Zukes, Rabbits, and Zoom, but No Kitten

In addition to the rain last weekend, we had a middle of the night decent amount of rain this week and last night.  The gardens have perked up.  We’re getting plenty of zucchini and the patty pans have finally started making.  This week, we actually were able to make zucchini relish – something we couldn’t do last summer as the rabbits ate all the zucchini.  We love our zuke relish as it dresses up foods like tuna fish. It’s especially good to have summer squash when the lettuce is bolting.  We won’t have much lettuce at all before the fall crops.

We will not be getting the female kitten I thought was already mine.  When I called to check on her yesterday, as I do every week, Sherri told me the vet said the two kittens, male and female are bonded and must be adopted together. I can’t take the male. So she said the kitten was no longer mine.  I am making other arrangements. I know a great deal about cats and I have had the experienced three times of keeping brother and sister together. Yes, they are bonded as kittens, but by the time puberty comes, they start to squabble.  They do not remind bonded the way a mother and kitten will if left together.

In spite of the drought, the rose bushes that survived it are blooming furiously.  I love roses and mourned the loss of my rose garden.  I had 40 roses and now about twelve have come through.  I thinned the beets this week and was able to make a French rice and beet salad that is gorgeous to look at as well as delicious.  Last year I had no beets at all.  The seeds rotted in the ground, as did the parsnips. We had exactly one parsnip, the biggest one we’ve ever grown.  This year, beets and parsnips are doing well so far. Tuesday, I weeded the winter squash and the pumpkins in our lower garden, down the hill by the road. The goatsbeard has finished flowering and the ‘beards’ are turning brown and ugly, so I must cut them back.

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I have been writing more poems [four this week] and I think it’s largely because of seeing other people.  We socialize on the sunporch ten feet apart with friends we consider part of our ‘bubble’ and who have been super careful during the pandemic.  I have three women friends I can see that way occasionally, and there are two couples we feel safe with as in each there is a cancer survivor who must be vigilant. . I find that occasional weekly social interactions stimulate my brain and I’m more productive.  During the first two and a half months, I saw no one but Woody.  That’s probably a much better situation than many are experiencing, but I desperately missed seeing women friends. Indira came over Wednesday afternoon – aside from Woody, she’s the only friend I can talk books with; Woody reads many nonfiction books for his interview program, most of which I have little interest in.  But this week, he interviewed Elizabeth Marshall Thomas about her book on aging. I read it right after the intereview and found it insightful.

Most books on aging are written by doctors, psychologists, etc. who are much younger than the people they’re writing about.  They don’t know how things feel. Thomas is 87 and she retains her wry sense of humor.  It’s fascinating to me to read about things that are happening to me as well as experiences with aging I haven’t encountered at least yet. Our situations at the moment are quite different except for living in the country.  She is alone, has a woman who comes in daily to help and has her son and family nearby.  Woody and I are together and have no offspring, just friends.  We are managing without outside help inside or out, except for Dale coming in on Mondays to assist me with writing work: mail, bills, a lot of filing, sending out poems, dealing with Knopf and my new book on the way, recording acceptances, publications and rejections. 

Tonigh I have a ZOOM reading for Or Hadash in Fort Washington PA. a Reconstructionist synagogue. We’ll see how that goes. I find ZOOM clunky but it’s at least possible to finally do a reading. 

After suffering a plague of rabbits last summer who ate up almost all our vegetables, we had not seen any since the coywolves recovered their population this spring.  But this week we’ve seen two.  Where there are two rabbits visible, there are twenty you don’t see.  But thanks to a friend in New Hampshire who recommended it, Woody sprays with PLANTSKYDD, an organic concoction from Sweden that offends rodents.  I suspect it makes the vegetables smell stinky to them. After I ordered some and Woody applied it last August, we finally got a few beans but it was too late for many of the usual summer veggies.  We had tomatoes, a few beans and some peppers.  This year, we hope to have beans in plenty, as we usually do – I like to freeze lots as well as eating our fill of them.

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