Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Flurry of Small Accomplishments

We had a few days when the high temps registered in the 80's--a welcome change from the searing 90's that have been the norm for many weeks.
Mornings were relatively cool, a time to walk about outdoors.

I tackled the sprawling growth of the lavenders--which should have been pruned back weeks ago.
Several plants have suffered badly from so much moist heat; those I cut nearly to stubs hoping they will revive.
The rugosas along the steps have been clutching at me whenever I walked by. I put on gloves and attacked them with the clippers.
Edward was interested in my labors and kept me company.

You can see the most damaged lavender in front of the little fence.
The rugosas were encouraged by the cooler weather and produced a few clusters of fragrant blooms--which were quickly spoiled by Japanese beetles. 

I knew last spring that I should have culled more of the cockscomb seedlings.
It requires fortitude to uproot anything lustily growing.
The variegated vinca was totally out of bounds--and I did prune that severely in June.
It had clambered out onto the walk, trailed along the base of the porch, rampaged over cranesbill, attempted to throttle the garish petunias which are determined to seed themselves by the 
corner of the wall.
I hacked it off by yard-long streamers.


It has been pleasant to be out before breakfast, to walk down the lane before the heat of the day swallows up the morning freshness.

Contrails against a blue sky.

The waning moon.

A sparkling web festooning the fence by the dry goats' pasture.

The four nasturtium plants I settled in a big pot in May provided a climbing, tumbling mass of bloom through the sweltering weeks of July. I clipped back the long tired stems hoping to encourage new growth, but the stems went lank and wispy.
Last week I pulled most of them out, leaving a few infant seedlings that have generated from the parent plants.
Nasturtiums give up the ghost at the first hint of frost, so, while cold weather seems far away at the moment, there may not be time for the tiny plants to reach blooming size.

Indoors, during the hot hours of mid-day [and with the A/C blasting cooler air] I have canned a box of tomatoes purchased from the Beachy Amish produce farm nearby. We have usually bought tomatoes at the Mennonite produce auction in the next county, with Jim bidding in 8 or 9 boxes--an over-whelming amount to process at once.
My thought this year is to buy a box or two at a time and make the project a bit easier.

I swept down the walls and shelves of the basement pantry/root cellar and rearranged the canned goods from several years past. 
When sorted into regimented rows I found I had 48 qts of tomatoes on hand.  I would like to put up that many more.
I am reluctant to give up growing and preserving much of our own food, but several factors are forcing me to reevaluate. We don't have a good garden spot on this property, and thus far Jim has not made a priority of the raised beds which would make it more comfortable for me to continue gardening. He is balking at putting more effort into the shady plot at the south end of his workshop.

We have been considering which veg crops are more labor-intensive for what they yield [as in sweet corn enough to freeze]  the green beans [badly damaged this year by Mexican bean beetles]  which must be pressure-canned. 
I will buy locally grown tomatoes [we have been unsuccessful in controlling tomato blight] to can as I have never found commercially canned tomatoes that have anything like the quality of those which I process myself.  Beets, okra, Swiss chard, cantaloupe grow reasonably well 
in our rather heavy soil. 

Working around the tomato canning, riding along with Jim on several outings to collect tractor parts, I still managed to finish two skirts for myself. 
A perennial bugbear of my busy and productive spells is that my mind refuses to turn off at bedtime!
Creative endeavors have a way of sparking my imagination, reminding me of projects still to be finished, shifting my brain into an over-drive that refuses to quit!
Midnight [or later] finds me awake in my comfortable bed, body tired, mind busy with intriguing possibilities. 
I have been tired today--inwardly cross, my only creative accomplishment the four loaves of oatmeal bread now cooled and bagged for the freezer. 

Our extended forecast is for yet another week of  hot weather--too hot for outdoor work.
I have put in my order for 2 more boxes of canning tomatoes. 
There are several sewing/quilting projects in the 'to be finished' pile.
I need to finish transcribing my notes for a genealogy report undertaken for friends, need to continue with work on my own family tree.

I have been fairly successful at restricting time spent reading online about our deplorable election year battles--this does leave me more focused and with more time to work.

I wonder how the coming week will unfold.
Surely I will not be bored!


  1. Just discovered they have an Amish produce auction nearby. Looks like it's a great place to get produce. I suspect that several of the sellers at the farmer's market get their produce there. That picture of the mist on the hills is just beautiful. Reminds me of Scotland. Hope the cooling trend continues!


    1. Jane; If you have traveled to Scotland I am envious! My maternal Scottish ancestors were deported to New England early on [being on the losing side in the Battle of Worcester] but I would love to visit the area where their clan was established.
      Re the produce auctions: we've noted there is quite a bit of exchange between the auction and the local small growers [nearly all some sort of Amish or Mennonite] Even if we come away with nothing, a visit to the big auction once or twice a season is a pleasant outing.

  2. With all that you do, I don't see any boredom. You are an inspiration.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; You are likewise inspiring--you battle the heat to keep your tropical gardens within bounds--and then go inside to create lovely things!

  3. Glad you starting to be able to be out in the yard again, it's still too hot here and I despair for my garden.

    1. Janet; The perennial border I have tried to establish is a shambles at the moment--why do weeds thrive on hot and humid and the desirable plants keel over?

  4. I don't think I envy you that hot weather, we have relatively warm weather but then the garden needs a lot of watering. Think gardening is always hit and miss with plants, as for vegetables grow your favorites and don't be ambitious!

  5. Thelma; Gardening is indeed a 'hit and miss'--always something weather-wise that defeats our best efforts! There are more varieties of blights and bugs here in the mid-south east than I had imagined--I think our winters aren't cold enough to freeze them out. I will undoubtedly have to keep fine-tuning my gardening efforts, both to suit the climate and my aging knees [which protest at hours of weeding!]

  6. You've certainly been busy! I too have been cutting back overgrown plants in the garden, starting the process of autumn clearing. Not today though as it's raining. Time to catch up with blogging friends:)