Plans: the first thing to get tossed aside when life happens, or in our case when the wind blows. Late on a calm Monday afternoon, I was in the house with sleeping dogs when the wind gusted from the north. That’s an odd direction for us, usually it comes somewhere out of the west. The dogs went crazy, more than was warranted by a few things blowing across the porch, so I looked out to see the plastic cover of the hoophouse ripped from end to end. The break was as neat as if it had been cut with scissors, failing along a faint line in the plastic.
It wasn’t really a surprise. I knew the four year warranty on the cover was up this summer and we had it on our list for this year to replace it. I was hoping to put it off a few more weeks for fall weather, but no. R managed to tape it back together well enough to keep it in place for a week, and I ordered the replacement on-line. Working with Growers Supply all these years as been great — they haven’t even changed the catalog number from the original order, the shipping was super reasonably priced for the weight, and it arrived on Friday.
Now we have to organize a few extra hands to help weight down the plastic in case another gust comes up when we pull it over the top. The last thing we need is to lose control of a 36′ x 50′ plastic sail in an ill-timed gust of wind. I will make another timelapse video when we do it, with more frames at the critical moment when the plastic slides over the peak. If all goes right, it goes up and over in seconds, the sides get secured and everything is safe in just a few minutes.
Husbandry and gardening: Weeding, watering and waiting for things to ripen, that’s the garden routine of the moment. I pulled up the bed of bush beans to replant with fall greens. Our hay selling friend has some for us; we need to go pick it up, probably a ton in small bales. Skunk #4 of the season was caught and dispatched without any extra laundry incidents. R has the upper half of the Bluebird orchard irrigation improvements done and we took our overnight watering turn without getting up once in the night. He needed some parts, so we finally organized our trip to Richfield, which turned into two trips because the parts had to be ordered and a kind employee at one of the three big box stores in town let it slip that the gas grills would go on sale on Friday.
Food, harvest and preserving: We grow grain corn, which we don’t want to cross-pollinate with table corn, so I bought some in Richfield for the freezer. Some green beans turned into pickles, the rest were frozen, along with a half flat of Bear Lake raspberries a friend brought us. I gave away a bunch of cucumbers — if I do any more pickles it will be ferments once the weather cools a bit. We mostly ate leftovers from last week’s band party. We tested the new gas grill bought on our second trip to Richfield with locally-raised lamb chops. There are artichokes in large numbers ready to be turned into something, not sure what yet.
Finances: About a year before R retired, we realized we needed some data on our expenses so we could figure out our plan for financing this operation. We use a desktop version of You Need A Budget (YNAB) software, which has since been retired. I am not a fan of subscription software and have resisted upgrading to their on-line version; the old one is working fine so why change? We are not candidates for best YNAB user of the month club, since I don’t budget as much as record, but it works for us. I do office-type work once a week, after picking up the mail on Thursdays when the local paper comes out. Whatever checks need to get mailed go out that afternoon when we make our weekly run to Loa for supplies, mostly cream for coffee and sacks of feed.
Other projects: I put a gas grill together. R helped with the heavy parts. It worked the first time.
Community: We took the dogs out with some friends. R played at a house party on Sunday. We went to a birthday party earlier in the week. Labor Day weekend is the beginning of the end of the social season and the next few weeks will be busy.
Creativity and recreation: I smashed my fretting hand while loading concrete bricks so my mandolin effort focused on making the metronome my friend.
I’m putting all of my creative energy out at the stove top. I invented some killer peach-jalapeno hot sauce. The cucumber-cantaloupe salsa needs more testing, but I think I know how to fix it. Leftover potatoes became a hot dish that will go into regular rotation. If this carries on, I’m going to have to start a fitness category for the log.
Next week: Plant transplants, build a raised bed in the hoop house, get to the bees, and get ready for a quick trip to Phoenix to see my family.
Seasonal observations: The native currant bushes alongside our house are turning red. I spotted a mixed flock of starlings and robins foraging across the street. The temperatures haven’t shifted, still in the 80s in the afternoons and dropping to the mid-50s at night, but the monsoon pattern broke up and we didn’t get rain all week. Up and down the county, farmers are cutting hay while they can in the dry weather. There is a sense of purpose in the air: stack wood, bale hay, finish up projects that need doing before the weather turns. Three more weeks until we expect our first frost, but it could come at any time now. The rush is on.