Mice, bugs, garlic, and squash

Our beautiful and wonderful youngest cat Schwartzie, it turns out, is a perv. He loves mice. He is running a no-kill shelter for mice in our house. If one of the girls, Xena or Willow, catches a mouse, they do not play with it. They kill it immediately. Xena sometimes eats them, sometimes tries to give them to us. But Schwartzie if he finds a mouse [we live in the woods] will defend it. He will run around with the mouse in his mouth, gently carrying it. When he plays with it, he is careful not to use his claws. Then, always, he loses it. That happened yesterday. He lost the mouse in the diningroom. We hope it went back outside, but why should it? We’re in the middle of a drought.

Today is pleasant – on the cool side, a little more humid but not bad yet. It’s annoying when it’s humid for day after day but doesn’t rain. Some places in Massachusetts got three inches of rain from the last storm. Only the Cape got nothing. Instead the so-called June bugs [everything is late this year after the long cold spring] have just arrived and begun banging their armored bodies against the screens. There they die, still hanging on with little hooks. Some life cycle. People can be weird about bugs. A friend told me about a summer person who had rented their cottage getting hysterical about silverfish, those slender beetles with little pincers. They eat nothing we eat. We always have some. But he got hysterical about them and demanded she hire an exterminator. Someone to spray poison about.

We harvested our garlic and it’s drying in the gazebo. Mingus, our oldest and smallest cat, alone has the right to spend time in the screened-in gazebo, because he never tries to get out and is easy to carry. He cries to go out there – but this week, the octagonal wooden table in the gazebo is covered with hard-necked garlic and he doesn’t like that. It smells bad to him; in an hour he cries to come in. After days of high humidity, it’s been dry from Tuesday on, giving us hope the garlic will dry better than it has so far.

We watch the tomatoes, we watch and we watch. Woody says in gardening, there is a lot of waiting. This week we pulled the fennel as it had gotten tough. We forgot to hill it up. We have many zucchini finally, many, I say. And many yellow squash and many more pattypans. I make a wonderful zuke soup from James Beard – thickened with avocado. I’ve done that twice already. This morning a woman we had met at Rowe and then here before she moved to Wellfleet, a fan and becoming a friend, came over again to weed with me for two hours. We did a bed that had gotten away from me. I read and commented on two poems of hers in return. Tonight we host four friends for supper.
I’ll make a spoon roast, tabouli and a yellow squash dish, gravlax and taramasalata as hors d’oeuvres. Dale’s bringing dessert.

As I age, I find I’m more and more sensitive to heat. Many people I know who are retired go someplace warm in the winter. I like winters here. I get more writing done in the winter than in the summer. I react badly to hot humid weather. I have no desire to follow summer south. We get more than enough summer for me. My best times are spring and fall. I love crisp weather; I’m most alive then. In hot weather, I lose my appetite and get tired much sooner.

I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s short stories. I like his novels better, but they’re inventive and some are excellent. I just started reading Susan Glassmeyer’s new book of poetry INVISIBLE FISH. A fine poet, she took my June workshop a few years ago. I’m in a relativelyi fallow period right now, wrote only two poems all week although I did revise an older one I wasn’t yet satisfied with. Sometimes even after a poem has been published in a zine, I see how to improve it. I have even worked on poems that were in one of my poetry collections when Knopf decides to do a selected poems volume like THE HUNGER MOON.

At the moment, I am skeptical the Detroit trip will happen.

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