Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summer Happenings

I haven’t been writing much lately, since we are in the throes of summer around here. I have started working, which is bittersweet…I’m very excited to have a job (and one that I just spent years in school for!), but it takes time away from the punks I call my children. These particular punks require constant supervision if I would like my house to continue to shelter us. A wonderful example is last week when my father was watching them in the pool, they managed to go around to the front of the house, open the gate, get one of the bikes, bring it into the back yard, hoist it into the pool (which is over 4 feet off the ground) and ride the bike in the pool. (They do have amazing creativity and team work!)

We have also been doing everything we can to not die from heat stroke. Right now it is 10 at night and it is 101 degrees outside. It’s starting to cool off from the 110 of earlier. I said chuck it all, and we went to the movies to use their air conditioning! However, the heat is awesome for drying dries almost before I get back in the house!

Not only are we having a difficult time with the heat, my garden is sad and pathetic. I would like to blame it all on the heat, but the truth is…my garden has not done well from the very start this year. My third planting of beans has pretty much dried up – and I didn’t get a single bean from any of the plants. I have planted my zucchini, squash and cucumbers four times now and they all keep dying.

I have never had this problem before and I think it is my soil. I brought in many, many truckloads of compost from the city along with straw, horse manure, chicken coop clean outs, shredded paper, shredded leaves, worm castings…and everything is dying in these new beds. I have not picked a single pepper and my plants are barely surviving. Both the peppers and tomatoes have blossom end rot and something (not a tomato horn worm) is eating my tomato plants and marking up my tomatoes (on the good parts, away from the blossom end rot, the little suckers had to damage the edible parts).

The chickens ate my corn seedlings and my melon vines are the same size as when I planted them back in April. Needless to say, I am frustrated. If I had to survive off my garden, we would be starving right now! There is also the issue of hard work. I was really excited to see the fruits of my labors…Thank God for all the Farmer’s Markets around me so I can eat the fruits of other peoples work!

One of the other problems we encounter gardening in this valley is the intense heat. Instead of having one enormously long season from late March to mid November, we have two short seasons separated by a long, dry, HOT summer. The news said something about the next 30 days being over a 100 degrees…and plants just shut down. And really who could blame them, I don’t want to do anything in this heat either!

As much as I am frustrated with my food endeavors at the moment, I know I will keep trying and I am already starting to think of what I can plant this fall…In fact, I just harvested the tiny little seeds from my lettuces yesterday. As part of the seed to seed challenge, I let my lettuces go to seed instead of pulling them out when they bolted...and I now have lettuce to plant in a few months when I can go back outside in daylight hours.

However, I did get 6 eggs today! The teenage chickens are laying these tiny little things…very cute. And I’ve gotten a few of these tiny, paper-thin eggs that you can’t touch. I added some Oyster Shell to their diet so hopefully the shells will get a little harder.

Just to let you know that I am also counting my blessings in the midst of my complaining - We got to see the new Harry Potter movie today, I didn’t cook a single meal for any of the 15 thousand people in my house today, and my punks bring me so much joy it physically hurts to look at them sometimes! Of course, I’m watching them sleep as I type this when they are even more adorable and not getting into trouble! We had an awesome afternoon just the three of us.

1 comment:

Darrin F. said...

I don't know if the word "punks" really describes kids. I prefer the term "lazy free loaders". ;)