After such a wonderful beginning of summer... warm days, blue skies,
cool nights, occasional rainfall...
we plunge headlong into the hard part of summer.
When I am queen, I may decide to leave July off of the calendar.
As for August... yet to be determined.
It's a tough time for the animals.
Excessive heat takes its toll... and for some there is no break until the sun
finally sets for the day.
The horses, after being out all night,
happily spend their days in front of the three fans that run
continuously... giving them relief from the heat and also
from the bugs.
Grazing is done in the early morning and late evening
for all of the other animals.
Afternoons are lazily spent in the shade...
the sun being just too blistering hot these days.
The ground is parched and the grass is brown and crunchy...
a phenomenon usually saved for late August.
We've had very little rain of late and watering has been essential.
And though the heat and humidity are hard to endure during
the daytime hours, there are many wonderful gifts that are the result
of this weather.
The life-forms that respond most favorably to the current conditions
are those that are growing in the garden.
We've got cucumbers growing... both big and small.
In the following photo, you can see a long, dark green cucumber.
And at the top right-hand edge of the cucumber is a tiny Mexican gherkin
(a "watermelon" cucumber). As you can see, there is a distinct difference in
the size of these two varieties.
The Mexican gherkins grow on the daintiest of vines that climb higher
and higher on the garden trellis.
I've harvested some of the amaranth that I grew for seed.
This particular flower dries nicely and will provide some garden
color in the house this winter when it is most needed.
I've also been able to start cutting the globe amaranth (gomphrena),
another variety that dries nicely.
The first of the tomatoes have been harvested...
with so many more to follow...
as well as lots of zucchini.
Last night we had meatballs (bison) in sauce over zoodles
(zucchini cut into thin ribbons).
Fresh garlic, planted last year and harvested this year,
is drying for storage.
We've noticed lately that the hummingbirds have multiplied.
We started out with two....
and now we have so many!
With hummingbirds having up to three broods each summer,
that's a pretty good explanation for the exponential growth
in numbers from beginning to end.
One soon becomes two...
then number three arrives.
Four, five, and six are scattered around other feeders.
New blossoms in the flower gardens...
Yellow echinacea (coneflowers)...
Summer flowers are definitely the consolation prize
for surviving the heat.
If I were queen...