Thursday, October 17, 2019

No Internet

We are without internet for awhile. They are doing work on the lines so I won't be able to post for another week ☹️. I miss everyone!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Amish, Before and After the Drought

It rained yesterday!   We had over four inches (and still counting) of slow drizzling rain!  I declare the drought over!

Before the rain arrived, I griped, complained, and whined every second as I stood and watered my garden in the blazing heat.  However, there are those who suffered more than I.  My livelihood doesn't depend on my farm. This was my local Amish community earlier this summer right before the drought began.

One-room schoolhouse

Then the rains stopped and the drought began. It has been a month since I last visited.  The farmer from whom I purchase milk had a sick cow, the others were hardly producing so my orders were canceled until yesterday.  This is how the land looked. 

It was misting as I traveled and no one I met seemed to mind getting wet or standing in a puddle.  The rain was a welcomed relief.

We haven't had any frosts or even one cold night.  The devastation was caused by high temperatures and no rain.

This was a productive pumpkin field earlier.  Now it is barren except for weeds and an occasional lopsided pumpkin left to rot.

Their tomato plants looked as bad as mine.

Few houses were selling produce.  It was being kept to feed their big families. 

I suppose I can sigh and say what all gardeners say after a dismal season, "There is always next year."

Additional Links
Amish, Buying Fresh Milk
Amish, Summertime

Monday, September 30, 2019

September's Garden (2019)

The one word to describe my garden this month is "devastated."  

It has been six weeks since it has rained and the temperatures have hovered in the '90s.  Today's high will be 94 degrees (Fahrenheit) and there is still no rain in the forecast.  Despite being watered, most of the vegetables have died.

The yard-long beans over the arch are still producing a few tough, short beans even though the leaves are almost all gone.

All of the other beans are dead except for the Limas.

I love Lima Beans.

This is the front middle of the garden.

This is the view standing in the middle looking right.

And this is standing in the same spot looking left.

Everything is suffering, some things have survived but nothing is thriving.  We are still getting more than we can eat but that is only because I planted so much.  It has been a big disappointment.  Too much of my time has been spent watering.  Even though we have cheap well water, the fear of running it dry is real.  Sucking mud up into the pump would be an expensive repair so we can only water for short periods of time.  Choosing what lives and what dies is mandatory.

Slurp, slurp, slurp.

As usual, all my peppers fell over.  I tried propping them up with bricks, but then they fell the other way.

As an experiment, I followed the advice of another gardener, put them close together to avoid staking.  Didn't work.

Crowding just made it hard to find the ripe ones and - SCOOTER!  MOVE!  I am trying to take pictures!

"I see a cat! I smell a cat! I hate cats!"

Anyway, there is still a little bit of life at the far end of the garden.  

This is the sweet potatoes.  If you look closely, you can see a few green leaves.  

The yellow squash that I celebrated on my post last month, was killed by a squash vine borer and died a few days later.  That makes squash vine borers 100 to my score of 0.  However, the Long Island Cheese is still producing. 

The vine puts down a deep main root and also additional strong roots as it travels across the ground.  The lesson learned is to no longer run winter squash up a support fence because they need the extra roots to survive a drought.

It is still able to produce new squash - SCOOTER, GET OUT OF THE WAY!  Stop sniffing the squash!  I am trying to take pictures!

Sniff, sniff, sniff.  A cat was here! I smell a cat!

Pardon the interruption again, okra loves heat and has been able to endure the drought.  

The Lousiana 16 Inch Okra has grown so tall I can't reach the top without bending it over.  

If I had to guess, I would say we could have had five or ten times the harvest we are getting now.  It is hard to know how to prepare for our weather.  Some years it floods, other years it is drought.  If it always flooded, I could raise my beds, but that would be disastrous in a drought.  If it was always dry, I could put the hardy plants together and irrigate.  It is the not knowing that keeps me off balance.  

So I look ahead to the winter garden.  The row in the center with the assorted unknowns was planted right before the drought began.  It is doing well.  Nothing else can be planted in dust so I wait for the fall rains to (hopefully) return.  In the meantime, I water.

"Hiss!" said Meow.   "This my garden now, Scooter."

Additional Links:

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Summer Sunflowers

It seems I have received complaints about my writing from two of my most loyal readers.

My mother and brother were not happy with the ending of my hummingbird post.  I am in the dog house.  So to keep peace in the family, these are some of the cheery sunflowers blooming around town.  Nothing can be sad about sunflowers, right?


This is the empty lot behind Walmart.  Year-round it is covered in thorns, thistles, and weeds, but for a while during the summer, it becomes awash with color from self-planted sunflowers. 

This field is located deep in the country on a backroad only a few travel.  Every year sunflowers surround a cornfield.  I asked the elderly farmer if he planted them to multiply beneficial insects, improve pollination, and raise the harvest yields of his corn.  "Nope," he replied to me.  "Planted them 'cause they're pretty."

Even Lowes has sunflowers.

This single sunflower was growing up against a car shed in an unkempt yard.

On the uppermost bloom sat a ravenous small bird enjoying the seeds.

After he had devoured those on top, he flipped upside down and continued eating.  That means he could swallow up.

When I stepped back, I noticed something horrifying beside the sunflower.  

The homeowners who had planted and nurtured the cheerful sunflower had recently lost their period home.  It had caught fire, burned to the ground and perished.  All that was left was the lonely, sad sunflower.

 It appears I can't write anything with a happy ending.  Guess I'm not out of the dog house yet.

Additional Links