My garden hasn’t taken a break yet, despite the hot weather. There are still plenty of interesting things to observe and new blooms happening. There are also some dry spots and brown edges that reflect the intensity of the summer sun.
The slide show below shows my garden’s developments during the month of July. I added captions to give you an idea of what you’re looking at. It includes:
- The beautiful beginnings of bean plants. I got them started a little later than is ideal, but hopefully I’ll still get some beans.
- My precious red raspberry harvest. They are one of my favorite foods, but I can’t find anyone around here who grows them so I decided to grow them myself. They were delicious.
- Spreading butternut squash and ripening tomatoes.
- Blackberries. I picked an absolutely perfect berry that had been heating in the sun. It had baked its own sugars and each little bead exploded with flavor in my mouth.
- Blueberry picking. I’m stocked up for the winter! I probably picked at least 25 pounds in 95+ degree heat. It’s a test of my willpower.
- Bugs, birds, and blooms.
- The whole of the zinnia patch that I highlighted in my last blog post.
- Video of one of the many hummingbirds that are visiting my garden. For me, growing plants is so much easier than trying to keep the sugar water in a hummingbird feeder fresh. I’m OK with that.
- A video panorama of my garden at the end of July.
Early July was the time for Lodi apples. They make deliciously tart applesauce that’s just like my mom used to make. “Nosh-stalgia” is what one friend has heard it called. I’m thankful that there is one orchard in town that grows them.
Several years ago when I discovered the secret to my mom’s applesauce was June apples, I also discovered that I could purchase a cheap approximation of the Squeezo Strainer that she used to make the sauce. My new strainer worked pretty good, but I always wished for the real thing.
Last year, the cheap plastic crusher that pushed the fruit into the strainer folded in on itself, and I knew it was my chance to get a new strainer. I ordered a brand name Squeezo Strainer on Ebay and hoped it was going to be a good investment. It came in time to make applesauce. It wasn’t quite as amazing as I imagined, but overall I think it’s a better product. There are a couple design details on the cheap knockoff that I miss on the real thing, the particular Squeezo I got had a couple pieces that were bent ever so slightly so it leaked a little, and for some reason it really made the apples oxidize, but look at that wooden smoosher! It gave the apples a pounding and it didn’t break. I think it also did better at extracting more pulp. Plus it’s like mom’s.
I’ve also been working on more garden art. My Fairy Tree is starting to shape up. I painted the apple pickers, I added faces in them that were inspired by some garden art I saw last summer, I added another fairy created by the kids at Patchwork Central, and I added all the empty bottles I had on hand. I like where it’s going. I’ll add more fairies and more bottles and decide on what to place atop the two former trunks of the tree that don’t already have apple pickers on them.
And finally, cats. They’re all good. Perry continues to be a challenge, but with play time and regular walks he’s doing better. He’s a little like a 2-year-old in that he gets tired and cranky. He can’t leave me alone while I work on the computer, even though I know he would be happy to take a nap. But he likes his carrier and is content sitting in it next to me while I write. And don’t worry. When he’s had enough of the carrier he lets me know.
Meanwhile, the Ladies are quite lovely. In one of the photos below I managed to catch Ygraine at her most floofy and cute. She’s a queen. And I love to sit and read the newspaper while the Ladies look out the back door in the mornings. It’s a relaxing way to start the day. When they get tired of that, they play. Morgaine does lovely dances while chasing her tail.