Monday, July 11, 2011

Free For All

It rained yesterday morning, as I mentioned in my last post, sending Mandy Mae into trembling, panting fits.  After I pulled the plug to the phone jack, I realized that there was a gallon bowl of sugar snap and snow peas waiting for me to clean and process for the freezer.  During a brief respite in the thunderstorm, I walked to the broccoli patch and discovered than the remaining four heads were ready to burst into tiny yellow flowers if I didn't do something with George H.W. Bush's favorite food.  The ensuing processing-soaking the hulking heads in a tub of water to drown earwigs, cutting off stems the size of logs and separating the crowns from the rest of the plant( we have so much broccoli I toss everything but the dark green crowns) took me up to noon.

The cumulus clouds are pushed back a bit to send the temperature to the high eighties.  The humidity is  100%. If you look at the concrete garage floor where the dog is stretched on her side, you can see her breath condenses into a pool of moisture next to her snout. Standing is a sweat inducing activity.  Dawn disappears to her air conditioned upstairs sewing room which doubles as the dog's bedroom and guest bedroom. During the day the futon is converted into a couch.  When one of the kids visits, we wash the cover, vacuum the mattress and turn it into a queen-size bed.

Dawn finds the nylon screen material stored in plastic totes in the basement. In years past, I not only lived in a tent during the summer, when as a teacher I had two months of freedom and no paycheck, but camped frequently in wilderness areas in northern Minnesota where my Step Dad was born. She's making an elastic screen cover for our straw  hats.  No more black flies and gnats up the nose.

corn/potato patch and new canopy frame
After lunch, Dawn and I go out to raise the cover on the new 10X20' canopy.  The theory is that we'll put fresh bunch onions and potatoes on tables under the canopy.  We'll use tables from the shed for display purposes and scatter a few other furniture pieces around in the hopes that we can sell some of the barn full of furniture and left over inventory from our trading post in the city. Theory never liked practical purposes.  Dawn can barely reach the eaves of the framework. I have to grab a seven foot step ladder to pull the cover over the frame.  Add 90 stifling degrees, tropical humidity and no breeze under the canopy and you have the formula for a murder/suicide.

older, modified canopy for drying onions
The canopy in this picture was modified by removing one section of leg uprights.  We have to bend over inside at the eaves when setting out onions, but slashing rain doesn't wash in from the sides.  The green tarp helps to keep a fine mist off our Stuttgart's since the canopy is well past middle age.  The lower profile also keeps the canopy from ending up in front of the garage in high winds like it did in 2006.

The second 80X10 potato patch, a similar size onion garden (one of four) edamame/horse radish/ pole bean and the fourth cabbage/broccoli/peas plot round out the picture.  If I used a larger format picture it would take me hours of downloading, but you'd see a better picture.

long shot of the rest of the plots

Lest you think I'm bragging, in actuality I'm attempting to put yourself in my shoes( pee yew) and understand why summers get so crazy.  Mandy Mae is in the habit of waking me up in the middle of the night lately to let her out to pee. I think she just wants to get out and chase critters.  I rationalize that deer, raccoon, possum and all other nocturnal visitors get the idea that's it's not safe to dine in Mr.McGregor's garden(Peter Rabbit)  when she barks her loud warnings at varmints at 2:30 am.

Last night I sat next to Mandy on her futon trying to figure out a way to comfort her fears as lightning flashes and thunder rumbles off the hills in our valley.  I softly tell her she'll be all right and the storm will be over soon.  My stroking and petting don't seem to matter, but the consoling words quell some of her shuddering. The humidity  soars again today. I don't have to water. I'll check the rain gauge later to learn the details. I feel fortunate that I can check other blogger's posts, delete bacon from my e-mail and go online to learn how to care for Tall Utah celery. If that doesn''t work, I'll drive over to the Amish farm and speak with the Matriarch. She knows everything. I'm amazed that it is a week before I learn of the former town chairman's death. The Amish give me all the detail of severe headache, followed by a fatal stroke, the wake, burial and the widow's trip to California with the kids. Who needs a computer?


T. Roger Thomas said...

Thanks for the photos!

snoringdogstudio said...

This was a very enjoyable, but exhausting read! I admire you for the dedication and hard work you do to create this paradise. I think I admire you a little bit more for being able to endure the humidity of the upper midwest. It drove me nuts when I lived in Minneapolis. Your farm is amazing. So much bounty.

My dog, Stella, hates thunderstorms, too. I find that if I leave the radio on when we're lying there at night, it helps some.

Gavrillo said...

SDS, thanks for the tip about the radio.TRT, your welcome. I'm working on a new camera and adding more memory to this computer(suggested in one of your posts awhile ago.) Perhaps that'll speed things up a bit. Getting off dial-up is another goal.