternut and Tennessee sweet potato. The vines were completely dead and the squash bugs were going after the squash itself. It is safe and sound in my pantry. Hopefully it will finish curing before I ignore it and it rots, removing the floor paint in the process.

I am not totally self-deprecating, just a realist with a good memory for my foibles.

I’ve noticed the mimosas have been blooming for several weeks. The ones at the Woodland Center are particularly nice. They are fairly tender. I pulled a piece of mine down to snip out of the way of the truck mirror and ripped a huge section from the main trunk. Incidentally, I never use pruning paint. I trust the tree to heal itself. I just clean up the wound with my clippers.

Speaking of clippers, I have resorted to my #2 Felcos as a weeding device in the vegetables. The weeds are so robust they would remove plants in a three foot radius if I tried to yank them. Nevermind that I would have to ring the chiropractor.

I’ve noticed the sedum is beginning to bloom. It is one of my favorite plants. It looks good from spring until Christmas, it can handle a severe drought, and will return in pots hauled into garages for winters with a plywood covering. Its only liability that I’ve observed is its vulnerability to deer damage.

I am happy to report that I squandered several hours sitting in my vegetable garden on Sunday. It was cool for a change and perfectly lovely. I watched goldfinches flitting back and forth on my sunflowers. I grew a cultivar called Moulin Rouge, which is a dramatic dark red velvety bloom that was simply breathtaking with the little gold birds hanging on the edges.

My cousin Mark has arrived for an extended visit. He is the son of my favorite non-blood relative aunt. She has gone to a deserved reward. She used to visit and immediately clean the fridge, stove, and cupboards. A real treat. Hopefully I can guilt the cousin into following in her footsteps!

While sitting in my garden last week I watched dozens of private planes come in for a landing at our airport. I guess this would happen when preparations for the most powerful man on the planet were taking place. A big welcome to the Obamas. Hopefully they get some well-earned rest. By the way, I was happy that he weighed in concerning the proposed mosque building in lower Manhattan. It is truly remarkable that we are in the middle of another brouhaha over this issue. Isn’t it funny how we as Americans want all our rights but don’t want anyone remotely different from us to have theirs?