We’ve had very hot weather for the past few days - it is 92 degrees here today, which is quite warm. Looking back at my records, this happens every April. For about a week we have July temperatures, and we all wish the neighborhood pool was open. Then it calms down again and we get temperate weather in May. So even though I broke down and turned on the air conditioning today, we can be assured that the fog will come in and cool things down, soon.
But what does this hot spurt mean for the garden and the livestock?
Well, the bees have again found the water feature. All the bees that were alive last summer are long dead, and so this new generation has to find the water source. And they have, finally. The lip of the fountain is ringed with bees, long tongues stuck out, collecting water. Bees cool their hive with water; they put droplets down, and then fan their wings, creating evaporative cooling. Water is extremely necessary for the colony’s health. That’s why, in the summer, you’ll find all kinds of bees in your pool, especially in arid places where there’s no other water to be found. One kindness you can do for the bees is keep a shallow dish out with water at all times. Put some pebbles in it, or rocks, or broken dishes, and fill it every day.
The chickens spend most of the day on the shady side of their run, under the quince tree. They dig down in the mulch with their sharp claws and make a cool depression in the earth, and sit in it. Later in the day, I spray their run with water, and they love that; it seems to give them renewed energy. I don’t know if it’s because the water evaporates off the ground and cools them off, or just because they prefer a damp surface to a dry one, but after I spray the ground, they start scratching it like crazy. Maybe the bugs come up when I water. The oak tree provides shade starting about 3 pm, and the chickens visibly perk up and start to roam again. Thank heavens for big trees.
And the garden? The garden loves the heat. It’s a bit tricky with just-sown seeds, however. Tom and I pulled up the shallots (all five million of them; they are curing on the roof of the coop) and I planted beans, cucumbers, butternut squash, delicata squash, and pumpkins. We’ve got the drip system going full bore, but water them again in the late afternoon, because seeds simply cannot dry out when they are in the germination process. The garlic is still in the ground and will be until at least May, maybe longer. I am intending to interplant peppers and melons in that space.
And the tomatoes, of course, do much better in warm weather, especially before fruit is set, so they are growing like mad. I’m going to have to tie them up this weekend.
Lastly, the flower garden is going crazy. The Phacelia tanacetifolia has begun to bloom and I see many different species of bees on in throughout the day.
Since I have a full course load, I am spending way too much time inside on the computer, which is why I’m not blogging as often. When I get a minute away from homework, the garden calls me. I like to just sit on the mulch and watch the activity in the flowers. It really grounds me. Of course then I start to see some weeds that need to be pulled, and a spot that needs some seeds, etc etc etc. So the sitting doesn’t happen for very long! ‘Tis the season for busy garden days!