Dancing on the Lawn of What’s Left of Summer


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That title is not my own.

It’s a line – I think from a poem – by a writer whose name I should know but don’t.

I think I have an idea where I could find that information, but I don’t dare go looking for it.

If one more single thing distracts me from the task at hand, I may as well throw in the towel.

Trust me…it’s not my line.

I came home from my short day of work today with the very best of intentions.  With the next three days to get caught up on everything, I was determined to give it a good go.

I brought a wall clock home from the hardware store, to fill the blank space on the kitchen wall where a clock used to be, and that I look at a dozen times every day, expecting to still see a clock there. It wasn’t as nice as the one I’d had or the one I wanted as a replacement, but it would serve the purpose.

It turns out, it takes almost an act of Congress to get through the packaging on that ten dollar clock!

First the hard plastic, impenetrable clam shell…and where did I put the scissors? Then two Phillips-head screws had to be removed to detach the clock from the display box.

I spent a half-hour looking for a Phillips head screwdriver before digging my electric drill out of the closet – which needed to be charged before it would work – and finally used a table knife to loosen the screws and release my new clock.

By that time, neither I nor the dogs wanted to be in the house any longer, so we headed down the road.

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We’ve had several days of wind and rain, with an autumn-like chill in the air…but when did the season change?

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By the time we got home, I was sure we were facing frost.


I grabbed a bucket, and picked whatever blackberries were ready for picking. I gathered every green bean,  pepper and summer squash that was out there. I picked all the red tomatoes, then all the nearly-red tomatoes, then any that – if I get terribly lucky – just might ripen on a window sill.

With the day’s vegetable harvest, I started a pasta sauce.

I also began writing the first of four reports I have to complete over the next couple days.

Because I’m crazy, I also started rearranging the living room furniture.

And a few other incidentals.

So, with the dogs attentive to all the goings-on, coffee brewing, laundry in the washing machine, compost to the bin, sauce simmering, paperwork in progress and – no kidding – the sofa halfway into the dining room, I happened to look outside and notice the marigolds.

Four nice marigold plants, blooming exactly where I’d planted them, on the corners of the beds near the beans, pumpkins and tomatoes. There they stood, ready to repel whatever pests their scent is supposed to repel, or suppress whatever blight in the soil they are supposed to suppress.


Not knowing that – if we get frost tonight – this is the last day of their lives.

I grabbed the scissors from where I’d used them to wrestle the clock’s packaging into submission, and headed out the door.

Sensing excitement, the big dog came, too.

Detecting a hint of Italian sausage in my mostly vegetable sauce, the little dog opted to stay in and guard the stove.

I cut every bloom.

I snipped all the buds. They may open, yet, inside.

A bit past your prime? Don’t worry! Come hang out with the young ones!

A little raggedy or crooked? No problem! Come and join the party; there are no rejects here!

We’re having end-of-the-summer spaghetti and sauce, and my marigold friends are the stars of the show!

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13 responses »

  1. What a shame that frosts are about or are already hitting Beaver Island. I am always angry when the first freeze destroys the plants that are blooming in all their glory. Looked like sedum and Russian Sage or Mexican Bush Sage blooming by the walk. Really pretty.

    Where do you get all your stamina from to be able to move furniture around?

    • Yes, that first hard frost is always a hard one! It’s sad to see the garden come to an end…and yet, in another way, it’s a bit of a relief: not adding to my chores for daily watering and weeding, not haunting me with vegetables that need to be picked or dug or cut, then processed for winter, not gone because of my neglect…just, you know, and “act of god!”

    • Hi Shelley! It was a good spaghetti dinner, with leftovers for today, plus enough sauce for another meal this week, and one quart for the freezer! Winter is always too long, and summer too short…I wonder what that says about us? Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

    • Maybe…I have done that with begonias before, but marigolds like more sun. I have quite a few houseplants already, and few window spots for them…but wouldn’t it be lovely, all those golden blooms! Thanks for reading, Bill, and for your comments!

  2. Did you get a garden-killing frost already, or was it just the possibility of one? We keep being threatened, but so far the frost hasn’t reached the garden. Last night we headed out after 8 p.m. and covered the darn tomatoes yet again. We were sure it would freeze because it was already 42. By morning it was still 42. Luckily this week looks like it might feel like Indian Summer. Same down your way?

    • We did not…though I was sure we would last night, with that distinctive smell of serious *cold* in the air. Some of my squash and pumpkin vines seem to ave been touched by frost, but certainly not the garden-killing frost. Proof: there are still mosquitoes out there! Thanks for reading, Kathy, and for your comments!

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