Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rain, rain, rain ...

Here I was planning to start my post with a photo as I usually do, but my 10 year old digital camera has decided not to work. It's always something. Still, it seems only fair to catch you up on what has been happening here at Living Low Acre during the summer.

And that has been rain. Not a lack of it, either. When I last posted at the beginning of June, we'd had a somewhat wetter than average May that contributed to my being slow to get the beds of summer crops planted. No problem, I thought. Plenty of time to plant during June. Well, 10.8 inches / 25+ cm of rain later, I found myself near the end of June with most of eight 100 square foot beds still to be planted. Luckily the rain slacked off enough during the last week of June and the first week of July for me to get all those beds planted, barely. And they are producing well. I have almost forgotten how much digging went into that effort. Good thing because then I'll be willing to do it all again next year.

If you think 10.8 inches of rain in one month was a lot, you're right, but it wasn't as much as some parts of our area received. The official weather recording station for St. Louis is roughly 10 miles to the southwest of Living Low Acre. It recorded a record June rainfall of 13.4 inches of rain.

Nor has the rain stopped since then. I measured 3.0 inches of rain in July; the official site measured closer to 5 inches. Since August 5th, I've measured 4.7 inches of rain, and again the official station has recorded more than I've received. Just one of those weird weather anomalies, I suppose. Our water utility must be crying the blues; no one is running lawn sprinklers this summer so they won't make their usual profit for the year off of that. On the other hand, landscapers are mowing anytime the rain stops long enough that their mowers don't sink in the mud.

I'll have numbers later, but at this point I can say that harvest has been overall good, other than the carrots (which the rabbits decided were theirs instead of mine), the peas that I planted too early and didn't weed well, and the onions that rotted in the July rains. Of the calorie crops, a particular interest of mine, the popcorn crop looks good so far and the bed of potatoes that I am currently harvesting will yield close to 50 pounds when I finish with it in the next couple of days. It's been cool enough this month to sow seeds of turnips, arugula, and winter radishes; had the camera worked I would have included a photo of the seedlings which promise fall and winter goodness. In a week or so I'll plant the seedlings of lettuce, mustard greens, collards, kale, and bok choy which will complete the fall garden.

The excessive rains mean I have had to mow the lawn here at the Acre a lot more often than I could do by human-powered means. With that plus the demands of keeping up on weeding in the vegetable garden and all the pruning that isn't getting done on the various trees and shrubs that need it, I have to face up to my own limitations. When we bought the Acre, I was in my mid forties. 13 years later, the acre feels a lot bigger than it used to. Much meditation during the winter will center around how to make maintenance of the rest of the Acre easier than it has been, and how to incorporate more pollinator, bird, and amphibian and reptile habitat into the redesign.

In other living low news, a friend of mine sold me a beautiful antique ladies pocket watch that he had acquired at auction. If you haven't been fortunate enough to see a pocket watch made 100 years or so ago, please do at least search the web for photos. Not even the most expensive watch now made can match the beauty and functionality of the everyday pocket watch of a century ago. I have wanted one for years but until now I had not had the chance to acquire one at a price I was willing to pay. It's an interesting coincidence that I bought it so close to the time when John Michael Greer's narrative of Retrotopia is about to begin. I'm sure it will be in fashion on the train to our destination. Please check him out!

With this post I am embarking on an effort to make a short weekly post on the happenings here at the Acre, interspersed with the longer, more in-depth posts that have been the mainstay of this blog. Thanks to you, my readers, for the inspiration to write more often, for taking the time to read my posts, and for your thoughtful comments on them.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claire,

    It is always a pleasure to read about your productive garden and activities. Sorry to hear about the digital camera blues - they hit here about two years back (time flies) and the trusty old Pentax *ist digital SLR went toes up. Fortunately, I was able to pick up a second hand Pentax K-r which fitted all the lens and was actually a far better camera than the earlier one (i.e. It makes it easier to not stuff up the photo!). Sorry, I digress.

    Oh my, that is a whole lot of rain for summer. Are the rabbits yours or are they seeking a place with feed out of the rain? Have they ever eaten any of the bark on your trees? I found that some rats had nibbled the bark on a couple of the citrus trees.

    Spare a thought for the people living in the state to the north of here as they have had your June rain - but in 24 hours - NSW weather: Dozens rescued, more than 1,600 calls for help as residents ordered to evacuations. Not good.

    Really good to read that you are getting good productivity out of your garden despite the conditions. That is a real credit to your soil preparation works which pay off when conditions are sub optimal. Respect.

    Hmm, hope your meditation includes providing housing for all of those lovely garden companions. They will work hard for you in the garden too, and it will be interesting to see whether they increase your productive output, purely by their presence. I noticed that having bees here doubled the fruit production.

    I wonder about those issues too.