Water for the Garden

June 29 – Monday seemed like a good day to water the garden. It surely did need the moisture after this long drought. Getting our garden cart out of the barn, I put four watering cans and a large pail into it and one by one filled them from our 1100 gallon plastic water tank fed from the barn roof whenever it does rain. Before wheeling this collection off to the long row of morning glory plants along our front fence, I installed a sprinkler that was hooked up to a long hose from the house outdoor faucet, and turned it on to water the cucumbers and sweet potatoes and onions. While watering the morning glories, these other plants could be getting a drink too. The soil the Heavenly Blue morning glories were growing in was so dry it had big cracks in it, making it easy for the water to get down fast to their roots. All the water in the cart wasn’t enough for all the morning glories and I had to walk back and get another watering can full.


[ Hose, not snake ]

Getting water to the whole garden took a lot of moving that sprinkler to front and back! Amidst the section with the 50 tomato plants, the sprinkler had to contend with the tall plants in their cages and it took quite a while for the water to reach them all. I noticed in the most distant corner that the plants hadn’t been receiving enough moisture and several of them had blossom-end rot on the small tomatoes. They were well-watered this time but too late to rescue all those sickly ones.

While I watered, Chris was busy with the hand mower around the garden fence and inside where the sprinkler didn’t reach. She did more mowing out by our picnic spot, where she hadn’t mowed for a long time while waiting for the wild purple phlox to mature their seeds. They self-sow vigorously and are a beautiful sight when in bloom.

As the day progressed, we began to hear distant rumblings of thunder. What – water the garden in the morning and then get rained on in the afternoon? All around us clouds darkened and the thunder sounded in first one direction and then another as the storm moved around us. We here in the center weren’t even getting a sprinkle yet. While watching the clouds, Chris also pointed out a solitary hen turkey wandering around in the pasture west of the barn.


[ Chris raking the cut grass ]

With the watering all done, Chris began raking up the clumps of cut grass in one corner of our pasture where our son-in-law and his dad had mowed and then baled it where they could get in under overhanging branches. While she raked I went off with the chain saw to cut up several logs and branches that were in our way. When I returned Chris was finishing the raking and that grass was destined to join our compost heap in the garden. I had thought of using it as a mulch in the garden but decided that all the seed would soon sprout and become a pest. We rounded up a big blue plastic tarp and piled lots of this hay onto it, and dragged it off to the compost heap and heaped it up. Three big loads joined the heap and it is now greatly enlarged and hopefully will provide lots of good compost in a couple of years.


[ Hose, not snake ]

It was late enough now to consider taking our usual mile walk around our property, so away we went, pausing at the garden edge to observe a rabbit eating our Swiss chard. Chris had picked lots of this in weeks past and now this rabbit was eating it too. I hurled a big clod at it and it scurried into the tomato patch and disappeared. We should probably have sprayed our hats and shoulders with fly repellent, for the deer flies and other varieties were soon perching there.

Before we left, Chris asked if she ought to take her camera along, and I didn’t think we would be likely to see anything of much interest. The thunder was continuing to rumble and we hoped we wouldn’t have to speed home to avoid a downpour. After walking quite a ways, we came across a rabbit in the trail, and were able to get really close to it before it scampered away. Chris could have taken excellent photos of it with a camera! We continued to walk, and there was another rabbit waiting to meet us. It let us get very close before it fled. Could have had some more good pictures! Eventually we began to feel little raindrops falling on us, so hurried home and waited for a good rain. But we never got it. It had thundered for hours, and passed us by, sad to say! And so we remain somewhat the drought-stricken Fairchilds. – DALE

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