Cool Down

The past week has seen unseasonably warm temperatures. Generally, we don't see temperatures into the 80's until July and August. Fortunately, it won't continue. The weather has cooled significantly. We aren't expecting rain, but today's high won't get above 60 degrees. It's not great for the vegetable garden, but I think things are far enough along to continue sprouting and growing. Here are some images from yesterday's gardening activities. Let's just start with the flowers, shall we?

First up, the Fairy Princess peony is really putting on a show right now.

There are still several more buds coming, and so it's having a good year. As I was looking at these pictures, I decided to give them a little nicer "trellis" than this tomato cage. We can switch them out when I cut back the foliage this fall.

Our tree rose is blooming now. I haven't been paying much attention to it because we rarely get to see the flowers. The deer like to dine here in the evenings. It's close to the bird bath, and so they can stay hydrated while they feast. As I walked by yesterday, I noticed several roses were in full bloom. These are very fragrant.

The bush is loaded with buds, and so it might give us quite a show if the deer will leave it alone. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, and all of that.

In the vegetable garden, I'm happy to say the corn is well represented. Most all the seeds have sprouted now.

I planted the pickling cucumber starts. I've given them the remaining tomato cages. The cucumbers will be small, and I'd like to get them up off the ground so they stay green on all sides. And I'm at least two tomato cages short for this. We'll have to pick up a couple when we go into town the next time.

You can't see it in that image above, but at least one of the seeds I planted has sprouted, and I'll give it a cage too.

I noticed four melon seeds have sprouted now. Maybe I'll get more. You can see this one in the image below. It looks just like a pickling cucumber, doesn't it?

Here's one still wearing its seed for a hat. Bright sunshine, you know. It's important to take care of your skin.

In my hoeing, I came across this little clump of sunflower seeds. Hard to say whether these are leftovers from last year's sunflowers or whether the squirrels planted them here. In any case, they're growing in a random spot, and I'm just going to let them do their thing. I like these little surprises.

The sunflower starts I planted at the beginning are doing well. Yesterday, I noticed the beginnings of a flower on one of the giants.

Smitty and Sadie had a rough start to their morning. They were sunning themselves...

Smitty got too warm on his kitty pole, and so he moved to the china cabinet. It's nice and cool there, and he can cool off his tummy furs. Although, he has been featured as the Sexiest Mancat Alive, and so he's just a hot cat, in general.

So we yanked them out of their reverie and applied Advantage to their neck furs. We like to do this just before letting them outside. They like to roll in the dirt to get that nasty stuff off their furs. Sadie rolled and rolled in this bare dirt. (We're reseeding this with grass soon, but it's fair game right now.)

She rolled and rolled and rolled.

I will never forgive you for this indignation.

Once she was completely covered in dust, she felt much better.

Smitty just grazed on his grass. He was thinking about killing something to ameliorate his disgust.

Now here's something: This is the fiberglass "fencing" on the catio. You can see there's a kitty bed in the background. Yesterday, I noticed a red tree squirrel chewing on the kitty bed. (They've also chewed on the canvas cat house that's inside the catio.) When the squirrel saw me, he leapt to the ground through this whole in the fencing he'd conveniently chewed for himself. Oy. I've been giving the tree squirrels the benefit of the doubt since they don't do damage the way the California ground squirrels do. But now this.

That hole might be big enough for Sadie to squeeze through, and so it will have to be repaired somehow. We're thinking we can cut a another patch of fencing and then zip-tie it to the opening. I just worry they'll chew more holes, and then that would be a problem. We'd have to disassemble the catio to replace the fencing with something else. For now, we'll just focus on repairing this, and then decide if something else needs to happen.

Back inside, I quilted the sheep.

Today I'd like to quilt the goat and the ducks around it.

Downstairs, I cut a backing for "In the Good Old Summertime." This one:

It's been in my stash for quite a while, and I've used it in other projects. When I had it sandwiched, I went to work quilting around some of the embroidery, and then filling in the background with this meandering star motif.

In the first border, I did a stylized star motif I've used many times before.

And I was just getting started with straight lines in the piano key border. I was getting kind of tired of sewing by then, and so I stopped where you see it.

I'm hoping to finish the quilting on this today, and maybe I'll have time to hand-sew the binding. In fact, I think I'll do this before working on the farm quilt.

It was time to bake the Apricot-Cherry Upside-down Mini Cakes. This recipe first appeared in Cooking Light magazine in June of 2004. I've made it every year since. It's so yummy, and at about 300 calories per cake, it doesn't bust the diet too badly.

We add a dollop of Redi-Whip, and that's a sweet way to end the day.

Last night as we were sitting in bed reading, we heard a bird call we've been hearing for months. We first noticed it when it was sitting just outside our window somewhere. We never saw the bird, but the call was SO LOUD!!! Since then, we've heard it from farther away. Mike suggested it must be an owl, and so we listened to some owl calls on YouTube. Sure enough, it's a Barred Owl.

Here's an image of one I found on Creative Commons:

Image credit: "Barred Owl at Lettuce Lake" by trishhartmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you're interested in hearing what they sound like, then click on this short video from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. And if you can't see the video, then click right here.

Okay, so onward. Lots of quilting to do today. I believe I'll water the flower pots and save the hoeing for tomorrow. I want to do the two things separately since it's a big job to do them both at once. Besides, procrastination is a good thing. It gives me more free time today, and I always have something to do tomorrow!


Barbara said...

An owl sound wandered along the road with me. I didn't hear it--I breathed it into my ears. ~ William Stafford

Mary C said...

I envy you the garden space, although not the pests (squirrels for example). I have a small garden of various pots on my condo balcony in downtown Denver. Last year bees came to sample the Bacopa flowers so this year's plantings are almost entirely pollinator attractive and I'm impatiently waiting for them to come.
I would never have guessed those sounds belonged to an owl! So another thing to envy - I love owls, eagles, hawks, etc. They'd have plenty to eat here with all the pigeons!

gpc said...

What wonderful sounds. I would love to hear that so much!

Julierose said...

Gosh those squirrels are pests!! Hope you can fix up that Catio!!
Looks like your garden will be bountiful this year...
today I removed two more ticks off Tom!!;000
He was out working in the yard --no more shorts--he will have to wear "big boy pants" for yard doings now!! We plan to get our yard sprayed soon...it is a bad year for both ticks and allergies...double trouble!!
Hugs, Julierose

Dorothy said...

The owl drew both cats and the pit bull to the computer speakers. Too funny to watch the three of them listening

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Very nervy of those squirrels to bust into a catio. Your garden is coming along nicely. Usually cluster growth sunflowers are 'critter' planting - still a fun find. I've been looking for any of those around here, but they must be really hungery as NOT.

Darlene of Creative Latitude said...

How fun to be able to hear an owl while in bed. We too love such sounds. With luck, maybe he can scare off your pesky squirrels. How dare one of them broke into the catio. Buggers!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I do love that peony! If we still had a garden I'd be getting one of those for sure. And single roses are my favourites because they smell so nice. Lovely to hear the barred owls too - thank you for that. They make such an interesting variety of sounds.

piecefulwendy said...

We have a barred owl (or two) around here, and yes, they are loud. Very cool, though! Those little dessert cakes look tasty! I cannot believe the squirrels are starting to chew through the catio. Geez.