Monday, August 6, 2012

Good Sunday, Everyone.  We got slammed by rain, wind and lightning yesterday evening.  I haven't seen rain like that except in news clips of hurricanes.  I could hardly see the houses across the streets front and back.  Widespread areas in Chicago have power outages thanks to downed trees.  Ours has had no trouble on that front.  All I could do about the gardens was hope, fervently, that they weren't damaged.  It looks like any damage was minor.  I didn't get the herbs ground so that is still on my mental to-do list.  I will slowly get some of the gardening tidying chores done that have been on hold with the heat.  We had to go out yesterday morning to pick up my new glasses and do our weekly grocery shopping.  We went out at 9am and it was already suffocatingly hot.  Whatever we had planned evaporated as the heat sapped our energy.

Well, it is now Monday.  Our cable and internet went out yesterday for a couple of hours and I never got back to this.  After every one of the severe, sudden storms over the last month we have lost cable and internet the next day for between 2 and 6 hours.  Makes you think about how much we depend on such services.  We had a nice comfortable day yesterday.  Kuma was a happy cat and spent the day lounging on the patio.  It has been a long time since we have let him do that.  He is 17 and getting frail now.  He had a couple of bad days during one of our 80 degree stretches.  He seemed to have no energy at all and his movements were unsteady.  He recovered nicely after we brought him in, closed up and put on the air.  We were comfortable but he clearly wasn't.

Update on the gardens.  I cleared out dead leaves on several plants.  The heat really hit hard in spite of the watering.  I still have several to clean up including the vine peach.  In fact the vine peach vines are coming out totally.  We tried or rather I tried one and really didn't like it much.  I have read a number of contradictory reviews of it.  Those who like it like it a lot and those who don't really don't like it at all.  I am in the latter camp.  I thought it tasted like a cross between a not very tasty cucumber and a very tart apple.  I will put up one of the double shepherd's hooks and put the blueberry bushes in that container.  I harvested cherry and roma tomatoes, cucumbers, bullnose and spicy peppers, and lemon squash.  Really do have to get the cucumbers prepped and frozen.  I need to start the cabbages and kale this week.  On a related topic I have sampled the lemon balm ale I started last month.  It is actually pretty good.  However, I won't repeat the experiment because it took every bit of lemon balm I could harvest at that time.  If I don't get some dried over the fall I won't have much for tea this winter.  And lemon balm is not readily available in the stores.

Damn!!  I just cleaned up the butternut squash and found a nasty infestation of squash bugs.  Evidently, I let more than old growth get out of hand during the heat.  I sprayed them all with pyrethrin.  I resist using any pesticides  and then use the least toxic with the shortest breakdown time.  I will be watching carefully to see how the situation develops.

I saw this on the Chicago TV news we watch.  It doesn't surprise me that Wal-Mart would decide to sell GM sweet corn.  It is nice (sarcasm alert) that they say they have read the various studies which show that 1) it is not harmful when ingested, 2) is more productive than non-GM varieties, and 3) requires less chemicals.  All I can say is--they haven't read the studies I have which draw exactly the opposite conclusions.  About four years ago we stopped buying groceries at Wal-Mart and their decision on this issue simply ensures we won't start again any time soon.  Why did we stop, you wonder.  We didn't like the quality, the excess packaging and the prices were not enough below the closer supermarkets to justify the cost of the gas to go out there.

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