Jun. 17th, 2015

queerbychoice: (marble)
I'm a little late for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this month, but here I am - though slightly the worse for wear because of the heat, and the same can be said of my garden. Last week brought our first 100-degree weather of this spring: it reached 104° F (40° C) on Monday and 106° F (41° C) on Friday. Several of my plants transformed, over the course of one day, from looking perfectly alive and healthy to looking entirely dead. Some of them resumed looking alive, though somewhat less healthy, after I watered them. Others of them might actually be dead, but I'm not completely sure yet. Also, the suet in my suet bird feeder is melting! Suet is a mixture of birdseed (and sometimes nuts or fruit) and beef fat (to provide the kinds of nutrients that insect-eating birds need). The beef fat is melting out of my suet and creating a grease spot on my cement patio under the suet feeder. This is the first summer I've had a suet feeder, so I didn't know this was going to happen.

One does not spend one's life in the Sacramento Valley without learning a few tricks for coping with heat. Here are mine:
  1. Douse your head in water regularly. A lot of people think it's better to have as little hair as possible during a hot summer, but this is only true if you don't have the good sense to keep your hair wet. Long, thick hair is an excellent tool for holding water; it is very useful if treated as such. Also, there's never any need to worry about drying it off before going out in public, because on a 100° day, all you have to do is step outside the house for ten seconds and your hair will be instantly dry. (Also, if you have curly hair like mine, the constant dousing with water will have the bonus effect of making it more intensely curly than ever.)
  2. Buy some stretchy fabric headbands, preferably four or five inches wide. Stuff ice cubes under them regularly. Make sure the dye in them is colorfast, though, because otherwise you'll end up looking like you just murdered one of the alien species from Star Trek who have oddly colored blood. (I speak from experience. Experience with non-colorfast headbands, I mean; not experience murdering Star Trek aliens.)
  3. Carry an insulated thermos of icewater at all times; drink fifty gallons of icewater per day from this thermos. It must be insulated because otherwise the icewater will cease to be icewater in about ten seconds.
  4. Freeze any and all other beverages and consume them as popsicles.
  5. When gardening, always water yourself just as much as you water the plants.
But on to the plants. Spring ended earlier than usual in my garden this year, and now it looks like August. Ordinarily this would mean that September was just around the corner, which would be a good thing, since the weather generally cools off a bit in September, and the plants start to perk up a little. In this case, though, I'm pretty sure I'm in for at least two more months of August.

Buckwheats are best known for blooming in the fall. Here's Eastern Mojave buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) blooming in my side yard right now. The smaller white clumps are the buckwheat flowers; the larger white clumps are yarrow (Achillea millefolium), which generally blooms in July but is already winding down this year.

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern Mojave buckwheat) with Achillea millefolium (yarrow)

More pictures! )

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