Lately we’ve been locked in a heat wave here at Happy Acres, along with much of the middle parts of the U.S. We’ve been breaking heat records nearly every day. And to make matters worse, we’re also suffering from extreme drought conditions. That makes for a powerful one/two punch that is hard on all living things, plants and wildlife alike.
The oppressive heat has meant we’re doing outside work early in the morning, before the temperature starts to rise. We’ve been harvesting before breakfast most mornings, then watering larger areas with soaker hoses and individual plants and containers with watering cans. So far the gardens are surviving, if not exactly thriving.
It’s prime harvest season here for squash, green beans, and blackberries, which are all producing despite the heat. The blueberries are just about done. It’s been a great year for them, and we have lots in the freezer. And we’ve been freezing the blackberries and veggies after we’re done outside, avoiding the worst of the heat by continuing our work inside where it’s cooler.
The freezer is filling up fast, even as we continue to try and use up older items. We still have quite a few tomato products from last year, when we had a bumper crop of tomatoes. We may adjust our 2012 amount accordingly. Of course, having lots of tomatoes is never a bad thing!
We’re freezing a lot of the berries and veggies in a single layer on cookies sheets lined with waxed paper. When they’re frozen, we put them in a large freezer bag. That way we can take out what we need.
Outside, we’re getting a lot of action at the birdbath. I’m keeping it filled up with clean water. The honeybees are frequent visitors. They use the water to help cool the hive. They bring water in and then fan their wings over droplets until they evaporate. Stand near the hive and you can hear the sound of their wings. I’ve also propped the top cover of the hive open to help with ventilation. I won’t be doing anything in the hive until the heat moderates – for the bee’s sake and for mine.
We’re supposed to get a break in the heat this week. Temps are going back to the 90s, at least for a day or two. After almost a week with 100F+ readings, I guess we’ll take that as a break!