Phoenix survival tip:
Drink plenty of water and repeat to yourself:
” The cost of living is low and the Winters are spectacular.”
June in our garden has been a little intense. Too many hot days. Then around my husband’s birthday (June 8th) we had a cold front come in for a couple of days. Now , it’s nothing like cold fronts from the middle part of the country, no, there was no frost with this. Still was nice all the same. It was like a warm Spring day with a cool breeze every now and then, it was wonderful.
I opened all the windows and doors in our home to air things out some. We are all much happier with the windows open.
I hate being shut up in the summer months. You can not survive here without air conditioning it seems. When I was a little girl we could not afford air conditioning in our home, so we relied on an old swamp cooler.
I remember sitting in front of a fan with a spray bottle to keep cool because the swamp cooler wasn’t enough sometimes. I didn’t know what it was like to live in a home with air conditioning until I left home at 18 and moved into a home that had it.
There were so many times my aunt who lived part time in that home I moved to (she had another home up north that she went to during the summer) would yell at me or anyone else who forgot to “ Shut the doors, the air is on.” that was a hard one to get used to because with swamp coolers you have to leave all doors opened a bit, a small crack to keep the air flowing through the house. In that case there was a lot of yelling of “ leave the door open a crack the cooler is on.” it is rough here in the desert.
Eventually, I did catch on to things. Where I lived as a child we didn’t have a dishwasher. We lived on a dirt road, and we hung up all our clothes on a clothes line outside.The only place I had ever traveled to was to the beach in California.
As soon as I officially became an adult I would not realize the places my life would take me. Places in Europe, Mexico and even central America. Pretty far from that dirt road I grew up next to. If every young adult traveled to a different country and culture in their 20’s then I believe the world would be a much nicer place. People just need to get to know each other, to learn new things, try new foods etc…ignorance is what separates. Anyway, that is an adventure for another time, this post is getting too long as it is.
So what’s been going on with our garden, not a whole lot. This is summer in an Arizona desert after all.It is hot everyday and not a lot survives out there.
Some more of our cactus bloomed. The larger cactus were in bloom early one dawn morning. They are night bloomers, most cacti are. Only out for a tiny time, but what a treat they are. I call them my giant flowers from the night. The year I was sick and needed surgery was the year this cacti bloomed like crazy. My husband and I were amazed at all the flowers we got at that time. Such a beautiful gift it was. Oh, and the surgery went okay. Not something I like to address but I thought it was important I guess to share that with you all . It’s another great example of the gifts that we receive everyday and if we just look for them they are there. Right now with the way things seem to be out in the world, this added detail from our garden is something I think someone needs to read out there in the blogosphere right now. I almost lost my voice there but in the end I was okay and still can speak. All along God was sending clues that everything was going to be okay. Sometimes we become afraid to share those things we can not see and explain because we will be looked at as crazy I guess or even worse we will be hated and attacked for those beliefs of ours, so sharing this is not an easy thing but someone needs to read it. Stay strong, it will get better.
We also have night blooming Jasmine in our garden but that poor plant is struggling right now, which is so sad because I have had it for years. If you ever come across Jasmine grab it up for your gardens because it is such a treat to smell that fragrance late at night. I sometimes will go swimming at night and the whole back garden smells of Jasmine.
Our quail were moved back outside. The extreme temps are gone for now, if and when it goes to a record temp day we will bring them back in again. They are messy and they do poop a lot. Sometimes I forget to mention the ugly work involved with chickens, birds and gardens. It isn’t always pretty flowers and soft baby quail.
In the morning I get up before the heat , usually around 5 am to rake up and clean bird poop everywhere out in the garden. The whole family takes turns with these dirty chores.
When we have to bring the quail inside our Arizona room, which is sort of like an indoor green house, we always have the birds enclosed in large plastic bins or boxes lined with paper to clean up easily. The white quail are more suited for the hotter temps so they are okay.
This month the white quail started laying eggs. We have special scissors to break open the eggs. I made scrambled Quail egg tacos that morning. Added chopped onions, red and green peppers and mushrooms. Top it off with guacamole and salsa.
We sold some chickens this month, two for $40 which is cheaper then what some are selling for right now in the city. There is still a high demand for egg layers.
Our peppers are still producing but sadly no tomatoes, even the ones in our grow tents inside, and now I am noticing the other seeds we planted are also struggling. The peppers we have had from generations of seeds we had in our seed library. We all know what’s going on here, just like our water being taken from us and resold in plastic bottles that only pollute the planet more…starting to look more and more like the seeds we normally could rely on are dying off each generation that grows and this is not a bee problem. Such evil, to take away the things every human being on this planet should have access to. Everyone should have access to water and food, there is enough on this planet to feed everyone as long as greedy scientists stop messing around with what God already created. Might have to leave this part out…some sarcastic humor I guess. Again, some may think the lock downs, along with everything else have finally made me snap…nope, this is just my anger coming out with all the poisons and greed I see all the time. Too many chefs in the kitchen as they say and they have really messed things up for us all.
Our potatoes are still surviving but barely, but our squash did not make it. I will be using some of their leaves for some garden art projects. There is some squash growing in with the potatoes too. This is also Arizona heat, our weather plays a big part in everything dying too, can’t blame everything on those old conspiracy theories out there, some of this is just common sense that we do live in a desert after all.
This is all we got from our squash seeds we planted.
It got way too hot, way too early this year for our Sunflowers . This poor little gal never had a chance to seed. I love giant sunflowers in the garden. Hopefully we will be able to grow some next time.
All these plants dying off just adds to a lot of clean up. The chickens are enjoying the piles of plants I have to clean up. Nothing gets wasted in our garden.
My art in the garden kept being pushed off week after week, to finally having a break in the hot temps to have it. Remember I wrote I was going to set up an art table for the neighbors and their kids so they could stretch their legs and get out of their locked down homes to do some art outside, well, finally we had an opportunity to do that.
I also started on my little red wagon miniature garden, although I have a feeling I may have started too late because we are going into the hotter months where nothing survives out there really. At least I will be able to make my miniature houses for the wagon garden.
My propagating plant nursery lost some plants. I had to replant and add new plants to it . It was such a mess. I make my husband laugh sometimes because I will switch the words propagate and propaganda, it’s a dyslexic thing I believe. I will say “ My plants are dying on my propaganda shelf.” then at the last minute I will catch myself… “I mean propagate shelf.” and we both laugh.
Remember for Mother’s Day I wasn’t able to get new plants because we were still in our lock down here. This month the dollar store had tiny succulents for sale. I was so happy, I love these little plants, although sadly they do not love me. The summer heat and the inside cold air conditioning wrecks havoc on them and they never survive but I still bought a few to take home for some propaganda…just kidding, there is no brainwashing of my plants.
Mostly in June, in our garden, we hang out in the water, trying to cool off and relax from the stress life brings. Boy are we needing some of that now.
One of our neighbors usually signs her little girl up for local swim lessons at the city pool just down our street, which is officially open now but with the numbers going up in our state she will not be joining that crowd. I told her I will leave our pool gate open and unlocked between a certain hour so she can have it free to teach her preschooler how to swim. If not my pool then the neighbors next to us as well as the neighbors next to her house have a pool and we all share everything with each other. We are all keeping up with social distancing, well most. There are a couple neighbors who just refuse to believe it is that bad, they are not really changing their lifestyle much but we still all help each other out. Our pool is the only pool with mature trees all around so I told her there may be days where it is like swimming in a pond out in nature but it is still kept clean.
Almost forgot the best part of these monthly garden updates…flowers. Believe it or not, we are still getting some blooms. We have third generation marigolds growing in our garden now. I guess all non edible plant seeds grow well but anything we need to feed ourselves with is always a challenge to grow.
Look how well my third generation spider plants are doing.
Came from this plant here.
And look at this, the pomegranate tree we bought from a local farmer here from cuttings from his tree is actually producing something. If I could go back in time, I would grab up as many edible plants seeds as possible. Now days, it is a bit of a challenge to find some but they are out there. Sadly, I worry each year that goes by, the harder this will be. Start collecting and teaching your children about plants and how important they are.
For what our garden doesn’t produce we buy. Produce is pretty cheap in our state, for now that is. Okay, this post is seeming a little bitter, need to turn that around…just a long week I guess and it is showing up in my writing. I just hope none of this stuff I am addressing right now is actually happening, seems like some wicked science fiction movie we are all stuck in. Just too many things I guess happening where we question everything and I mean everything. That includes the prices of our food, the seeds we buy, even what’s in the foods we ingest. Our trust levels are at an all time low right now I fear and this is worldwide.
At the farmers market we loaded up on all kinds of fruits and veggies to can and dehydrate. We bought a huge bag of peppers to dry for only $1. My husband makes a powder from garlic, peppers, and avocado seeds in place of salt. He grinds the avocado seeds into a powder. Research how beneficial these seeds are when added to smoothies and sprinkled on things we eat. We are all tossing things that have great benefits to our bodies.
I have to make sure to fill the water dishes outside twice now, the little birds everywhere are drinking up that water fast. This always happens in the summer. Sometimes, if lucky a little finch will fly into the tree branches above and provide us with some musical entertainment for a bit or a white winged dove will watch us from the edge of the pool all the way off at one end waiting for food or something. I am still trying to get a photo of those finches that visit me. I am starting to believe they really are camera shy. And, yeah, they are still flying up above me where ever I am in the garden, chirping down at me loudly, then they fly off. Almost feels like they could be angry and swearing at me in their tiny bird language. I still do not know what the heck is their problem or what they are saying. If I had to guess I think it would be “ Hey, scat, this is our garden.” poor little boogers, if they only knew.
That’s it for this month. How are all of you doing in your gardens? Happy gardening adventures everyone.