Friday, June 25, 2010

Of coyotes and weeds and grapes, oh my

Summer has finally - it seems - arrived. We have had sun and blue skies for the last few days so that we can, at long last, open the windows without first putting on coats. The peacock was calling a few days ago and at the moment the bunny room window is open and I can hear the coyotes calling over in the forest. I love to hear the peacock and don't even mind the coyotes, really, as long as they aren't eating my cats. Or anyone else's, for that matter. They generally aren't a problem during the day - or even during the night, as long as the cats are brought in. And the fact that we have three big dogs patrolling the yard probably tends to discourage the coyotes from coming too close at any time, day or night.

At any rate - coyotes or no - there is other news on the Unfarm. The garden, which is usually the picture of health, is suffering. The roses have developed powdery mildew and black spot, my honeysuckle is looking less than perfect, my anemone is falling over, the columbine are half their usual size, and my hostas are in the worst shape I've ever seen them in, with wilted, beaten up leaves. I can only hope that this strange affliction of my garden is due to the extremely cold, wet spring we've had, and that there will be no lasting damage. Sure, I could replace them, but any of the plants dying off sends me into a fit of anxiety that eats at me for days. So I am doing the only thing I know to do, and running around the yard frantically spraying the plants with compost tea and watering them with organic fertilizer when they seem to need it.

The only thing not suffering in the yard is the weeds. Some kind of plantain weed has sprouted up all over my garden, wild daisies are appearing in every corner of the yard - although I let them stay because I can't bear to take out anything with flowers, the thistles are three feet high, and the horseradish is getting so big that I think next week I will be able to build a tree house in them. On the plus side, I have always wanted a tree house - I just never thought I would build it in a stand of horseradish.

On top of all the other problems in the garden, the grape arbor is falling down. I thought I had built a fairly sturdy support for the four grape vines that surround the rabbit run, but apparently I underestimated the exuberance of the grapes. They've grown so much and so fast that the once upright arbor is now leaning at a 45 degree angle. I think the only reason it hasn't already fallen down is that the rabbit run is in the way. This failure of the grape arbor means that I will have to now perform the worrisome procedure of building a new, stronger (read 4x4's and 80 pound bags of cement) arbor around the original structure, and then carefully dismantle the old structure while simultaneously moving the grapes from the original support to the new arbor. All this is made even more complicated by the fact that each grape plant has approximately ten thousand new vines sprouting from each of it's branches. It will not be a pleasant experience, but I am looking forward to the day when the project is finished and I no longer have to worry about thirty tons of grape plants coming crashing down into my garden. So that is the goal for this weekend, and I have been doing the painstaking prep work of digging out all of the plants that are in the way and moving them to an area out of the way, where they will - I hope and pray - be safe until I can put them back in the ground later this weekend. And if I am to have any hope of completing this massive project by the end of the weekend, I should probably get off the computer and go to bed so I'm not waking up at noon... wish me luck.

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