When she sticks her tongue out like this I just melt into a foamy puddle of butter.
For the winter squash, eggplants, and cucumbers (that Andy wants to pickle), my neighbor (who is a garden wizard) told me to build little paper (I used parchment paper) bubbles to protect them for a few weeks. We took some little tubing (that we usually use for the water dispenser in our refrigerator door) and made two little hoops on either side of each plant, then crossed two pieces of parchment paper perpendicularly over the hoops, and weighed down the edges of each piece of paper with some stones. One of the eggplants is busting out, so I (as my neighbor told me to do) cut Xs in the top of the papers, so the leaves could come out. I think the plant will be a little bit colder with that opening now; one is still completely covered, so we'll see. Contest!
My cabbages definitely have four new leaves now, and my beets each have two new leaves. All of the lettuce is really sprouting; still no sign of germination for the carrot seeds or the spinach (or hyacinth beans). My mother came over yesterday to help me take out all of the candytuft on the front wall and it's all going to good homes. It was just too big for that precious little wall. A bunch of big rocks came out of the parkway, so they're going in the bed on top of the wall now (where the candytuft was) and some sedums and succulents will make a nice little rock garden out there. Most of new sedums and succulents will come from the overplanted rock garden on the side of the driveway which is also busting out at the seams (already!).
Worried about all the naughty neighborhood cats getting into my raised beds, I thought about mulching with hazelnut shells but haven't yet. Naturally, the only cat I've seen go in there is our own eighteen-year-old dowager queen, who, though she has barely left her heated kitty bowl in five months, had no problem trotting outside and hopping right up into the first bed no problem, then looking at me like, Oh, perfect, thank you for building me my own enormous litter box — that was pretty nice of you. I went racing down the stairs toward her faster than she's seen me move in about fifteen years, causing her to do a goggle-eyed double-take when she saw me coming, like a cartoon cat, and jump out faster than I've seen her move in about four years. The whole thing just went so much differently than how she thought it was going to go, poor thing. She gave me a very dirty look, and then I explained that the hazelnut-shell option is still very much on the table. She's the type of half-human cat who understands English and likes to get good grades, but we'll see.
The lilacs are blooming; we have three bushes, and our neighbors over the back fence have one huge one. They smell like home.