26 July 2015

State of the Garden

   This was an odd weather year right from Day One. The temperatures oscillated all winter and into the late
 spring. The summer has been mostly temperate with most days around 80F. Precipitation has foresaken the immediate area, nonetheless, there have been numerous mornings with dense fog until the sun burns it away. At the moment, its quite dry; the patio plants and garden need frequent watering (the patio plants are largely watered by the condensation gathered in the house's two dehumidifier units which milk about six gallons of water a day from household air).
   The other two food gardeners along the road are experiencing most of the same problems plaguing the garden here. Generally speaking, the annuals are far behind in their maturity. There are six types of peppers in the garden and only the banana peppers are producing fruit; the others are small and just beginning to flower. They are perhaps three full weeks behind the stage typical for this date. Germination, even in special media, was slow and erratic (they certainly were not slow due to lack of warm germination temperatures!).

 On the other hand, most perennials are out doing themselves this year, from echinacea, iris & lilies to roses. And in the case of the zinnias and cosmos, even the annuals are at the top of their form. The iris are long past but they were outstanding in the spring, not only in prolific and sizable blooms but in generating new rhizomes. The early and mid-season lilies are bloomed out and the last two late season varieties are coming to the close of their annual performance on the patio stage.

The corn did very poorly, probably not a single edible ear from 80 stalks. The garden here does not seem to favor corn of any variety, based on seven summers worth of trials.

If the blasted squash bugs and vine borers can be controlled, the winter squashes may make a decent yield. The cucumbers are just coming on, also quite late.

We will have to see how the remainder of the summer plays out. Much will depend on the timing of the first killing frost.

Warm regards from Stratheden's flora to yours.

19 July 2015

and now back to our regularly scheduled programming

   Summer continues unabated at Stratheden Farms, some weeks of weather more pleasant than others. Last week was a relatively mild week but beginning today, temperatures in the 90s are expected to prevail through this week. Rainfall has been below normal in the immediate area although the far ends of the county have received plenty. The inundating rains that have flooded friends' farms in Indiana and Kentucky have followed the typical seasonal pattern of weakening just north of Floyd county then reforming with a vengeance once skipping over the Blue Ridge mountains. Then there are the "spot showers" which probably don't rain on ten farms for fifteen minutes but bring great happiness to the weeds; one has just passed over, dropping the temperature for an hour or so.
   The Farm had an esteemed return visitor last week, an old buddy from the 1970s, now living in the Caribbean and rarely seen in the last couple of decades due to geographic distance. One definition of friendship is that, no matter the length of separation, you can pick up the conversation right where it was left off - that certainly applies with Gary. Considering how different we are, its amazing how very much we have in common.
Momma loving on Gary 
   On the last trip here, Gary discovered another commonality - sort of - or it discovered him. He has always been a canine type of person and loves dogs -and they love him. Until his prior pilgrimage to Stratheden a few months ago, cats were not on his 'like' lot. The crew here converted him. Even Momma, who is very, very particular about her human company, absolutely doted on him. By comparison, Momma never let her previous human of 15 years love on her.

Her boys, Grover and Chetworth, also were very fond of Gary, especially the latter. Within a few minutes of sitting down, Gary's lap would be covered by Chetworth. He's been in "a mood" since Gary departed for home.

For a long list of reasons, it was good to have a quality visit with my old pal. One unexpected reason: he is a good nurse. During the visit, your humble correspondent seems to had had a long waltz with a kidney stone. The pain was excruciating and rendered driving impossible. Gary took me to the doctor's office, picked up my prescriptions and made a grocery run, none of which were within your author's ability at the time. Living alone is a preferred state but can get a little scary when illness strikes.

The next post will largely be photographs of the day lilies on the patio; they have been sterling performers this year and the last season bloomers are lighting up the entire area. Until then, stay well and treasure your friends.

02 July 2015

One Year Ago Today

It was an interesting day precisely one year ago - depositions regarding the divorce were taken in April and Frank's lawyer's office. In the presence of a court reporter who recorded the conversations, their lawyer questioned me and my lawyer had the opportunity to question them. The images in this blog are direct scans of the official deposition; should you wish to, you may order a copy of the complete transcript from Terry's Court Reporting at the address shown on the cover page (above).

This blog post is an attempt to answer questions that many friends, especially during the recent visit to Scotland, have asked regarding the outcome of the divorce case. Generally, people wonder how the divorce became a settlement that involved little money and nothing else lost on my part. The explanation lies in part in the depositions of April and Frank D'Amico made a few weeks before the scheduled trial date. Herein is part of Frank's testimony.

Bear in mind that these three depositions were taken in a small room with the six of us seated around a small oval table just big enough for six chairs. Counterclockwise: the court reporter, then myself, my lawyer, Frank, their lawyer, and April.

On the prior page to the one shown below, my lawyer, Mr. Campbell, asked Frank, "Okay. Do you know April Young?" Frank's answer is denominated "A" below; "Q" is a question by my lawyer, Mr. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell's reply continued on page 9, "with Judge Long [who would hear the divorce trial] about this so we can force Mr. D'Amico to answer some questions." 

For the non-Americans reading this, the Fifth Amendment protects a witness from self-incrimination in a criminal case, which does not apply in a divorce since no law is being broken that could result in prosecution. As Mr. Campbell and I departed the premises, he observed he had never seen such a testimony in his lengthy career. The balance had tipped irrevocably. I am forever indebted to you, Frank.

01 July 2015

Northern smoke

The National Weather Service satellite made this image at 2:45 EDT today. They marked the smoke blowing down from the 200 Canadian wildfires currently raging in Alberta and Saskatchewan with the blue arrows showing the direction of motion. The thick smoke was not yet here at 2:45 but arrived within half an hour, looking like an extreme case of air pollution. Within about twenty minutes, the solar disc could not be seen through the thick smoke, now having drifted 2,400 miles from its sources.
This view was made late in the afternoon looking toward Black Ridge, which is nearly obscured from view. The light is yellowish, has no contrast because it is totally non-directional, and has cut the light intensity greatly. As this is being written, it should be about time for sunset but there is absolutely no clue where the sun is located in the sky. There will be no view of the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter tonight! Thunderstorms are due tomorrow which may precipitate the smoke particles.

Stay curious.