It rained. Wow, it's incredible what rain has done for the lawn, the fruit trees, the garden and the weeds. Even people are a bit more cheerful with the beautiful mornings cleansed by God's gift of rain.
It's weeding season at my house. Farmer's markets officially begin for me on Saturday, July 2. In the meantime, I'm trying to weed (about four hours every day I can) to give my plants the optimal opportunity to grow. Hopefully, the warmer temps will boost the tomatoes, peppers and squash.
Speaking of fathers, a robin father kept me company in the high tunnel on Monday, collecting bits of straw and string to build a nest. It's a little late, I think, but completely ignoring my presence, I watched the bird gathering a beak full of building material. It was pretty amazing.
Then I remembered Sunday, June 19, is Father's Day. Not everyone my age still has a father, but our family seems to have some longevity in its DNA. My dad also has a birthday at the end of the month – he will be 95.
So, according to information on the internet, Father's Day was the brainchild of Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, a Civil War veteran, raised her, so she created a day for him. But the first official holiday was celebrated on June 19, 1910. It began as a religious holiday, as Dood thought of the idea during a Mother's Day sermon, but it became commercialized with gifts and cards. Not only are our fathers honored on that Sunday, but grandfathers, brothers, husbands, and any influential male in your life.
A couple of days later, at 4:14 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, the astronomical first day of summer begins. We have all been waiting for summer. This year's longest day is also known as Midsummer's Eve, a national holiday in Sweden and Finland.
If you observe the sunrise, it's amazing how the position changes over the year. In our area, the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky, summer in the northern half of the globe. On Tuesday, in our area, sunrise occurs at 5:47 a.m. and sets at 9:43 p.m., giving us nearly 16 hours of daylight, not counting Twilight.
For those who don't study the sky, there are three observable twilights – civil, nautical and astronomical. They each occur twice in 24 hours. Let's begin at night. When the sun sets and until it reaches six degrees below the horizon is Civil Twilight. Nautical Twilight begins where Civil Twilight ends. If you are a sailor, you will know that Nautical Twilight ends when the horizon and the sea are no longer distinguishable. Once Nautical Twilight began, sailors could navigate using the visible planets and stars. Astronomical Twilight starts when the sun reaches 12-degrees below the horizon through about 18-degrees. This is the time to begin star gazing. Hopefully, you can find some areas not polluted with light to observe these three twilights.
In the morning, the order of Twilight reverses as the sun approaches the horizon.
According to the Famers Almanac, Midsummer marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. This is the time more commonly referred to by every gardener as "The Weeding Season." So while you are all dancing and feasting and celebrating Midsummer's Night Eve, gardeners will be taking advantage of the extended daylight to, you guessed it – weed.
Thankfully, from Tuesday forward, the days will become noticeably shorter. That means I might sleep past 5 a.m. because every good gardener "makes hay while the sun shines this time of year."
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.