From Pipi’s Pasture: Heat, wind and smoke |

From Pipi’s Pasture: Heat, wind and smoke

Diane Prather

Here it is July already at Pipi’s Pasture, and the weather is just what nearly everyone predicted it would be after such a mild winter. Each day brings the heat and afternoon wind, and with the wind comes the smoke from area fires. Now everybody is trying to remember what kind of a fall and winter followed the last summer like this one. What will happen this time?

Anyway, one thing is for sure. We know what’s going on this July 2018.

  • It’s as dry as a bone.
  • Doing laundry, plus other activities requiring water, while running hoses on two lawns and a garden requires some planning.
  • The cattle have been moved across the road at summer pasture so that we don’t have to worry that ponds will dry up.
  • The garden plants are growing, but, except for the zucchini that is thriving, they look “a little worse for wear.”
  • The weeds are prolific, but even they are dry in some areas of the garden.
  • We’ve resorted to buying an already-started tomato with blossoms and some green peppers with fruit on them — all of which are on the front porch — and they’re way ahead of the windblown garden plants.
  • The corn isn’t knee-high, but it’s getting there.
  • This is the summer of big beautiful butterflies, even a White Admiral, and they sit on the flowers.
  • The grasses are maturing early.
  • Hay is short on some ranches, and the price of hay is high already.
  • There are reports of rattlesnakes in residents’ yards.
  • We smell smoke a lot and cringe when we hear the sound of sirens.
  • Everybody is going through a lot of iced tea, water, and lemonade.
  • Everybody has a craving for cold foods, like pasta salads.
  • The wind blows the sandy soil through the open door and windows so that everything in the house is covered with dust, no matter how often we clean it up.
  • Putting hay across the corral fence is almost impossible some windy afternoons; it blows right back.
  • Incredibly, most mornings are cool.
  • Plant sales in Craig stores signal the end to the planting season.
  • There are little chokecherries on the bushes around the house.
  • The robins are busy where we water, probably grateful for some moist soil.
  • Turbo, the backyard bottle calf, goes through two or more buckets of water each day.
  • On summer pasture, the cattle are enjoying some green grass in the creek bottom — lucky cattle.
  • We rely on the window cooler day and night; even our granddaughter’s dog Jewel relies on it to sleep.
  • Some days when it is hot, the leaves on the lilacs curl up, a signal that they need to be watered.
  • The large trees around the house seem to soak up the water from the lawn.

It’s a July not much different from the usual, except for the hotter temperatures and drier-than-usual conditions. We all wonder what the rest of the summer has in store.