ADVERTISEMENT

This has been a summer of sitting – and I don’t mean on the porch or patio. On several occasions, we have volunteered to watch over plant and animal life when friends were vacationing and we, well, were not.

This summer I have cared for container plants. Fussed over flowers. Wrestled with other people’s garden hoses. I have kept an eye on weather forecasts, watched tomatoes ripen on the vines and wondered what the bunny in the corner of the yard might have in mind once I leave the garden.

I’ve also been inspired. Someone else’s neatly mulched path inspired me to haul home six bags of the stuff last weekend and fix up a bed off our own patio. I should have done this in June, of course. How much better it looks!

I’ve paused to admire other people’s perennials and decided we need to add more to our garden. I’ve fallen in love with Lavandula.

We can say the same about a sweet guinea pig. Our daughter was in charge of this assignment: feeding, brushing, petting, entertaining and doing all the other things that keep guinea pigs happy – and she did so beautifully. But several times I found myself talking to our furry little friend in a voice I normally reserve for newborns.

Next came the chubby cat who knows our home and pets very well. Bossy, this one. She walks in like she owns the place. The rest of us only live here. When she arrives, our own pets cover their eyes with their front paws, shake their heads and collapse to the floor. They see she is back. She sees they still exist.

To make sure we all understand the way things are to be during her stay, she stomps around the place, waddling the way she does, and softly hisses at anything that may annoy her, including the humming refrigerator.

She then marches to the window seat to reclaim it since her last visit and checks out the backyard through the glass. After she turns to glare at me, I rush over to open the window so she can sniff the fresh air and critique our garden through the screen.

I wonder if she has noticed my freshly mulched bed.

Sure, our friend could have hired a pet-sitter during her absence or asked someone to stay at her place to care for the cat. But, no.

Instead, the cat comes to us, kicks her litter out of the box all over the floor, stretches out on any bed she chooses, then – after one of her many naps – parks herself in front of the dog bowl. The dog just sits and watches her, his head tilted to one side.

After a day or two of this, even the hermit crabs are whining: “How looooong is she staying this time?”

So, yes, this has been our summer of sitting other people’s plants and animals. Wielding water wands over window boxes. Getting to know a guinea pig. Letting the bossy cat get her way.

I rather enjoyed it all.

email: smartin@buffnews.com