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Thursday, June 13, 2013

A quiet time

The neighbors have all rushed to get in their hay before the next rain, and most of them have succeeded. 

The local grass seed farmer, though, whose acreage seems to comprise half the valley, had to wait a bit longer to begin cutting for seed, and is caught out; the windrowing machines will be busy for days.

Our new cherry trees, which made an effort last year, are sleeping on the job, like most of the apples and pears. The pie cherry down by the mailbox is more reliable. I picked it yesterday as neighbors drove past, waving, and stored the small crop, lightly blanched, in the freezer for a change-of-pace pie next winter. Might have to add a little bit of the rhubarb sauce to get a full-sized pie, though. This tree was quite large and productive at one time but had so much dead wood that I let two shoots on the lower trunk mature a bit, then pollarded it, so this year's crop is as if it were the first one from a young tree.

We are getting in greens, and have had enough hot weather to dehydrate two batches of about a bushel each of foliage -- mostly lower, oversized or bolted leaves of collards, cabbages, broccoli, chard, spinach, lettuce, beets, radishes, and turnips -- with some broadbean, oregano, dandelion and mint leaves. This made about three quarts of "veggie crumble" which we use to season everything.

Peas are very much in evidence and are being used mostly in salads at present.

Today, there is rain. We seldom get rain after all the crops are in -- there are basically two seasons here, wet from November to June and dry from June to November -- but there are exceptions. So this is a very welcome shower as the clay in the garden paths has already formed deep cracks and the creek has dried up.

It's coldish, though. I am sitting with yet another cup of coffee by the fire, in a darkish house. I miss the rains of my childhood in the Deep South. These came at intervals throughout the summer, so that one seldom had to irrigate a garden, and they were much warmer than Oregon rain. One could step outside and stand in the downpour, soaking it all in like the earth, and take root and grow in gladness.

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