Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the area around Port Swiller Manor has been under the dreaded “orange” air-quality alert the last few days – highs in the 90’s, heavy humidity, Lady Summah giving of her early best (or worst, depending on how you look at it).

♦   Yesterday afternoon, caught up in the ebullience of having got my hair cut and my oil changed (finally), I decided to get a hop on the weekend’s chores by going out and mowing the yard.  Yeah, maybe not such a good idea.  By the time I was done, my muscles were cramping up and I was feeling woozy.  When I woke up this morning, I at first had the odd idea that there was a small bale of hay stuck in my throat.  Evidently, I am not 30 anymore.

♦   We put up a couple of fuchsias in hanging baskets on the porch this year, just by way of variety.  For those of you who have not dealt with them before, I’m here to tell you that they take a whoooole lot of watering.  I’m not so sure I’d bother with them again.

♦    Saw a hummingbird zipping about last evening, so this afternoon I put up a feeder to see if I could get the little blighter to stick around.  Mucking about for something by which to hang it, I came across some chain from an old flower basket that must have been sitting in the back of its cabinet for a good ten years or so.  This reaffirms one of ol’ Robbo’s rules:  Never, ever throw anything away unless you absolutely have to.

♦  We have a lot of goldfinch around here and I have always set out a second feeder full of Wagner’s nyjer seed for them.  At peak times, it’s not at all uncommon to see ten or a dozen goldfinch flitting about the feeder.  However, a few weeks ago I had to substitute a generic thistle seed.  The result was that the birds promptly vanished.  After letting the substitute thistle sit around for a while, I recently went back to the Wagner’s.  The birds were back in within a day or two.  I guess they really like the stuff.

♦  And last, I finally got around to reseeding a bare patch of about 450 square feet in the back yard.  I dutifully spread potting soil, seed and fertilizer and covered it all up with straw (which, by the way, you can actually order from the devil’s website).  Of course, within 48 hours we had a torrential downpour, which carved large channels through the newly-seeded patch (which sits on a gentle slope).  The new grass is actually beginning to spring up (I seeded it a week ago), but the area is taking on the look of an archipelago.  I suppose the only thing to do is to let the surviving patches establish themselves, while having another go at the bare spots as they are defined.  Or just go with sod and be done with it.