Behold the most intensive and successful agriculture going on in my backyard this year:
I ruined it shortly after taking the photo, though I'm sure I haven't deterred them for good. The host plant there is a red elderberry, and despite being the site of an extensive aphid farm it's thriving -- I planted it as a bare-root stick this spring and it's now tall enough to look me in the eyes, with rich green foliage and plenty of it. It's honestly the most successful of its group. The ants know how to pick a good farm site, I guess.
Mostly things are not happening this year. I spent some crucial months being not well enough to support the garden the way it needed, and now that we're having an alarmingly hot and extra-dry summer it's too late to recover any of the spring annual crops. I did get a few small onions out of the back garden, and the cherry tree I planted last year bore enough cherries this year for a batch of really delicious syrup to pour over ice cream (pit 2 cups tart cherries, place in small pot with 1/4 cup local honey, heat gently until boiling, simmer a few minutes, cool a little bit and serve). So it's not a complete loss? But a very good thing I'm not depending on my direct efforts for any substantial amount of food.
I'm going to have to attack the southeast corner of the garden with power tools, I think, where the neighbors haven't rooted out a blackberry problem and now it has spilled over the fence with a vengeance. And probably I should just sheet mulch 95% of the garden at this point and start over when the rains come back. Well. One learns even when one doesn't produce.