Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September already?

Asparagus Beans Growing Well.

Huckleberries Ripening!

A Jenny Lind Melon

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers Almost Ripe.

What happens when a turtle has a snack.

Do you see the thing at the top with the white projectiles? That's a tomato hornworm that has had wasp larva laid on top of it. They'll eat the worm, and then go off and do wasp things. I was very happy to see this. 
Oh, boy. Another month has past me by! Here it is, the end of August, and I am just now getting around to posting my first post for the month. I've been thinking about you, my readers... (if you're still around!) You see, it goes like this: I get up in the morning, and sometimes I do a little reading, and sometimes I walk the dogs, and sometimes I do a little cleaning up from the night before, and then I make my way into the garden. And once I'm out there, I am overcome with one must-do-now project after another. I've worried that working in this huge garden all alone is going to affect my brain. I had thought it would sharpen my brain along with my back muscles, but some days I swear I just flit from idea to idea, from project to project. Breathlessly half-tackling the first thing I see that needs doing. Find the hornworm on this tomato plant. Figure out what's wrong with these pepper plants. Figure out where this cucumber patch is, and then weed it so I don't have to figure out where it is tomorrow. Harvest. Water. Kill more bugs. And in the meantime, it's hot, and humid, and I'm taking breaks every hour. Sometimes sooner than that, honestly. And I head inside, and drink water, and cool off, and then walk the dogs again, and then go back out into the garden and then come back inside and I realize I'm dizzy because it's now 1 o'clock, and I've barely eaten anything yet today. So I make something for lunch. And I play some Words with Friends or check Facebook, and then walk the dogs again. And then back out into the garden. And I realize the herb garden needs watering, and as the sun shifts in the sky, I realize that I need to stop tackling things for today and start making a list for tomorrow. And sometimes a neighbor stops by. And sometimes I sit on the porch and read and drink an iced coffee. And sometimes I go inside and start canning or pickling or making jam. And then it's time for Rich to get home, and it's nearly 6 o'clock, and it's time to make dinner. And I'm sore and tired and all I want to do is sit in the kitchen have a cocktail with Rich and maybe do a crossword, and then we sit down for dinner, and then suddenly it's time for bed. And I never made it upstairs to write up a quick blog, even if I took pictures to do just that. And here we are, the end of August. Whew!
Not to say that I haven't enjoyed this summer of gardening. But let me tell you, I definitely bit off more than I can chew alone. I've had glorious help. Folks helped me disc the garden (my neighbor, Alvin, twice), they helped me plant (Mike S, Rich, Sam, Kate, Eli, Tessa and Jesse), they helped me weed (Rich, Mike S, Mike B, Kate, Sam, Alyssa, Bob, Jesse & Eli), they attempted to mow (Bob), they helped me cage the wild tomatoes (Rich, Alyssa, & Bob), they helped me harvest (Alyssa, Kate, Sam, Rich, Andrea), and they bought produce from me (lots of folks!) (I hope I didn't forget anybody.)
My garden grew wild. The weeds grew well and with abandon. The grass is lovely blowing in the breeze, and I love seeing the swirled beds left from where the deer slept last night. I'm sad the deer ate all my corn. I'm glad they didn't leave any for the raccoons, I guess. There are times when I stand out in the garden and marvel at its beauty: the cosmos and zinnias with their surprising colors dancing among the field of yellowing grasses. The okra flowers I can't get enough of. The okra I can't pick enough of. The site of gently curving rows of tomato plants, their ripening fruit catching the sun and winking... There are many successes in this year's garden. Sure there were some failures (spinach & garlic being the two most notable), and some surprise successes (the tomatoes, when for so long they looked like they wouldn't make it) and some things the jury's still out on: the cabbages, planted in April, are just now forming heads. The beans, which looked like they'd given up three weeks ago, coming back with a vengeance last week with pounds of beans for me to pick.
And now the days have changed. It hasn't really rained in almost three weeks, and the garden, in fact the whole area is dry. Every week at the Farmers' Market, every farmer asks who got rain, and reacts jealously to those who did. The light is longer in the afternoons, the days cooler and dryer. They remind me, in fact, of Colorado's Indian Summers... cloudless blue and dry with a whisper of a breeze in the cottonwood leaves just starting to turn yellow from lack of moisture. There's a chance for rain tonight, and then a return of hot and humid weather: summer's last gasp before Labor Day, perhaps...
I'm hoping to publish a few anecdotes and stories that took place over the month, but for now, I'm glad you're still reading.