After a long dry hot spell in the 100’s, we finally had a lot of rain in a short period. Then the hot temperatures, not seen since the 1930’s returned, this time with high humidity. The first spell was easier to take since the humidity was low. We eventually had a little over five inches in a week, but are still over seven inches below normal.
I’ve just about given up on my garden this year. I lost all of my watermelons after receiving over five inches of rain in a week’s time. Apparently they drank themselves to death after suffering through the drought. I found all split open when I checked on them after the rain. The sad part is that they were close to ripening. I’m getting Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes in. Mine like Nebraska Dave’s are small, but great tasting. My squash were doing great and all died at the same time when the last heat spell hit. The squash beetles and borers helped in the demise also. It was too rainy to treat them. Local farmers are combining corn. Yields are expected to be below normal this year. One morning on the way to work, I stopped and took a picture of all the equipment across a foggy field.
Each afternoon during the rainy spell, I worked in my flower beds near the back door in case I needed to make a mad dash if rain started. I eventfully had a pile four feet high and around eight feet long on the driveway that each morning I would back over pulling out of the garage and worry that I had ran over one of the hooligans. I finally was able to haul off the pile to the compost mountain. I kept waiting for a break in the thunder and lightening with little rain so I couldn’t mulch what I’d cleaned.
Then the W CHandy Music Festival started along with hot temperatures and humidity, and afternoons after work were spent listening to everything from blues to jazz to rock and roll all over the Shoals area from book stores, library, churches, museums, courthouse lawns, restaurants and parks. I was a volunteer photographer for the festival so I didn’t’ get to do a whole lot of sitting. My chair did. All the while my flower and shrub beds were being consumed. The bed that I spent several afternoons cleaning I can't tell where the cleaning stopped and the next area started. It's a good thing that I was coming in late each evening after dark so I wouldn't feel guilty.
You never know who might show up at show up in town during the festival. For several years Boots Randolph famed sax player would drop in and if he liked a band would join them on stage. Man he could play a sax. This past festival Christine Ohlman the beehive queen from Saturday Night Live joined the Decoys along with Hall of Fame inductee Donnie Fritts at Spring Park in my home town of Tuscumbia. I was able to get several shots of Ms Ohlman and Fritts before and during the concert. Another group from Holland called Acoustrio played at Spring Park before the Decoys and I saw them again at the Friday river concert. Three very nice young men who seemed to be enjoying their stay here. Where else but the Shoals music capital of the world in the sixties and seventies can you attend a concert by a Hall of Famer for free? My most favorite night of the Handy Festival is the river concert in Florence on Friday night. A new band comes on the stage every thirty minutes. Another park is on the opposite side of the river in Sheffield, and we had a fantastic sunset to go along with fine music. I had a great time, and my friends and I helped the local food vendors.
Now that the festival is over, the task of mowing and cleaning flower beds reared its ugly head. The bed that I had cleaned by the back door look just as bad as the beds not cleaned. And the heat wave was back again, temperatures not seen since the 1930’s. The hooligans are having a great time chasing the rabbits who have taken up residence along the property line close to the underground fence. Occasionally they will venture out into the garden and the hooligans are so busy, that I can’t get them to come to dinner, well except Levi. You only have to say come and eat once around him. While putting on my shoes, I noticed a tick on Levi, pulled it off and laid it on the ground until I got my shoes on. Patches saw me put it down, ran up and ate it before I could stop her. Now I’m watching to see if she has some sort of stomach bleed from it
While I’m on the hooligans, I haven’t been able to keep water in the bird bath and one of my sprinkle cans. I thought it might have sprung a leak as the bottom was constantly wet. Turns out Patches and Blackie are drinking out of the can and leaning it over so they can reach the water after it gets down to a certain level. A friend showed a bowl of figs on her Facebook page. I kept checking mine and was only getting a few. After the figs starting ripening higher than the hooligans could reach, I finally started getting some.
This young man could play a mean French Harp as Andy Griffith called it.
This weekend while mowing knee high grass in the lower forty, I stopped to check the time on my cell phone. I must not have latched my case, and the seat belt on my tractor turned it so the phone fell out at some point. Have you ever lost a cell phone in a hay field? I kept walking the area where I had hit something and eventually found a piece of rock. I walked up to my Mom’s house and while she stood out in her yard calling my cell phone, I walked the three acres. Eventually down by the creek I heard it ringing. Not a scratch on it. I had a post earlier this spring showing my last cell phone after I mowed it. I had visions of the same result. Hopefully the next few weeks, I can get caught up on the mowing and weeding and get things mulched this time. Daylilies and iris need to be divided and moved to larger beds.
The Watermelon Festival is this coming weekend in Russellville, but its Mom’s birthday and I’ll have to miss it. After seeing what happened to my watermelons, wonder how many will be available for the festival?
Next festival that I’ll be photographing is the 75th anniversary of the Coondog Cemetery on Labor Day and the OkaKapassa Indian Festival on September 8. The Festival commemorates the kindness by the citizens of Tuscumbia during the Indian removal to Oklahoma.