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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Forecast: Sunny and scorched

I did it again and I apologize for going AWOL for a while. I've been dealing with some health issues...mine and some of the critters, but things are settling down now just in time for the drowsy hot dog days of summer.  Or maybe those days are already upon us considering all the sleeping dogs scattered about the floor around me!

So far this summer has been a very hot and dry one. The  Sycamores (above) have been losing leaves and the elms have pretty much kicked the bucket. We lost another favorite elm (right) in our yard this year...a real beauty...and I will probably cry when it is cut down for firewood. We just had a week of rain, which may have saved some of the vegetation, but this tree is past saving, as are a couple more elms down at the pond. At least they will not go to waste since we only harvest dead or downed trees for firewood in the winter. This enables us to keep the thermostat very low (a chilly 64 degrees) so we don't have to burn as much propane gas. 

Last year we made it through the winter on just over half a tank of propane! Of course, it helped that we had a mild winter and I am thinking we may be in for another...the climate is definitely changing and I am convinced that global warming is upon us. I'm pretty sure this won't be the last elm we lose and am kind of relieved it is the last one that was in the yard.

Today the USDA designated our county a national disaster due to the drought we are having. I know a lot of folks around us have lost their corn fields, but last week's rain saved our peanuts. I was worried because the peanut plants weren't growing, but they look good now and are blooming. I've pretty much given up on my garden this year. Last time I tried to plant something in the garden the ground was so hard and dry I could barely scratch out a shallow hole. We're getting potatoes, Roma tomatoes, onions (left in the garden from last year) and peppers. In fact, I should be canning tomatoes right now! 

One thing that has done well this year are my two apple trees. They are just now old enough to really set fruit and they are loaded. One tree is even leaning over from the weight of all the apples. Last week's storms helped cull some of the apples and I picked them sense letting them go to waste! I've made green apple jelly with them...a new jelly for me. Hopefully we'll enjoy it as much as we do the dewberry jelly (which is already down to only two jars that I have hidden away for wintertime). Dry weather means the kudzu won't bloom this year, so no kudzu jelly and there may not be any elderberries, so no elderberry jelly is going to be it!

Fortunately, all the critters are managing in the hot weather so far. The goats, chickens and ducks all have plenty of shade and are given fresh cool water throughout the day. Elvis (the rabbit) is enjoying life in his new pen and snuggles up to the bottles of ice we place in his pen when the temperatures soar. The horses can find shelter in the barn or under the trees at their pond and the dogs and cats...well, let's just admit that the dogs and cats are SPOILED ROTTEN and get to lay about the house in the air conditioning all day long!

As do I!

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