Friday, August 14, 2015


Our last stay at the farm concluded on Monday, July 27. I hated to leave. I had put much effort into the raised bed gardens this summer, successfully growing tomatoes and summer squash. We were just at the point of fruition and now I had to leave. Knowing I would be away for more than two weeks, I put extra water on everything, as if it would possibly be enough. I also purchased four sets (16) of “plant nannies,” clay spikes that support 2-liter bottles of water, allowing the water to seep slowly into the drying soil. It was the best I could do.
See Bess?
Looking southwesterly from the house

Yesterday (Thursday, Aug. 13) was our first visit to the farm after our trip. First thing in the morning we packed food, supplies, our electronics, and the dogs and headed up the Clearwater River. Naturally, we knew of regional wildfires, but as we traveled the radio told us of the fire in Big Canyon. Our farm sits on the edge of Little Canyon. Big Canyon is just over the next ridge, so we quickly realized that air quality at the farm would be poor. Arriving at the farm, we decided to return to town and the air conditioned house after completing some chores.

The farmhouse was hot and stuffy. I unpacked the cooler and the produce to keep it cold, my point being that I just had to pack it up again when we left in the afternoon – and unpack it again back in town. I put the supplies away and did two loads of laundry, but my major job was to water the stressed garden and vegetation.

A plume of smoke rises
Overall I was encouraged by the appearance of the garden beds, though everything was stressed by heat and lack of water. The plant nannies had done their work. All the bottles were standing empty in their holders. The “Early Girl” tomato plant seemed to have suffered the most damage, but I picked a number of ripe and edible tomatoes nevertheless. The “Champion” tomato plant fared better and also had healthy fruit. The four summer squash plants were still alive, though the fruits were hard and over-ripe and new fruits had not set on. Perhaps with care they will still bear into the fall. The strawberries, however, were thriving – blooming and sending runners all over the bed.

I hope we don’t lose the apple tree. It was badly wilted. The cherry tree was okay. The raspberries really need more water than they ever get. Even the lilac bushes were drooping so I watered them, too.
Little Canyon barely visible
And what did Mike do? Well, it’s a long story. In a nutshell, the old John Deere mower he bought had insurmountable problems in its electrical system, so the seller exchanged for another rebuilt machine, a Murray. Again, there were problems, but Mike was able to correct them, we think, and after lunch he mowed the lawn. The lawn didn’t really need mowing, of course, but he likes to knock the heads off the weeds and then trim the edges of the yard.

We returned to the town house by suppertime, and I fried a nice fish, a gift from Ken. KW


Chris said...

How close are the fires? I was very concerned about Orofino last night and don't have much news today. Dad could see the fire from their living room, but it appears it went up the hill towards upper Ford's Creek. JoAnn Altmiller (her mom was married to Uncle Bill for many years so I always consider her my cousin) lost her house. They were able to get out but weren't able to take anything with them. Hope the fires stay away from your farm!

Kathy said...

It's a little difficult to get info. I overheard at the grocery store that they are evacuating Nezperce. So, I came home to read the "breaking news" at the Lewiston Tribune website. While the fire doesn't seem real close to the farm, we decided it's still too close for comfort, given the dry conditions. But Mike says there's no point to running out there, and I suppose he's right, and they are discouraging traffic.

I'm sorry to hear JoAnn -- or anyone -- lost her home. It's a sad situation.