June 25, 2009

Wind!

Summer stormed in with a windstorm that has barely stopped for days now. The wind blowing the meadow looks pretty, like a silvery-gold sea, but it is hard on the gardens. We've had a few bouts of rain, a couple intense, but all that moisture has been vacuumed up and blown away by the constant wind. This is quite unusual for here; wind in the winter, yes, wind in the summer, no. This is very stressful on plants, and makes the extra-necessary watering problematical. Where does sprinkler water go when it is blowing hard? Not where you want it, and to some degree, just AWAY. I've been trying to cope by watering early or late, and soaking when I do, but everywhere I turn things are wilting. Up until lately it wasn't warm enough to warrant shade cloth over the lath house, and now it is too windy to manage putting it up!
The plants that are faring best in this drying weather are the thicker leaved ones (succulents like sedums and Lewisia, the woody and dense-leaved Lavenders, and the tuberous rooted things like Lilies.) The strawberries have stopped setting (I wonder if the bees can even hang onto the flowers when it's like this?) and everything is gritty.
Of course I made that worse yesterday by mowing the yard with the tractor; the lawnmower battery was dead and I couldn't stand the tall weeds one more minute and there was the 6' mowing deck and though I'm not Norwegian, the whole 'Norwegian Bachelor Farmer' thing hooked me and before I knew it, I had rather swathed the yard. I promise, I am taking the battery to town today and will get it charged or a new one, tractor tracks aren't that lovely out the front door. . . :-)

June 16, 2009

Soaping Weather

A stretch of rainy weather that prevented any outdoor work getting done got turned into a soaping streak; some new essential oils & colorants collected recently added to the fun. This week's work includes:

  • Sweetgrass & Spruce--infused sweetgrass and spicy Black Spruce essential oil make this outdoorsy, manly soap fragrant and inviting. I used to use white spruce but the black spruce is even "moreso".
  • Sweet Orange--sweet, juicy, cheery orange oil and luscious orange peel wax
  • Pink Grapefruit--mmmmm sweet and sunny.
  • Lemongrass & Lavender--I'm loving lemongrass more and more. This time it is paired with French lavender and the result is crisp, clean, & fresh.
  • Avocado-Chamomile--unscented, soothing, gentle. One of our richest soaps.
  • Wild Wind (Black Vetiver)--deeply dark soap tinted with charcoal, scented with the deeply manly vetiver and a touch of sweet orange.
  • Chamomile Goatmilk--golden chamomile infused oil, chamomile tea, and creamy goatmilk.
  • Chamomile-Lavender Goatmilk--a new lavender from Eastern Europe begged to be added, and there's hardly a kindlier combo than Lavender and Chamomile.
Pictures as soon as I've taken them; and here's a sneak at what's coming next:
Cardamom--spicy, rounded, warm scent, a spin-off of our popular hand cream.
Striped Lavender--because there's more than one kind of Lavender
Lovely Lemon--our highly popular lemon wax soap, amped up with folded Lemon eo
Northern Lights---signature scented soap
Rose/Rose/Rose--triple threat rose soap, with eo, wax, and infused oils
Lavender, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus goat milk soaps
Evergreen & Cedar forest scents

June 10, 2009

Cottonwood Time

One of spring's pieces of magic here is Cottonwood weather, when it is warm and balmy enough finally for the downy seed fluff from the Cottonwood trees to pour out across the air. We've had a few false starts, but today it began in earnest.
Lazy, slow and swirling gently like summer snow, it makes the day feel like you're in a Cottonwood snow-globe. The down floats everywhere, gathers in the grass like foam or a warm snowfall, and blows about on roads in little rolls like fleece. Swirls of it in the air are mesmerizing and it is very easy to lose a half an hour immersed in the experience.

June 1, 2009

Funny weather

Spring has been slow and cool, leaving many plants far behind their usual progress by this date. For example the peppermint has just appeared, while we've harvested the last of the rhubarb already. Several other groups of plants have lagged behind; balloon flowers just emerging, the species peonies just finishing, and even a few Pasque flowers still blooming, a full two months and more after they started. Week before last we needed long coats and thermoses at the market, Saturday we needed shade and ice water. The heat is finally driving things out of the ground, meaning watering is suddenly in full swing too. Like flinging open a door stage left, Summer has just arrived. The Rosa Primula is in full glory, some of the rugosas have started, and the antiques are budding; but the lavender is stubbornly clenched. Going to be confusing all season, I expect.