There's just something wrong with the universe when that most noble of holidays, Mother's Day (full disclosure dictates that I reveal I am one), also marks the beginning of termite swarming season. Truth be told, with so many pests buzzing around the city these days — flies, mosquitoes, beetles — because of Katrina and our usually wonderful subtropical climate, we might not notice all that much. I plan to soldier on through the pest season, spend lots of time outdoors, dump all standing water and wear mosquito repellant. That's the easy part. It's harder to get away from the flies with so much garbage and trash available to them.

My goal now is to quit using the pest excuse as a reason not to get out and rejuvenate my ailing plant beds. The hurricane did some interesting things to my yard. Besides taking down a woefully heavy cinderblock fence that killed a bounty of yellow Louisiana irises that used to border it in the backyard, it also magically transplanted flora that had never before grown in my yard and brought some unidentified substance that made unsightly crop circles — unartistic blotches of death, actually — all over the lawn.

Only about six iris roots survived in my yard and are bravely trying to make a stand along my new wooden fence, and I heard a neighbor bemoaning the mysterious appearance of clumps of Louisiana irises taking hold in odd places in his backyard. Sounds like it's time for a midnight raid to reclaim my babies, and perhaps replace them with some nice, healthy grass. Yes, summer is a magical time and one that makes me believe in miracles. Take up a collection in case I need to be bailed out of jail.

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