Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Some weather updates, before I forget.

This summer has been odd.  First, it was cold until well into late May.  Then, rain.  Rain.  And more rain.  Oh, did I mention rain?? We had flooding, the likes of which I have only seen when the snow melt has been topped by heavy rains.

Rains are, of course, followed by mosquitoes.  Holy cow!! the mosquitoes!!  Little Sis has barely been outdoors for fear of donating pints of blood to the horrid-little-winged-vampire-carriers-of-death-and-disease-and-itchiness.

We had our requisite heat wave, which of course hit when Little Sis and I went to Warped Tour (more on that later! Cougar Chow!!), so that we spent the entire day looking for shade and downing as much water as possible.

The heat was fairly short lived.  By the beginning of August, we were down into the upper 40s at night.  Seriously..WTF??

At least the cooler temps made it bearable to go outside in full mosquito gear.  The mosquitoes were wearing jackets and cute little scarves as they tore into my tender flesh with their needle like probosces.

Honestly, for most of the summer, I've been miserable.  I LOVE summer, I love the heat, I love being outdoors.  I do NOT, however, love being covered from head to toe in mosquito gear.  I felt like the boy in the plastic bubble:  even though I was out IN nature, I was separated from it by all of the clothing and netting I had to wear.

Things have warmed up a bit.  Currently we have temps in the 80s during the day, 60s at night.  It's nice.  The mosquitoes seem to be dying off a bit. They are still pretty thick in the garden, where they lurk in the plants waiting for a juicy mammal to pass by.  Ok, not really...they are waiting for me.  Just me.  They think I am delicious.  I will be a dried out zombie husk by the end of summer.  Beware my zombie-ness!!

I even tried Deet, which I usually avoid at all costs. As we have more than one variety of mosquito here, they seem to react differently to it.  The daytime mosquitoes steer clear, but the evening mosquitoes look at Deet as a condiment.

As for the garden...meh.  I'm disappointed.  Last year was so dry that the garden did poorly.  This year, I thought we'd be in good shape.  I don't know if it's the excess rain (my garden is well drained so it shouldn't be a huge issue), or the cooler temps, but everyone's garden is doing poorly this year.  I'm glad it's not just mine, horrible as that sounds.

Tomatoes are there, but are just now ripening.  The early varieties I planted are producing and ripening at about the same rate as the other varieties.  Last night I canned ten pints.  Those are the first tomatoes I've canned this year, and they were the first ones to ripen.

Beans, I tried a new variety, so I'm not sure if it's the variety or the weather that has made them less than prolific.

Corn has done OK, nothing awesome, but definitely better than last year.

Potatoes did well, but I think it could have been better.  I planted Red Chieftain,  Pontiac Red, and Yukon Gold.  They all produced about the same amount, but the Red Chieftain were almost all good, whereas the others suffered bug bites and a few rotten spots.  I even had some volunteer RC from last year, mixed in with the Yukon Gold, that were amazingly perfect, so I'm pretty sure it's the variety and not the spot they were planted.  I planted 25 lbs of each and got maybe 100 pounds of each in return.  I'm guessing, since I didn't weigh them.

Onions did ok.  They came in earlier than anything else, so got processed first.  I don't want to smell another onion until next year.

Peppers....sigh....oh, dear!  I usually have BAGS AND BAGS of peppers by early August.  Yesterday, I picked my first mature bell pepper.  W. T. F.

The jalapenos did ok, not great by any means.  I am making jalapeno jelly today.

Ground cherries are doing well, but could be better.

Tomatillos are also slow to mature this year.

Melons, well, not so great there, either.  Even with last year being dry, we had quite a few.  I don't think we will have nearly as many this year.  Being Ohio, we don't usually get melons until it's too cool to want them.

Squash are doing ok, but once again, I should have a LOT more than I do.  All the ones I have look good, though, so that's something. The squash bugs attempted to invade but petered out.  The zucchini did poorly this year.  I put out 12 plants and should've been overrun, but barely had enough to put some away.

Cucumbers - the white ones died out fairly quickly, but my Sikkim did amazingly well.  I have more than I know what to do with.  How many jars of pickles do we need, really?  I've heard the green ones did super poorly, but I didn't bother with them this year.

Wow...two posts in one day? Amazing!  Now I'm off to pick squash, check the dehydrator, make jalapeno jelly, and cut firewood.  Who says I don't know how to have fun??

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