Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Dog Days

People in these parts try to get their work done and money made so they can vacate the region in January and February. I think this might be misguided thinking. July and August might be better months to bail out. I know it would be some kind of trick for a farmer to be away from the farm this time of year but if possible, it would be a good idea. In my memory we’ve had a couple of ‘delightful’ summers. In those years, the temp only hit 90 degrees a couple of times and of course the corn crop suffered from too much rain and a lack of heating degree days. This year we’ve had too much rain at times but we’ve been into the mid 90’s several days and at the same time the humidity soared making it difficult to draw a breath. I fully expected to hear that someone actually drowned while mowing his lawn. These conditions make it hazardous to open your pickup window while driving because of the immediate fogging up of your glasses.
But there may be other drawbacks to Kansas and Nebraska in July and August. It’s vegetables and what to do with them. We plant tomatoes and cucumbers and just one zucchini plant. (We’ve all learned our lesson there, haven’t we?) Then we wait, and weed, and water and ask our friends if they might have a tomato we might have because ours aren’t ready yet. We operate under the theory that there are just a couple of folks in the county raising tomatoes and everyone else is waiting to hear the words, “Okay, they’re ready, come and get em!” It’s at that point when you realize that there are a lot of folks capable of raising tomatoes and they went ahead and did it. Now, just try putting a 5 gallon pail full of the red beauties in your car and giving them away. “Oh isn’t that nice of you, but Fred left a bushel of them in the back room.” Or they say, “No thanks Cliff, we just got done canning 20 quarts and we didn’t even need to raise any.”
Then there was the year early in our marriage when Marilyn wanted to raise Zucchini squash. I’d never heard of them. We bought a packet of seeds and it planted a row about half the length of a football field. They all came up and flourished. We had enough zucchini for the city of Tekamah. Two days later we had enough pounds of squash for the city of Omaha. I’m surprised that the government doesn’t require some kind of warning on the packets.
Warning: Planting more than two of these seeds may cost you all of your friends. The neighbors lights will suddenly go out when you enter their driveway and worst of all, everyone in town will begin to lock their car doors. And forget about feeding them to the hogs, they don’t like them either. Best if picked at about 8 inches in length and we mean 8 inches. The following day you will need a tractor and loader to harvest.
Our cucumbers are coveted here on our place but we have trouble raising them. The cucumber beetles or blight or bad luck always seem to kill ours just after we pick our first cuke. But not to worry. The same rules apply for cucumbers as they do for tomatoes and we just go get the bushel in some businesses back room in town. The one someone else raised and couldn’t get rid of.
August should be the month to go sit on the bank and see if you can trick a catfish into captivity but alas it’s been almost too hot and sticky for even that. Arizona has been on my mind a lot lately as the perfect vacation spot and maybe those who travel there have the right idea. It’s a dry heat this time of year and it’s a dry 60 degrees in January and February.
It’s okay to dream. Right?

10 comments:

Donna said...

Well, at least these days we have air conditioning, which my husband and I did not have until 3 years ago. I fought tooth and toenail to keep A/C OUT of our old house. But my mother's prediction came true: "As you get older, you're going to want air conditioning."
I hate when my mother's predictions come true. And about 90% of them have.

LeeAnn said...

We lived just 50 miles from the AZ border until last year and I loved the weather, once I got used to the 112 degree summer days. But the winters were tidy and not even chilly. Now I have to swim through the sodden air just to get to the car. Humidity is evil. Plain and simple.

Lanny said...

Our humidity for about the last two and a half weeks has come in the form of morning fog and mist, "marine air". It can be rather chilly for instance this morning at coffee time, a bit before nine, it is only fifty-three degrees. Then, at about one o'clock sometimes sooner sometimes later the fog and mist disappear and it is immediately seventy-five or eighty. But I'm digging the temps as I've got a lot to catch up on around the house and barn yards, I'll take my time off in October...

Lucy Stern said...

Cliff, it has been in the upper 90's here in Houston, with humidity... I am sooooo glad we have air conditioning... You can tell how hot it is going to get by how early the locus start chirping in the morning... The earlier, the hotter...

We had lots of tomatoes in our garden this year but the stink bugs wouldn't leave them alone and we didn't get many that were good... I ended up going to a farmers market and buying 100 pounds and put them up in pint sized jars... We canned 70 jars worth, froze some and ate some...Nothing like a home grown tomato... Our cucumbers have done better.... Even the pole beans did good till the heat took it's tole...

We had a ton of rain in July but it looks like August will be dry and a scorcher, unless we get a hurricane...lol

Have a great week....

Granny Annie said...

We drove around when our power was out Sunday evening. We visited all the favorite fishing holes where you can always find some die hard fishermen. Most spots were empty but we did find two cars parked near the new bridge and people were fishing down below. They had to really be hungry to be out in the triple digit heat. I'll bet they would have taken some tomatoes.

Ralph said...

Great post. Lately we have picked up some of your humidity - I don't like it.
Ralph

Gette said...

We hear you loud and clear. Took the better part of three weeks to get the roof shingled, because the guys wouldn't work through the worst of the heat, and I can't blame 'em. They did run around with their shirts off when they were here, so that made up for it.

EV said...

Our Collie ate all our strawberries one summer. Who da thunk? Just keep dreaming, Cliff.

Rachel said...

Isn't it amazing how well zucchini squash grows? That's a good one for kids to start out with because chances are they'll have a bountiful crop!

Hot and humid here. AZ sounds good to me too!

LZ Blogger said...

Cliff ~ You are preaching to the choir about the weather this summer... but your best Veggie Tale was "And forget about feeding them to the hogs, they don’t like them either." CLASSIC! ~ jb///