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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Fun

Along with cycling this summer, I've been spending time working on the gardens. For now, I have four raised beds at the east side of the house, a garden spot on the south side of the house, and a fruit garden at the west end of the house. If it were up to me, I'd have the entire north side of the house in raised beds, but that's been a hard sell to the boys, mostly because of the mowing difficulties it would create. I'm not giving up, though. One day, the north side will be raised beds.

So far, the plants I've put in are doing well, even the bush bean plants I bought that seemed all but salvageable. I truly thought I'd wasted nearly $20 on them, but in the good composted soil where I'd buried the fish carcasses from last summer, they are now thriving. We've had enough rain that I haven't had to water, and my rain barrel remains overflowing. A second barrel is on my mind since I could always use the water from it in the fruit garden. There, the grapes are climbing the trellis I put in last summer, each day covering more and more of it. Soon the trellis will be completely covered. The raspberry plants have spread to the point I can't keep up with them. Tomorrow is the designated digging up raspberry plants to thin the patch. Same goes for the strawberries. Vines have spread beyond the little fenced area I made for them, so it's time to curtail their wanderings. To date, I've picked two quarts of strawberries from the small area, enough to make some jam, which is also on tomorrow's schedule.

Cherry jam spread on cream cheese
Unfortunately, it appears the apple trees won't bear this season. My two dwarf trees I planted last summer had their trunks gnawed away by rabbits during the winter. By the time I realized what was happening and wrapped them from further harm, the damage had already been done. I ended up having to replace both trees with new ones, and these have to go through a season or two before they'll produce apples. The one tree that did produce this season is the cherry tree. Lots of cherries. Enough for a cherry cobbler. Enough to infuse grappa to enjoy in a few weeks. Enough to make 8 half pints of jam (which, given the response from Funny Delightful Son when he tasted some, won't last long). Enough to barter with a friend for greens from her garden. And still more in the freezer for a later date, maybe a winter cherry pie to remind us of the warmth of summer.

Another job I need to complete soon is checking on the hive. When I arrived home from my 70 miler today, I looked over at the hive and noticed quite a few bees on the hive and others flying erratically around it. They seemed very agitated. It could have been caused by the weather we've had the last few days--storms, wind, heat then cool then heat again. I checked on them several times throughout the evening and saw they were settling down as the sun set, so hopefully everything is okay. I still want to check the hive, though, to make sure all is the way it should be.

In between doing these summer gardening jobs, I've started a few new bicycle art projects. My hope is to create some pieces for the craft fair later in the year. I had such fun at the craft fair last year I decided to sign up again, and thanks to Lovely Beautiful Daughter and her friend, I have lots of materials to work with. Interesting materials. So stay tuned.

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