Monday, July 27, 2009

Fire In The Sky

We went out to the quaint Maple Ridge Country Faire on Saturday. Last year I volunteered to demonstrate there but this year took a pass. It was very under-attended even though the organisers worked very hard to get the word out for this second annual event. The fibre building (air-conditioned, yay!) was nearly empty and I doubt any of the vendors (all 4 or 5 of them) made their booth fee back. So sad. The weather was stinkin’ hot with periods of thunder, lightning and rain and so not too conducive to the outdoor section of the fair. However I had a lovely time visiting with everyone and checking out the fair entries in produce, needlework, photography, children’s arts and culinary (melting!). T-Man and I also met up with Milady Daughter, Milord Son-In-Law and his mom. It was Milord’s birthday too so we all went out to a yummy dinner at a randomly-picked sushi restaurant afterward.

On the way home the thunder and lightning storm chased us all the way back into town. It was really impressive and went on for hours. The whole sky at sunset was the most amazing shade of brilliant orange. I’ve never seen it quite that impressive before and it eventually faded to ripe apricot with deep violet above. (Of course I forgot to take a photo.) The light was so unusual and apparently it was due to the storm coming in from the east. But the funniest part was when the second instalment of the fireworks festival went on at English Bay and right in the middle of the crash-bang there was a huge flash of lightning and the thunder rolled on for minutes! Kind of put the puny efforts of humans right down. Hilarious! Or it would have been hilarious if we hadn’t been trying to sleep at the time. Between the heat, humidity and noise it was a pretty impossible plan.

No I didn’t have Milord Son-In-Law’s birthday socks done yet. I’m at the heel turn now but the yarn and needles are sticking to me in the heat. T-Man is taking today and tomorrow off work (unpaid furlough) so we got a bit more yard work done than I can usually manage. This morning we did some weeding and I transplanted some little seedlings, harvested beans and cukes (which are coming in nicely now), and watered the whole thing. I’m so upset that my entire greenhouse full of tomatoes are seriously infested with a second coming of the nasty flea beetles. This time they are all the way up to the roof and making lace out of the leaves. Very depressing even though I’m finally getting my first ripe tomatoes. They didn’t set as much fruit as I had hoped and some plants not at all. It’s too hot for them. Man, it’s too hot for me too! It’s 27C (81F) in the house with the fan on and even hotter outside in the shade. I got a bit too much sun on my shoulders in the garden when I forgot the extra sunscreen. I’m not used to this! I will try not to complain because I will be regretting it in January when I haven’t seen the sun for months and everything is wet and cold.

I currently have an overabundance of beans and zucchini which are doing better than usual and it looks like the lemon cukes will be joining in. The peas are still providing though the plants look like dried-up sticks. As long as they’re coming I’ll keep them in because I don’t need the bed yet. Snap and snow peas keep quite a long time in the fridge too. The half-dozen broccoli plants are producing just enough side-shoots to keep us supplied. There’s new up-and-coming lettuce and little baby greens not quite ready to pick yet. I planted seedlings for more raab, cilantro, basil, lettuce and tah tsai (Chinese greens) where the potatoes, carrots and garlic came out and now the whole garden space is filled again. Yum!

I’ve been picking the blueberries and our early bush is nearly done. The later one is just beginning which works out very well. I’ve got quite a few bags in the freezer for winter breakfasts. The blackberries are just starting to ripen and we shared a handful today. If passersby are going to help themselves to the outside of the fence, at least I get the inside for myself. And some of the outside too if I can beat them to it! I’m also still picking coreopsis every other day or so and getting about a quart (or litre) at a time. I have a bucket full of fallen walnuts that are unfortunately not ripe enough for eating but good for dye. I’ll freeze them if I don’t use them right away. I’ve tried fermenting an experimental pail full of nuts and water to see what colour I can get from it after a few weeks in the hot sun. And last but not least, I cut off the woad seeds in the net bag. I saved a bunch but threw the rest in the garbage. There wasn’t quite enough to try dyeing with them unfortunately. The green leaves are looking ripe enough to try a dyebath though so maybe I’ll do that later this week.

Whew! I’m making myself hotter with all that stuff! I’ve got to get this very warm computer off my lap. T-Man is drying cherry halves in the dehydrator and it’s much too toasty in the kitchen too. Good thing supper is mostly leftovers tonight (zucchini! beans!) so I don’t have to hang around in there for long. Thinking cool thoughts…

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