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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer's Finally Here!

Today was the first official day of summer in the Pacific Northwest.  I know calendar-wise it started a couple of weeks ago, but today was the first day of real summer weather, and depending on whose forecast you believe, tomorrow is supposed to be ninety-seven.  It will be a good test of how well the new shades are working, and I'll explain more about them after they've completed their field tests.  We know the pergola and reed fencing on top are working.  Even though they're providing only filtered shade, it's still way, way cooler on the deck with them up there than before.  A quick barefoot test of the deck with filtered shade and the deck with no shade proved that the surface isn't getting nearly as hot as it used to.

I was busy today.  Yesterday I fitted irrigation zone D out with its drip lines and micro sprinkler heads, only to find out that the elbows and tees where the funny pipe is connected leak pretty dramatically.  So I hauled around a hose this morning, which I'll have to do tomorrow morning as well.  I need to get out to the Big Box Store and ask the guys in plumbing what went wrong.  This is the second one of these I've installed, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

Then I cooked Steve's breakfast: an omelette, with the first carrot out of our yard.

Then I installed the second of the shades and rigged it.  More on that later, as mentioned.

Then I retrieved the three and a half quarts of macerating raspberries out of the fridge and made and canned fourteen half-pints of raspberry jam.  We were supposed to go berry picking with the neighbors on Monday, but all I could think of was how hot it was going to get and how I had several heat-fighting projects to make and build (two exterior shades, the AC box, and the rest of the irrigation), so we begged off.  Bless their hearts, Larry and Kathy picked raspberries for me! So I gave them a jar of jam when I returned their bowl, which was the least I could do.  Come to think of it, it was the most I could do, too.

Then it was time to get dinner together, which we try to eat at three.  I won't say what it was because it will make me hungry all over again.

Then at long last, I also managed to get the platform built for Steve's office air conditioner at the end of the day.  The manufacturer hadn't counted on our windows being so high, consequently the hose is too short, so the only thing to do to make the hose fit the window is raise the unit.  The box I built sure isn't pretty, but the idea was to get it sturdy enough not to fall apart with the vibration of the unit and use whatever I had to hand in the construction.   Bricolage, as the French say.  The glue is drying on it now and tomorrow morning I'll sand the edges and we'll get his AC installed and working.

 So yeah- busy day.  Somewhere in there I hung out a load of kitchen laundry, which still makes me smile.  And get a picture of the first pumpkin, which is still quite a baby.  I've never grown pumpkins before (or carrots, or cabbage, or a lot of things, for that matter) so this will be a long summer waiting for it to ripen.  How exciting to think of Autumn already.  I realize it's a little crazy, now that we're finally getting some decent weather, and there are tomatoes and eggplants still to ripen (to say nothing of cucumbers, melons, and beans) but the pumpkin reminded me that I need to be planting the fall stuff now.  I'm a little behind on my fall and winter cabbage and kale planting.  Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll do that.


Jennifer Montero said...

I feel lazy compared to you! I'm going to try macerating my fruit for jam making this year. Read that it makes richer preserves. The cherries are nearly ready.

The big box plumbing and hardware store in France is called 'Monsieur Bricolage'. Have you tried PTFE tape on your leaking joints?

Paula said...

Don't feel bad- I'm being lazy today, although I did plant the first round of fall cabbage seed. Also reseeded the Romano beans for the third time (stupid slugs!)

If you mean teflon tape by PTFE tape, which I'm assuming is the same thing, it wouldn't work. Teflon tape works by filling up threaded joints. These joints are hose going over barbed elbows or tees- which count on their sharp barbs to hold the hose on- teflon tape would soften them and there'd be nothing to hold the hose in- threaded joints have their threads, which is why it works there.

The first time I installed one of these systems I could barely push the funny pipe over the barbed ends of the connectors, and everything worked great. This time I noticed the hose was a little loose going over the barbs, so I'm wondering what's going on. This is the first time that I'm using drip line, so maybe that has something to do with it. I'll get to the hardware store- I'm just being a wimp because it's ninety-two out there. I know that's not as bad as the east coast, but we didn't have time to get acclimated to heat this year!

Miriam said...

Since we're practically neighbours it won't be a surprise that we got summer yesterday, too. And already I'm feeling ungrateful as I swelter through painting the chicken coop...

I love the picture with the tea towels! And that's a mighty fine carrot!

Paula said...

Thank you! That's high praise coming from a CHAM-PEEN carrot grower such as yourself!