Yard Work and the Cactus that Predicts the Weather

Kathryn’s bunny rabbit cactus can predict the weather. Beautiful sunny morning. Set the cactus out in the sun. Immediately cloud cover forms. Leave it out long enough and the rain is sure to follow. Take it back under cover of the porch and not a drop of rain will fall.

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Bunny rabbit cactus
I’ll take advantage of this now overcast midday to get a little more yard work done. Still working on pruning the tall bushes along the back of our house. Tooling right along for about half an hour with the help of the animals — Holly, too, this time.

Sunshine comes blazing out. A fat lady, a dog, and a pack of cats make a mad dash to the air conditioning. Whose bright idea was it to work outside in the middle of the day anyway?!

This morning, before the heat set in, the cats had a visitor. One of our smaller backyard turtles came by to say, “Hello!” Hermione had another encounter with a wasp. We thought she was stung by the way she flicked her tongue around. But there’s been no swelling anywhere or favoring a paw. Maybe she remembered her previous experience in the nick of time.

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Left: Harry – “Mom… somebody’s at the door.”  Center: Our visitor.  Right: Hermione

Those nasty wasps hover in the grass, waiting for the opportunity to come closer. They are the only living things around here that seem to enjoy the heat. Well, except for the bunny rabbit cactus. It’s not very big and would appear to be a bit top-heavy because of the way its lobes grow upward. If heavy thunderstorms roll through, we move it onto the back porch to keep it from being beaten to death in its little terra cotta pot.

The heat of midday does indeed give way to large cold drops of rain. Guess I left that cactus out too long.  Time to go rescue it and the pumpkin seedlings from the downpour. At this point they’re really just small pots of dirt in a Rubbermaid container. No guarantee that any will actually poke their little green heads up out of the soil. This is all one big experiment. Sort of like my cooking.20160723_154053

The rain comes down while the sun is shining. Granny used to say that meant the devil’s wife was beating him on the head with a frying pan. I spent many hours as a child trying to figure that one out.

The cats seek the shelter of the house. They are allergic to downpours. Harry is in trouble almost immediately. She didn’t want to eat the last of the kibble out of the old cat food bag. A whole six days old. I wouldn’t open the new bag for her but had the gall to serve the last of the old kibble on saucers. So Harry took care of that little problem herself. She climbed up on the table and in two bites gnawed a big ol’ hole in the side of the new bag.

I took the bag away, but Harry came back to work on that hole some more. A soaking with the spray bottle followed. One indignant cat groomed herself to get the excess water off her coat. Dirty looks were exchanged by both parties. Harry concedes defeat… for now.

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Harry: I will not look Mom in the eye.

Everybody had their after-dinner naps. I went outside for round two with the bushes — hydrangeas, azaleas, and blackberry vines. They need to be trained on a trellis across the back of the house. Sam thinks I’m nuts. I have been forbidden from fertilizing or in any way encouraging the “sticker bushes.”

I accidentally uprooted a gladiolus. Several come up every year along the back corner of the house. Plantings from the previous owners in days gone by. It is sitting in a shallow bucket with its roots in water until I figure out what to do with it.

When I couldn’t trim one more branch, or wrestle with one more blackberry vine, I spent a little bit of time on the back porch with Dobby. We watched twilight settle in. She is waiting for the bugs and geckos to come out and play. I am hoping I have the energy to add a little more to that pile of hydrangea clippings tomorrow.

© 2015-2016 Our Lives in Stories

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