Monday, August 1, 2022

The End of {Another} July

Mornings have been dark during this prolonged spell of almost daily rain. Although still humid, last night's weather included a cool breeze. I left the connecting doors open to the sunroom and east porch [the cats enjoy prowling through the extra space] and raised the bedroom window. 
In the predawn gloom a chilly damp wind stirred the curtains, blew across my bed. 

In the first weeks after the summer solstice there seems little change in the daylight. The glow of sunset lingers well after 9 p.m. This past week I've suddenly noticed the diminishing hours of light. 

I picked one and a half gallons of Roma beans yesterday forenoon, gathered glossy green peppers, hurrying into the house barely ahead of yet another downpour.
The beans have been snipped and cut, tucked into the downstairs fridge to wait for the next picking --likely sometime on Tuesday--to have enough to justify using the pressure canner.

J. made several trips from the garden this morning with produce which he arranged on the table and requested that the peppers and beans be brought out to ad to his photo session.

Potatoes not quite as large as some harvests, likely due to the June drought, but the tops are down and with the ground staying soaked they need to be lifted.

Roma beans, rinsed under the outdoor spigot, ready to cut.

Sunflowers against a grey and foggy sky.

Mexican torch flower.
Included in my spring 2020 seed order from Select Seeds was a free packet of torch flowers. They were unfamiliar, but I started several plants in the greenhouse. Only two made it to transplantable size. I positioned one near the west wall in the wildflower garden under construction. It became a giant thing, leaning out of the raised bed, and in the fall it showered the surrounding area with seeds. I expected to have a raft of torch flower 'babies' appear in 2021. There was not one!
Scrabbling about during mid-June I noted that two plants had appeared amidst a jungle of lemon balm upstarts. I wonder at that dormancy of a year.

Several attempts to capture the dainty prairie sage didn't result in a clear photo. The blue is more intense and the flowers have the typical shape of those in the labiatae family. The leaves have an almost acrid scent.

The "Jane" magnolias in the front yard have been inspired by the recent rains. 
The resident hummingbirds find them attractive momentary perches during their hectic zooming flights. 

"One Drive" evidently pulls photos from my online storage and presents some daily.
These are some of the Mule Deer who were regular visitors at our last Wyoming property. It was not unusual to open the living room curtains in the morning and find a deer standing just outside the window.
You can see the pond in the background. 
The deer were quite fearless, even coming onto the front porch and eating the struggling plants I had set out in tubs.

A handsome creature.

I was also presented with this bed full of dear, now departed cats.
From left to right below the pillows: Raisin, Oscar, Mrs. Beasley. 
Snuggled together are Eggnog and Zelda with the short-lived Homer curled by himself. 
Raisin and Eggnog lived to move to Kentucky with us.

I spent half an hour today trolling through several years of my archived blog posts. Nothing changes greatly. Some years the drought has come in June as it has this summer; at other times June is a time of rain with the drought occurring through July and August. Seldom are we blessed with a season when rainfall is pleasantly moderated encouraging optimum growth in the garden. 

I noted that we have often been frustrated in raising beets; last year we had beets in abundance, this year several successive plantings haven't germinated. 
As to flowers, I usually have several large pots overflowing with nasturtiums. This year, a few early blooms from seeds that had over-wintered. Successive plantings this year have given me only a few frail seedlings, none of which have bloomed.
A dozen years of gardening in Kentucky [this is our 13th summer] have proven that the tomatoes are always going to succumb to blight during July. 
We soldier on through drought and deluge, either too stubborn or too optimistic to quit gardening.



  1. So well written ~ I enjoyed this post immensely, much of which could have been happening outside my own doorstep. Gardening does have its trials and tribulations, but also its rewards. The mule deer is a handsome dude; love those antlers. My only surviving tomato plants are growing in pots of purchased soil. What should that tell me?

    1. Mary; I tried growing bush type tomato plants in big pots of purchased soil--they didn't go down with blight as I recall but neither did they produce. Who knew that tomatoes were such tempermental things? Every year we talk about radically down-sizing the garden. By late spring it always expands.

  2. I am waiting for the tomatoes to get blighted too. I've been trying not to water them late in the day, as that never seemed to help matters, but the 3 plants I bought ready-started this year are in a grow bag instead of big deep pots and dry out far quicker than I'd like in the Polytunnel, so evening watering has been a necessity. So far, so good and the few fruits that have ripened are v. tasty, if tiny, as they are Cherry tomatoes.

    The old photo of the bed-full of departed cats must have been a sad memory for you. I bet you don't miss those Mule Deer though.

    1. Jennie; We've decided that the canning tomatoes which appear at the local produce auctions are most likely raised under protected conditions. We've followed suggestions from dedicated gardens: plant heirloom varieties; spray weekly with a blight deterrent, dig epsom salts into the planting hole, etc--the plants still go down with blight. Oddly, cherry tomatoes seem resistant--nice for a salad but not for canning.
      Photos of my dear departed cats [or horses and dogs] always tug at my heart.
      The mule deer were interesting 'lurkers'. I didn't mind them except the year they ate the tops off my shrub roses!