It was a slow morning, overcast and quiet.
It was nearly 7 before the cats managed to coax me from bed.
The air outside was grey and still, no birds singing and calling from the trees.
Even the hummingbirds seemed less frantic in their swoops and swirls about the syrup feeder.
A look at the dull skies convinced me that it wasn't a day for hanging out laundry.
I put fresh sheets on the bed, greatly assisted by Edward the Cat, who several times rolled himself up like a sausage and had to be extracted before the bed could be spread up neat and smooth.
I could have done the laundry and used the electric dryer, but there was no particular urgency, so I'll wait and see if the sun shines forth before the weekend.
J. had errands to do, so we made a hasty breakfast of dry cereal with bananas.
I put a dollop of Greek yogurt on mine.
I have new boots--a gift from J.--so I hauled them on and strode grandly through the damp grass, carrying cat litter up to the dump at the far edge of the back meadow.
Pebbles the old horse poked her head out of her stable and trumpeted a greeting.
The boy cats escorted me back to the house and then out for an inspection of the lower garden.
[I am meant to be doing some much dreaded and necessary book keeping, but found myself inventing reasons to procrastinate before heading indoors to my stack of papers, invoices and checkbook registers!]
Nellie is a most companionable boy. He and his brother Bobby have an unflagging interest in the mole tunnels which undermine the lawn. They dig into them with great determination, coming up for air with dirt on their furry faces and paws.
Bobby crouches on the big rock, thinking himself hidden by the screen of the cleome.
From here he can observe me watering the container plants on the porch.
He can bounce out at me ['Aha!] as I trek toward the mailbox.
Trailing cats, I stop to admire the Michaelmas daisies.
I have resisted buying the vivid pink variety, Alma Potschke, but am coveting several I've seen pictured in softer pinks and lavenders.
Several of my seed grown achileas are making a brave fall showing after a ruthless pruning.
I fear I have lost the one called 'Paprika' and the 'Coronation Gold' is looking feeble.
Achilleas are sturdy plants, but they didn't enjoy the long spell of soggy weather in July and early August.
A clump of echinacea [coneflower] in a deep apricot color is holding its own, though not spreading as vigorously as I hoped.
The common rose-colored coneflowers are spent now and their seed heads are stiff and bristly.
The cosmos have been a joy and a delight this year in spite of being blown about, rained upon, crashed into by the sunflowers that went down in the fierce storms of July.
I had a large quantity of saved seed which I sowed quite thickly.
The cosmos are tumbled and tangled but it hasn't hindered their exuberant bloom.
About a week ago I discovered one stem of white flowers among the profusion of pink.
I brought out a length of garden twine and fastened it around that stalk so that I could collect and save that seed separately.
Today, though I spent perhaps 15 minutes searching [with Nellie pouncing helpfully through the undergrowth]
I couldn't find the string marked stem!
Such things frustrate me--I know I'll be back out there peering through the green tangle, gently lifting the stems aside, hoping to find that seed head.
Another seed started achillea.
There are several cultivars of veronica in this end of the strip.
Somehow this froth of blue flowers [which looks like an ageratum] isn't something I recall planting.
Any plant which survived the rainy summer is welcome--if it behaves.
The zinnias, usually staunchly brilliant until frost, have not been at their best.
The leaves have been spotted with mildew and the blooms have quickly gone shabby after opening.
From across the dooryard they are still colorful, but don't bear closer inspection.
I have been ripping out morning glory vines each summer.
They rampaged freely for so many seasons previously that I expect we will never be without them.
This one has clambered up one of the leaning sunflower stalks.
One clump of marigolds glowing bravely from a tangle of weeds, zinnias, and morning glories.
Nellie has trudged patiently behind me, stopping to bat at the odd butterfly or bee.
I am often dismayed when I see the damage [digging!] wrought by the boy cats who have dooryard privileges. I will continue to scold them, keep on barricading my seedlings with a surround of twigs, placing weighty stones in the potted plants on the porch to deter inquisitive paws.
All is forgiven for the pleasure of catly companionship in the garden!