Just because the weather outside is incredibly hot and steamy doesn’t mean that interesting things aren’t going on outside, worthy of note.

The little bird sits at his door in the sun
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer he receives.

Yes, the robins did their thing again this year, in a different rosebush. And just a couple of days ago the last of the fledglings took flight. It’s about three weeks from hatch to dispatch and the rapidity of this metamorphosis never ceases to amaze me.

Two years ago a rabbit ravaged my garden. Last year the cause of devastation was a mole (or a family of moles?) This year a woodchuck decided I would have no broccoli and no parsley so I borrowed Stan’s Have-A-Heart trap and set it with a chocolate chip cookie plastered with peanut butter. In one day we caught a monster of a woodchuck which has been carted away to distant parts. I don’t know whether to reset the trap to see if the woodchuck has a family hereabouts. I worry that that might catch the skunk that I saw the other night and smelled this morning. What do I do if I catch a skunk?

Tomatoes are starting to ripen, thanks be to God. The miserable tomato blight that killed the whole crop last year makes us grateful for every healthy plant with the promise of yummy tomatoes this time around. As usual, I just pop the extra tomatoes into a bag in the freezer and usually have enough available for the entire year. Just hold the frozen tomato under warm water from the faucet and slip off the skin — behold, ready to cook for sauce or whatever.

The potato tops are starting to die down and digging can then begin. Mary and I find this enjoyable and like to do it together. Wonderful things happen underground when we’re not looking! (On another note, I suspect we have enough horseradish underground to start a small factory. But it is so hard to dig up that I usually settle for one small root a year, grate it, mix it with vinegar, and that’s that. Want to start a horseradish business?)

For years I shied away from petunias because they were everywhere. Finally I succumbed and used them in my flower boxes where they were, of course, colorful and prolific bloomers. This year I didn’t buy any, hoping they would reseed, but nothing happened and I was happy to receive lovely purple petunias for Mother’s Day. If I could have been patient until mid-June I would have learned that they would indeed reseed, in their own time. Bless them, they are now all over the place!

About five years ago some sort of vine started climbing up the rope hanging from my clothesline by the back door. Each year it returned and two years ago it bloomed in September, little white flowers all over it. This year it is mammoth and wants to take over the world!

Now that’s a VINE! When we Vinings do VINES we do them  RIGHT!

When I showed this vine to daughter Terry I told her that if we waited till September it would bloom for us. That was when she informed me that it must be a fall-blooming clematis. Of course I argued that it couldn’t be a clematis because the flowers are quite small and white and my spring-blooming clematis has bright magenta flowers 5 inches across. “It has clematis written all over it,” she exclaimed, and sure enough when I googled late-blooming clematis the picture looked exactly the same. I also read that it could easily cover a small shed or a slow-moving animal!

(Added: September 3.  Sure enough – it DID!  This is just a smidgin of it.  )

Fall-blooming clematis

I reluctantly add that we Vinings not only have rose vines (red, white, and wild), clematis, English ivy, a trumpet vine, but also a collection of truly evil vines which take over the garden about August. Perhaps if I do a special post on the evil vines that thrive hereabouts someone will 1) identify them and 2) tell me how to get rid of them.

Being a Vining is not all fun and flowers!