Wednesday, July 7, 2010

heat wave

The first thing I did when I walked into Wayside was head straight for the walk-in cooler. Wayside, like many small general stores, has a wall freezer stacked with soda and beer, but if you read the signs in the store you learn that is also where they keep the iced coffee. We're in the throes of a heat wave here that has temperatures in the high 90's and humidly near 100%. It's causing the sheep to sprawl in the shade, almost dead. The birds are spending all their time in the creek, letting their tiny raptor feet search for salamanders instead of slugs. The garden (now almost gone to deer and woodchucks, another sad story for another time) is barely getting by. I soak it with water everyday but the heat sucks the life out of it.

I am certainly meeting my challenges as a small scale producer this season. Between predators, garden pests, heat waves, groundhogs and deer I have lost half of my poultry and half of my garden crop. Right now I am with the pumpkins for the fight of their lives. I can take buying my salad greens and tomatoes at the market. But buying pumpkins, the heart vegetatble of cold Antler, breaks my young heart.

The dogs are okay. Jazz and Annie, were born and raised in Tennessee and didn't leave the Volunteer state till they were five years old. Both were outside dogs before I had them, meaning they grew up in the swelter and seem to take it in stride. At night the dogs lay in front of the fan and pant. I put ice cubes in the dog bowl. Gibson spends the day with me in the shade, taking many breaks for swimming in the pond and drinking lots of water. The whole pack is fine, me included.


Blogger Susan said...

Sorry to hear about your garden. It's a battle ground out here, isn't it? I finally gave up and put in raised beds with fencing. Stay cool.

July 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

I think the weather's ass backward this year! I live in western Ky and my parents live in northern Fl(all of us originally from upstate N.Y) and you guys are hotter and more humid than either of us! Glad to hear you're all handling it well, and I hope it doesn't last too long. I can't imagine dealing with those temps with out air, I think this fat old northern girl would die!

Sending good vibes for cooler weather!


July 7, 2010 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Lelainia N. Lloyd said...

We've got hot here too in British Columbia. It's 26C in the house. My black Lab is wandering from place to place in the house looking for any cool spot, poor baby. And here I was enjoying the unseasonably cold July we were having!

July 7, 2010 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

We're only up to ninety-two today, and it's supposed to be ninety-seven tomorrow. I kinda wish it would hit like a hunnerd and six like it did last year so that I could really test the anti-heat projects we installed to see if they're really helping.

I mean, it feels like they are- it's still only seventy-three in the house, but a really good heat wave would tell me more.

Plus this year we have a small air conditioner...just in case. Last year was a good lesson.

Can you shade some of your garden from the heat? Burlap mulch is pretty cheap from the big box store and lets in only filtered light. I have it hanging over my lettuce, strung up on PVC using fishing line. The PVC and fishing line were leftovers from the last owner and just happened to be handy. You could use whatever. Maybe a bed sheet?

July 7, 2010 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

It has been unseasonably cool weather here in California.

Here is a tip for the rabbits and chickens. I freeze 1 gallon water bottles for the rabbits and put it in the pen before I leave in the morning. The chicken pens have a mist system on a timer so that it starts just before the real heat and then continues til I get home. It gets over 100 here so you have to find ways of keeping them alive. The mist system will go on the new rabbitry when it is completed.

July 7, 2010 at 6:15 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Please don't be discouraged about your garden! I don't know a single gardener in the Northeast who is having a good year. Out of the dozens of seedlings I planted, I have a grand total of three pumpkin plants, a row of turnips, one cherry tomato plant, and a couple of sad pepper plants. I lost all of my snap peas, snow peas, leeks, zucchini and Roma tomatoes. It has been a terrible year!

July 7, 2010 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I think I would trade your heat for my non-stop rain and thunderstorms. It is crazily wet in Saskatchewan and in some areas farmers only have 30-40% of their crops in, and won't get any more in this year. June was the wettest June on record in Saskatchewan. I am still waiting for summer.

July 7, 2010 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Rois said...

Hey! You are in the same garden boat as us! We lost most of our plants in June due to pouring rain and cold temps.Now we are hit with a heat wave as well.
I am just thankful that although I rather eat my own homegrown food I can still buy what we need.Just think about what it must have been like a hundred years ago.I think we would all be a bit hungry.

July 7, 2010 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Pat Woginrich said...

We have several window air conditioners we are not using and would be happy to give you one for an emergency heat wave. Sure the pets would like it.


July 7, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

i love that my mom commented.

July 7, 2010 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

I love that she did too. I wonder if you could set up a big frozen soda bottle to melt & drip on the dirt where your punkins come out of the ground to keep their roots cooler? Take your Mom up on the A/C. A cooler sleep is a more refreshing one. Claim you're doing it for Gibson.

July 7, 2010 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I'm sorry your garden has met the local wood chucks and deer. I have to say last year the garden was a bust because of non stop rain and cool temps but this year is one for the books. Everything is gorgeous and probably the best I've ever had. Right now I am watering and will do so for the next 1-2 hours since we haven't had rain for a couple of weeks.
I had to go to Portland yesterday and it was 96 at the Jetport. By the time I got back to the Island it was 82. I left my 3 GSDs in their 10x10 kennel with the kiddie pool and bones. They were happy. Even my 93 year old Dad is complaining about the heat in upstate NY.
Who says we aren't experiencing climate change?

July 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

This is wild. It is 86 in TX!

July 7, 2010 at 9:28 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

Awww, hi Jenna's mom! Love that you commented here.

I live on the Eastern Shore of MD and it's been crazy hot here for weeks....yesterday and today it hit 100 and 102! Humidity puts the heat index around 110! This is not normal for us. It's been a battle for the garden, for sure. Lot's of watering. Hardly any rain for the past several weeks. I did get some harvest before the heat wave, but the peas didn't do well at all. They don't like heat.

July 7, 2010 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger ~ Janis said...

106 degrees in my room right now, all my veggies are burnt to a crisp and the hay is turning to dust. The fields are not regrowing fast enough for the herd and i am praying for rain.
I am out of t shirts. Have gone thru 22 in 3 days.
I slept with a frozen water jug last night and two for my dog.
This will all be a pleasant memory in January when its 20 below with the wind chill...

July 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Good Grief, Janis--where are you??

July 7, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Mud Mama said...

I met a crazy woman who swore I was abusive for not shaving my husky! She is so fire with this heat she sleeps upstairs when she has a basement she could sleep in, never mind the much cooler main floor. Happy double coated dog.

July 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

This year has been rough on everyone. Here in the NW we had rain almost everyday in June. And I dont just mean sprinkles. It was our spring rain we never got. My garden drowned. It's a pretty sorry sight this year. To top it off the bugs are in full force. I think all the rain encouraged their growth. Luckily, unlike you, we haven't had troubles with predators....yet. Good luck and let's all pray for a better season next year.

July 7, 2010 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Sense of Home said...

Cooler weather should be coming your way. We have cooled down to the low 80s and our weather seems to always head your way. Glad our hot spell passed and I hope it stays away, 80s is more the summer temps I like.

July 8, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger CallieK said...

We're on day 4 of this heat wave here in Toronto -it's been hovering around 33 Celsius but feels like 42 with the humidity ( that's 92 F and 107F). We don't have AC so the apt is not fun and the cats have pretty much abandoned us to live outside- but the gardens are fantastic!

July 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I have 2 tips. One will work one will help. Put a bowl of ice in front of a table top fan and it will blow cool air. The second is gross but it works. To keep the deer away from the garden you have to pee around the perimeter of the garden. I told you it was gross but my grandparents were farmers in Louisiana and I grew up with a garden in Ms. and it works. I hope you get mom's air conditioner for a little relief. Take Care!

July 8, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

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