Smell of a Summer Porch

HERD ABOUT IT?

by Ana Grarian

 I enjoyed an old fashioned summer day on Wednesday. My grandson showed up for  surprise visit. We walked the dog. I worked in the garden, watering, weeding, transplanting and building a new vertical planter. Then we went for a swim in the creek. That felt sooooooo good. The water was cool and refreshing but not overwhelmingly cold. I think that is the advantage of water that has meandered along a shale bed in the sun. By 2pm it’s pretty well warmed up. There were very few people at the creek and I didn’t have to be self concious of my big butt self in a bathing suit, in front of a bunch of bikini clad coeds. Then we went home and I took a nap on the porch.

It felt and smelled like summer on my grandparents’ porch in the ADK’s. The cot on our porch is covered with an old quilt that is slightly musty from being out there for so long. Then there is the fact that it is mostly enjoyed by my dog and cat. The air was very warm, with a breeze, that made it very comfortable. Traffic was in the calm before the storm of commuter home-going. It felt and smelled like a summer from my childhood.

When I woke up, happy with much work done, much fun had, and much rested, I prepared a lovely little hot weather supper for the crew complete with dessert. Lots of veggies and fruit. (OK, and cheese, and sour cream and cake too).

We have had some lovely evenings for sleeping. Though it has been in the 90’s during the day, the nighttime temps were going down below 60. About three in the morning I’d find myself reaching for the covers, ah bliss! In the morning I would walk downstairs into a chilly little well that would keep the house relatively cool through the day, once I shut the house up. Not so today where morning temperatures inside are still in the 80’s.
I realized this was because we were having absolutely clear night skies. Not a cloud in sight to hold the heat in. Of course, this has it’s down side…..no rain in the forecast. As the days have gone by I think I am correct in my forecast. The clouds have gradually returned, along with nights too hot to comfortably sleep, and forecasts of possible rain. I sincerely hope we get some – several days of some – rain.

Last Saturday we had a lovely couple of hours of rain, some hard, some drizzle. The lawns, though they did not green up, did stop crunching. Gardens perked up, and so did gardeners whose rain barrels were now full again. As I headed out to farm country for church, I could see that the corn fields were hurting. Corn leaves curl into themselves like ham on a party platter, reducing surface area exposed to the sun in an effort to conserve water. Our black walnut trees have dropped their nuts, way too early, and my neighbors apricot tree is dropping its fruit also.

Last night my daughter and I were talking about gardening for food. I am worried that as more of us are turning to gardening for healthy food, we may not be able to adjust our methods enough to the new weather patterns to be successful. Who in CNY thinks of losing crops to the heat in early June? I think my spinach bolted in May. We may need to have some of our students and professors from more arid climates teach us how to grow food crops suitable to intense heat and lack of rain.

Ah well. Off to work I go. The pleasure of the morning shift is that I work before our ancient air conditioner loses the battle with the onslaught of sun and humidity, though I will walk out into the height of it at the end of my shift.