Happy September! It's clear that we're working our way towards Autumn. When the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., it's dark. I have to turn on lights to move safely around the kitchen. The nights here are in the 50's, though our days are still warm - in the 90's yesterday. That's our climate in a nutshell, folks - a temperature variance of 40 degrees between day and night is common. A 40 degree variance between San Francisco and Walnut Creek is also common. This August was one of the coldest on record for SF, with fog present every day except one (I think). In fact, San Franciscans call August, 'Fogust.' This is one of the reasons we never go to the beach in the summertime.
But now it's September, which means it'll finally be summer in San Francisco and broiling hot here in the far East Bay. I'm looking forward to another harvest of tomatoes (they've been quite affected by our colder nights, and are developing slowly now) and starting to get fall and winter plants in the ground.
September is Melon and Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) month here at Poppy Corners. We're finally harvesting a watermelon every couple of days, the cantaloupes are still coming in regularly, and the Tithonia seeds I sowed in June are finally starting to bloom. This means BUTTERFLIES. I can't wait. I was very late on sowing these seeds, but now I'm patting myself on the back because the autumn is going to be a riot of beautiful orange-red Tithonia and pink and purple cosmos and those flying beauties named Gulf Frittilary, Monarch, and Painted Lady, not to mention all the skippers. I've already noticed an increase in hummingbirds due to the California Fuchsia blooming, as well as that Tithonia. Any minute the native California Sunflowers will start to bloom, and things will really be hopping.
We continue to get cucumbers, like zucchini in that you think you've found them all, and go out the next day to see a monster. The ones that get too big go to the chickens; meanwhile I've been eating cucumbers every day with hummus or yogurt. The I'itoi multiplying onions are doing well and the peas have started to sprout. Peppers are still coming in, both hot and sweet, and our favorite way to eat those is roasted with olive oil and salt. (Honestly, there's not a vegetable around that doesn't taste good prepared this way; it's our go-to.)
We opened the hive last weekend and were gobsmacked at the amount of honey the bees have collected. Bar after bar, filled and capped for winter. I am so pleased. No sign of mites or wax moths, and the worst they've had to contend with lately is the yellow jacket population. Yellow jackets like to pounce on struggling bees underneath the hive and take them back to their nests to feed to their young.
I'm starting to notice galls on the Oak trees, and fallen acorns on the trails and streets. I took a hike yesterday with the dog in what is normally a Riparian area; it was so dry that many, many trees had fallen, uprooted. I think those big root systems just can't hang on if they get too dry, and the weight of the tree combined with the unstable conditions of the roots just causes it to topple. The side of the trail was dotted with huge rootballs, the size of vans. It's clear that crews have had to come saw up the trunks as they often cross the trails when they fall. Makes you wonder if anyone should be hiking there.
I'm wondering if those of you in other parts of the country are starting to experience real Fall. If so, I'd love to hear about it.