The rest of the country is burning up and we still have the kitchen space heater on. This morning it’s 44 degrees, 48 in the hoop house. I look at the newspaper weather map of the contiguous U.S.A. and picture Mother Nature Herself dipping the entire country in fire, but her thumb is over us. Achilles’ heel.
Sixteen hours of light here on the 47th parallel at Midsummer, the most northern latitude of any major city in the USA outside of Alaska. The days get longer and longer but no warmer. We work feverishly preparing for the coming heat (late July through September), eat dinner at 9pm when it’s still light out, and go to bed at night with barely enough energy left to shake hands.
The only place on the farmlet that has hit 80 degrees is in the hoop house, which I can see out the window. It magnifies the heat, like a mini-Earth, trapping the heat once it gets in. The plastic is all foggy with condensation right now (and just a smidgen warmer than outside), so its less-than-clearness, a disappointment to me at the beginning, is academic. But change is afoot! The heat is coming. If any sun comes out and stays out, the hoop house zooms up toward 100 degrees, water dripping like a rain forest. We have to keep the doors open so that it stays at about 85 degrees.
Last year the cold and slugs wiped out half of the beans and all the zucchini and cucumbers. So this year, I’ve started all the beans (bush and pole), squashes (pumpkins and zucchini) and corn in pots in the hoop house.
It’s two steps forward, one step back — is that a Law of Nature? — on the security front, though. At night, slugs doodle their way across the hoop house plastic, leaving loopy trails in the condensation.
Garfield actually carried a live, unharmed crying baby bunny down the driveway, up the deck stairs and through the cat flap in the gate, then down the stairs into the backyard and carefully sat it in the Circle Garden. Our bunny-proof yard. We scooped it up and carried it to a nice thicket outside the fence.
He’s just as crazed and confused as the rest of us, though. Ditto, our daughter’s visiting cat, still does not like him, so until we find a new home for her, we have to keep them separated. Which means Ditto has the enclosed front porch we call the cat condo. Garfield now has an auxiliary residence on the back porch. A cat carrier we call the trailer house. He likes it.
It’s a weird time. The numbers are in. So far this year, the average temperature is 10 degrees lower than normal. There are hardly any bees. This is two years in a row. Crazy. At least the baby tomato plants are thriving, upside down, in the hoop house. Maybe Topsy Turvy is the new normal.