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The sun has peaked in the sky and has begun its slow descent back to the horizon. The spring plantings are finishing their life cycles while the rest of the garden comes into maturity. The cilantro and dill have gone to seed with broad, umbrella-like clusters of yellow and white flowers constantly visited by hoverflies, beetles, and thread-waisted wasps. Whitetail dragonflies dart between the yellowing pea stems and sun themselves on the stakes holding them up. Candy-striped leafhoppers alight on the broad expanses of sunflower leaves and leap away again at the slightest breeze.

The peppers are in full flower with pendulous fruits in purple, yellow, and green. Curled cayennes, boxy pepperoncinis, and dagger-like bananas. The leaves above are pocked with holes left by the feeding of Four-lined plant bugs before they too finished their life cycle. A week of heat, humidity, and rain has spurred my tomatoes to resume growing with a vengeance after the double traumas of herbicides and transplanting. When strung up to the trellis (invasive buckthorn from a nearby park, lashed together between thunderstorms) they're nearly four feet high and freighted with swelling green tomatoes.

The sunflowers too have begun to flower and are favored by iridescent sweat bees. Neither wind-snapped stems nor leaves stripped by hungry deer or even my own misplaced footsteps have deterred or delayed them. The longest of the inch-thick stems will make lightweight stakes for next year's plants, the shorter ones will provide fibrous cordage for binding them. Clusters of mushrooms emerge from the ground, spread wide, and then disintegrate within a day. And strung between everything are cottony spider webs.

I'm building an ecosystem.

Chipmunk Count: 22