i was ready to make another visit to haymarket. i called my mother to ask her if she needed anything. she told me instead of going into boston, i should return to belmont instead, where somebody needs to let hailey out into the backyard. so i did that, making a pass at the supermarket to grab a few things before stopping by the cafe (where i got some thai bubble ice tea and helped put up the new bug zapper that kills the occasional fly that wanders into the store) and finally to belmont.
hailey seemed back to normal. her test for lyme disease was negative (although her blood work revealed lyme disease antibodies, which means she's been exposed to it at some point, just no symptoms, which is actually common for dogs who live in lyme disease areas). what she did have was canine anaplasmosis, a curable disease caused by a rickettsia bacteria. a few weeks of antibiotics and she'll be fine. she's actually taking doxycycline, which is also used in the treatment of syphilis, malaria, anthrax, and bubonic plague. good stuff!
i have mixed feelings about the garden. on the one hand, i can't wait for everything to come out, a mosaic of growing flowers and vegetables. but on the other hand, that would mean the end of the summer season, one more step to the end of the year, where my economic future looks sort of murky right now. 2010 is moving too fast! other than the cold, i wish we could've stayed in january for a few more months, until i had time to get my act together. this year is a little bit harrowing, but at least i can take some simple pleasures in gardening.
there is beauty in flowers, even when they fade. morning glories are a good example. a few days ago i saw pretty blue flowers. as they wilt though (in the course of a day), they change colors to magenta, and as they curl up, they resemble peppermint swirls.
the peach astibles have bloomed, although the color is more pink than peach. for a first year rookie plant, they've seem to have done well, especially given the fact that they're living in a shady part of the garden. i'm hoping the red astibles i planted a few days ago were viable and can add some more color to the shade garden.
the cucumbers i planted may have suffered cold/heat damage, but they've all survived, and there's still plenty of time left in the season for them to get healthy and produce good fruits. the only thing that can stop them is late season powdery mildew. i should invest in a bottle of natural fungicide and begin spraying now. by the time i see mildew, it's already too late.
the cherry tomato was the first to produce a small fruit a few weeks back and things were looking productive for that particular plant. however, since that time, it seemed to have stopped making anymore tomatoes, going as far as aborting all the flowers as well. not sure what's going. maybe it realized it was just too early to start producing tomatoes just yet, and decided to concentrate on growing bigger instead. it's also in a weird location in the garden; it gets all the runoff gutter water, so during heavy storms it gets flooded briefly.
pepper plants never grow very tall, not compared to potential giants like tomatoes. they also don't produce as many fruits as tomatoes. i've raised a bunch of mixed hot peppers, so i'm curious to see what kind i have. so far they all look the same, can't tell what they are from the plants nor the flowers. once they start producing actual peppers though, i'll have a better idea.
i have a mescluns patch, but never thinned them out, so now a few of them have started to flower, in a rush to produce seeds. the white 4-pedal flowers seem to belong to arugulas, or at least it tasted like arugula when i sampled a leaf. maybe this weekend we can have a salad using some of the garden greens.
more white snap pea flowers are showing up on the string trellis. not the wall of flowers i was hoping for, but pretty nonetheless. are they supposed to be fragrant? i know the sweet peas are scented (i'll know better once those flower in another week or two), but sniffing the snap pea flowers don't produce any smells. the weird thing is there is a pleasant aroma in the vicinity of the pea patch.
watching tendrils in action makes me believe that plants are intelligent. i know the science says it's due to unequal growth rates and various stimulations like light and gravity, but seeing a vining plant climbing up a trellis makes me scratch my head every time. they're not that smart though: i've seen plants twining on itself until it becomes an inseparable mess of tendrils.
it's my first year successfully growing lettuce, so it fills me with pride every time i see the lettuce patch getting bigger and bigger. it almost wasn't the case, as slugs nearly cleared out all the seedlings, until i set out some poison. even now i'm not sure if it worked; the slugs might've just stopped once the lettuce reached a certain size too large for them to gobble up (although knowing slugs, i don't think they'd pass on a challenge). i'm still growing the lettuce way too close, despite some half-hearted thinning. so i may not get a full head of lettuce. but based on this success, i may try seeding some more lettuce for a late autumn crop.
i've moved some more aloe and the wandering jew plant into the full sun. i don't know if that was a good idea: aloe can get scalded by the sun and Tradescantia zebrina prefer indirect sunlight to partial shade. i see how they do for now, but might move them again once we get into the dog days of summer.
of course there are the bugs! nothing too exciting, just the usual visitors. no bald-faced hornets, no bee-mimic robberflies. i expect more variety once more flowers begin blooming. speaking of which, i finally found the container of real cypress vine seeds and planted them throughout the garden, especially by the pea trellis, which is also currently supporting some blue morning glories and white moon flowers. the additional of the red cypress vine flowers will be the finishing touch for a most patriotic display of colors.
i had some oil rice for an early dinner when my mother came home from the cafe. i went with her to the arsenal mall to return a dress at marshall's, then we went to the watertown center CVS, where she found a large brim summer hat she wanted. leaving the parking lot, we took a detour so i could get a better shot of the setting sun. in hindsight that was a mistake, because it made up leave in a weird direction and we ended up getting seriously lost, making a 7 mile detour that lead us eventually to waltham, before we finally got our bearing. we stopped off at my godmother's house to deliver some homemade zongzi. i like to learn how to make them one day, so i can carry on the tradition.
it was 8:30 when we returned to belmont. my father was already home. i bicycled back to cambridge, hauling an oversized collapsible tailgating chair in my milk crate. it's for bruce so he can watch the pride parade tomorrow without having to stand the whole time. when i got home i realized i left my laptop recharger back in belmont. i was ready to go back and get it (somebody has internet addiction!) but when i called my parents they said they'd drop it off on their way to getting more gas for the car. they came in for a little bit, enough time for my mother to spot the messes in my house.