melancholy august

august was cool this year. and wet. 

tomatoes-879441_1920

my garden is 15 steps off my back patio, and i’ve been neglecting it this year. tomato plants sprawl across the dirt and weeds; green beans that are much to large to eat hang from the spindly plants still, rather than being picked weeks ago to go in the freezer. 

the four hills of gourds – two pie pumpkin and two squash – have taken over the space, their creeping vines crawling up the broccoli plants and hiding in the cucumbers. it’s been so wet that the vines are still producing blossoms and new gourds at the same time its leaves are dying, revealing the orange and yellow foodstuffs. 

at the beginning of august, a barely perceptible change in the light caused me to panic – summer was coming to a close. the leaves were still green, the grass still growing (and me still mowing), and the sun still shining, but we there was a change in the season. more canada geese started flying overhead, their calls heading southward. instead of lazily sifting through pliant, green leaves, the wind started rattling through stiffer, more brittle leaves. i have heard no loons lately. 

august moved much too quickly, and already we’re into early september. this morning i took my small cup of coffee in my favorite summertime mug out onto my patio with a book. the sun, which would have lit up my entire patio two months ago, was still working to light up a quarter of the patio.

when i opened my patio door, a small flock of birds flitted out of the tomatoes in my garden, rising to the sky. a monarch fluttered around the browning squash leaves. i took the few steps out to pick the ripe tomatoes, peppers, and some dill. i checked the cucumbers, which are still putting out blossoms while the leaves are browning, getting ready to be done for the season. i will have pickles for years.

and while the leaves are still green, the grass still green and growing, cucumbers still mass producing, the light doesn’t lie. the earth is slowly tilting its north end away from the sun, seasons changing, time progressing. autumn is coming: the colors, the leaves, the smells, the harvests. 

i love fall, but i don’t like the season that follows it, and i don’t like the change in daylight. winter seems twice as long as all other seasons, but springtime will come again; it always does. 

what’s goin on!

thunderstorms woke me up this morning, so i was awake about an hour earlier than i wanted to be. so now i’m sitting on my couch in my log cabin living room watching a weather front come in and listening to the wind in the trees.

have i mentioned how much i like my new house?

anyway, some life updates for everyone.

running

i’ve been getting really fatigued lately while i’m running, and i’ve gone from “this is tolerable” to “this is miserable.” i did some research online, and it seems like i might have low iron, which apparently is a common thing for women who run. so i have started taking some iron supplements, and i actually might go in to the doctor to get my iron levels tested. in the meantime, we’ll see if the three days of supplements i’ve been taking affect my run tonight.

oh, and i guess i’m running a ragnar race. :/

work

summertime is always a little less hectic at work, which is nice. it’s a time when i can focus on things that’ve been sitting on my desk for months and work on bigger projects. i’m also working 4 10-hour days, so i’ve got a 3-day weekend every weekend. unfortunately, i always feel rushed in the evenings – i get home at 6:30, try to eat supper right aways so i have some time to digest before i go on a 45-min run and get in before sunset (i run on a 55-mph highway, so that’s almost imperative). i don’t want to eat supper late in the day, so that’s what hanging me up there. not sure what the answer is. 

one thing that’s happening that’s kind of cool is i’m helping present on an eorientation project we did at a national conference in washington dc. so this wednesday, i’m flying out to DC for four days. we’ll go to some of the conference, but we’ll also make sure we see some of the big stuff – monuments, smithsonian stuff, museums, etc. i’ve never been out there, so this will be exciting!

(actually, i’ve never been east of indiana [thanks liz], so this will be a real departure from my regular vacay destinations [westward ho!])

garden!

garden is blowing up! i love that it’s RIGHT THERE and it’s LARGE and i have tons of stuff in it. probably too much. we’ll see how the squash does. i planted four potato plants just because i like the occasional potato from the garden, but i don’t really keep them over winter. 

let’s see, what else: broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onions. butternut squash and pie pumpkins. that’s a lot. oh! and green beans. we’ll see how it all does. i’ve already got to get in there with my tiller to get rid of weeds.

i also got rid of my two “cemetery” trees that were next to the house. last fall, an ice storm pretty much ripped them in half and they were dead. i was like “ugh, where am i gonna find a chainsaw,” when i was out for a run and heard/saw (haha) my neighbors two doors down chainsawing in their backyard. i came back and they had moved to the front. i introduced myself and asked about some chainsaw services. they happily agreed! he even pulled out the stumps with his truck, which helped a TON. 

took them to the city compost and now i’ve planted two lilacs in their places. MUCH better.

(i also got two raspberry bushes while i was at the nursery and planted those on the end of the garden. excited for that!)

that’s all i’ve got. i might try to blog about DC, but we’ll see how tired i am at the end of the days. the weather front is closer, but it’s still rumbling thunder, so i’m not sure how long this will take. we need the rain, though! 

omgarden

1. last weekend i found a tiller on craigslist, so i bought that baby. $100 for a $300 tiller. not too shabby.

2. we’re ready to get the garden bed torn up! (or “tore” up as the local yokels say). friday, a guy i work with is coming over with his tractor and getting a 36’x18′ piece of yard tilled up so the grass will die. then he’ll come back and roll it all out. 

2.5. speaking of tilling, i dug up a little piece of dirt to see what we’re working with, and omgarden, it’s beautiful. no clay, a little sandy, grass roots not too deep. throw some compost in that bad boy, and that’ll just be fantastic.

3. meanwhile, i’m going through some brush around the house, and there are these vines all over the place. it’s very weird. they crawl up the trees and i’m assuming try to choke out the trees. so i’m going to have to do some research on that and figure out how to get them to stop propagating. 

4. meanwhile, peppers, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes are starting to grow. i’ve got to get them out in the coldish garage to start hardening up. 

so, i guess i’ll leave you with an april haiku:

greenery almost
longer sun, warmer days, but
april has an R

it’s starting…

i’ve got sweet peppers popping up, some brussels sprouts, and i just put tomato seeds in my dirt the other day! i’m hoping to get a guy in here to dig up a piece of ground for me, otherwise i’ll be renting a sodcutter and ruining my shoulders for a couple day this spring. 

march is such a blah month for me. not as blah as february, but it’s such a swing month. last week it was -10 overnight, and then 60 on saturday. come on! and usually it’s muddy and slushy and gross, but we didn’t have a ton of snow this winter, so i feel like that bullet was dodged (though it will probably have an effect on my gardening this summer unless april showers get all up in this business). 

i’m really looking forward to my garden this summer. it’s gonna be huge, in the sun, sans black walnut trees, and right out my back door. AND with my fancy pants new shed, i’ll have plenty of space to put my gardening junk. 

OH. and here’s the best thing i found out a couple weeks ago when i perused the property: i think have RASPBERRIES. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ 

it’s the little things.

like the deserts miss the rain*

File_002i have a deck. vegetables are in. sunflowers to come (charlie…). next weekend, i’m hoping to relax. 

tonight i came back up to central via mankato, which means i dipped into west central mn before getting into true central mn. i headed up the minnesota river valley for bit and then hit lake country. i visited two biomes on my way up here. and vastly different parts of mn. 

for the record, there is something weirdly different about west central mn versus southeastern mn. i’m not sure what it is – perhaps the farms are farther apart and seem a little more industrial; maybe it makes no assumptions about what it could be, what it really isn’t (southeastern mn does that a little bit): it knows it’s farmland and it will always be prairie. it’s a little more desolate. a little more hick. a little less “our poo don’t stink.”

i need some blogging ideas. what do you all want to read about?

MNbiomes*the title needs a little explanation. remember that 90s song – “and i miss you; like the deserts miss the rain…and i miss you…. like the deserts miss the rain.” etc etc. it’s a song called “missing” by the band  everything but the girl. i actually didn’t know the name of the song until i just now looked it up, because my HS friends and i called the “the biome song.” weird? yes. we had just learned about biomes when the song came out, and my friend chandra said that since it mentioned deserts, it would be the biome song. 

and minnesota has four biomes in it – tallgrass aspen parkland, prairie, deciduous forest, and coniferous forest. i drove through two, as i mentioned above. this explanation took up more space than the blog post itself did. wow. 

and we’re off

i’ve got four sweet pepper and two ancho (hottish) peppers up and peeking through. i was hoping for some of my green pepper seeds i saved from two years ago to do something, but so far nothing. oh well.  here’s hoping they’ll be getting bigger in the next week. i’ve got to get my tomatoes started! 

i’ve got a new plan this year for my seeds i’m starting. put them in the cold. apparently i’ve been coddling my veggies and they need some tough love, otherwise they die. so it might be a matter of putting them in the garage unless it’s 32ยบ out or less. right now they’re hanging out in the basement, so i’ve got to figure out a space for them in the garage.

ok, enough with a gardenblog update!

 

not good

i’m really sucking at blogging every day this year. i can’t even bring myself to post-date my blog posts so it looks like i’m blogging every day. 

i had a long weekend last weekend, and the most productive thing i did was plant my pepper seeds. that’s pretty pathetic as far as a three-day weekend goes, but huzzah for spring starting! once these seeds are up and transplanted out of the flat, i’ll start on the tomatoes. hopefully this year my seed starting will fare better than last year. charlie got me a great gardening book for christmas, and it’s already given me some tips, so here’s fingers crossed. 

peppers

little of this, little of that

i need to inventory my seeds so i know what i need to get for planting this spring. i know i have enough bean seeds, and i have some tomato seeds. i also need to figure out how to make tomato seedlings that actually survive outside ๐Ÿ™ 

i’m hoping to have another plot this spring – i haven’t gotten anything from community ed yet, but here’s hoping. $15 was well worth the space. 

this year: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans (not as many this year), pumpkins (big ones!), squash, potatoes, peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, try onions again, carrots (? maybe), rotating lettuce possibly. i threw in some flower seeds at the end, and that was really nice! it was pretty!

that’ll be a nice thing to get started to get through winter doldrums.

in which i pontificate on my garden

oh, weedy garden. somehow i’ve gotten you back from the brink and you’re producing vegetables!

yesterday, i pulled a ripe cherry tomato from my plants! it was delicious. there are green beans ready to be picked, and my kohlrabi are sprouting up! my squash selections are going nuts, and i’ll have to thin them out eventually. 

it’s raining today, which we needed, so tomorrow if it’s not too muddy, i’ll try to get out and take some photos of the vegs.