Monday, July 26, 2010

Last Week of July


Stingy skies. All weekend there were banks of dark clouds prowling around. It was alternately frustrating, heart-wrenching, and funny. We had a couple of periods of light drizzle both days, but nothing when compared to those fat juicy clouds! However, the ditch was muddy--all stirred up and full from gathering the runoff along the way from here to Santa Fe. G opened up the gate Sunday morning and we gave the yard and garden a thorough soaking. When I can stop pouting about the heavy rains we haven't gotten, I realize that the cloud cover and unseasonably cool temperatures have been a terrific boon in and of themselves. Average high for Saturday and Sunday: 92. Actual highs: 79 and 75!

The first plum-sized Stupice (stu-peach-ka) from down at the bottom of the plant, hidden next to the stem. It was delicious! We shared it right off the vine. Yum! The leaves on this plant certainly are unusual looking. >In other tomato news... last year's tomatoes in the raised bed (think a pair of Godzillas dwarfing tall buildings)... last year's sprawling giants left seed behind. By Saturday's count, there were easily half a dozen. We PROMISED each other we wouldn't let them dominate this prime salad greens spot, so we bought a bag of dirt, scrounged pots, and Satuday afternoon I either transplanted or weeded out the lot of them. The cold spell we had over the weekend turned out to be the perfect opportunity for this ill-advised exploit. We're pretty sure they are all going to make it. Was this a dumb thing to do? Maybe. I dimly remember last season thinking that the tomatoes had gotten WAY ahead of me. And that however many plants we had, they were too many for my half-hearted canning/ freezing/ cooking/ distributing efforts. (Garden greed is a terrible thing.) I can blame heredity: I have a lot of Scottish blood. Hard to throw anything away. I hereby vow publicly to do better with whatever they proffer. I can also blame curiosity. I believe we had three different varieties in the bed. Wonder what the seeds will be?! Yellow pears. Mexican mini's. And something else. (Hmm. Should look that up.) >A medium cherry variety. The full-sized ones were in the garden proper, at the back. We didn't have good luck harvesting from them, though I don't remember why. This season G is trying potatoes in that spot. They started blossoming 10 days ago. [Need to photograph them. They are very pretty!]

G collected a full cup of blackberries, with twice that many on the way. ((It's been so dry, and she used the ditch so much less I thought maybe we wouldn't have any berries to speak of. Happy surprise.))

Basil plants looking very handsome. (5 at the back of the garden proper) They started to blossom about 3 weeks ago. With pesto in mind G & I have both been very diligent tipping them the last 2 weeks. Should be able to make some soon.

Skink in the worm composting trench--eek! Gloria told me she had found it. But I hadn't been back there in awhile. I'm embarrassed to say that I am a little squeamish about pulling back the wood covering and peeling back the old cardboard. I had a bin of moldy watermelon in my hands... not stinky, but peppered with the tiny, fuzzy engines of decay. Yeesh. So of course I shrieked when something huge and wiggly blasted from up out of the trench, pausing for a split second to glare at me over its shoulder before vanishing into the compost proper. I will have to ask Gloria again... Clearly I didn't appreciate her story the first time (several weeks ago)?

Worm bin inside on the counter. Been there three weeks now. We're feeling very protective of it. Not sure what we'll do. We have talked about buying a commercial bin. The problem would be the size, and finding a place for it. Yesterday afternoon, I gingerly opened the cover: pulled back the top layer of newspaper, laid in some chunks of moldy watermelon, a filter full of coffee grounds and the crushed shells from 3 breakfast eggs. As I ground the shells between my fingers, I realized, with the shock that I think is typically reserved for children, that these bits of crunchy hard stuff had been fabricated by the soft insides of a bird. Imagine their bodies creating this substance.

Crepe Myrtle Redux. Dug an ample hole, mixed in compost, with a generous well this time and planted the pale pink crepe myrtle. Am hoping we won't have a repeat of last September's killing cold...

Monarch that crawled into a patch of chives to die. I was deadheading the plant and didn't even notice until my hands were nearly on it! [Take a photo]

Two batches of tri-colored bush beans coming along. I pestered G until she planted another group of seeds yesterday, tucking them in behind the klatch of eggplants. She also reluctantly planted the three little melon seedlings she bought from Alameda in June. We are pretty sure that our rapacious squash bugs are still legion. And still waiting--piercing mouth parts sharp, compound eyes, sniffing antennae peeled. Sigh.

Last word from the weekend: bush tits, the requisite wave of them, flowed in and out of the yard all afternoon Sunday. Were they scoping out the apples? Interested in the stand of sunflowers? I am proud that I know what to call them, but that's about where my stash of lore for them ends. [?!] While I was catching my breath from cleaning the kitchen, watched a female western finch take a dust bath in the sand under the middle apple tree. Very cute. Can't remember ever seeing anyone do that before. Maybe the word has gotten out that the cat has retired? And finally, a ring-necked dove has decided to nest in the elm, above the front edge of the shade area. Have seen her making repeated trips with sticks dangling out of her mouth. Honestly, every time she or he land, they sound like they are about to crash. Not graceful. Also aodd--when either of them leave the nest, about three flaps out they call out--a rasping strange bit of a shriek. Can't imagine what they are saying. "Honey, I'm making another trip. It's your turn to guard the door?!"




Half a dozen nice-sized beets ready to pluck and roast. Maybe tonight.

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