August 30, 2014
Labor Day weekend is upon us and amidst the end of summer/pre-fall barbeques, vacations, staycations and general revelries, here’s what’s happening in my neighborhood:
We hit 101 degrees last week, but after a run of 98 and above, have dropped into the eighties for a few days. Nice. Hopefully, we’ll get some real rain (as apposed to little pop-up showers) to go with the cooler temps.
Whether it was the weather, the straw beds I planted things in this year, dumb luck or all three, I had the first really good batch of tomatoes in three years. Also nice. I’ve had enough to eat fresh once or twice a day and to freeze a couple of gallon bags full, so far this summer plus enough cherry tomatoes to munch on while I work at the computer or around the house.
I have four nice sized fall squash on the one plant that survived the rabbits, which may not sound like much. But, since I have only one mouth to feed, they will make a nice addition to winter food supplies. I still haven’t searched for potatoes or onion, but since the tops are all dead, now, I am thinking that tomorrow might be a good day to tackle that while it’s cool outside.
The extra tomato plants on the south side of the house have also produced a bumper crop and, after a friend helped me put out a sign for people to take some as they ripen, several neighbors – especially older ones who rent and maybe don’t have a place to grow any – have done just that. As there are still some ripening, I consider it a success and will try to repeat the offering next year, maybe adding some other things, too.
The broccoli, cabbage and lettuce seeds I planted awhile back, for a fall garden, didn’t survive long enough for me to even get the little barrier up. I think the rabbits must have a scout that keeps watch for those things. I’m pretty sure the one I’ve startled a couple of times in the early morning and late evening is one such lookout rabbit. He looked a bit shifty-eyed to me.
A skunk (perhaps the skunk, perhaps one of its kinder) made its way past the house going back east, early Thursday morning, as I was getting started for the day. Whether elder or younger, it didn’t bother the garden this time, even the tomatoes at the side of the house, maybe because the rabbits ate all the melon starts earlier this spring.
And I’ve learned some things to make my life in summer easier as I get older:
Living downstairs, where I can just walk out the back door instead of walking down two flights of stairs, sure makes gardening easier.
Heat rises, so living downstairs is cooler than living upstairs. As is having a front door and a back door at opposite ends of the house and windows on all sides that you can open or shut for ventilation as necessary.
A crunchy peanut butter sandwich on good bread, a fresh sliced tomato and a glass of iced tea make a great no-cook lunch in the heat of the day.
And, finally, don’t take in your son’s long-haired cat when he moves away. No matter how many times you brush her in the summer, no matter how often you run the vacuum cleaner over your carpeting, you will always wake up the next morning to a house that looks like your cat exploded during the night.
Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone.