Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

I trust that most all of you are partaking of the same batch of summah heat that has descended on Port Swiller Manor? Mid-90’s here today and closer to triple digits tomorrow and Monday.  Fortunately, at least so far, it’s still pretty dry, and therefore considerably more tolerable than the sauna into which Ma Nature is wont at times to turn this place.

Still, you can imagine Ol’ Robbo was up  mighty early this morning in order to get his yardwork done before it got too nasty out.   Nonetheless, today was a Full Monty (meaning I cut, trimmed, weeded, and pruned everything from the street to the little glade out behind the back gate) and took me about three hours, so I was plenty sweaty by the time I was done.  (My shirt was also spattered with blood because I ripped a finger on some blackberry thorns in my impatience to untangle a stalk from the mower. They really do try to reach out and snag you, ya’ know.)

But no mind.  Done with my chores, showered, changed, and with a tall glass of iced coffee within reach and the shank of the afternoon to idle away, I feel I’m sitting in the catbird seat.  (Speaking of which birds, as it happens there’s one even now in the tree next to the porch mewling away.)

The garden continues to maintain a reasonably civilized appearance. ( I discovered the damned wild grape trying to tangle itself in among the forsythia and hydrangea, so I detangled it, gathered all the vine together that I could, and poisoned the hell out of it.  This is the only way I know to effectively deal with the stuff, as you can never, ever get all its roots out no matter how much you dig.)  Meanwhile, the first of the butterfly bushes are starting to flower.  I haven’t seen any actual butterflies yet, but I expect they’ll be along soon.  I’m especially looking forward to the tiger swallowtails.

One thing I have seen a lot of this year is Madame Hummingbird.  (I’m sure it’s the same hen who has visited the last three or four years now.)  For some reason, she’s hitting the feeder an awful lot more this year – I’ve already had to refill it a couple times.  Could this mean we might soon hear the buzz of baby hummer wings?  I hope so.

Coming indoors after I was done, I glanced at the pile of mail sitting on the kitchen counter.  Among the letters was the Port Swiller Manor half-yearly county property tax bill, the first one we’ve had to pay out of pocket since closing out the mortgage last fall.  Wheeeee!!! Among the assessments I noticed a charge for stormwater.  Hey, where does Ol’ Robbo get a piece of that action?  In fact, we’ve got our landscaper coming out this week to put in a new path and channel to deal with the flooding down one side of the side of the house (and the concurrent erosion) we get every time it downpours.  Further, I’ve spent a lot of dash over the years fighting the fact that every time water gets into the garage, it winds up burbling out across the floor of Robbo’s study down in the basement.  All of this because Port Swiller Manor sits downhill from the street and the county’s feeble (that is to say, nonexistent) efforts at drainage mean that a substantial amount of water comes pouring down the driveway each time it rains. (Yes, I have drains, but with the water usually comes a substantial collection of leaves as well, which can quickly block them up, especially when the rain is heavy.  That’s when it overflows across the front yard and goes spilling down the side.)

But as I say, no mind.  Instead, time for moar iced coffee.