I’m just not that fond of summer. It’s too darned hot. The beginning of the week reminded me once again how long and miserable a day can be when working outdoors in the blazing sun. I’m happy for you vacationers who spend time at the beach.
I have running conversations with my workers about the benefits of long-sleeved shirts. I like the protection from UV rays, insects and poison ivy. I find that sunscreen does not allow my skin to breathe and therefore I am much hotter. An oversized linen or cotton shirt is my garment of choice as well as seeking shade whenever possible.
It goes without saying that a wide-brimmed hat is a must. I’ve been thinking about desert peoples in the north of Africa and their complete coverage of the body.
I will say, however, that plants have gone crazy. The ample rainfall at the month’s beginning, coupled with a few sunny weeks have greenery jumping out of the ground. Naturally, the weeds grow faster — why oh why? It must be one of life’s great mysteries. My bad habits are much easier to maintain than any hope for the good ones.
I love the house at the end of the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road. The blue door and cobalt planters combined with the climbing rose are very attractive. Just across State Road the lovely purple rose is in full bloom. I mention it every year. It is heading up into the tree next to it in a pleasing fashion.
I read years ago that each rose variety has a determined number of petals. For some reason, that fascinates me. It’s remarkable that nature can be so precise yet so unpredictable at times. Look how seldom the weatherman is correct. I mean partly sunny or partly cloudy for Pete’s sake.
The vegetable garden has gotten away from me once again. I have yet to plant any main crops. I have a row of green beans with tiny beans, a few pathetic cucumbers and one sad zucchini. I vow to get the bulk of my seeds into the ground this week.
We have been eating tons of sugar snap peas every day and pulling handfuls of baby carrots happily.
Some of the perennial beds are downright spectacular. The shade areas with astilbe, large hostas and cimicifuga are breathtaking. I love the hostas’ ability to block the growth of weeds.
Daylilies require a lot of maintenance. It is already necessary to deadleaf and they haven’t even bloomed. If they aren’t fussed over they can become eyesores rapidly. Don’t even think you can neglect spraying with Bobex or some other deer repellent. The rascals will wipe out every single bud in one night on an unprotected row. We spray on the job sites and there is always some commentary on the odor. My one-time worker Abigail used to say it was the end-of-the-day smell and meant she could head home.
I talked about my new little pigs last week. One escaped in the first 24 hours. After an entire day of sightings and chasings, son Reuben came to the rescue. He tackled the little guy, who tried to bite him and took him for a tumble in the blackberry brambles. A determined young man, Reuben held on against all odds and finally wrestled the piglet back into the pen. Being a clever animal, she immediately escaped again through the undetected hole in the fence. We gave up hoping for a speedy demise of the critter. Wouldn’t you know, the next morning she was back laying next to her buddy with the fence between them. We lifted up the side and she walked right into the pen. Words simply cannot express feelings at such times.
A year ago last winter I seeded two packages of Alpine strawberries. The Latin name, fragaria vesca, is known as fraises des bois in France. They have been popular in Europe for centuries and predate the hybrid strawberry that we all know and love. In fact, they are not related at all.
One of the packages said yellow Alpine — I thought it meant the flower would be yellow. Color me surprised to find the fruit itself is an ivory or creamy white. They are sweet and delicious when fully ripe. Who knew? I did a little research and found that the plant will produce fruit in as little as four hours of sunlight a day. I find them very attractive as a border plant in a perennial bed. They do not produce pesky runners but are propagated by division every few years.
Isn’t it remarkable that Eric Cantor, the House Majority leader, blamed the Democrats for failing to pass the Farm Bill? With a Republican majority in Congress, it should not have been a problem for Speaker Boehner to get the votes.
Democrats voted no because of the Draconian cuts to the Food Stamp program. The 62 Republicans who voted no did so because they wanted bigger cuts to food stamps for the poor and their children.
How do they sleep at night?