Hurricane Ida hitting the coast of Louisiana with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour is something I hope to never experience in this lifetime. On the anniversary of Katrina, no less. I have to mention these weather events so I can remember to never complain.

I took a trip out to Amherst to get Violet settled into college. She did her freshman year in my kitchen, poor thing. It was only my second trip off the island since the beginning of Covid. I am realizing that the Covid stay-at-home recommendations have revealed who I really am.

I hate highway driving. I zip along at 70 in the right-hand lane and am, by far, the slowest person on the road.

It was nice, however, to bumble along from Palmer to Belchertown. It reminded me of home in Pennsylania, not only the mountains but the houses. The difference is that New England is much more tidy than my part of Appalachia. There weren’t any broken-down snowmobiles or washing machines in the yards. I only partly jest.

It’s difficult to develop any gumption now that I’m back home.

The vegetable garden is a total train wreck. There is food available but I have to rely on memory to locate it.

The heat, humidity and occasional rain have put all the vegetation on steroids. I pulled out a wild morning glory that was 40 feet long. No joke. Weeds are now thigh-high. I love it when garden books say to pull weeds before they go to seed. Gee, I wish I’d thought of that!

I did pick a bushel of paste tomatoes. I hauled out the canner and now both are sitting on my counter, looking at me accusingly.

I will say I’ve been enjoying my dahlias and zinnias. Both are attracting monarch butterflies. It’s very pretty to see them flying from blossom to blossom.

This year, I had a nice crop of celosia, aka cockscomb. They are easy to propagate from a dried head. If you would like some, I have tons.

I grew an heirloom tomato called Nebraska wedding. It’s a large orange. The story goes that it was taken to Nebraska in the 1800s and seeds were given to newlyweds.

I hope I get it together this week and at least plant some lettuce seeds. They should come right along in this weather and be ready for the table in a few weeks.

It’s probably too early for spinach as it seems the temperatures are a little cooler.

I have an inordinate amount of armadillo bugs in my garden. They eat rotten tomatoes and squashes but do not seem to attack good fruits. I think some people call them sow bugs or rolypolys.

The good news is I had few, if any, Colorado potato beetles or squash bugs this year. Wonder what I may have done right?

I’ve been hesitant to talk about Afghanistan. For starters, the whole situation is so enraging. I realize I do not know all the facts but I do know that 15 of the 19 perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia and we are still in bed with them.

I also know we armed and encouraged the Mujahideen in their war against the Soviets, so it’s no surprise that they used it to their advantage.

Donald Rumsfeld refused the Taliban surrender in 2002-3.

We created an Afghan government with the help of defense contractrs who took boatloads of our tax dollars. That so-called government immediately capitulated to the Taliban in just weeks.

The same people in our government have no problem pouring money into war efforts but suddenly become tightwads when funds to help our citizens become an issue.

Good on Joe Biden. As James Carville put it, Joe told us what time it is. Finally, some truth coming from 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.