Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crazy In The Heat

Last week I flew back to Southern Oregon to visit with my family. Oregon is having the exact opposite weather that we are suffering through in Central Texas; it has been a record year for rainfall and cool temperatures. In the Rogue Valley, the peaches are at least three weeks behind, which means I didn’t get to eat myself silly on my favorite fruit during my visit.

It was great to be there. They finally had some summer and the temperatures were in the high 90s. My Mom had the AC cranked and everyone was complaining. Not me. Sure, it was warm in the afternoon, but the air was not laden with moisture and in just a few hours it would cool back down to the 60’s. Mornings were glorious. It gets light much earlier in the north, so I could get up early and go outside to garden. I did some tree pruning and compost building and it was sensational. My energy just soared through the roof and I could not breathe enough of that air. My family fussed over me being outside in the heat, but as I told them; hey, it’s like March in Central Texas.

And then I came home.

Right off the plane the blast of hot air reminded me that my little jaunt was over. Hurricane Don turned out to be a whiny little brat that didn’t provide any rain or heat relief, so I returned to the same sad state of affairs that I left. My heat stressed okra is covered in white flies and the squash is barely hanging on. Plants that I thought were looking okay when I left are spent and forlorn. Of course I am sure my eyes are still jaded by the lushness of the Oregon landscape.

This morning I slept in late, and by the time I got out into the garden it was already hot. And then something unexpected happened. I got mad. I was mad at the heat, mad at the sun, mad at my poor excuse of a vegetable garden. How dare you! There is no reason for being so hot! Knock it off this minute!

Crazy. Ranting at the weather is not very productive. I go back into the house and sit under the ceiling fan. The cat gives me a knowing glance and then heads off to the bedroom. Anna has the right idea. Just go with the flow and find a nice cushy cool spot to wait it out. I grab my Territorial Seed catalog and prepare a seed order.

Sanity at last.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Turk's Cap Hibiscus

Geez I have been a zombie.  Not the flesh-eating kind (except for the stuff on the bbq), but a sit on the couch, sleep all weekend, have no energy, blob kind.  And it’s no wonder; I have been putting in some very stressful, long, and difficult hours at work.  This coupled with the heat that keeps me out of the yard means I haven’t had a good mechanism for blowing off the week.  I listlessly water, turn the compost, and then come back in the house.  I might stumble back outside to harvest what vegetables are still producing.  Then bump around the kitchen to fix them up for a meal.  Not much of a life.

Luckily things are getting better.  My major work projects are starting to smooth out and become more manageable, which means I sleep better.  I have been forcing myself to get more exercise, which always helps.  And I’ve been looking at seed catalogs.  This weekend I also did a little nursery crawling (no purchases, I was strong) and have started reading “Howards End”.  Nothing like a tale set in the English countryside to get one in the gardening mood.  Except it also makes me crave a cup of hot tea, which is not so great when the temperature is 104 degrees.  We’ve been drinking a lot of iced tea, but it’s not the same.  I digress.

The seed catalogs and nursery crawling, plus some good nights sleep have started to recharge me. Just in time too, because despite the blast furnace temperatures, it’s actually time to plan for the next gardening season.  September is our next “spring” where I can put in a full garden again.  Green beans, sugar snap peas, greens, kohlrabi, and tomatoes are all on the list.  Not only that, but I can add to the shrubbery and perennials.  I’m thinking Pigeon Berry on my front yard berms.  A Pride of Barbados in the midst of my Copper Canyon Daisies (the orange will just blast out of the yellow.)  I’m also going to put in some red Shrimp Plants and some Bat-faced Cuphea in my kumquat berm.  They will be nice companions to the Turk's Cap Hibiscus and Sea Oats that I already have planted.  I’m also thinking I’m going to plant a Pomegranate (the one I have just doesn’t get enough sun to fruit) and train it up the brick patio wall.

Ah, a girl with a plan.  I’m up and at ‘em.