Fall will be here shortly now as the days get shorter and even up here harvest is slowly but surely kicking in.
The softer Summer
This year we have been fortunate to have a less than metal melting temp average up here.. We ARE closer to the Sun y’all now right ?
Our Groves all manage to be to the North and to the West of us, we are the transition to high prairies and desert rock formations .
Walking from the West end of our drive to our Eastern border , you can see the wildflowers , bushes and trees dwarf . Wild roses that are full and round at around six foot , shrink to withering clumps at around five inches from beginning to end of the property . Evergreens give way to prairie grasses as we stroll from our Northern border to the house.
Our more normal summers tend to fry plants early on no matter what we do. In a matter of days , from the end of July , normally, to the first week of August , you can watch plants that were full and green , flowers covering them to tan wisps of fluff.
Yes.. It is no less this year , but many others actually got a little large instead of hitting the dormant stage this time of the season . Several perennials are actually thriving as of yet though others got hit hard this last week.
I only water a couple days over the week and most of that is drip. Having the water out on the East side for the week really showed . The Service Berry tree that will, eventually, shade the Bedroom got a little crispy . Once they do that , you can forget about new growth.
We have had several people over the years ask;
” Well why don’t you plant trees to keep the house cool ? “
Well…. We did.. DUH….Nothing gets bigger for at least 4 years after it is planted. After that , you have to really pay attention to notice.. Then suddenly they will jump a bit….and hopefully that winter doesn’t kill them , or the following Spring.
This last Spring , we lost several evergreens that JUST hit their growth including “Zen ” That was a hard blow. Scraggly little bushes just turned into lush greenery only to have one week of what was near to mid summer temps from only a couple weeks of being snow free… That killed them all in a matter of a couple days.
Winter had trashed several other plants. The harsh snow storm that Ended Winter crushed several plants that were getting their growth on, pushing them back years , if they survive until the next growth .
Sooooo…. Having a nice soft Summer has been big for us. Yes, veggies are all a little behind , and yet , we have lost fewer plants than normal for around now.
We have like a mazillion tater plants and more and more of Ma’s Zuke seeds sprouted plants… Zuke harvest is STILL only a few a week. Only time will tell if Fall Harvest catches us up. A few small peppers are all we are getting as of yet , but normally it takes until September until we get them going.
The big trick this year is going to be whether we get a nice comfortable Fall to harvest in.. With the cooler softer weather we , of course, worry that we could be seeing cold temps hit sooner.. We would be , once again , short on our canning.
I mentioned before that things are still slow. We are getting more potatoes simply cresting above the soil that we pick , if they are large enough , than we have ever had up here. That is a great sign.
Our corn looks as if maybe it’ll be next year , but we should get some ears , just nothing fancy , however, that garden should hit peak this coming year.
Our tomato plants are getting ever larger though the tomatoes are all green. I also mentioned at some point that this is fairly normal as well.
The shorter season up here makes it tight for ripe fruits.
Our apple trees all look really good. We wont have as many apples as last year , but we should do just fine assuming the damn Silver Grey squirrels that wiped us completely out year before last don’t hit us too hard again this year. One , for sure, has been a pain and they are just short of impossible to stop with the grove just beyond the apple trees.
Pears are doing just fine . There aren’t lots but they are producing.
Most of our prunes I have found on the ground from the winds , but there are still many on the tree so we will see how that all ends.
Before I move along here , I have a very quick story;
I was getting ready to go into Hummie Garden Saturday as I was watering and checking veggies etc. I ALWAYS try to keep an eye open for things that will mess me up , which is more of a task than it has been with my stupid eyes.
I stepped to the gate to open it when I saw the body of a snake across the stone immediately in front of my feet. Head end was in the plants as well as the tail end.
Now I don’t want to hear about any ” Well , did it have a rattlesnake pattern? “
Seriously? I was amazed that I saw it at all . I started to jump back when it saw me and freaked as well.
” HEY! Just a garden snake here Da . Look! See! No rattle ! Crap! You scared the mouse out of me for crying out loud! Don’t grab a shovel or shotgun.. Just a weenie little snake looking for mice and bugs. ”
” Hmmph!….. You COULD have been a rattler..”
” The Hell I could!” He looked up at me with a glare. “ I am not a fan of rattle snakes either.. Friggin Big arse blind old human. “
” Hey! Friggin rude arse wiggling meat hose. “
” Don’t make me bite you.”
“Don’t make ME bite You!”
” You know…. Snakes say Phhhhhtttt ! Funny.. You have a lissssp.. “
” Not very PC are you?”
” You’re a snake.. get over it…”
Absolutely indignant , the snake slid into the plants of Hummie Garden… I could feel him watching me, tossing out a ;
“Phhhhssssssttttt” as I walked by.
” Lisssssppping.. “
Snakes can’t storm off by the way…. Just sayin’
Ma , my better half , sees far more animals than I do.. For two reasons.
A) my eyes are really getting bad. I am not sure if it is cataracts ( which is quite probable ) or if it is something in my neck or head . As bad as my headaches are it could go that way too.
2) She is around more than I am .
It seems that the dang elk wait just out of sight until I leave in the wee hours , calling in to Ma to make sure I have left.. dang sneaky Ninja Elk . They also like to sneak in at night . Since when are Elk quiet? Normally we hear them all over Zen…and yet , they slip into their little shozoku outfits and sneak under the dang Master bath window where the watering hole is. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if they left a guard peeking in the window while they gather . Dang slippery elks ….
Our does are FINALLY bringing in the fawns. our girl has one of the larger kids having dropped her’s fairly early on. The fawn is already losing her spots though others still have theirs going strong and are a little smaller yet.
Our girl brought in the kids on Saturday to visit. Ma was on the porch while I was in my office. They ignored Ma for the most part while they hung out. Suddenly the little girl’s ears pricked , her legs got stiff and she tried to get taller to look father out. Being curious , I went to the Master Bath to have a look. There was another doe with another fawn coming in. The two young girls played a bit while their mothers chatted at the pond and mineral block. One of the girls decided to leave before her daughter was finished playing. The fawn although watching her mom head out refused to leave her friend..
“Fine , Grandma will watch you then. I’ll be back tomorrow..”
” Wait! What? Dang it! Just five more minutes mom.. “
” Going.. “
” Gawwwwhhh!! I NEVER get to have any fun !” And with that , she hopped off to catch up to her mom who was just cresting the ridge to the south.
Our girl and , well , her girl , stayed for awhile and made sure to come back again this morning to hang out .
We have new baby bunnies around as well. Ma has seen several mid sized bunnies while I saw one very large for up here. I saw it race across the yard , which is pretty much more than I can see well. I had thought it was a cat maybe. It stopped by the junipers where I could see the shape if not a good look at it. I finally could see it was very large cottontail.
Later that morning , I was out watering when I almost stepped on a weenie little bunnie. The thing was pretty much palm size. No wonder I didn’t see it. Every time I went back out , she was hanging in the shade of one of the veggie plants.
That afternoon , I heard a squeal out that way. I looked but didn’t see anything. It was in Eden so no coyote kids or bobcat .. or bigger.. could have gotten to it. I haven’t seen a snake big enough which leads to probably a Raptor if anything got it and even then , only a Red Tail Hawk would be big enough to carry it off . Maybe a Harrier . None of our smaller hawks or falcons could have and wrong time of the year for eagles… Or maybe one of her siblings snuck up behind her and poked her in the ribs… Everybody squeals when someone does that so…….
The days are beautiful up here. Winds come and go…ok , fine, they get stronger and not as strong..whatever… We have gotten a little rain , hoping for more again soon.
It was cool enough that Saturday I even threw some wood into the wood stove to break the chill .
I haven’t gotten crap done this summer between my right knee , which led to right hip and on to left knee plus going into the Sun makes it so I can’t see crap.. Sunglasses only help so much. Any form of cheaters only makes the blurry crap bigger blurry crap.
On the bright side, I have spent some time working in the studio so that is generally fun….
My dang comp was driving me Batty however… It can’t handle the load of my studio software. Freezing up and completely whacking out on recording and playback had me pitching a fit again. What should have taken some 3-5 minutes had me starting restarting over and over and over for more than two hours before I got a tiny piece added to one of the new songs.
During my morning mush , I came up with a second song to work on.. I imagine we will see around the Holidays what comes from them. I also have a few ideas that came up while I was messing with my acoustic guitars in Alt tunings… Those, meh… They may come to something eventually..time will tell.
Zen he shows up
The days getting shorter , it is no stretch for Ma and I to be out on the porch LONG before the Sun gets his lazy butt out of bed.
Ma made it out before I did, only through some freakin Ninja stealth sneakery while I lay in bed.. Until she made it to the kitchen where I heard her bustling about …..
I opened my eye to stare at the clock ……It took some time……
” Freakin % am already…Crap…It was JUST 2am.. What the… Gawwwhhhh!”
I rolled out of bed…and got tangled up in the covers…Pulling a Kilroy over the edge of the bed, I made my way to a sitting position and got ready for the morning….
Now I am totally sure that the mirror still works but as I know where my brush is and my tie back I don’t need no stinkin’ mirror anyway… I have a pretty good idea where all my parts are . A few minutes later I was hobbling out to the kitchen fumbling for my coffee cup.
Now I don’t fill my cup.. for multiple reasons.. Not the least of which.. The Storm Door hates me… Generally it’ll wait until I am not paying attention and then it will close super fast catching my heel in the door making me trip. Only having half a cup , I usually don’t spill too much when momentum meets a dead stop as my body pulls some Wiley Coyote move ; stretching 99% of the way to my chair and then springs back slamming my back into the door Ala Coyote meets Boulder… So far so good , I have yet to have an ACME truck hit me from said doorway.. So I have THAT going for me….
The other reason is I tend to end up with 3/4 of a cup of cold coffee if I fill it any more…
I grabbed my camera..STILL dark out but you just never know up here. My coffee , camera and I made it to the chair to sit with Ma as I watched the colors of predawn begin to form….
” Man I was fast asleep. What time did you wake up ? “
” Just now…”
” Freakin Ninja Ma moves.. Sneaking out of bed.”
” I didn’t sneak, I just.. got up..”
” Freakin Ninja.. Probably wearing Freaking Ninja Elk shozoku..”
While we sat , Ma giggling over my predawn rhetoric looked through what’s new in the knitting neighborhood.
The sky dark with the exception of a fine line of orange across the far ridge line , I saw Dennis in a hurry coming up out of the draw.
” Morning Dennis. “
” Busy.. Mornin Da. Morning Mama. “
He padded his way up to the very edge of Limpy’s Patrol path and stopped. He snooped a bit over what was some sign of some damn thing before he looked at us , shrugged and headed back…
” Really? ” I groused at him .”You didn’t even stop at the Pit. I put out goodies for you and everything. “
” You put vegetables on it. Completely ruined the meat with nasty veggies. How am I suppose to choke that down? Exactly? “
” You DO realize you eat dead things right? “
” Mostly , yup.”
” Like road kill. “
“ Five week rule. “
” Yeah but.. “
” I draw the line at lima beans. “
” There were NO lima beans .. Ma draws the line at Lima beans too. “
” Yeah , well there were some kinda beans.”….He glared at me ” Beans give me gas. “
” Well.. eat the carrots too then..Think outside the box. “
“What box? There’s a box? What’s in the box? Beans?”
” No , seriously? Is it like some freakin Bean Box? because I don’t want anything to do with freakin Bean Boxes.. Or eggplants…. Possibly corn.. “
” I hear ya little Dude.. Eggplant is like devil fruit.”
” Hey Now!” Ma perks up. Eggplants are good..
Dennis and I rolled our eyes..He snickered then and padded over the berm and yond.
Hummie’s kin showed up then. Still a good time before the Sun would rise. They had heard us out and about , making their way in to visit before we all break up for the day.
In moments eight to ten hummies were flitting about in the gloom of pre dawn. Moments later , the first scuffle broke out between them. A pair of this year’s girls fighting over sitting on the fence though there was plenty of room. the two of them spiraling into the sky chirping at one another before diving and flying into the porch between Ma and I.
I had to laugh as they flew about , between and around us as they squabbled.
The colors of pre dawn filling the sky as slowly the Sun woke, shaking off the colors of night , crawling from under covers to start yet just
Another day on Zen Mountain