It is almost the end of June already. The black raspberries that have been a disappointment for the past two years had a good crop this year. I was seriously thinking of digging them out. They are just past peak now and the Heritage red raspberries are starting to ripen, so looks like there will be fresh fruit for a while yet. I highly recommend growing raspberries for urban gardeners. They are shade tolerant and with picking off some Japanese beetles (drowned them in soapy water) last year were pretty much pest free. The thorns can be an issue, use leather gloves to prune and trim the canes, but they sure do help with finger blight and keep casual visitors from trampling them.
The nasturtiums out front that seeded themselves opened flowers on the day of the summer solstice. The orange-red blossoms add a lot of color.
The two hills of potatoes from spuds from last year that started to sprout are growing well. Was able to get a couple buckets of top soil when the crew tore out the old sidewalk and used it to hill up around the stalks.
I planted grape, Roma, and Brandywine tomatoes in the side yard flower beds plus Hungarian hot banana and bell pepper plants. The oak leaf lettuce that seeded itself is about to bolt, but may get a couple more pickings out if it. Will let several plants go to seed as this seemed to work well this spring.
Still fighting the slugs, not sure what the attraction was but they managed to reduce a couple healthy marigolds to dry twigs. This year I went to the neighborhood bar and bought a 40 oz. bottle of beer instead of visiting a beer distributer where you have to buy it by the case. I have filled the slug traps several times, but with the recent rains, need to invest in a second bottle.
The snapdragons I held over winter under grow lights are now blooming. Will try that again next year. The bachelor buttons that seeded themselves are going strong now. The columbines are almost done. The hosta buds are just starting to show color. The viola are doing well, despite something chewing at a couple of them. They are a combination of ones I bought in April and ones that came back from last year’s seed. I got a new patch of lobelia going as well. Hoping for the usual mix of flowers and veggies.
This seems to be a bad arthritis year so far. Bode probably already had arthritis when he came to live with me, but he was limping when he had his annual checkup four months ago, and was prescribed a NSAID tablet. His limp on the right front leg worsened even with medication. He went from our usual 30 minutes to an hour walkies twice a day to having difficulty getting around the block. I took him back to see the vet last week. X-rays confirmed he has three arthritic joints in his back: two adjacent vertebrae in the lower thoracic region and one in the lumbar region, just above his tail. In addition, there are some serious bone spurs in his right elbow.
The most obvious change is that he has lost his sheepdog-type gait, back almost straight and motionless and the legs running like wheels. In this video from a year ago he appears a bit stiff but is moving well.
He is on a three week course of prednisone and antibiotics to see if he can get some relief from the inflammation.
At the beginning of June my brother traveled from his home in Arizona to stay with the folks for 10 days to help them re-arrange their house. They got a lot of the heavy stuff in the house and the yard done. Now the parents are going through things and the pace is slower but there is still progress. They were able to give away several pieces of furniture, including an easy chair to me. It will be a good place for mother to sit when they visit.
Stimulus – STOP!
I recently received a $250 economic stimulus check as a Social Security recipient. I have to say that it has certainly worked well, have spent it several times over:
- Added DSL broadband service and call waiting/caller ID, still working on getting the billing straight.
- Washing machine stopped spinning, bought a spin dryer to remove water from the clothes so that they dry in a reasonable amount of time.
- Replaced the front brake pads and rotors on the car to pass inspection
- Paid for 6 more months of car insurance
- Made an extra vet visit for Bode’s arthritis
There is a brand new side walk out front now. When I talked to the crew who were working two doors down this morning, they said that they hoped to finish our block today. It is nice to be able to park right in front of the house again to unload the car. This started over a year ago in April when leaks were detected in the gas lines along 5th Avenue. Replacing the sidewalks was needed because after spot repairs failed, they had to replace the entire stretch of pipe and cut the sidewalks to lay it.