Oh, my. I woke up this morning after 5.1 hours of sleep to the sound of thunder. (The reason I know it was 5.1 hours is because my CPAP machine keeps track of such mundane things for me; all I have to do is hit a button and voila, there's all sorts of data about the last night's sleep or lack thereof)
I was so confused, thunder? It's going to rain? Again?? The weatherman didn't predict this. I jumped up and looked out the window, bright sunshine to our east and directly to our west, a big dark blue cloud.
Oh, botheration. Our farm renter has been trying to get his hay and corn planted for well over a month and just had the fields ready to go as of very late last night, in fact a tractor pulled in to our second driveway to start planting corn at 2AM, a fact I know for certain since both of our dogs started barking. They are weeks and weeks behind and fields are still not really ready. The tractor was stuck twice yesterday and after getting pulled out, he just worked around the wet bits. It's just too late in the season to wait any longer. Such a year it has been! Most of the farmers around here are in dire straits...even corn with a 101 day maturity from seed to harvest is going to be cutting it very close, especially if we have early frosts in September.
With any luck, it looks like this storm (it's still thundering as I write this) will blow on by with only a little rain...just enough to settle the dust (if there was any dust to settle). On radar, there's just a teeny, tiny line of storms heading through, blink and you'd miss them, but wow, there is a lot of thunder. Farming is a gamble at all times, but this year, I think the deck is stacked. The picture below was taken last week and shows the farm field in the background with all the standing water.
The last few weeks have been so tiring. I haven't had time to post or read other blogs, it's just work from sun up to sun down. We're gardening as fast and furiously as we can to get ready for the MG's visit tomorrow. There is so much to do, and nope, it won't be done in time for their visit.
We gave up working on the Formal Garden wall, it was too wet and way too big of a job to finish before the 4th of June. I still have a whole bunch of perennials to dig out of that garden, too. We decided to try and make the rest of the gardens presentable instead of rushing to finish the remodeling.
I am almost done planting the annuals. There are still about 200 left to plant, but that's better than the 2000 I started with.
I put the plants on two wheelbarrows and some shelving during the day and spent a lot of time rotating them to more or less sunny/windy areas.
One of the new-to-me annuals I started from seed this year and hoped had promise was Mimulus "White w/red blotch":
Another thing I planted last season from seed was a so-called compact Allysum 'Basket of Gold' which was perennial. I stuck them in the hills here and there last spring and hoped for the best. This spring, they bloomed:
The blooms were pretty, but I was less enthused about the height and dimensions of this plant, it got much taller and bushier than I expected. And the fact I'm a farm kid and the flowers reminded me perilously of Yellow Rocket, a noxious weed I was raised to detest. When I was a little girl, my father would send me out to the fields to pull Yellow Rocket and later on, mustard plants out of the farm. Dad put a bounty on them: I was paid a penny a plant for each and every carcass I brought back home. But they all had to have roots on them, no fair just breaking off the weed and not getting the root. Lucky for me, we only have a 98 acre farm, so no, I didn't make enough money to retire early on my weed pulling adventures, though sometimes I would bring in around two hundred plants. (200 x .01= $2.00!) Not exactly a Get Rich Quick Scheme, but this started a lifelong obsession with keeping this farm clear of the weeds.
And then I planted the yellow alyssum last spring and when it bloomed last week, I was mortified. From a distance, it looked so much like Yellow Rocket. Dad, may he rest in peace, would have had a FIT!
Anyway, back to the work saga:
Even though Ann works a night shift at her job, she's been coming out here when she can to help us get ready, a few hours in the morning here and there and any spare time on the weekends. She rakes up pine needles out in the Back Eight and hauls them up to the garden and dispenses them wherever they are needed. Last weekend, Richard and Emily stopped in for a visit on Sunday and helped tremendously too, hauling mulch and other odd jobs. Ann's daughter Jessie was here too, and was set to work spreading mulch for the afternoon. We are not stingy with the free workouts we offer.
So, the Master Gardeners will arrive tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM and what will they see here? Not much. The waterlilies are not blooming, they're not even in bud yet which is very late; the peonies are in bud but nowhere close to flowering (and the buds are the size of little marbles, go figure) We had gorgeous apple trees in bloom until this Wednesday when we had sustained winds of 30mph with gusts to 45 mph all day long, so all the apple trees are bare of flowers, too. Not to mention what the winds did to the columbines and bleeding hearts which are all laid out flat and battered and bruised. Even the ornamental grasses took the wind hard, they look like someone took a blow torch to them, weirdly twisted and dried out.
Well, the rain has passed and it's time to hit the ground running again. If I cannot offer the MG's beautiful flowers, the least I can do is try to have the place presentable. Joel, David and Kayla took the greenhouse down last night but the yard is littered with empty plant pots and cells, and stuff everywhere.
One flower that might be in bloom (at least it was last night) was our heirloom Ladyslipper from Carl's late Grandpa Henry. I ran out and took a picture of it last night before I went to bed: mind you, it was almost midnight and therefore dark out, so I had a bit of trouble focusing (ok, even finding it):
Back to work in the gardens; Ann is on her way for a few hours and Carl is coming home early.
Wish us luck.
P.S. Is anyone else having issues posting pictures to blogger or is it just me?