Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm melting!

Yes, I said the name of this post out loud, in my best Wicked Witch of the West know, nasaly, high pitched with a hint of evil. I can't help it.
It's mighty hot here, folks. We're having a partial deja vu moment, harkening back to Summer 2010 (we had a summer that year? are you sure?). Yeah. I could have predicted how this would play out back in May, as we waited ever patient for some hint of spring to arrive, feeling to darned relieved to get a pasture lease so we wouldn't be faced with a second let's-see-how-fast-we-can-blow-through-our-hay-stash summer in a row. (That part has been really, really nice, by the way. The bovines are happily munching away on regrowth from their brush-hogged pasture (partially brush-hogged, I mean...that reminds me, there's more to be done), drinking from the permanent water source, that lovely cold source also responsible for keeping the grass nice and lush when the rest of our area looks like Mars, if Mars harbored dead, brown grass.)

Spring sort of arrived in June. The weather wasn't particularly friendly. July wasn't so great, either, if I recall. It's a blur due to this. And then of course this happened, leaving us reeling for all of August (and beyond) and yet noting how pretty the blue sky was and how many barn swallows we had flitting and flying overhead.

Big surprise...just as all the kiddos in Western Washington headed back to school, boom, here comes summer! It's not unusual to have an "Indian summer" in Western Washington. Heck, that's the reason we felt safe marrying in mid-September (best of both worlds, a wedding in the beginning of fall, my favorite season, with the tail-end of my favorite flowers, dahlias). This, however, seems to just be summer, late. Today's forecast in Tenino is 90 degrees with an east wind (the east wind brings hot Eastern Washington air over the Cascade mountains and into our side of the state). The fire danger today has risen to "red flag warning" per the local media, a rare event for sure. Given Paul's job (which has already been on "1:00 shutdown" or "hoot owl" for several days due to heat that wasn't anything like this), I suspect he'll be finding himself with a little free time this week as the Department of Natural Resources will not want to take any chances with logging operations causing a fire. Currently there are fires outside of Port Townsend (lovely community on the Olympic Peninsula west of Seattle) and in the Olympic Mountains, and there was one along a busy freeway, too. Hopefully this won't last too long.

Which brings me to our gardens. Life is funny. We'd opted to go "simple" this year because my pregnancy had Paul taking care of me AND everything else, and weeding a bunch of veggies just wasn't going to work out (plus, me slaving over a tiny stove with a giant pregnant belly in a too-hot kitchen attempting to can beets and beans? no way) . Of course, we have a little more free time on our hands now, but we couldn't have known that would happen. Our tomatoes are planted in the "big" garden this year with stakes around, but they were never tied up. Holy tomato jungle, Batman. I think we need to do a bit of pruning on the two 'Sungold' plants, which are closest to the gate, lest their arms finish creeping out and head toward the house. (Seriously, one is so big we can't easily get to the fruits growing close to the center. Well, I probably could with my long, skinny arms, but tomato plants make me itch, and I don't relish going outside in 90 degree weather in long sleeves to pick tomatoes.) We tried a 'Brandywine' this year for the first time, and Paul proudly showed me a giant green tomato squatting near the bottom center of the plant. We also did an 'Oregon Spring', which was our hero in our outrageously awesome 2009 garden. The beans, broccoli and cauliflower bring to mind our totally unfabulous 2010 garden, and we didn't even bother with corn this year. We planted one zucchini, two yellow crookneck and one 'Delicata' winter squash in the little garden and didn't bother to even weed the rest. It is a rip-roaring disaster zone, but somehow, those squash plants forged ahead. We've eated both zucchini and crookneck squash with dinner (not a lot, mind you, and oddly, the zucchini isn't very prolific this year). The 'Delicata' is trying. The vine is small-leaved and somewhat puny, and while its first several fruits turned black and shriveled up, it now has about half a dozen nice pale fruits in various sizes. I hope they'll make it to storage, or at least harvest and eating.

With all the bizarre weather the rest of the country has been experiencing, how are everyone else's gardens doing? Have you managed to harvest anything?

The small garden beds. You can barely see the zucchini and crooknecks just to the right of center. One hot mess, I'll tell you.

Ack. They lost me past 75 degrees.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing did well in our garden this year. :(

    Our pumpkins are doing better than they ever have before, but that's not actually saying that much, since they've always been a flop for us. My lettuces lasted waaaay longer than usual before bolting. And that is pretty much it for us in term of "successes".

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around that fact that I won't have 50 pounds of zucchini in the freezer this winter. In fact, I'll be lucky if we get any, since we've harvested exactly two so far.

    Booooo. Spring/Summer 2012 had better rock!


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