Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday, September 25th

The last two weeks have been all about rain. This time it didn't come in one giant downpour like it did on July 26th, instead it rained just about every day for a week. And an inch at a time giving us about 4.5". Which in turn made the place one giant mud pit. The big horses out back were standing on islands and we were forced to move the little guys into one of the bigger inside pens. I pumped  the lake out of one of the turnouts, only to have another inch of rain overnight reset that work to zero. The big guys spent a couple of days living in the west turnout until yet another storm made that impossible. We moved them to the riding arena until finally just bringing them into the barn.
As you can see, it was pretty bad. Not Colorado style flood bad, but enough to degrade our quality of life. As of today, we're dried out once again.

 We're down to 3-5 Hummingbirds which is surprising given that it's been 40-42° overnight. I guess they hang on by a thread and then warm up when it hits the 80's in the daytime. We haven't used the air conditioning at all for the past 10 days, it's been that nice.

The garden is pretty much done. We still pull a handful of cherry tomatoes out every other day and there are a few white eggplants coming on. Another surprise as I've not bothered to do any pollination for a long time. September is the month when it all ends apparently, now we just wait for the first hard frost to blacken the Basil bushes and to freeze the last of the Cosmos and Zinnias. And hopefully the hordes of Mosquitoes that came with the rain and have stayed to make it impossible to sit out back. Not that the sun is cooperating, it's shady and cool out there now, due to Sol's incessant march to the south. 1 hour and 24 minutes of less light daily and 35° less to the west. We've just passed the Equinox, on to the Solstice.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday September 9th

It's been a couple of weeks since I last gave an update and things have changed in the interim. Our tomato plants are pretty much tapped out - we did get some cherries and a couple of big ones this week but it's clear that their time is almost up. Interestingly, an "at will" plant, no doubt due to some fruit I rototilled in last winter, has a couple of tomatoes on it. We'll see if they make it. This past Saturday was the first time this summer that we purchased tomatoes at the grower's market for our weekly needs.

Eggplants are completely done and a bit of a disappointment. Next year, less plants and more specificity in cultivars with the purple globe style being the best for our climate.

Hummingbirds are down to 8-10 individuals now and I'm only refreshing the feeders weekly. I suspect that a few more cold mornings (it's regularly been 55-58° for the past week) will be enough motivation to send all but the hardiest stragglers on to Central America. They're still busy in the morning and throughout the day, but they hole up earlier in the evening now, about 7 instead of 9, no doubt to conserve energy through to cool night. We've had a half dozen or so Common Nighthawks overhead each night this week and I swear I saw and heard a Cactus Wren but I'm going to have to wait on binocular  visual confirmation before adding it to the yard list.

The main highlight this week are our Morning Glories that continue to put on a beautiful show each morning. And at no cost to us this year, given that they just appeared at the start of the Monsoons. It's simply wonderful to walk out back in the morning and stop to admire them slowly covering one of the arena fences.

Lastly, the sun is making its way quickly towards the south right now, taking giants leaps weekly. Similar to my Analemma project from last year, this time around I am merely tracking its position 1 hour before sunset. I began on June 21st, the Summer Solstice and will continue until the winter's equivalent on the 21st of December. It was interesting to see that it really doesn't jump much between June and August, until the middle to end of the latter. Between small degrees of change, and heavy rain clouds in the west throughout July, I didn't get any photos. But now you can really see the change.