I have a lovely burn on my back from gardening the other day. I put sunblock on, but I could only reach my upper shoulders and neck. After putting some on Dave's neck, I forgot to ask him to put some on my back. My burn looks like a red tattoo of a giant crown--the finger prints clearly there from reaching across my chest and as far down as I could manage. At least I know this suntan lotion works.
It's been incredibly hot, though not as hot as our outdoor thermometer would have you believe. Its needle was straining at +120F two days ago (gardening day), but really it was only about 90F outside (still pretty dang hot in this humidity). They say global warming is at its all-time worst. We've had a really dry summer, with our lovely backyard (ha! did I mention the previous owners had 4 great danes?) suffering. Nobody really waters their grass around here, except for the million-dollar homes with their million-dollar water bills. And our next-door neighbour, causing Dave to want to water our lawn too. He bought a cute (*cough*tacky*cough*) frog sprinkler that will water 1/80th of the lawn at a time. (OK, Dave, it is pretty cute, and even though the packaging says "may cause cancer if ingested", we can keep it.)
We planted our garden on that hot hot day of sunburns. That was fun, hard work, and the result of a spontaneous trip to the clearance garden center at our local grocery store. "Let's just pop in to see what they have," turned into $100 of plants, top soil and one planter (and 4 plastic creatures to stick on flower pots...guess whose idea that was...rhymes with "rave"). We decided to go back and get started right away. There was what looked like a garden bed on one side (East) of the backyard (which is north-facing), but it had no soil and some patches of grass amongst the clay. Yes, the ground is mostly clay around here. It's really difficult to shovel out, etc. So we dug out most of the grassy patches, made a bed of soil, planted some plants (perennials and annuals mixed in on one end, climbing plants along the fence and the beginning of an herb/vegetable garden in the front), went to Walmart (another $100--plants, tools, more soil, etc.), returned, burned some more, sweated lots, and tried to beat the rain which was starting to come down. Our little garden was taking shape and we were so proud. We also added two more hanging flower baskets to our back porch, bleeding hearts to the side of the house, and some lavender (which I love) to 5 different places. We're both novices at this gardening thing, and yes, I do realize it's a bit late in the season to have started a garden, and yes, I do realize we are leaving for a month in just over a week from now...uh, yeah, what was my point? Oh yeah...I don't care! We have a cute little garden that will only get better from year to year.
Did I mention this was the same day Margaret was arriving from Calgary for a visit? I went from the garden to teaching (just barely getting changed in time, skipping a shower but scrubbing my hands as fast as I could) to madly cleaning the house (and myself) up before picking her up from the airport. Of course, as nature would have it, we had a wicked thunderstorm that night, lasting several hours. The lightning was so intense, it lit up the sky in continuous flickers and bolts. That, the thunder, the wind, the hail, and the rain kept us all awake from about 3:45-5:30am. I even went downstairs and turned the radio on to listen for weather alerts. There was one for our county, but no tornado alert. We didn't go down to the basement, but I'd noticed the lights on in the basements of houses across the field from us.
Did I mention that the day we bought our new car, we got hail damage? Well, luckily we have a garage now...unfortunately, there was no garage over our little garden. I think most of the plants survived (including our crabapple tree we bought for a wedding anniversary present to each other--though we watched it whipping back in forth in the furious wind that night), but there were some flowers that didn't make it. And most of the soil washed away, leaving the resilient clay.
The next morning, we sat outside on our back deck, enjoying the bearably muggy weather. It got hot again, stormed again last night, and got hot again today. I went over to our little garden to see how the plants were doing, and although I had to say goodbye to some of the flowers (annuals), I looked at my veggies, and there were already five or six hot peppers growing on their little plants!! I guess they could stand the weather. So come on over, and I'll make you some chili. We'll nurse our sunburns together on the back deck, crack open a beer, and watch the electricity light the sky. Only it'll be fireflies instead of lightning. I love it here.
Trying to upload pictures--blogger is being stubborn. I'm currently uploading pictures to the kodak gallery; once you see a link to the right (conveniently under "links"), you can see the rest of our gardening and house photos. You don't have to be a member--don't let the "sign up now" page fool you. Just click on "view slideshow".