Summer time in the country
Summer is on the downward side. Funny how you don’t really notice how late the sun goes down… in general, but as we reach the summer solstice, you notice the days getting shorter and the need for indoor lighting earlier and earlier. A couple of weeks ago, we had some early fall-like weather. The daytime temperatures were in the mid-70-degree range and there was a breeze out of the north. And then Summer came roaring back with ’90s and humidity.
Production from the garden has been hit or miss. What we discovered this first summer were the bugs. We had all of them, squash beetles, aphids, striped potato bugs, cucumber beetles, and a few others. The worst one destroys zucchini, and fast! We have more zucchini planted and a spray to keep the vine borer away. It is our third planting. The cucumbers were very slow to start and then came on strong! We planted 2 varieties. Our favorite variety, mostly known on the west coast called a Lemon Cucumber-round and yellow, and the other was a green long straight one. Also delicious. As usual, the green beans did well. Bugs don’t seem to like them that much. Watermelon and cantaloupes a miss and a hit. I think the corn was the most successful. Sweet and tender. I am from Ohio, in the summer we would head to farm stalls for corn. Ostensibly to buy some for dinner. But the real reason was lunch. We would have it right there, right out of the bag. So tender and sweet it didn’t even need cooking, butter, or salt. What we grew this summer reminded me of it so much. The tomatoes are going strong!
Having drip irrigation has been the best thing since sliced bread. It hs really helped to keep the soil moist and the plants fed. The hose that we connect from the hydrant to the garden has not fared so well. The lawnmower… has done a number on it… may need to get a pipe feed for the water.
The Cow Summer Fun
Last Saturday the neighbor with the tractor came by and offered to mow the field March lives in down. He just hasn’t been eating it fast enough. Well, that tractor came in and started to mow, and Mr. March came out of the loafing shed, where he spends nearly all day, to see about the interloper. March challenged that tractor several times and then went back to the shed until it was done. In the middle picture, March looks like a bull in the arena staring down a Matador.
Doings at the Pig Pen
The pigs are almost too big to be cute. At feeding they are pushy and during the day they just lay about in the shade. The mud still offers some comfort and protection from the flies and hot summer sun. They love the garden spoils and greens. I am estimating that Iggy weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 to 200 pounds. He is a big fellow and Piggie a bit less in weight and shorter in both height and length. Getting pictures of them is difficult now. They think every time we enter the barn, it means food!
In the spring we decided that the old chicken coop (former playhouse for children), was too hard on a human. The porch roof is very low as is the doorway. We also did not like having the chicken yard behind the little house. How much fun is that? So we built a new coop in the spring and finished building the yard in the summer. We will turn the playhouse into the food storage location and house some Guinea fowl next spring. The new location is where the family that built the playhouse had the swing set and sandbox. All beautifully framed with railroad ties and filled with sand and polished pea gravel. Since we have more chicken room, we’ve added 4 more girls. They are the same variety as the older birds, Cream Legbar. They are only about 3 months old, so it will be a bit before they lay eggs… sometime around December. The new chickens will live in the playhouse for a few weeks before we mix the girls.
Warning Slithery Doings- you might want to skip this last bit
In the evenings it is my turn to feed the cow and the pigs. On Tuesday evening I spied a snake in the garden on my way back to the house by way of the compost bin. It was a harmless to humans variety, (a Southern Black Racer), so I took a picture and moved on. What I didn’t realize is that it was caught up in the blueberry netting. So the next morning, I got a text from the DH asking me to come to the garden to help him with the snake. This is very unusual! He intensely dislikes the creatures. So I hurried out there. Between us, we cut it free and watched it run off to hide in the burn pile. Copperhead or water moccasin, I would not have let it live. We are currently in copperhead season, where the babies are hatching. So we are on the lookout. Hoping I never have to deal with one, big or little!
The black racer was not the only snake this summer. This was the first snake DH encountered earlier in the summer. He was working on pulling the reeds out of the pond, he was surprised by a rather large watersnake. Again harmless, but a big surprise.
I don’t know where all the time goes… although… the garden and the kitchen seem to eat up plenty of time as does procrastination. Why do we do it?
As always more later- Beth