In its way, the summer of 2016 rivaled the winter of 2015. A plague fell upon all our houses in this part of the northeast. (If there had been ten, I would have referenced Moses, but there were only eight, so Romeo and Juliet will have to do.)
- Heat: Relentless. Dessicating. Damaging. Ennervating. It was the first summer ever, that I left the AC on 24/7. I had a stiff drink prior to opening the first electric bill (not really), and found that keeping it on was cheaper than on/off/on/off.
- Drought: Relentless. Dessicating. Soul-killing. The effect on the landscape was amplified by the heat waves. Hours of my life, spent resuscitating dying shrubs and perennials. My gardening jones may have run its course.
- Voles: What the drought didn't kill, the voles did. Plants disappeared overnight. One looked like it was wilting from the drought. I watered it, and the next day, it looked worse. I reached over to investigate, and the whole plant came out of the dirt into my fist. The roots had been vole-dinner. One evening when I was watering shrubs, one of the little shits poked his head out of a tunnel. I had only hose in hand, otherwise I would have executed a whack-a-vole manuever. My gardening jones may have run its course.
- Deer: There were three living in the cul-de-sac all summer, a doe and two fawns. Definitely cute, and remarkably destructive. All the front perennials were lunch. All.
- Water ban: See #2. The coup de grace for the grass, and many other plants.
- Rabbits: What the voles didn't get (they work underground) and the deer didn't eat, the rabbits finished off. You can tell who eats what by the type of damage they leave on the stems.
- Chipmunks: The tomatoes in the deck plantings became tomato confetti while still green. They never had a ghost of a chance. The chippers left the skin, and chewed out the flesh.
- Squirrels: They ate the pomegranate blossoms. They ate what the chipmunks didn't. They occasionally managed a successful raid on the squirrel-resistant feeder.
It tears the soul out of my gardening body.
I had to bring the pumpkins into the house. They really are more Thanksgiving decor than Halloween ornaments. Nothing would have been left by November 24th if I had not taken action. Instead, I put out the ones we carved for the holiday. And this is the fate of pumpkins.