Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Looking south from the farmhouse over Little Canyon, July 17

 Our last stay at the farm was last Sunday / Monday (July 17 & 18). Some of the pictures here were taken at that time.

Monday (July 18), two loads of gravel were applied to the lane and driveway. We’ve needed to do this for several years and were glad to get it done.
Since I knew we would be away for a while, I set “plant nannies” into my rustic raised bed gardens. The plant nanny is a clay spike which allows water from a bottle to seep into the ground. The spike and the insert come as a unit. I supply the bottles.

Yesterday morning (July 25), I decided it was time to check on things at the old farm, so I loaded the dogs into the back of the Dakota and off we went. We were at the farm about 8:30, and it was already feeling hot in the sun. I had thought the dogs would enjoy the freedom to poke around the grounds, but neither seemed interested – probably because of the heat.
First, I picked a quart of strawberries, washed them, and put into the freezer. I was glad to see most of the plant nanny bottles hadn’t completely drained. I watered all my raised beds and other important vegetation and reset the nannies. Perhaps I should have done more, but it was two hours of work in the heat and I didn’t enjoy it. I ate five ripe cherry tomatoes and picked a small zucchini and a handful of spinach.

By that time, it was 11:00. I never looked at the digital thermometer, but the one in the shade said 80. I wanted to check for black hawthorn berries at the bottom of the lane, so I took my picker’s pail, called to my canine companions, and we headed down the lane. I offered to spray the dogs with water – even insisted – but they both declined. Should have done it, though.

We have lots of black hawthorn trees on the farm. I think it’s a weed tree whose seeds are spread by the birds and the deer. I don’t know if these trees were here in Grandma Ina’s day. The berries, ready late July, are mildly sweet. They have large seeds and not much flesh. Some folks wouldn’t bother with them, but I enjoy experimenting with the fruits of the land, as it were. Jelly recipes are available online.
Black Hawthorn tree in the lane

Last week the “haws” weren’t quite ready. Now they were mostly ready and passing. The dogs hovered at my feet like greedy vacuum cleaners, snarfing up any berries I dropped as I pulled clusters from the trees. I knew I should really pick more, but we were all uncomfortable in the heat, so we headed back to the house.

After lunch, I was ready to leave. It’s problematic now to load Nellie, so I backed up to the kitchen porch and let her walk on. She looked at me questioningly, as if to say, “So, it’s come to this?”

We were back at the town house mid-afternoon. All three of us collapsed in the living room, appreciating the cool house.

Rewards earned but not collected -- maybe tomorrow. KW


Hallie said...

How long does a plant nanny retain water usually? I need to figure out how to keep some key things watered while we're away. I may resort to asking the neighbor to help. We watch their dog from time to time, after all.

Kathy said...

It's difficult to say how long the water holds out. You have to have bottles -- one- or two-liters. Naturally, the 2-liter bottle lasts longer. I used the nannies last year when we were away from the farm for two weeks in the heat of summer. The garden was stressed when we came back but didn't die and went on to bear fruit (vegetables). The other day, after one week, the plants looked remarkably good and some water remained in the bottles.

Of course, if your neighbor would help, that's really ideal -- or maybe some combination of nannies and neighbor. You can get those nannies from Amazon. You've heard of Amazon, haven't you?

Chris said...

Whoa girl! You have been busy! I'm impressed, especially with the heat of that day. I give you two thumbs up and encourage you to order if you haven't already.

Kathy said...

You know -- I didn't order anything. Well, I ordered a crochet pattern from Annie's but talked myself out of the Tonner "My Imagination" doll. However, she still calls to me, and I just might do it yet.

Chris said...

Yes, that red haired one has been calling my name but so far I have resisted. However, I did just place a little order from Missouri Star Quilts and also subscribed to their Block magazine. By the way, do you get American Patchwork and Quilting magazine? I got the new one (October?!) Monday and it has lots of information on old quilts in it. Kind of the theme for the issue.

Kathy said...

The red-haired doll is cutest by far.

Thanks for the magazine ideas. I'll look into those right away.