Several days ago we noticed something curious in all of the local forests. Many of the trees had dying branches. All of the dead branches were located just at the ends the limb; and some trees were much worse than others.
We wondered what the cause could be. Could it be drought? That seemed unlikely given the amount of rainfall we have received. And then it occurred to Hubbs... Although the brood X cicadas did not eat during their "out-of-the-ground" state, they did make tiny slits in the smaller branches to lay their eggs. Hubbs reached up and broke off one of the dead branches, and sure enough, there they were... tiny slits along the length of the branch.
Brown branches dotting the green forests are all that is left of these red-eyed, noisy insects - and the tiny eggs that will grow and hatch within those branches. It will take another seventeen years to complete their life cycle - and I suspect that seventeen years from now, folks will be wondering why there are so many dead branches on the trees in the local forests.
Extreme high temperatures have once again settled over the farm. This weather is brutal for both man and beast.
I try to get the outside work finished in the morning hours. The rest of the day is spent making sure everyone has enough fresh, cold water to drink.
This task is complicated by a rogue, wandering band of runner ducks who love nothing more than to play in buckets of water, making them completely muddy.
Yesterday morning, I worked in the garden (with guineas for company.)
The weeks of preparation, weeding, planting, and watering have paid off. Now we enjoy the fruits of our labor - the fruit definitely outweighing the labor! Here is yesterday's bounty...
I also picked another quart of blueberries and another quart of black raspberries for the freezer.
I picked Chamomile flowers, for tea....
And celosia for a kitchen bouquet.
Now is that sweet time of year when trips to the grocery store are few and far between. For the next several months, we will have enough produce to feed ourselves and share with family. It's a good feeling to be self-sustaining...
even for just a few months each year - growing our own food, and making our own electricity.
I mentioned before my fondness for foxglove. I have learned through experience that once your plant has bloomed, if you cut off the spent blossom, you will get many more smaller blossoms from the sides of the plant... extending its beauty for yet another month!