This area is experiencing drought. To make matters worse, most of the days have been cloudless. The combination of no rain and bright sun is taking its toll. The grass, where it hasn’t been watered, scrunches underfoot. The water level in the pond has dropped nearly two feet from the overflow level, and continues to drop. The aquatic vegetation is as bad as I’ve seen.There was a chance of rain earlier in the week. At first the forecast was for 1-2 inches. Then it was revised to ¼ to ½ inches. The front moved from the west across Illinois then dissipated before it got here. Nothing. Saturday evening another front moved west to east. When it got near here it was breaking up. Most of the storm front that was left went to the north, a little to the south. Here we got nothing. And the forecast this week is for more days in the 90’s, no clouds, lots of wind. I water the vegetable beds every two days. The new flower beds and foundation beds that I put in this spring get watered too.
Not much to show this week, but next week should be much more productive: Cucumber 3 oz, sugar snap peas 3 oz, lettuce 7 oz, summer squash 10 oz. The cucumbers are Picolino, supposed to be a British type cuke. They are small but really tasty. This is the last of the lettuce – the heat was just too much – and I pulled the remaining plants out and will plant some bush beans in their place (patch #3). The peas have also taken a real hit from the heat but I might get a few more. The cabbage crops are hanging in there. As long as they get enough water they seem to get through the heat OK.
I’ve been meaning to get a fish for dinner but with the remodeling and landscaping haven’t found the time, or more accurately my lower back has talked me out of it. I cast a lure out into the deepest part of the pond and in a few seconds a fish took it. It’s a nice sized channel cat that made two thick 7 oz filets. I tried dry rubbing the filets with some cajun and lemon pepper seasoning then pan frying in just a small amount of oil, sort of a blackened prep. It was a good change from breading and frying in oil. I plan to harvest fish regularly since the pond level has been dropping so rapidly.
The tulip poplars are exuding a sticky sap in amounts I’ve never seen before. Actually it’s the work of the tulip tree scale insect, which sucks the sap from small branches and then exudes honeydew – that’s the name the Purdue extension uses - on everything below. There is an infestation of these insects this year due to the warm spring. There’s a grove of poplar saplings near the house and all the vegetation below looks like it has been lacquered. And woe to anyone who parks their car beneath one of these trees.