Thankfully, I don't worry about the squirrels all that much. Because I'm doing things like this - going for a bike ride with my boyfriend and his daughters. The younger one recently learned to ride without the training wheels and called so we could witness her accomplishment via facetime. I was tickled that she first made sure I was there to watch, too.
We've gone to the dog festival, met for Italian ices, and done the dinner and a movie thing at their house. I watched Jurassic Park with an 8-old-wrapped around me, and held my hand over her eyes during the gory parts.
We've also done some meals at home with my younger son. I have a few bottles of this wine and on the last one, I'd written my boyfriend's name under the mugshot. I handed this bottle and a sharpie to my son and he giggled as he altered the prisoner on the label to look like Hitler.
Which may have given the wine some bad juju because when my boyfriend used my signature ninja knife trick on the capsule around the neck, he managed to slice clean through the bottle AND into his thumb.
And we go out kidless, too, of course. The local nature park, for instance, has a monthly beer garden/pizza event. Local brews and pizza cooked in a mobile oven.
And on another night we had a beer on the patio over looking the square before getting dinner and then a drink at the little speakeasy club. I really like the downtown area - it's nice enough to be outside much of the year. In fact, on our first date at the beginning of January we were able to eat lunch outside. I'm looking forward to recreating that date next January.
I continue to be amazed at the deceptive nature of squirrels' appearance. So cute, so fluffy. But they shimmy up the pole for the bird feeder and perch on the baffle designed to repel squirrels. I wasn't worried, though, because I didn't think they could get too much seed from the feeder out front.
I underestimated their strength, however. Those little fuckers just ripped right into the feeder and tore out the side of it! I pitched it and replaced it with another of the sort I have out back (in the post below), which seems to be very effective. Squirrels can land on it, but the minute they put weight on the body of it, the outer sleeve closes down over the openings. I've watched, they just slide right off, cursing. I laugh but I also try to appease them by putting out corn and peanuts.
And then there are the rabbits. They chase each other in circles, nibble on the clover, and apparently do what bunnies do because lately I've had a baby rabbit living in my yard. He's tiny and absurdly cute. Something that adorable couldn't possibly cause any damage, could it?
Like a scene from Jack and the Beanstalk, the tomato plants continue to climb and now I can watch their progress from the bedroom window.
Which is only really interesting because of how high the window is from the ground.
This is all I've harvested so far, though. Some Swiss chard, green onions, a single zucchini and some gold cherry tomatoes. I think my vegetable plants need to focus less on colossal stem growth and into actually providing food.
A downside of summer is the upsurge in mosquitoes. So we've rigged up our own little slice of Morocco. The netting is so effective that we conked out one evening and didn't wake up until one in the morning.
We've been eating out on the deck most nights. My younger son is here some of the time and joins us on those nights. I had a good winter this year but I still always look forward to summers.
The long hot days make for a great growing season and already my butterfly garden is lush. It rains off and on, but mostly we get storms in the late afternoons and at nights. Which has lead to me adopting a new motto: Life is too short not to dance naked in the rain with someone you love.
In the center of my back yard, is a tree I call the dogwisteria. It's a big old dogwood with an enormous wisteria vine threaded through it. During the spring there are a scattering of white dogwood blossom's followed by summer's lavender clumps of grape-like flowers. In the autumn, the wisteria leaves turn yellow as the last of the reddened dogwood leaves are falling.
The English ivy vines which also wind their way through the tree become a little more visible when the branches are winter-bare. That's when the brown furry wisteria seed pods, which look like hanging mice, can also be seen. At the tag end of winter, a small forsythia growing out of a rotted bit of trunk at the base of the tree has a spray of bright yellow flowers.
I love the dogwisteria best in the summer, though, when it is an unruly mass of leaves and vines. The squirrels eat the corn I hang from it and birds splash in the birdbath under its shade. It's a constant battle to keep the invasive wisteria from sending its runners into the yard in an attempt to send up new plants, but I wouldn't trade this mysterious dogwood/wisteria/ivy/forsythia for anything.
I'm not even going to make pretense of catching up. I've been going to little events like this one, at the nature center. A local brewery and pizza place teamed up for a little get-together. Good, cold IPA and pizza with basil and tomatoes. After we ate, my boyfriend and I walked down the path to the quarry.
It's beautiful and peaceful there, with springs bubbling up to the surface and making ripples.
You can see the roots of the plants stretching deep into the murk near the edges, but the water away from the shore is clear.
While we were looking at the water, a guy arrived and was throwing a stick for his dog to fetch. That dog was fearless and would do superman leaps from the high rocks.
The dog also ran to fetch off the dock but jumped in a different direction from the stick and made us all laugh. The deeper goofy laugh? Yeah, that's me.