Summer is yawning over me with its hot breath. Naturally, I yawn right back, true to the phenomenon. I slow as the temperature rises. Not my schedule or demands, sadly, but my energy. My inspiration. Can’t tell you what a cool breeze does for me. I’m a lot like the cucumbers that wilt at high noon, then perk back up by sundown. There’s still growth and production, but the strain is evident. One overcast day will stand me upright and taunt again. My strength returns, not oppressed by sun rays. All of August hangs over my head with a tinge of dread. I’m forced inside and that’s a bit trying for me as I’d rather spend the bulk of my day outdoors.
I’ve resorted to vitamin-infused coffee for backup. It’s silly, but as a borderline coffee addict, I am trying desperately to make my habit less harmful. Or perhaps beneficial. Of course the amount of water I must drink to rehydrate is rather ridiculous, but I do what I must.
The other day I sat on the back porch and strung together most of my red onions. They were the size of shallots but that’s because they had too much shade this year. I left a few in the ground to dig up later just for the surprise factor. Same with the carrots. Once the stems break off I just give up and move on. I’ve also resigned the last of the blackberries to the birds. I do this every year, though. Feels good to call a truce. You wouldn’t think gardening was war but there’s a lot of fight involved in protecting it. By the end of the season that fight falls back and you wave a white flag. I tend to wish my heat-loving plants farewell and good luck without me.
I’ve recently completed my chicken flock, rounding it out with 2 black marans and 2 blue ameraucanas. We’re at 10 now and that’s perfect. The transition time for hens can be taxing after introducing new girls. I go out each night and arrange them on the roost according to who will be nice to who. I hate pecking order antics but alas, another nature war I am unlikely to win. It’s innate. I am simply referee until they can be cordial. If I had a rooster, he’d keep them in line for me.
This is the time when the kitchen is bustling with preserving the garden haul. I easily fall behind. I’ve been blanching, roasting, freezing, incorporating fresh where I can. The surplus is convenient later on if you can keep up. If you can’t, it’s good to just give it away so it’ll be put to good use somewhere. I like to think there’s little waste here because of the birds and bunnies. They’re the ultimate cleanup crew and will eat about anything.
They’re calling for rain all week and I’m in favor. The roses will come back a bit; the zinnias will bloom brighter; the critters will have some reprieve, and I will leave the garden hose right where it is until we dry out again. These are the most simple parts of my life — all else requires much more than a week of rain for relief.