After a very cool, wet June, we have had two hot sticky days with no rain. More rain and cooler days ahead, but it has allowed walks without umbrellas or raincoats and being able to inspect my hives for the first time since I installed them. This is a very different experience than last year. The two medium boxes for brood on each hive are bursting with honey, eggs, and brood. So many bees. I added a queen excluder to each hive and a honey super on each in hopes of some fall honey. The sourwood is just beginning to bloom so they will be busy, the fields are full of daisies and since we haven’t had a mower in over two weeks, the lawn is full of white and red clover.

The shelf unit I put on the front porch with houseplants has a Wren nest tucked between pots. I think is was a practice nest as it hasn’t been occupied. I will leave it for a few more days before I remove it.

Walks have had some wildlife to see, yesterday a box turtle who didn’t seem to like the attention it was getting and today a caterpillar that has been parasitized with several eggs on it’s back.

The garlic pulled was brought in to the garage and hung in bundles to cure for storage. The garage smells very garlicy now and will until the leaves dry and the skins dry.

Since we live in a log home, we have had annual problems with Carpenter Bees. They drill holes in the facia boards and lay their eggs. That is less of a problem than once they hatch, the woodpeckers peck at the wood to get the larvae. This year the woodpeckers have been relentless, so we purchased 4 owls with a bell and mylar strip and hung them in strategic places hoping that they will discourage any more early morning pecking and stop the damage they are doing.

The month is fading away, July and August bring harvest and processing, a busy time.

Poor Planning

Times 2. Yesterday while driving into town, the low tire pressure warning came on the fancy electronic dashboard of the newer CRV. The car did not come with a spare, just a tire pump that you plug into the outlet in the console. This was the second time in two days the warning had come on. Having pumped it up in a parking lot the first time. We again stopped in a lot and pumped up the tire and drove to the dealer repair shop to have it checked out/repaired. Unfortunately, we arrived just as the entire shop went on lunch break and the service advisor warned us it would be about two hours because they had all just gone on lunch and there were scheduled appointments to be done as well. We really had no choice as it was obvious that there was a problem with the front tire. The dealership is in a busy, basically industrial area, but we walked off between the industrial park and a small neighborhood and wandered up and down streets for 2 miles of our daily 4 mile walk then sat in the dealership waiting area for the duration, a total of 3.5 hours to pull a nail and plug the tire. Next time, I will try to better schedule our emergency.

This did allow me a lot of spinning time, as usual attracting much attention as to what I was doing and conversation about what I would do with the yarn.

We did continue our walk on a nicer trail to finish the remaining 2 miles once we were done and since it was now late afternoon, used a free pizza coupon to share a small pizza and salad for an early dinner.

Last night’s and today’s knitting has me within 1/4 of the last lace row of the Hap shawl on which my spinning is resting. Once that row is complete, there is only one plain knit row and the stretchy bind off, which adds a stitch for every two you bind off to give it the stretch, so that should take me a good bit of time. Hopefully, it will be finished by tomorrow evening and can be soaked and blocked to shape.

Today’s poor planning was to actually believe the weather app that indicated that it would be mostly sunny today and tomorrow, so I mixed up another gallon of soapy white vinegar and resprayed areas in the garden paths that the first spraying didn’t fully kill off and then around the outer perimeter of the garden to spray the Smartweed and Creeping Charlie to keep them from migrating back into the garden. We then left to run a couple of errands and take a wood’s walk only to run into light rain on the way home, so probably wasting a gallon of white vinegar this morning.

This wee one was so close to the house just before we left this morning.

We recently discovered a park across the road from the river park where we often walk along the trail on the river’s edge. The two parks are joined by a walking/biking tunnel under the road and the park is fully wooded with both a paved bike path and several unpaved walking paths crossing a creek on two wooden bridges. Walking this park gives us 2 miles and then we walk back to the river park and do the second 2. It makes a very pleasant walk.

Milkweed on the edge of the open meadow.

Virginia Day flower on the edge of the trail in the woods.

Virginia Day flowers on the edge of the trail in the woods.

One of the two tunnels, this one is the rail tunnel between the parks that allows cars into the river park. No photo of the corrugated metal walking tunnel under the road.

So, the moral is to plan our emergencies in order to not wait long hours, and to not trust the National Weather service app.

Trying to Get it Together

A month ago, we were walking a very brisk 3 miles per day for health and fitness, then his health failed us. A surgery, a heart attack, 10 days in the hospital and home with medical equipment that made walking difficult, along with lack of energy and lack of appetite. Beginning last week, we began walking laps in the house. This week we headed back out to the Huckleberry Trail, paved and flat on the section we are doing and marked with mileage on the dedication plaques on the benches along the way. We have done a mile and a half for three days in a row, not brisk, but at least out and moving. He is still weak and wobbly, the meds cause dizziness and lower blood pressure, though his blood pressure is already low. Friday we see the cardiology team member and hopefully some adjustment will be made to make him less dizzy. Our walks totally wear him out. While he rests, I tackle household and garden chores.

Today was a garden day plus laundry. When I built the boxes winter before last, I put two long ones too close together. The shorter of them was supposed to have corn and pumpkins in it, both of which were mostly to total failures. Today, that box was cleared and with a pry bar to lift the end, flipping it on it’s side, and moving one end then the other, it was placed around the 8 blueberry bushes. The area around the bushes was weeded, yet again, and the cardboard from the water heater we had to purchase during the summer was cut to fit around the bushes and 4 bags of Cypress mulch dumped on top. Another 4 bags are needed to get the depth I need, but it is a start. The area between the two boxes will be mulched down and the 6 half barrels of raspberries and blackberries will be place there freeing up space for another 4 X 4′ bed if I decide it is needed.

The Creeping charlie and the insidious bane of a weed outside the box need to be attacked more vigorously than I managed today. They are taking over the garden.

When we went out for the walk, 3 bags of raised bed soil was purchased and one of the 4 X 4 boxes was amended and filled in preparation to plant the garlic that arrived earlier this week.

We have our first frost predicted for Saturday night, right at the time it usually comes, so all of the mature peas were picked, the sweet potatoes dug. The experiment planting the sweet potatoes in a half barrel didn’t produce many with any size of them. There are plenty to slice and roast though. The peas were shelled and enjoyed with dinner.

Tomorrow or Saturday, all of the peppers with any size on them will be harvested as the peas and pepper plants won’t survive a frost. Peppers will be dried, chopped and frozen, pickled, or made into infused Olive Oil or fermented hot sauce. That will be the end of the garden unless the little green house protects the greens within, and the garlic will be planted out in a couple more weeks and covered with straw. As soon as the rest of the asparagus die back, they will be burned off to kill any Asparagus beetle eggs and the weeds I couldn’t reach. Then that bed will also be mulched down with straw or the wood chips in the coop that need to be cleaned out before the hens have to spend more time inside. The hens have been getting more free range time and I think they are hiding eggs again. It is molt season, so they will reduce laying while their energy goes into making clean new feathers.

There are more cardboard boxes in the garage that contain vents and parts for the roof repair on Son 2’s RV. Those boxes will be used in the garden and mulched heavily when they are emptied.

The garden season is ending. This year it is time. My plan will have to be redrawn with the moving of the box and the half barrels, decisions made on what will and will not be planted next year. The end of the season is always bittersweet.