Ebenezer Scrooge Bites The Dust Too

August 12, 2010

A huge disappointment in the garden again today, accompanied by tears and anguish, though not on my part.

I checked the veggies this afternoon and found that the watermelon on the ground had snapped from its stem, just like Jacob Marley had. I’m not sure why that happened – maybe it was growing at a funny angle, maybe I just stink at growing watermelon. In hopes of saving it and letting it ripen off the vine, I reached down to pick it up and saw a long split, just like Jacob had. Inside, outside and all around that split were black ants. So much for Ebenezer Scrooge. The watermelon experiment has failed.

I pulled out all the vine, being careful to break all the tendrils that had wound around the brussel sprouts, the peppers and the basil. The bed now looks very bare and rather sad; a lone tomato plant at one end and a cluster of plants at the other. I’m thinking I can put spinach in now, some broccoli, maybe some beans again. I like this idea of new opportunities in the garden at a time when perennials and annuals are usually a done deal.

Eliza brought Jacob in and showed me the nibbles. She didn’t know about the experiment and I noticed about twice as much biting as yesterday. She put it back where she found it so the experiment can continue. She may have given me a strange look too.

Butterflyweed doesn’t need to be deadheaded, I’m discovering. Apparently, it will continue to bloom, with the deadhead becoming seed pods (those monarchs love those seed pods, don’t they?). The seed pods are long and thin, like a skinny tan banana, sticking upright like spikes on a fence. These pods are already splitting in the butterfly bed, white tufts of cottony down. I’m planning on collecting them and burying them in the sun bed near the new butterfly bush, then marking those spots so I don’t pull them out as weeds next spring.

When I leaned in to make a photograph, a Damn Rabbit shot out from beneath the zinnia, just inches away from arms. I’m not sure who was more startled but believe it was me, as he knew I was approaching and just waited until I got too close. His tail was bright white as he flashed that alarm, sprinting towards the veggie bed and hiding in the discarded watermelon vine.

The milkweed bugs were out in force today. There was even an orgy of bug sex taking place too, which really amazed me. It was over 90 degrees out there today, so could that have been comfortable? Do bugs sweat? Just walking from the back door across the yard to get a sprig of basil for my lunch left me hot, sweaty and feeling drained. Could sex in this weather, right in the full sun, really be a good idea? Are they staying hydrated? Will the eggs suffer? Is it strange to contemplate these things anyway?

The sunflower buds follow the sun, turned towards the west when I checked this afternoon. I’d love to use a stop motion camera to capture that movement. Seriously, how cool is that? They are so in tune with their environment that they turn their faces, just like girls move their beach towels to follow the rays when they sunbathe. The sunflowers are smarter; the more sunshine the better for them, whereas those girls should be wearing a strong SPF.

A fat brown spider sat in a web amidst the zinnias and the ajuga on the berm is covered in fairy veils.

When I called Danny and said that we had no watermelon left, he sobbed “tell me all about it.” He does have a flair for the dramatic, but he seems to have had a rough week, so it might have been that upsetting. Danny groaned across the line as I explained what happened and really didn’t take any comfort in the thought that at least the ants are having a grand feast.

I promised I’d buy him a watermelon and he stopped crying.


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