The season of weeding is coming to a close as the harvest begins. I had huge cucumbers hiding under the leaves that once were so little I thought maybe I should have planted another row to "Whoa, how are we going to pick them? There's no place to walk."
However, the weather has turned ugly hot, and it's been difficult to want to be outdoors in the heat and the humidity. These days my hair looks like dreadlocks as it curls and frizzes and cannot be combed.
So with the hot weather, the gremlins have arrived. First of all, there are grasshoppers galore in our garden. That might explain the snakes and toads I love seeing as I weed. Next, it's disease time for cucumbers, and we must be on guard for powdery mildew, especially with the high humidity.
The peas need picking; the beans need picking, the weeds need picking. Then there's my preemptive spraying of BT to keep the cabbage worms away from the last of my brassicas. And to top it all off, it's been one of those weeks.
For some reason, all my commitments to speak, travel, do grants and have farm tours ended up these two weeks of July. To begin last week, there was a gust of wind after a downpour at the market and my canopy frame bent. That's bad, but it could have been worse if my friend Maggie hadn't grabbed it before it took out my neighbor's tent. I do have a spare somewhere, but still. Okay, we repurposed the frame after a little pounding to make a tent for my gooseberries. There are tons of berries, and birds and deer love them as much as I do. The first year I planned to pick, I couldn't sleep waiting for morning. When morning came, I grabbed a bucket at the crack of dawn and found that the bushes had been cleared of all fruit overnight. I was devastated. I still don't know whether it was the birds or the deer.
I had to drive to Bottineau on Friday and Strasburg on Saturday for some presentations.
So, on Thursday evening, the freezer in the garage took a dive. I had to allow my fruit to thaw and keep that in the fridge. But, it meant that not to lose it, I would have to make jam, jelly and pie after coming back from out of town. On Friday at 4:45 a.m., we are trying to make room in the refrigerator's freezers to save the grass-fed beef and chickens.
On Monday, I'm still not done. The freezer we bought didn't work right away, and we are trying to figure out how you can spend $1,000 on a new freezer, and it doesn't freeze. So, we are still juggling food to save out investments.
Life's little mishaps have entirely thrown off this week's schedule. My dear friend Pat used to say, "Life is maintenance, man." I should count my blessings that we are still in good health, able to weed the garden and reap the benefits. Here's to some cooler weather and a good hair gel.
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.