Here it is Labor Day, the end of another summer. The days have shortened. I’m glad of that fact. I want to come inside earlier. I am finally picking some good amounts of food. It’s always curious how each year the vegetable garden has successes and failures unrelated to the previous year. For example, last summer I canned many quarts of tomato sauce and have yet to do any this year. However, I have a large quantity of both onions and garlic this season — enough for the winter.

Yesterday, Marie and I finished the harvesting of the early Red Norland potatoes. We picked over a bushel. We still have the mid and late varieties in the ground. I haven’t heard mention of the potato blight this year.

I still have fleas. Honestly, what a year for them. I’ve treated all the animals, vacuumed like a mad woman, and set up the trap every day. Hang a light bulb over a flat dish of soapy water. They will jump to the heat of the light and fall into the water to their demise. It’s safe and chemical-free. I’ve caught dozens.

I’ve resorted to the weed mat and/or tarp method of weeding. It’s remarkably effective. I cover a particularly weedy area — we’re talking three or four feet tall — with the black mat. After a few weeks, the weeds are completely dry and cooked. I rake them off the bed and replant with my fall crops.

The field peas I tossed about last weekend are up. I planted them thickly in hopes of discouraging any more weed growth. The only way to stay on top of the weed situation in a large garden, short of hiring a full-time crew, is to lower one’s standards significantly. Happily and economically I have chosen the latter.

In my weekly travels I try to observe various gardens. The entire corner of Vineyard avenue and on to Tony’s Market is very interesting. Alison Shaw and Dragonfly galleries and most of their neighbors have outdone each other in their creativity.

The corner of Clevelandtown road and Slough Cove has a large Morning Glory Farm field. Tropical Storm Irene tore up the leaves of the plants exposing hundreds of pumpkins. I haven’t grown a decent pumpkin in years. Mine seem particularly vulnerable to squash bug and I tend to neglect them until it is too late.

Kudos to the Oak Bluffs Fire Department at the end of Wing Road. They have wonderful red roses along the fence. They have been blooming on and off all summer and look great right now.

I couldn’t be happier with the change of weather. I’m writing this on Tuesday morning and it is pouring rain. We really needed it. Leaves were so droopy since the storm. It’s so strange to hear about flooding elsewhere in New England and be dragging hoses around.

The fall-blooming clematis is a riot of fragrant flowers. Throughout the summer the vines behaved in a weedy fashion. It was so tempting to remove them. Luckily I never got around to it and am now enjoying the jasmine-scented blooms threaded into my forsythia.

I am not a tree-hugger. Both before and after Irene I drove around with a critical eye. So many folks have enormous trees hanging over their homes. There is a little brown house on the Edgartown Road with two enormous spruce trees towering at least 50 feet above the roof line. I would never sleep well during a wind event in that house. I know the price of tree removal is prohibitive but it is way cheaper than a new roof or a funeral. There, I said it!

President Obama has reached an all-time disapproval level. Hopefully he will grow a spine during his upcoming jobs speech on Thursday. He may be too reasonable and/or decent for the position. It seems the American people go for the “bring-it-on” types. I have noticed Rick Perry has shot ahead of Michele Bachmann in the GOP polls. They are equally scary but he is a guy and a Texan so I’m sure the conservative types would pick him every time. Have mercy!