Super Size It!

We all are familiar with the “super size it” menus of our fast food restaurants. We never dreamed we could have a plant in our overly shaded yard “supersize” itself.
 
Like seasons passed, Bob chastised himself for not nurturing our hydrangeas. You know–working the ground around them. Then addingi protection with manure, peat, other types of nutrients and wood chips. This past fall was no different, but as always, we plodded on and promised ourselves they’d do alright.
 
Then it came time to prune. I wasn’t able to help so Bob undertook the pruning. I dug out my instructions from a long-ago gardening magazine article. We watched and watched and watched from our family room window. Nothing new seemed to be appearing on their branches. 
 
Finally, leaves began to appear just when they should. And our watch began for flower buds. Impatient like we were earlier, we waited and waited. They too appeared in God’s own timing.
 
Next in line was the opening of those buds. Slowly they opened their petals. Our long wait was over. And they kept coming.
 
Two days ago I walked into the dining area, and let out a gasp! It was the largest hydrangea blossom I’d ever seen, and now you can see it above. The image doesn’t do it justice. This particular hydrangea outdid itself and most of our others.
 
Oh, we of little faith in God’s wonders.

Sounds of Summer

It’s Sunday and our family room slider is open. We’re just about into our favorite Sunday pastime–naps. But first, let me tell you about my favorite part of summer—the sounds.  Mornings with birdsong outside the window. The squeal of children playing outdoors. The beautiful flowers, the sunlight needed for them and me, and the opportunity to be outside.
 
Today we’ve been listening to the sounds of our neighbor’s grandchildren. When we moved here, this couple’s children were in preschool and grade school. We used to hear the happy sounds of that generation and now the next.
Weekends for our neighbors are busy. But the joy and laughter heard from that backyard is a pleasant thing. Laughing in the pool. Chasing each other around the yard. Swinging and climbing. And then the other sounds supplied by nature’s own. Dogs barking and squirrels scurrying up trees. And woodpeckers, crows, and Steller’s jays making raucous music. 
 
There’s also the sound of busy people caring for their lawns and gardens. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers melodiously humming a tune. For those into building, their nail guns, saws, and hammers provide percussion.
 
And the beautiful sound of families gathering around the table at the end of the day. 
 
Such a cacophony of sounds! And yet each one bears the gift of joy and happiness, thanks to the Creator’s magnificent hand.

Cottonwood Season

Summer “snow” is falling. Our patio and drive look as if snow fell overnight. The winds are blowing it here and there. Bob will have a mess to clean up. Our best hope is rain to eliminate the accumulation on the ground and dirt areas of our property. That should rule out the possibility of blowing it around any more with a leaf blower.
 
The source of this blight on our landscape in June or July? A stand of cottonwood trees nearby. We have seen less of their detritus in the last few years. We thought perhaps our neighbors had cut them down. From this year’s evidence, that is not the case.
 
Outside Longview, WA, there is a lovely cottonwood tree farm along the banks of the Cowlitz River. Lovely is the best descriptor when the trees aren’t blooming. And these are far enough from home not to bother us.
 
If you’re not aware of what summer “snow” looks like, here’s a sample for you. This shows the seeds inside the “cotton.” As you think of that blowing hither and yon, also think of all the new trees that will be growing.
 
Cottonwood seeds
Attribution: EarthSky

At least with the cool temps we’re having, the cottonwood “snowfall” fits in with the rest of the weather.

 

Featured image attribution: bstad from Pixabay 

Summer Begins?

As I sit here in my hoodie and long pants, the question on this first day of summer remains, “Summer begins?” For days, we’ve been in a weather cycle of cool temps, scattered drizzles, and no sun until mid-afternoon. Does that sound like summer?

Granted our daisies are blooming. Today Bob found buds on some of our hostas. The geraniums are loaded with blossoms. And believe it or not, our Christmas cactus now residing on our back deck is setting buds. The plants obviously believe summer is here.

I’m sorry, but it doesn’t feel like summer yet. Not long ago we had temps in the upper 90s. We turned our furnace off. The mornings have been crisp and cool, so I’ve kickstarted the furnace to take the edge off.

Summer comes every year. I know that in my mind and heart, but I want to see it, feel it, be outside in it. And in August or September, I’ll likely be begging for a cool down.

You can’t please some folks, can you?

 

 

Image attribution: pixel2013 from Pixabay

Hot Summer Nights | A Day in the Life (Episode #9)

We’re having a heat wave!

Oregon is HOT in our neck of the woods. Usually, summer days aren’t filled with temperatures nearing 100 or humidity starting the day at 70% or more. We’re accustomed to average summer temps in the low to mid 80’s, low humidity, and nights cooling down into the 60s or even high 50s. 

Mornings now you can hear the sounds of neighbors doing what you’re doing–opening windows and doors to let the cool morning air in. At our place, in Meyers Woods, this will keep the house cool throughout the day with the help of shade from our old growth firs and cedars.

Many older homes in the area have no air conditioning. Oregonians are somewhat complacent thinking that global warming isn’t going to affect the Pacific NW. Best we think again, dear neighbors!

But global warming and current days are not my subject matter today. I want to talk about…

Hot Summer Weather

Back in the day, the 1950s.

There was no evidence of air conditioning in any of the homes on our block. None anywhere we knew about. But people fared the summer weather without a hitch.

I grew up in Nashville, TN. The south offers a hot summer for the most part. The humidity can often be as high as the temperature. Mosquitoes are everywhere.

Clothes Pins or Pegs
Pixabay | Ryan McGuire

Unlike Oregon and the NW, summer nights in Tennessee didn’t cool off much. But I didn’t mind. I counted lightning bugs and stars until Mama or Daddy called us at bedtime.

Monday was wash day at our house, and Mama laundered sheets and pillowcases. A favorite activity was handing her the clothespins, or some call them clothes pegs, for hanging the wash.

Going to bed with air-dried linens made summer nights a delight!

Hot Nights Meant Bedtime Delight.

Windows were open as far as they would go. Hopes were high for a slight breeze or a hefty draft blowing through.

I could hear Mama using the Coca-Cola bottle she used to dampen clothes for ironing. This signaled the preparation of cooling sheets, as she called them, for the long, hot night. 

Each sheet was dampened as much as she felt necessary to keep us cool enough to fall asleep. When she brought the sheet to you, Mama carefully laid it over you spreading it to its full size.

Now the hope for breezes was at its peak. And as soon as someone felt a breeze, the whole house knew–there was either a long “ahhhhhhhh,” or a giggle, or one big yawn.

It was time to fall asleep and dream dreams.

What memories do you have hot summer nights?

Perhaps there’s something you’d share with us in the comments below, or perhaps this is good fodder for a short writing piece you’ve been putting off. 

Either way, my hope is that it’s not so hot where you are that you can’t sleep! Sweet dreams!