Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cloudy Skies

This is what the sky looked like over our backyard yesterday evening. However, despite flash flood warnings, and reports of deluges elsewhere we didn't get more than a few drops of rain. I am absolutely craving a good downpour with the fresh smell, and clear air that it will bring.

I managed to conquer my inertia, and the humidity today and got loads done outside in the front, and backyard. I got most of the vegetable garden cleared and dug over as well.

How is it that the garden soil, freshly dug through and turned a mere few months ago is now as hard as a rock again? Desert soil, there really is nothing quite like it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summertime Inertia Has Hit!

The mid summer inertia I typically get every year has finally arrived, and arrived with a vengeance! It usually occurs a great deal earlier than this, and I attribute it's late arrival this year to the frequent escapes the girls and I have been making to cooler, more welcoming summer places up north.

It also happens to have hit about the same time that I need to be getting my vegetable garden in order so that I can begin to plant my Fall crops. It has been just about all I can do to stagger out there each day into the heat and humidity, (about 70% today), to get a bit of clearing and digging done. This weekend I need to plant summer squash as I have a very short window in which to do so. Many of the other crops can wait until the beginning of September thankfully.

The rest of the yard needs work too. Everything is very overgrown, more so than I like, and I can't bear to look at it anymore. The mornings are the best time to go out, the evenings the worse with the incredibly awful mosquitoes that we have this year. Ridiculous that we have so many in this "dry, desert" environment, and totally attributable I am afraid to the ways in which we are changing this place forever to suit our own needs and desires.

On a brighter note here is the first melon from my self seeded melon plant. It really tasted good, and there are four more to come with any luck.

The English person in me is particularly excited about growing my first melon! Melons were always a special treat for us as children, and they aren't something we generally have the climate for in the UK. I did however find this interesting article that describes four newer varieties of melon that are easier to grow in the UK, and I am sure having a greenhouse would help too. Melons still represent something very exotic for me though, and I imagine they always will.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Request For Any Bird Watchers Among You

Please excuse yet another awful photograph but I wanted to put this out there to see if anyone can help me to identify these birds.

They love to bathe and drink from the fountain next to our patio and I love watching them. We now seem to have an entire flock of these beauties residing in our yard after having raised young in their numerous nests.

Bird identification is certainly not one of my talents, and after looking through a bird book today my mind is positively spinning with all the possibilities of exactly what they could be. Are they Vireos perhaps, or warblers of some kind? Does anyone know? Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Self Seeded

I have several Cantaloupe melons of various sizes growing in my veggie garden. This is the biggest.

The funny thing is that I didn't plant any Cantaloupe melons, in fact I don't think I have ever planted any. I think a melon seed must have escaped from the compost box and self germinated. I love it when that happens!

No snake encounter this morning and I rather missed it I have to admit.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Little Snake

The day before yesterday I came across a little black and white snake slithering through my melon patch. Today as I went out to water, I almost stepped on what I am assuming is the same little snake just as I passed through the garden gate. It looked at me for a short time, and then slithered away down the side of the house. I ran into get my camera and managed only to get this very poor shot I am afraid.

By the time I had my camera the poor thing was thoroughly terrified, and I didn't want to scare it anymore.

It is a juvenile King Snake I think which leads me to believe that there are probably more because where there is one baby snake, there is likely to be a family of baby snakes. I imagine somewhere in our yard there is a clutch of King Snake eggs hatching, or perhaps already hatched. I know we have at least one adult King Snake because I have seen it at dusk, and I found a beautiful, perfectly shed snake skin on the patio last year which I blogged about here. I am happy to have these creatures as always. I am sure they will help to sustain natural balance in our backyard.

My poor blog is so neglected, as is my veggie garden, and many other things in my life this summer. My children however are not at all neglected because I have been taking them camping, often. I will post pictures one of these days. Suffice it to say these desert summers are best spent away in the coolness of the northern pine trees. How lucky we are that we get the chance to camp so often. Lucky indeed!