Time with Tessa and the Last of the Sweet Peas

Our Tiny Tessa is relaxing and getting used to her new surroundings. She’s sleeping on top of things, rather than hiding under the bed. She met Lindy (who hissed once and left the room) and she met Mouse (who did the same). We’re giving the resident cats lots of TLC, letting them know they’ve not lost their standing.  I haven’t lived with a kitten for nearly thirty years. I’d forgotten how tiny they are and how energetic and curious. She’s a delight.

Tessa on Bob the Cat pillow

Tessa meets Bob the Cat…sort of

My friend Barbara Oertli painted this picture of her ginger cat, Bob, eyeing a squirrel on her deck. Since I’m out of wall space, I ordered a print on a pillow through Fine Prints America.

It took several attempts to get this shot. She’s always in motion. She nearly threw herself off the edge of the bed yesterday, jumping into the air and then backward. She’s keeping us happy and alert.

Outdoors, my beloved sweet pea garden has come to an end for the season. The self-seeded, rain-enhanced jungle, as one of my neighbors called it started folding up shop at the end of May. Sweet peas don’t like the heat so after the temperatures creep, they’re done. Interestingly, I have one more small plant in the back garden, blooming in a raised bed. It’s the only one I actually planted (versus self-seeded), which makes me wonder if staggered planting might extend the crop. I’ll see how much longer this one lasts and I’ll let you know.

It’s taken many hours pulling the dead vines from the ground, while at the same time collecting some of the seed pods. I also tried to save the cornflowers awhile longer, as the flowers are still blooming and attracting the bees. The birds love their seeds as well, so though it looks a little sad and droopy, it continues to provide for the birds and the bees.  Mike helped me tie the plants together to keep them from flopping over. Mouse sat with me while I pulled weeds along the walk way, then went under the cornflowers for a nap. Oh-oh.

I’m working on keeping him indoors when I can or supervising his time in the garden so that the birds have a fighting chance. I also experimented by putting a few of the cut flowers across the limb of a tree. The birds continue to come for the seeds, and surprisingly, the bees are taking nectar as well. There is always something to learn in the garden.

Check out the nectar pouch on that bee

Today was trash/recycle day. I waved at the crew as they took away the piles of spent sweet peas along with some trimmed branches and weeds. The city converts it into compost while at the same time diverting it from landfill.

There is so much happening in the garden all at once. Pumpkins, corn and sad little tomatoes are the main summer crops. I planted a pair of basil plants, too. Last year I planted them at the same time, but the basil bolted before the tomatoes were ready. This year I waited, only to be vastly disappointed in the tomato plants. I bought a six-pack of them before leaving for my trip in early April.  Two months later and they’ve barely grown.  This far into the season, I may go back and find larger plants that are further along so I can hedge my bets.

New clients, the end of the boy’s school years, a tiny kitten and home projects are keeping me a bit busier than I would like, but I’m still managing time in the garden every day.

Here in the northern hemisphere the summer solstice is just two weeks away.  I can almost taste that first red, juicy, vine-ripened tomato.

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38 thoughts on “Time with Tessa and the Last of the Sweet Peas

  1. I have been craving my sweetpeas painfully. I haven’t grown them for five years now because we always leave on a trip in early spring. I am missing them terribly and am growing them next year irregardless of leaving because at least I’ll have a bit of them when I return. I actually looked to see if I could buy the flowers, I miss them so, but you really can’t.

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  2. Kittens are exhausting aren’t they – and also time consuming as you can watch them for hours .Cats do take a bit of time to get used to each other but think yourself lucky you haven’t got three dogs to throw into the equation too – that’s always fun :/
    My wild sweet peas are going berserk now on the hillside – I’ll try to remember to take my phone with me on the dog walk this morning and put a photo on my blog to show you.
    With all the lushness around at the moment, I’m surprised the birds are still going crazy for the sunflower seeds on the bird table but we at still getting lots of finches, different branches of the tit family and the odd nuthatch. As a result of the same sort of activity last year we have some very sturdy looking sunflowers growing in the front garden underneath the balcony where we have the bird table.

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    • Oh, wild sweet peas! I’m behind on my reading so perhaps you’ve already shared them in a post. I can’t imagine three dogs in the mix. You are a brave, brave woman. Kittens are exhausting and wonderful and full of surprises. Just this hour, Tessa threatened to bring down my dress mannequin which had been of no interest to her before this evening. But she’s so darn cute. I love that the birds planted some sunflowers for you. I leave it up to the squirrels to plant my pumpkins. The location isn’t always ideal, but some how the self-seeded variety are often the hardiest.

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  3. What a delightful post! Cats, sweet peas and corn flowers ~ sigh. Kittens are fun, but they do keep you alert. I remember one of the kittens loved to climb up the curtains. That was a worry. 🙂

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  4. You had such a lovely run with your surprise sweet peas Alys, though it’s a bit sad they are finished already. I really enjoyed them the year I grew them in the tiny courtyard and mine were nothing like your bumper crop! And you were able to make so many other people happy by sharing them around too which I think is just so special. Here’s to the right amount of rain for the right amount of time next spring (no flooding required thank you!)

    Oh, I do remember what a kitten is like – Orlando was so funny and so terrifying all at once. I also vividly recall how exhausted I was when Siddy first arrived with his non-stop busyness and nothing being safe or off-limits in his opinion. How quickly they settle down! Today I took a photo of him asleep in his aunty Dan’s arms absolutely exhausted after his morning walk – in fairness he had a very busy day yesterday 🙂

    I think Lindy and Mouse giving a hiss and walking away is really quite welcoming in the cat world. It’s a kind of greeting – “I see you, I wish you not to get in my way…” As long as Tessa obeys, all will be well. 🙂

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    • Pauline, it’s all true: they brought me and others a lot of joy. I’m still hearing from neighbors stopping by on dog walks or to visit the library. They gave a lot in their short garden tenure. I hope you’ll grow them again next year now that you have a whole new wall and planting area. Are you thinking about it?

      I’ve fallen terribly behind with my replies, but I do remember seeing the sweet post of D with Siddy in her arms. I also remember vividly how you, like us, were not in the “market” for a young pup (in our case kitten) yet once they’ve chosen you, it’s all a done deal. I’ll be O was adorable as a kitten. I suppose they all are. You’re comment about Lindy and Mouse being “quiet welcoming in the cat world” made me giggle. They’re all managing really well. xo

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  5. How fun Tessa is. I love the photos of Mouse. Did you know that June 17 is National Garbage Man da? You can set out some cold water to thank your very kind garbage men for hauling lovely compost away. I learn so much from you. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend. Hope you get some great tomatoes soon.

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    • Hi Amy. I did not know about National Garbage Man day! There is always something new to learn. Ironically the 17th is a Saturday this year. You would think they would schedule that for a work day, eh? As for the tomatoes, a few small orange ones have appeared. And I bought another plant!

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  6. Your garbage collection looks good – we have to spread our green rubbish between the compost heap and fortnightly bin collections! Still, we are fortunate to have the space for a big compost heap. Glad you could salvage a few cornflowers. Will you be able to plant anything else out in the front garden now? Hope your tomatoes get a move on. I am only growing herbs and salad leaves this year.

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    • Cathy, I’m glad you have the space for large composting. I make do with a small corner of the garden and it’s worked well for all the kitchen scraps and a lot of the dry fall leaves. It’s nice, though, to have this service when I have huge piles of green debris. I planted a few pumpkin seedlings in front and about half of them are doing ok. This excessive heat isn’t good for anything I’m afraid. We bought some new native plants to fill in some of the gaps, and now we wait for them to establish. Next year I think I’ll thin the sweet peas to a smaller area, depending on how the natives do over the next year. What’s happening in your garden?

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      • Things are wilting and shrivelling in my garden right now! If it cools down soon I will chop back some of the taller plants in the hope that they will regenerate and produce more flowers later in the year. I am too mean with the watering… 😉

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  7. My sister has two kittens the age of Tessa and they are running her ragged! But I get fun, adorable photos and videos almost every day! Our most recent kitten was Gigi, two years ago, and it had been a long time since we had had one so small–I, too, had forgotten just how much fun it was! Mouse and Lindy will come around, I’m sure–you folks have plenty of love for 3 cats!

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    • Kerry, you are right about that: there is plenty of love to go around. My son’s friends are all asking to stop by to meet her and my sister comes every weekend for a bit of lap time too. Tessa is getting the star treatment. We love her to pieces, but boy is she a non-stop terror. I found her on my desk licking my lunch last week, and when I came back from answering the door on Sunday she was finishing up my waffle on the table. She inserts herself under the chin of Mouse and Lindy when they start eating, a practice we are strongly discouraging. “But why” she seems to puzzle, doesn’t everything belong to her? I’m glad your sister has two kittens to keep each other entertained. Oh and I love the name Gigi. How sweet.

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  8. My oh my, look at all that love going on! Mouse will find anyway to spend time watch you, even if it’s through his eyelids at times. I sure hope they get used to Tessa soon and show her some love! Maybe she gives off a scent of “leave me alone” and they hiss at that. I haven’t had a kitten since Ginger, our orange and white cat and that was 1985 I think…holy, I really really had to think about that! The years are adding up, LOL.
    It’s nice to be busy when it’s with things you love or enjoy. I always think, ” I’ll have a do-nothing day tomorrow “, but never do. I love having projects on the go too. We’ll all be horizontal soon enough ! LOL Until then, laugh, love, have fun and rescue kittens 😀 xo K ps, loved all the photo’s ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • We are so much alike. I often think (or long for) a do nothing day, but I’m quickly bored. I did indulge in a three hour, sit on the couch and finish a book, session last week, after working for days on end. It was a nice break, not to mention a fun and suspenseful book. Lindy and Mouse are really coming along. They’re all hanging out together in the same room and only issue warnings when Tessa pounces on tails, sadly a favorite pastime of hers. She’s so darn cute. I think she was trying to nurse from Lindy today which is a bit sad, but of course Lindy has no idea what that is about. xo

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  9. How wonderful to hear that Tessa continues to settle in! I hope that Lindy and Mouse will adapt with a little bit of time as well — even from the other side of the country it’s evident you have plenty of love to go around. 🙂 And what a marvelous service, this business of city crews coming by to haul away the poor Sweet Pea carcasses. Here they come by only in the fall, to cart off the leaves … otherwise we’re left to our own disposal devices, which for my husband means some pretty spectacular bonfires. Well. Beautiful photos of your garden, as always. You continue to bring out the inner bee in me! 😀

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    • I think you need to make that into a bumper sticker: Be the inner bee or Life brings out the inner bee in me. You’re adorable! I didn’t know communities still allowed leaf-burning. I’m fascinated. That’s what I remember as a child in Canada. Sweet pea carcasses. Oh my goodness that made me laugh. Good thing I save a gob of seeds for sharing (let me know if I can send some your way) And I’m sure the whole thing will self seed again next year, assuming of course that our recent temperatures haven’t cooked the seeds. San Jose really has some wonderful programs in place for diverting trash. We have curbside, mixed material recycling, the compost program and a bulky item pick up (now free) twice a year. The metal recyclers come by the day before trash day and collect broken water heaters, old barbecues and anything else with usable scrap metal. I love that the city makes such an effort. xo

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      • I’m so glad my reference to pea carcasses brought a smile! Also very glad your city is so wonderful about hauling detritus away, Alys. Esteban and I are very fortunate that way, also — it seems the city will haul off just about anything as long as it’s not labeled “asbestos,” ha ha. And thank you for your very kind offer to send me pea pod seeds, but I must sadly take a pass because I have no place to put them. I’ll let you know if I succeed in subduing one of Esteban’s beloved invasive species, though. Big grin. xo

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  10. Sweet peas bloom all summer here–and it gets quite hot. I think it may be moisture?? Or it may be that they come up at different times in my gardens. I like that little Tessa is styling in and you are having good time in your garden! And have new clients! And busy children…

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    • Lisa, I’m sure you’re right. I saw some wild sweet peas growing today in Felton, about an hour away, but it’s a beach community and they were growing near a waterfall in the shade. You also have a lot of humidity that we don’t have (no complaints on that front!). I’ve just visited your garden post. Everything looks terrific.

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  11. What a shame about the Sweetpeas they are such beautiful flowers that are a mark of summer – I don’t think there is any danger of the heat in England spoiling the Sweetpeas – it is very mixed weather here. Tessa is so cute reminds me of a kitten we had – a long time ago.

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    • I’m glad Tessa reminds you of a once-loved cat. How sweet. I think of sweet peas as the consummate English garden staple. You get cool, damp weather with very few extremes. It’s a wonder I can grow them here at all. I’m so happy to get them, even for a limited time.

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  12. I’m not sure what’s with WP lately but I’m getting no notifications of your blog or Pauline’s. Maybe more that I’m not aware of yet. Thank goodness I saw this on FB! My son is fascinated and impressed by your kitten and what you went through to get her out of the car. I had to send photos to his ex who is a cat lover too. They have a Gracie that entertains them. I haven’t planted sweet peas in years. I miss them too. The rain is finally leaving here and will warm next week. I have 3 flowers on the tomato plants my sister brought. Cabbage didn’t survive. That you garden every day is amazing. That’s a lot on your plate at once. Tessa is just too cute for words and I imagine you are using some colorful words these days with all she gets into. 😉 She looks so spunky in her video. She’s obviously very intelligent with all the reading matter at her paw tips. Squishy hugs all around. Mouse too.

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    • Marlene, you’re the second person to mention that you’re aren’t getting blog updates. How strange. Sometimes logging out and logging back in can help (why…who knows) or it could simply be a glitch. I’m glad we are also connected on Facebook. I get most of my notifications now via BlogLovin. It’s been so much more convenient. I just log on and find all the posts I’m subscribed to and can also see any I’ve missed. It eliminated all those emails, too. Thank you for spreading the Tessa love. They have a Gracie! What a sweet name. Marlene, I’ve saved lots of sweet pea seeds. May I send you some for fall planting? Hugs to you xo

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      • I’ll have to post a photo of their Gracie. She has attached herself to TS. A quick note to WP and they took care of it right away, I switched search engines to see if that made a difference. Every update changes things and sometimes slows them down. 😦 All is well again. Stay cool this weekend, It’s going to be our warmest so far. 😦 Makes me appreciate the cool. even more.

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        • I would love to see a photo of Gracie. How sweet, too, that she’s attached herself to your son. They know who likes them, that is for sure. Good luck with your heat, Marlene. It’s 100 right now. We’re supposed to peak at 101 in about an hour. Then, a cooling trend.

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  13. You have been as busy as the bees on your lovely cornflowers, Alys! I’m so glad that you are spending some time in the garden each day. It really is a bit of heaven among the blossoms, bees, birds, and kitties. We are having a very hot week here in the Midwest. So, I’ve been out weeding early in the morning and follow the shade as I work. Hoping for a gentle rain soon to make the garden… and the gardener, happy! Sending hugs, dear Alys! ♡

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    • Dawn, I think we “caught” your heat wave. Were you in the triple digits as well? My condolences. I hope you got some rain. It’s a rare commodity here in the summer. We get the majority of our rain between October and May, with next to nothing all summer. It’s what contributes to our wildfire season. No matter how wet the winter, the summer is bone dry. Happy gardening.

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