This morning, it was 65 degrees when I first went to the porch. July 29, and 65 in Tennessee. What in the world?

Murphy stayed inside. Anna, our groomer, cut her hair very short for surgery three weeks ago and it hasn’t grown out yet, so our dog was cold. I wrapped her in a fleece blanket, a routine occurrence, and she lay close enough to the door to make sure I didn’t leave.

The hummingbirds finally came to the feeders. I’ve had a theory for a couple years that our feeders get way too much sun for the hummingbirds’ enjoyment–but not today. I’ve seen lots of hummingbirds this year, but they’re all feasting on the beauties in the butterfly garden. One friend told me, “Maybe they think they have so much to eat in the gardens, so why bother with some old sugar water?”

Maybe she’s right, but this morning they buzzed my head several times, chattering about owning the feeder and my being too close and why are you on the porch, anyway?

The first thing I do every morning is look into the back yard from the bathroom window. Gordo, our resident groundhog, is always there. He grazes on the lawn, doesn’t bother any of the flowers. Well–he’s already mowed down the morning glories on the bird feeders, but since then he’s full on grass with an occasional trip to Dad’s garden. Turns out he likes turnip greens. At least he didn’t eat the cantaloupes. I glanced to the back yard several times to see Gordo calmly eating across the lawn.

I read on some website that groundhogs just l-u-v-v-v cantaloupe, so I set the live trap with cantaloupe. The advice was to put the cantaloupe under the trap so that the groundhog has to work to get it. The first morning’s sunshine, there was a terrapin, a Southern box turtle, in the trap. He wasn’t “trapped,” but he had eaten all the cantaloupe. Since then (several days, maybe weeks), the cantaloupe is always gone and the trap is always pushed just a few feet away from its starting place. Groundhogs eat about a third of their weight in vegetation every day. I swear our Gordo must weight at least as much as Murphy, or more, maybe eighteen pounds. That would be…too much, but he would be plenty large enough to scoot the wire would-be container.

Last year Dad decided Gordo was just too smart for the trap. Maybe he’s right. Maybe we just need to relax and go shopping for a collar and leash. Somehow we’d have to keep Gordo and Murphy separated, though, because Murphy has heard me yell at Gordo. She knows Gordo is a bad, bad boy.

So Murphy is good, Dad is better, the hummingbirds feel welcome, I’ve given up on Gordo, and the weather is perfect. I want to do everything. I want to sit on the porch and write. A new chapter in the current novel. Or maybe I better  take that last trip through the finished novel, just to make sure before I query another agent. Or, oh, I could read! And read! I dare not tell you what I have stacked up to read. Or catch up on “office work”–doctors’ appointments, correspondence, planning. And then there’s the gardening. Oh, how I love digging, weeding, and such. It’s perfect gardening weather. I want to do everything, at once.

The decision is made for me. The veterinarian is on the line. We will send the biopsy from Murphy’s knee surgery to the lab for analysis. Dr. Roche believes that Murphy may have some sort of auto-immune issue that is manifesting in the knees. And then the human doctor office calls began.

I trotted next door with my breakfast and left Dave at the dining table. Dad was feeling very well today. Good news! Mom was ready for water aerobics. Dave would take her to the community center and do his workout in the sparsely-equipped gym. Dad was on his way outside to his garden.

“What do you and Dad have to eat?” I asked Mom.

“Not much,” Mom answered.

“I’ll cook lunch,” I said. “We’ll have some tilapia.” See you later. I’ll be outside.

When I dipped into Mom and Dad’s freezer in their garage for the tilapia, I noticed that Dad had harvested the butternut squash. Out of about thirty five or six were green. I lifted one of those and took it back with me to my kitchen.

After I rescheduled a hair appointment, moved appointments with a urologist, pulmonologist, and primary care physician, and then scheduled new appointments with an ophthalmologist and dermatologist, it was time to cook. Actually, I was waiting on a confirmation call from Dr. Vito Rocco’s nurse. He’s the urologist. She, the nurse, called just as I was dusting the fish with a light coat of New Orleans Fish Fry.

There was more. My elder son called. He was at the peach orchard.

“Mom, did you get peaches from Pratt’s?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, and they were wonderful.”

“They’ve got two varieties today, the Rustin Reds and the Contenders. Isn’t that what they had when you came to the orchard? Now, those Contenders are the red ones, funny, because the Rustin Reds aren’t that red. Which one did you like best?”

“I think I like the Contenders the best.”

The talk turned to birthdays. Anjie (Jade’s wife) and I have August birthdays less than a week apart and we usually share a family celebration. I’ve reconciled with the monumental nature of my birthday this year. I’ll start Medicare August 1. Anjie will turn forty, so both of us have these big birthdays. What shall we do for the party? And when?

For lunch, it was tilapia with fresh tomato-caper sauce. Oh, yum. And leftovers from a hash brown casserole in the freezer. That turned out to be just okay, not that good. I baked the green squash with garlic and panko. Was it good? I liked it, but it wasn’t fabulous. Just not all that, although I did love the tilapia’s sauce.

We took it all to Mom and Dad’s apartment. They ate a few bites of each dish, Dad more than Mom, and both announced that they just could not eat any more. Except they did save room for a chocolate sundae each. Dave cleaned our kitchen and I headed outside. Joy, oh, joy!!!

It was the perfect gardening weather. I dumped all the weeds and came in the house at 7:00 P.M. I really wanted to go to the porch.

 

 

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