Just as beautiful as I expected it to be, Ray! Your patch is exactly the thick mass of vines I was saying mine would eventually be, but your patch is a painful reminder of how late I really am this year...and I hate that. But based on @Chikn 's "poem" I probably did the right thing by not planting in the mud, which would have been almost impossible anyway. Again, Ray, that is just a picture perfect patch of watermelons and I'm sure you'll have a bountiful harvest!
@Chikn - yes, I have free range chickens. Did you really think I didn't know how wild they are about watermelons! ha. On MORE THAN ONE OCCASION (which tells something about my learning curve) I have cut a watermelon on the picnic table and gone inside to get salt or a drink or whatever, only to return and find 10 chickens going ape-S##t crazy on my melon. And the one thing that keeps me from feeling too guilty about just eating the heart out of my watermelons and tossing the rest of it aside is the fact that I know the rest will (and always is) be eaten completely- seeds and all- by my chickens. Its also fun at the end of the year when I've picked, eaten, or given away all I can and the patch still contains all the deformed melons and the ones that didn't size up well or had bad spots, I will walk around and either stomp them open or pick them up and throw them down to break them open. For the next few days my chickens are like pigs in mud. Its the only time of the year I see my chickens not roost until after dark. And you can literally see their bellies (which as you know are sort of in their lower throat area) bulged out like the swallowed a ballon. Yes, watermelons bring as much joy to my chickens as they do to me!
@fruitnut I'd love to use fabric for weed barier, but it would get pretty expensive to cover about 1/2 of acre with it, especially when I get zero income from my melons. I also thought it might reduce the water that gets to them? Anyway, I understand why you'd want to reduce the weeding effort. It's a big part of my effort in the garden!