Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June's Garden (2020)

June's garden is too much food!  In my panic after seeing the grocery shelves empty, I overcompensated and planted too much.  Now that it is beginning to produce, we are swimming in food.  Bill says it is "better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

The short fence around the back half of the garden has worked to deter the armadillo.  It worked so well, we haven't seen it this month and are hoping it is gone forever. We are wise enough to realize another one will probably move in.

To the right of the fence in the last few inches of soil is a row of shelly beans.  The grass will invade and the lawnmower will throw grass over them but it won't matter.  It is a way of squeezing a little more out of the garden.

In a previous post, I declared there would be no experimenting this year. Only tried and true vegetables would be raised; well, as always, I changed my mind.  There are two yellow squash plants thriving.  Even though I have never ever been able to grow them because of squash vine borers, once again (for the millionth time) I will try again.  It is too early to know if my experiment will be successful.

Hanging on the tomato fence closeby is a Viva Trap that attracts and catches borers in a sticky residue.  These pictures were made the day it was hung up on June 4th so nothing is in the trap.  It is disgusting now (no up-close picture) and it is difficult to distinguish which parts belong to which bug.  There may be some squash vine borers stuck there or maybe not - can't tell.  Each trap will last 45 days and it cost $15.00 for two.  Borers can hatch twice each season so I am not sure two will last long enough. The questions I am asking are:  Will I get $15.00 worth of squash from my garden? Will it be necessary to buy more for the latter part of the season? It is still too early to know if they are effective and worth it.

The center of the garden is still not full because it has been difficult getting seeds to sprout.  They were purchased this spring from three different companies and were saved from last year.  I don't know what happened. There are so many different variables and it has been such a strange year that I don't have any theories.  Since it is too much stuff anyway, this isn't a problem.

The potatoes have stopped blooming and are beginning to turn yellow.  That is what it is supposed to do, but it makes me want to water and fertilize.  

The two rows of assorted greens are still producing enough for us.  Nothing else will be planted until it is time to start the winter garden in late August...which is a little over a month away!  Gosh.  Where did the time go this year?

At the far end of the garden beside the field is the row of tomatoes that were surrounded by lettuce.  All the lettuce has been eaten except for a few that are going to seed.  No red tomatoes yet but any day now the first one will be ready.

There is a Sugar Baby Watermelon rooted in the small empty spot at the beginning of the row.  It is spreading up the fence into the open spaces between the tomatoes and is already forming one melon.  Soon it will need a sling to hold it. 

Squeezed in on the backside of the tomatoes are a few Purple Hull Peas which will be ready this month.

In the back of the garden in the shade are three fence rows of tomatoes.  The shade doesn't seem to be bothering them as much as I expected.  The beans on the back rows and back corners have been replanted twice with different seeds because they wouldn't come up.  

The front rows have a single cucumber planted on each end.  They will spread out into the walkway and have just started producing this week.

It took a while to get enough things germinated to fill up the back of the garden, but it is finally all planted.

A feast is better than a famine.  I am not complaining. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Shiver Me Shingles, Almost Blown Away

It began with a predawn phone call from Joshua. 

He said in a sleepy voice, "Nana called me and said to call you to let you know I am still alive.  You would be worried when you saw the news.  I'm going back to sleep." Then hung up!

Nana was right - I was suddenly terrified!

Nashville had been pummeled by a tornado a few hours earlier on March 3, 2020.  We too had experienced a bad storm but it was nothing like what happened to them. 

Tornado crosses through downtown Nashville; Widespread ...
March 3, 2020, Nashville tornado

Nana lives in an assisted living facility and spent the night in their basement waiting for the tornado to blow over.  She knew it was heading toward Joshua's apartment and also knew how deeply he slept.  Once when he was living at her previous house, a rotten tree hanging over his bedroom fell and punched a big hole through the roof. Nana had to wake him up and tell him what happened.

Joshua's roommates woke him up (they also know how deeply he sleeps) and together they followed the storm on the radar.  He said it was an uncomfortable feeling watching it get closer and closer. It hit about 1/4 of a mile away but his apartment was safe.  (A door camera caught a video of it, click here

His roommate wasn't so lucky. It destroyed his workplace, caught the gas line on fire which the firemen extinguished but then it blazed up again the next day.  Needless to say, he lost his job and had to find another.

Nashville's terrain is shaped a bit like a bowl circled with hills.  Storms often travel the same path.  We say storms follow the interstate.  The March 3, 2020, tornado followed almost the same path as another on April 16, 1998, and one in 1934. Bill was in the 1998 tornado and my father was a child in the 1934 tornado.

(National Weather Service Image

Bill worked downtown in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center before he retired.  When he looked out the window, he could see the 1998 mile-wide tornado coming straight for him.  This was the view he saw when he looked out his window (click here).  The bursts of light are electrical transformers exploding.

PHOTOS: 1998 Nashville Tornado
(News Channel 5, Nashville image)

He called me from the stairwell as it hit.  The building began rocking, windows were flying out and he ordered me to get the boys inside our house.  We were outside playing in the sunshine but as I looked toward Nashville, I could see a black cloud with lightning flashing in the center.

PHOTOS: 1998 Nashville Tornado
(TPAC, March 16, 1998, minus 100 plate glass windows)

We lost a few more shingles during the storm on March 3rd, nothing major but something that is happening too frequently. Without Roofer Reese living here to shimmy up and fix the damage, we decided it was time to replace it.

It wasn't leaking so we told the roofer to handle the people with emergencies first and save us for last.

The only glitch was that our shingles were delivered to the wrong house in another city.  (We can't seem to get the credit card company to correct our address.)  

(Our new roof being delivered)

Other than being noisy, messy, and smelly, the service was fantastic. 

Hopefully, this roof won't be blown off anytime soon but at least we are better prepared for the storms ahead.  

Monday, June 15, 2020

Today's Blooms, June 15, 2020

It hasn't rained in two weeks and while preparing to take pictures of my flowers, a dark stormcloud appeared in the west.  Hoping it would refresh my garden, I began to do a rain dance.  Alas, I think it was too effective because the rain turned into hail and many of my blooms were shredded.  The pictures are few.

Do not assume I am whining about the weather.  Oh, no, no, no. My under quarantine lockdown resolution was to complain less, so I am celebrating the rain and hail.  Really!  (Do I detect a note of skepticism in everyone's mind?)

The rain drastically cooled the air and made it pleasant.  There was no hot miserable rush to snap pictures so I paused to enjoy the beauty.  While resting, an Eastern Bluebird began chirping and glaring at me from high in an overhead tree. It was obvious she was not happy with my presence.

Eventually, she ventured forth from behind the tree branches and approached an old, rotten birdhouse precariously hanging on a cedar tree.  It was a clearance rack find at the dollar store hung up years ago for decoration and not intended for use.

Fear of starving babies drove the frantic mother bird to risk approaching closer.  The second she landed on the little house, roaring chirps erupted from inside. Even though I don't speak bird, it was obvious what each one wanted.

Mom and Dad eventually allowed me to lounge unharassed in my own flowerbed and observe their family life so as a parting gift, they cooperated and posed for one last picture.