After 24 years at the University of Utah, R has officially retired. The send-off was heart-warming: they issued him an honorific retirement rank I didn’t even know existed, three lovely parties and a book of photographs going back decades. We crammed all the festivities, a Kenny Wayne Shepherd concert and a trip to the Salt Lake farmers’ market in less than 48 hours in the big city. No wonder we collapsed in our hammocks Saturday night when we got home.
Husbandry and gardening: My enemy has a name and it is redroot pigweed, a member of the amaranth family. There aren’t going to be Brussels sprouts this year, as some pest ate all the last-chance seedlings while we were gone and I am out of time to start them again. I am going to try to plant more peas instead. If I get them in now, they may just flower and finish before it gets really cold. The tomatoes are setting fruit. We had overnight irrigation on Tuesday. It wasn’t our best effort with really low water levels. We are hoping the monsoons will set up soon and raise the water allocation as well as raining on our land. All the critters are doing well and next week we are booting the turkey poults out of the garage. Wyatt is teething—he lost a tooth on the drive home and his behavior is erratic. He’s got 14 of 42 adult teeth so far. In the next three months, he will be done with that nonsense and we will have a much happier dog.
Food, harvest and preserving: one friend runs a goat herd share and we got another friend’s allotment while they were on vacation and turned that into mozzarella and pizza on the grill. We should be eating greens that are coming out of the garden. Instead it has been eggs, bacon, potatoes and chiles. I made some chili for the freezer and that’s about it. I am planting cilantro every two or three weeks, trying to figure out when I need to plant it so it is timed for the great salsa-making project that is coming. We are down to the last two pint jars from 2016.
Energy and conservation: I’m looking forward to turning off all of the animal heating devices: water deicers and brooder heat lamps for a few months.I keep saying I am going to build a solar deicer for the goats, maybe this is the year for that project.
Other projects: R has been reorganizing our office and music space to better suit us both with him being here full-time. Naturally, the place has been in disarray — you never quite believe that all the stuff will all go back together into the space it was in before, but it does and we now have more bookshelves in the office and a place for my mandolins.
Creativity and recreation: We hadn’t been to a Red Butte Garden concert in years. It was over 100 degrees while we were waiting in line and I wondered if we had lost our minds, but a breeze started up when the sun went down and there were dragonflies buzzing the audience while the band played some awesome blues. We have more tickets for August to see the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.
Next week: we are getting ready all week for housessitters the following week. There is always a bunch of nonsense I am willing to put up with but not inflict on others who take care of the place. Hazards will be picked up, water lines moved to more efficient locations, deep-cleaning everywhere. At the same time, we will roust out the camping gear and figure out how to fit it all in the truck with two dog crates.
Seasonal observations: Most everyone has their first cutting of hay baled by now. Hay-making started right before the holiday weekend and we saw the last fields had been cut on the drive back from Salt Lake, farmers hoping the rains wait until after the hay is dry enough to bale. We also saw nighthawks on the way into Scipio. That’s the earliest we have ever seen them. I was wrong about the barn swallows, their nest was already full and they fledged babies last week. R rescued a couple that fell onto the porch. The first sunflowers are starting to make flower heads and the bees are gorging on alfalfa blossoms. It really feels like summer now, full stop. Like they say, make hay while the sun shines, because it won’t last long.