I’ve just about had it with fighting Mother Nature. Between the bugs and bunnies in the vegetable garden, fleas in the house, a huge deer in the perennial beds nightly, and an elderly dog’s bathroom habits, I’m at my wit’s end.

I do not recall the deer being such an orange-red color in the past. I know in Pennsylvania they are plain brown. We had a hunting camp and I grew up seeing deer hanging in garages all fall. They were always brown. The other morning I looked right below my bedroom window and wondered about the large orange box that must have blown into the yard. Then it lifted its head and stared at me. Are these actually red deer? I must be suffering from age-related confusion. At any rate, I loathe them. They nipped every single day lily bud and all the hosta flowers.

My sour mood was lifted, however, with a prolific onion harvest on Saturday. Who knew the poor things could survive surrounded by such enormous weed growth. Sure enough, there were enough for two families to enjoy all winter. Thankfully, the garlic crop was equally productive.

Thanks to my son, Rueben. He weed-whacked all the paths in the vegetable patch so now I feel as if I can get a grip of the situation. Some were chest-high. Hard to imagine that I garden for a living.

My gardens are painfully dry. I’ve been hauling hoses around for weeks. I have a tremendous empathy for the millions in the Horn of Africa who are literally near death as a result of drought and famine. It’s indeed humbling to live in such plenty.

I started some brussels sprouts, beets, lettuce and carrots in hopes for a fall/winter garden. Now is the time, so that they will get a bit of size before the light changes significantly. I think I may be a little late for the brussels but I do have a cold-weather hoop house, which could sustain them all winter. For the past two years my sprout crop has been nonexistent. When they form on the stalk they immediately go to flower and then seed. I haven’t been able to figure out why, I thought I planted them too early those years. Now I’m trying too late for a change.

Both my red and Savoy cabbages seem to be holding up well against pests. My earlier Wakefield and Danish cultivars are pretty beat up. I am very fond of cabbage and have grown it for years. Coleslaw is not a particular favorite. I prefer an oily dressing on a plain cabbage salad. When a bumper crop occurs, sauerkraut is an option. It is ridiculously simple. Shredded cabbage mixed with kosher salt and left to ferment for a couple of weeks is all it takes. I process it pint jars with a water bath. It is a taste of summer steamed with some pork product next winter.

I ate a couple of ripe sun-gold tomatoes which had volunteered from last year. My own crop has yet to ripen. Go figure!

If you do no other deadheading, for Pete’s sake go after the buddlia. This shrub, aka butterfly bush, is covered with spent blooms. If they are removed the bush will keep on blooming.

The wild morning glory is running wild. I believe it is also called bindweed, for good reason. It binds itself to a favorite shrub and within days completely engulfs the poor thing. Marie googled it and found it can have tap roots of 30 feet. Abandon all hope!

Since the “deal” to raise the debt ceiling has been extorted by the Tea Party Congressional freshmen, I have been unable to comment. The good and uplifting news is the return of Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords to the House floor. It was wonderful to see her welcomed by both Democrats and Republicans. Isn’t it remarkable what modern medicine is able to achieve?