From Pipi’s Pasture: Heat, wind and smoke
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.
This column’s first recipe is good for a quick supper — or anytime for that matter. The recipe comes from Marcey Dyer, of Pierce, who has shared several delicious recipes with me. To save time, use leftover cooked rice when making this skillet dish.