My writing energy is flagging. I sit at my desk, fingers poised over my keyboard, staring into the yard, waiting for a flash of inspiration. I’m almost done my (hopefully) final edit. The writing is much better and the plot jogs along well. I’m beginning to think I’ve caught fear of finishing. Maybe a few days of sewing will re-energize me.

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During the night, about once a week, the raccoons (they are so not cute) roll back our lawn and feast on critters. Grubs, no doubt, but with the ban on pesticides and insecticides that work/kill things, we’re at the mercy of super-expensive lawn care company treatments or Mother Nature.

Of course there are natural products using noxious but non-toxic substances such as garlic, horsetail, cayenne or stinging nettles diluted in water and spread about.

Uh, no. I have no intention of becoming a forager and boiler of potions. I’ve also read that tiger pee and wads of human hair are a deterrent. The human hair thing I could manage – there are enough barber shops around. But the tiger pee might be more difficult. Don’t think they sell that at Home Depot.

I came across something called Milky Spore Powder, which is host-specific to Japanese beetles. Yeah! I’ve tried nematodes but those lazy little buggers don’t do much of anything. According to the product website, “Milky Spore is safe for people, pets, wildlife, beneficial insects, and soil microorganisms. It does not affect streams, ponds, or groundwater. It’s approved and registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency, but I can’t find it in Canada. Yet.

Our apple tree branches are bending to the ground this year, simply loaded down with fruit. My next quest is to find someone with a cider press so we can get lots of juice. Two years ago, when we had a similar bounty, I burned out the motor on our home juicer.

I think I canned two dozen big bottles of golden clear juice, sweet and fresh and completely natural. The grandchildren love it. As an added bonus, it’s nice mulled with some cinnamon stick and honey and a splash of brandy.

Collecting the fruit will be a challenge. The yard animals have been feasting on the windfalls, scattering their half-eaten mess all around. Then come the hordes of hornets to enjoy the easy pickings. I’m more wary of them. With all my protective gear on, it looks more like I’m going to defuse a bomb than pick apples. It’s hot in the afternoons, so I sweat like a pig, which attracts more flying things. At times like these, I find less to like about the great outdoors.

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Hub climbed up on the roof yesterday to flush out the eavestroughs with the power washer. I hate that he still thinks he can scramble around thirty feet off the ground. Stubborn as he is, he dons a pair of old sneakers with no bloody treads instead of proper work boots with rubber soles. My heart almost stopped when he slipped a couple of times and I had to bite my tongue not to snap something rude. The grit from the shingles gets into everything, leaving a gritty black film that is almost impossible to wash away.

In the mornings, the thermometer register single digit temperatures. Time to get out the duvet. The leaves have turned a muddy half-dead shade that signals the end of summer. Squirrels are storing their nuts – and a few golf balls my grandson lobbed into the flower beds – in nooks and crannies of windows, the deck, even in plant pots. I’m still waiting for my tomatillo plants to set fruits. It’s been an odd summer, weather-wise.