It Sure is Hot Out There

climate change

The summer has finally come, after a wet and strange spring. I’m afraid that my foraging plans will be cut short by the late frost this year. The apple, plum and cherry blossoms got hit hard. For some reason the beets that I planted as well as a great deal of the kale seeds did not even make it out of the ground. Bad seeds? I’m not sure. However, the tomatoes look good, the cucumbers and the hops are doing well. Cauliflower, cabbage and the asparagus are going gangbusters. The peppers are slow, but have fruited.

The herbs are going well, especially the established ones. A lot of rain this spring did a lot of good. There are still varroa problems with the bees, but I have hope that I can get them through September, and then through the winter. I’m hoping that they will do well on their own. It’s been pretty “hands off” this year. I planted new peach and cherry trees as well as a few berry bushes. We started mushrooms this year and they have taken to the logs that we inoculated.

The front door is sticking and I am hoping that the wood settles after I fixed the irrigation head that was allowing it to get soaked at night. I built a food dehydrator and installed new poles and wires for the hops. The weeding continues uninterrupted. Again, the cilantro was weak as was the salad. Who knows why as I planted both earlier this year. Maybe too early?

These are issues that most of us do not have to worry about, at least not directly. For most of us in the west we leave these worries to others; to the “industry” and to science. However, these are honest and necessary worries. That broad descriptive, “weather”, contains much of the above but the devil is in the details; most of the details that go unaware.

It seems that these days the details of the farmer, the gardener, the agrarian are making themselves known more and more by making the details of weather more and more known. The crumbs of climate changes are leaving a trail, but what we do with those crumbs is up to us. I’m not sure what I will do…

I will go out and see if there are apples, plums and cherries to be had off the trails. Perhaps the mushrooms in the mountains will be plentiful because of the rains. I’ll can the tomatoes with the great crop of basil, but will need to buy beets from the Farmer’s Market down the street. I hope to get a crop of fall kale and pickle a few cucumbers. I suppose all that we can do is to follow the trail of crumbs and wish for the best. It is only weather, after all.


Ever Changing        



As the seasons change they remind me that time does undeniably pass us by.  In the past few weeks I’ve seen the tiny seedlings that I started indoors grow leaps and bounds.  I’ve seen the parsnip poke its miniature shoots out of the soil covered in dead leaves and compost that itself has stood the test of time.  I see the kale and the carrots beginning to show out of the earth itself.  The weather is getting warmer and as it does our new bees begin to become more and more active.  We did our first hive check this weekend, and “my girls” are doing fine.


“My girls” indeed!  As I watch them busily about their business it dawns on me that these “girls” will not be the girls that my family meets when they come to visit later this summer; these “girls” will not be the ones that I take honey from (if at all) later this summer.  This hive will not be the same hive at all.  They will all have passed their jobs on to their sisters that they so diligently raise as I watch them fly in and out of their new home.  It saddens me…at first.  I realize, once again, that this is the nature of the seasons, is the nature of the years that have passed me by and continue to do so.  Change is the nature of life itself.


I watch as my parents get older and my nephews and nieces begin anew, with wonder in their eye: young and not thinking about time at all.  Like the hive I call my own we are not the same people we were a mere seven or eight years ago, literally or figuratively.  The cities we live in change; the landscape, the people, our friends, our jobs, our plans, our goals, our desires.


In fact, change is the only consistent.  As I complicate my life (to eventually simplify it) I realize more and more that this aphorism rings true.  As I see the very ground in my garden go from unfertilized lawn, to newly dug soil, to composted mulch full of worms and life I realize that I did not start this cycle of evolution in my garden; that this cycle never had a beginning nor will it have an end.  I watch the plants come up excited in anticipation just as I was last spring and will be in the springs to come.


Perhaps adding to my newfound goal of complicating my life, I must realize that I have a choice: to act with or react to the nature of life and the living.  As a gardener and now a keeper of bees, I try to be a steward but I am really an audience member to the grand change this is life.  But life, our lives, is short with no intermission, no stage, no actors, and no scenery.  I started out a suburban gardener, but I slowly realize that the garden has always been there and that I am only reacting to it.