This morning we saw the sun for the first time in days. There has been so much smoke in the air that the sun is usually obscured, like a permanent dusk. The smoke we are experiencing is coming from the Camp Fire up in Butte County, which is about 150 miles northeast of here. Of course it is burning in Southern California too, so basically the entire state is under smoke cover. The reason we had a little sun and clearer skies this morning was because the wind picked up. Which yes, blows the smoke out, but also strikes fear because wind + fire = catastrophe. So we’re never really sure which we’d rather have, wind or smoke. What we really need is rain, but we haven’t had significant moisture since April. And as I’ve said before, it doesn’t help matters that the president continues to express opinions (not facts) about the fires in California. There are myriad reasons for the problems with fire here, and there is no simple solution.
Meanwhile, we try hard not to look at the news all the time, try to stay positive, and pray with all our hearts for those affected. Our beloved Camp Okizu is in the path of the Camp Fire at the moment, and the town it resides in, Berry Creek, has been evacuated.
As for our own preparedness (we live under a mountain that has been under a red flag warning for days now), I’ve made sure our Emergency Binder and supplies are up to date, and that’s about all we can do.
It’s finally lettuce season, and we could have a salad every day if we wanted to. There’s nothing better than going out to pick greens for a scramble with our chicken eggs and a little bacon, or for a lunch chicken Caesar. I’ve given up on one bed of beets and kohlrabi - after replanting three times, and having it all eaten three times, I sowed in a cereal rye cover crop. At least I can improve the soil in that location if nothing else. Everything, everywhere else, looks great.
I rescued the butterfly you see above. Or at least I think I did. I found this Gulf Fritillary in the same bed I was seeding to rye, on the soil, barely moving. I think she must have overnighted in there and got too cold (it’s been in the 30’s at night). I carefully moved her to a warm spot on the fence; she graciously allowed me to photograph her as she fanned her wings, and then she flew off. Hooray. The frost is getting to a lot of things - many of our zinnias bit the dust last night, and the tithonia is looking peaked.
My urban-farmer-friend Nils grew popcorn this year and generously gave us a couple of ears. We let it cure for a month and a half, and then shucked it last night and popped it on the stove. It was the best popcorn we ever had.
Popping corn on the stove is something I did not do a lot of when I was young, but Tom did, so he handled that part of things. I do remember popping corn on top of our wood stove back in Maryland. It does taste so much better than air popped.
I saved a few kernels even though I think this is an F1 hybrid and the next generation may not come true. I may order an heirloom variety and try to find a place for a few stalks next year. The problem with corn is that you need to plant a certain amount of it in a cluster, for best pollination. So finding room for it is questionable. Anyone have a spare veg bed I could rent out for the summer?