Monday, July 6, 2015

Working Through The Wet

Bursts of rain continued through the weekend.
On Friday morning, hearing the rain pound on the metal roof as I did upstairs chores, I fetched my camera and took photos through the windows. 
Several didn't come out well as the pattern of the window screens made too heavy a grid overlaying the images of the misty landscape. 
This one, taken from the middle bedroom on the north side of the house, looks over the roof of the back entry which the Amish owners used as a wash house and summer kitchen.
Beyond, the woods lie dripping and dark.

The corner room on the north east side of the house looks directly into a tulip poplar. 
The ground slopes down from the house, so there is the sense from the second story of being in 
a tree house.
We slept in this bedroom for the first weeks here.  The tree was bare of leaves then and I enjoyed the view from my pillow each morning, looking through the uncurtained window into the branches.

Although today [Monday] was predicted to be clear, there was heavy fog early on.
At 7 A.M. the lower house and barns were nearly invisible.
Morning fog has been present for the past two weeks.

I shifted pots of seedlings around on the edge of the porch while Willis and Charlie kept watch for anything suspicious that might appear out of the mist.

The day did clear late in the morning, blessing us with the most sunshine we have seen in days.
Jim announced that he needed a few light fixtures from Lowes, which meant I could be dropped at Krogers next door to buy groceries.
We brought along a thermal cooler for the perishables, as Jim intended returning 
by way of the Cane Valley property.
While he mowed the yard there, I removed the latest collection of small branches shed by the silver maples [called 'water maples' locally] weeded the flower strip along the front entry, and dug up two clumps of Stella d'Oro daylilies which grow along the back patio. We found them there, overtaken by grass and weeds, when we began renovating the property in May, 2014.
Jim kept forgetting they were there and mowing over them.
Today as he bore down on me with the mower, I wrenched roots from the ground, bundled them into a cardboard box.  I have replanted them in the gravely edge of the garden plot near the workshop, backed against the railroad ties that support the low end of the area.

Friday's gardening efforts between showers.
I noticed the unmistakable signs that a hornworm had been devouring tomato plants.
Although I found damage on three plants and the tell-tale piles of beady 'poops' beneath the plants my search turned up only one worm--which I promptly smashed.
Squelching about, with rain dripping down my neck, I picked a colander full of mud-splattered 
green beans.
The half-drowned bean bushes are looking stressed.
Several small cucumbers , trying to grow in the wet, were covered in white mold.

I often wonder why we gardeners, against all reason, pit our labors against the weeds and the weather, season after season.
I had hoped the ground would dry out and Jim could use the small tiller--not yet, as merely walking between the rows leaves soggy depressions to fill with yet more rainwater.

 I hacked out some coarse weeds along the fence below the garden--with assistance from Charlie-cat.
I scraped a shallow trench and flung in saved seed--miniature sunflowers, zinnias, a few cosmos.
It is late for planting, the rocky ground may be inhospitable--but then again, perhaps a few will germinate and flower late in the summer to brighten that rather dull area.

This is not a flattering view of the patch of ground part way down the drive.
It was obvious that the Miller family had grown something there in previous years.
Jim tilled it this spring and I diligently picked rocks--and more rocks.
We decided not to plant vegetables there, and when Gina gifted me in May with an armload of iris roots I poked them into a straggling row.
The tiger lilies brought from the edge of the Cane Valley lot went in there also.
It began to rain soon after I planted them and weeds grew voraciously.
Due to the moisture and lack of blazing sun, the roots settled in with little wilting.
I whacked away with Jim's favorite triangular hoe, grubbing out a bit of breathing room.
With a 'what can I lose?' attitude, I threw in more of my saved seed.
I considered getting down on my creaky knees to weed--at least the weeds easily give up their roots in such weather--but by then was thoroughly damp, achy and cross.
Thoughts of a shower, dry clothes and a session of baking lured me inside.

I went out again late in the afternoon, stepping gingerly along the muddy path into the 
edge of the woods.
Water has streamed down the sides of the ridges, reactivating the little brook which ran here in 
early spring.

Water pools near the brush pile.

Along the west edge of the path, yellow mushrooms have proliferated.

They look like brilliant blossoms against the wet black earth.
This is our 6th summer in Kentucky.
Each season has been different--- early spring, cold late spring, summers of intense heat, July droughts, blazing August days, now this summer of rain.
We were warned this weekend by a friend who is a Kentucky native, that within a week of the rain ceasing we will be noting that the ground is too dry and the crops need more rain!


  1. It's frustrating being a gardener isn't it? Too hot, too dry, too many things wanting to eat our veg, too many veg!!! We never have things in balance!

    I hope that the Cane Valley property sells soon and you don't have to keep maintaining the garden there as well as struggling with your new plot.

    Our house has just gone back on the market, but beleive me, it is NOT in the pristine state of last year's photos so I need to get into overdrive this week.

  2. This was a good newsy post. We rarely see fog here and to me it is always a treat.

    We could use some rain down here, most of the rain stays north of us so far. I did some hand watering and used the sprinkler since it was one of my days I'm allowed to use them.

    May you see more sunshine and your vegetable perk up and give you an abundant crop.


  3. Enjoyed reading your post and remembering all of the frustration and hard work connected with gardening we went through when we lived in the country. Lovely pictures.

  4. Sounds like down here in Georgia. It's feast or famine as far as the rain. Love the view from your windows.

  5. We've had torrential downpours these last two days, but the sun has just come out, I think my advice would be don't do too much in the garden, given the challenges of the Kentucky climate!

  6. We've had a lot of rain and fog too. Strange weather for summer. In spite of the weather, you still have an enviable place!

  7. Your writing style and voice remind me of Sue Hubble, an author I love. If you ever have time to read you might enjoy, "A Country Year".