The temperature has dropped a bit, an unpleasant blanket of humidity remains. Another indoor day today. This evening it began to rain, thank goodness. This gives the newly installed rain collection system a chance to strut its stuff, and it worked perfectly. We have collected about 200 liters of water in it so far. Ideally, more rain will fall over the course of the night, and will fill it right up.
This morning was spent milling flour. The frequency of baking bread has increased with Attila back to work. Two gallon jars are filled during the milling session. The mill, a Wondermill, is given a chance to cool down after grinding 8 cups of wheat berries, and I usually have to mill four times, waiting a half an hour between each milling session.
Attila brought in a bowl freshly picked Swiss Chard and a garlic scape for my breakfast this morning. However, for breakfast I indulged in the slice of Rhubarb Squares that he left for me after packaging the rest for the freezer, for this week’s lunches. I come from a long line of sugar lovers. My Grandpa used to pour heavy cream over his slice of fruit pie, then sprinkle white sugar over it. He lived to be 90 years old, and enjoyed excellent health his whole life through. He also smoked cigarettes his whole adult life. Lucky genes I guess. Anyway, I love sugar, but keep consumption down to 6 teaspoons a day, or usually much less. The Rhubarb Squares are rare treat!
Ordering groceries online is becoming easier. The wait times are only a few days, and as long as we don’t order fresh produce our items are just fine. We find we only shop twice a month now, and it is a big job, everything has to be sanitized. Shopping online, wearing masks, keeping social distance, sanitizing everything that arrives at the house from the outside, these things are becoming familiar routines. Like anything else, once you know how to do something, it is much easier to do it.
Another week of work begins for Attila. The adjustment to getting back to work is going well. When we ordered the 1000 liter rain tank Attila was home after being laid off work, so he had ample time to work on fixing the fascia on the house, installing rain gutters, and the rain tank. But when the call suddenly came to go back to work, his discretionary time shrank to the weekends. This disjunction between the water collection system project, and available time, has been a significant bottleneck in adjusting to the return to work. Thank goodness for weekends.
This past weekend Attila went into overdrive on the garden and water collection system. The heat wave meant that he was completely soaked with sweat from early Saturday morning, till dusk Saturday night, and the same on Sunday. It was a real push, but he did get the evestrough and 1000 liter tank installed and ready for rain, when it comes. And he did get all but a few small plants from his greenhouse planted in the ground. And he kept up with watering all the plants, by hand, with a watering can. At some distant date I hope he will install a drip water system using water from the 1000 liter tank, which would save him hours and hours of work daily watering the garden.
The garden is a manageable project for Attila when he works full time. The rain tank was an extra project we thought he had time for, but that time evaporated when he was called back to work, so that getting the water collection system working became a high pressure project. I am so glad he got it all accomplished this past weekend, and can now concentrate on what he enjoys most, his garden. We can now move forward with projects that fit the new time regime.
I putter a bit in the garden, but it is only puttering. My two raised beds are planted with a variety of Sweet and Jalapeno Peppers, and one row of climbing edible pod Peas. I weed these beds every few days, and occasionally use the swing hoe to weed the Potatoes, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Garlic, Melons, and Squash that are planted in the ground. I also keep an eye on our new shrubs, the High Bush Cranberry and the Red Currant, spraying with insecticidal soap to slow down the aphid infestations that they came with, from the nursery where we purchased them. I have been using insecticidal soap on a lot of the garden, including my Granny’s Rose, to keep the little critters-that-kill under control.
The Heliopsis I got from my Granny’s garden is higher than the fence now. Granny’s Rose is showing rosebuds this year for the first time, and they will soon bloom.
The Gladiola bulbs planted last year suffered from mildew, and were not expected to survive the winter. But there they are, five of them. Hopefully the insecticidal soap will control the mildew.
The Chamomile self-seeded and is already blooming. The Catnip and Lemon Balm are doing well, they self-seed every year. Another plant that self-seeded was the ground cherries. Some are coming up in my raised bed, so I think that those were actually squirrel, chipmunk, and bird seeded.
The birds are amazing this summer! The Blue Jays have a nest in our back yard Ash tree, which they protect from all comers, from Crows to Grackles, to Robins. The Grackles and Robins all have nests in our evergreen trees. There are Doves, Chickadees, Warblers, and Cardinals. Geese, Crows, and Turkey Vultures fly over us every day.
There is a bird bath in the back yard, the water is emptied and replaced every morning by Attila. Last summer it was hardly used. This summer it is in constant use by all of the bird species. I love to stand at the kitchen sink looking out at the backyard through the window, or sit on the back porch, and watch them land for a sip. The species do not mix at the bird bath, it is a one at a time activity. I am learning that there is a real politic to bird life!
We see many Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Rabbits. Our yard is very popular, they love to eat our garden plants, dig up our garden plants, and raid our strawberry and tomato harvest. There is a lot of competition for our food supply!
This is Attila’s busiest time of year, putting the garden in. My busy time of year arrives later in the summer, when the bounty from the garden begins to come into the house. Food preservation is a big part of my life from mid-July into November.
The emptied jars from last years bounty are waiting to see what this year’s harvest season will bring.
Stay safe dear friends!
HEAT WARNING Mainly sunny. High 30. Humidex 37. UV index 9 or very high. 23°C Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 22 June 2020 Condition: Partly Cloudy Pressure: 101.3 kPa Tendency: Rising Temperature: 22.5°C Dew point: 20.1°C Humidity: 86% Wind: S 16 km/h Humidex: 30 Visibility: 24 km
“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.” Albert Schweitzer 1875 – 1965
This morning Attila picked and brought in for me five red strawberries from the ever-bearing strawberry plant. They were sweet and delicious! A few fresh strawberries now and then are all I will be able to get this year, so I will be enjoying them whenever I can. And I feel grateful to Attila for building a frame with netting over the strawberry plant, so that the squirrels, chipmunks and birds could not get to the ripe strawberries before we did. The netting is very effective. Yesterday morning I watched a small black squirrel attempt to get through the netting to the strawberries. He failed to gain entry, and after many attempts, gave up and started digging up another part of the garden. So this morning I got to eat those strawberries. Me five, squirrel zero.
Attila also thinned the Swiss chard, and the beets, bringing in the pulled plants for my breakfast. Also from the garden this morning, two small basil plants that were thinned, and two garlic scapes. All of this made a wonderful breakfast, sauteed in olive oil, with onion and an egg.
But there was more to come from the garden. Another four pounds of rhubarb were harvested this morning. Two pounds were transformed into a Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, and two pounds were packaged, labelled, and frozen.
Thank goodness for weekends! Attila is crazy busy, as we’ve had no rain recently, so the garden must be watered, and it is a big job. He is also working on installing an evestrough, so that he can fill his new 1000 liter rain tank when the next rain finally does arrive. First though, the fascia had to be painted, and then waited on until the paint dried, and only then could he begin the installation of the evestrough. With any luck he will complete the rainwater collection system by the end of the weekend, so that when next week’s predicted rain arrives there will be some good water stored to garden watering during the next dry period.
Attila is doing all this work in the garden and on the water collection system in the heat and humidity. He seems to tolerate heat very well, and seems energized when the weather is like this. I am the opposite, losing energy quickly as the temperature rises. So I am concentrating on indoor activities today, and will again tomorrow, when it will be even warmer out there!
I am tackling our seed collection today. We have seeds collected as far back as the early 90s, when we first met and got together. Some seeds Attila brought into our relationship, they are even older. Our first joint planting project all those years ago was Morning Glories, and we still have some seeds from those first beautiful blooming plants. For more than 25 years we have collected seeds from our gardens, and seeds gifted to us by other gardeners. The are stored in all kinds of envelopes and packets, which are in turn stored in all kinds of boxes and bins, in no particular order. So today they are being sorted, provided with new envelopes where needed, and be will organized and stored according to type of seed. It is a big job. I am creating this entry as I take a break from it, because I got to feeling overwhelmed. Best to tackle it in stages I reckon.
HEAT WARNING 22°C Date: 1:00 PM EDT Saturday 20 June 2020 Condition: Mainly Sunny Pressure: 101.7 kPa Tendency: Falling Temperature: 22.1°C Dew point: 18.4°C Humidity: 79% Wind: S 17 km/h Humidex: 28 Visibility: 24 km Today: Mainly sunny. High 32. Humidex 36. UV index 9 or very high.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 – 1882