The Aftermath

 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!


Lynne said…
Early morning, not able to sleep . .
Thank you for the cheer, love seeing the “fruits” of your labor.
And information about dead branches, slits, Acadia eggs.
Our oak trees in Michigan are being left bare from gypsy moths.
Quite the concern and sight.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
we seem to have more and more of my most hated weather each year. the w's stare at me all day long as if to ask why i am doing this to them. i told them this morning that if i could control the weather, we would be out in the snow right now!
This N That said…
I'm with Jaz..Will be glad when summer and its bugs are gone..Interesting about the Cicadas and tree branches..Try to keep cool..not easy when one has to be out..hugs.
Love when our fruit trees and garden are producing. It feels like 'free' food. I forget all the tilling, fertilizing, watering, and pulling weeds. After 45 years, it doesn't get easier. Instead it seems to be the normal routine for spring. The time is fast approaching that we need to downsize but I'm enjoying all of it for now. We have a friend coming with their 7 grand children tomorrow to pick fruit. It makes me very happy to see the kids experiencing the joy of harvesting.Patty McDonald
Oh my, what a marvelous post, Bev. I LOVE the picture of the Fruits of your Labor! Just amazing how quickly these marvelous fruits and vegetables appeared! I'm sorry to see all the brown branches.....have the Cicadas really left now? None left chirping around your yard??? If so....thank goodness you can enjoy some summer without all that racket. They're a very curious species! Sorry to hear it's so hot's cool here...maybe we can send some of this your way soon! We'll try!