Please do not think I am complaining about the weather. It’s been absolutely beautiful. However, do not be deceived. It is still simply bone dry. I know we have had a bit of rain, but certainly not enough. For those of you who don’t believe me, notice Whiting’s Pond. It is a tiny swath of mud.
However, how stunning are the blood-red lobelia on what used to be the water’s edge? With the lime green grasses and cattails — wow, what a picture.
As long as we are talking about weather and summer, I have not received one mosquito bite. While that fact is great, it is a little odd for a person who spends more than 12 hours out of doors each day.
My friend Sharlee lives on Chappy. She always said Chappaquiddick was Indian language for Land of Many Big Biting Bugs. By mid summer most years her garden and clothes line become off-limits. She, too, has been happy to report no bug bites. What’s happening? It’s wonderful, but weird. Was it simply the extremely dry spring?
On the other hand, we have been observing an inordinate amount of dragonflies. Guess they’ve eaten all the mosquitoes? My work crew began speculating that they are government drones. You can imagine we had a lot of fun with that theory.
Only of late have I begun to appreciate Rose of Sharon. They never appealed to me. Now I’m a big fan. For starters, they bloom on new growth so can be cut within an inch of their lives in the spring. They are soft wood and therefore satisfying to cut with a pair of Felcos.
There is a house across Katama Road from Clevelandtown Road with several hedges of them. Each hedge is monochromatic and well tended. They are large enough to offer the homeowners privacy and noise protection.
Another mid to late summer blooming shrub is Vitex. There is a nice one at the entrance to Mayflower Lane off State Road in Tisbury. Again, it blooms on new growth so it can be kept in a check. Unlike the buddleia aka butterfly bush, it does not require endless deadheading, nor does it get unruly and weedy.
Eric up at Grey Barn gave me a beautiful cantaloupe that he grew organically. It was absolutely perfect, heavily netted and so fragrant that the scent filled my kitchen. I saved it for a day just to smell it. For some reason I forgot to plant them this year. I have spotty luck with them at best. Something always comes along and takes a first bite.
I had a terrible winter squash crop last year. I was overrun with insect pests. I took a break this year in hopes the bugs will forget me next season. Right!
As you head out of Vineyard Haven up-Island, notice the locust trees on the west side of the town field below the Tashmoo overlook. Most of the leaves are gone except a few tuffs here and there. This has been happening for a couple of years. I cannot figure it out.
Oddly, however, my neglected perennial bed is loaded with very healthy locust saplings. Hopefully, I’ll rip them out before next spring since I do have tons of bulbs in that area. I may keep a few on the edges. They grow quickly, are a legume therefore are good for the soil, bloom and smell great in June, make incredibly long-lasting fence posts and are excellent for firewood. Watch out as they have scary thorns in their youth. They also are very shallow-rooted and will topple, earth and all, in a strong wind. I lost several large specimens during Hurricane Bob.
There are two beautiful fields on Music street. One is covered in butterfly weed and the other in Queen Anne’s lace.
By the time this comes out I should have spent all my money at the Agricultural Fair. Hard to believe another summer is almost over. Time certainly speeds up as one ages — except the days last forever, what with much to do and an aging body!
The news out of Ferguson, Mo., is completely upsetting. It looks like some Middle Eastern city. Why in the world did all those enormous military vehicles make their way into the Heartland?
I would never defend looters and criminals, but people, please, everybody chill!
I was tear gassed several times in our nation’s capital during the Viet Nam War. It’s nothing you would ever wish on a person.