But really, what year is not weird in Minnesota? Last year we had an early spring and a hot, dry summer. This year, it was a late spring. We had a little bit of heat in mid-July, nothing record-breaking, and lately a string of absolute perfection: puffy white clouds, 70s and low 80s during the day, lows in the 50s at night. Perfect summer weather, in my opinion.
Pickling season has finally arrived! I have not fermented any yet, but have made a couple of batches of the Trout Caviar refrigerator pickles (recipe). I hope to start fermenting my first sour dills this week.
Over on the tomato trellis, it’s still slow. We’ve gotten a couple handfuls of the smaller tomatoes so far. We picked our first blushing Brandywine. My strategy of picking the tomatoes just as soon as they start to turn color seems to be working fairly well: squirrels have only taken two or three.
Here’s a strange happening for this year. My sorrel looked puny and terrible all spring, bolted suddenly in July, then after flowering developed all this gorgeous new foliage. If the weather is cool enough this week, we’ll make some sorrel soup.
Another odd thing about this year: we have significantly more dragonflies around than usual. This huge Canada darner was resting on the cucumber trellis this afternoon. We also have had fewer wasps and a greater variety of wild bees this year, but the wasps could be running later, since everything else is so late.
After nearly destroying my raspberry patch and causing major damage all over the neighborhood, the bunnies were apparently so fat and happy that they left my hollyhocks alone for once this spring and we have a nice patch of them by the back door. Bumble bees adore these; it’s hilarious to watch them literally rolling around in glee on this flower. Can a bee look gleeful? I think so!
The kids’ tunnel of flowers turned out great as well. Anneke’s calendula is to the right, Rowan’s dragonwing begonias are to the left, and the tunnel (some cattle fencing formed into an archway between their two gardens) has cup and saucer vine growing up over it. It’s required some regular tucking and redirecting, but it’s looking great!
And finally, the hops vine is just starting to flower. Last year we harvested our hops on September 1; not sure if they’ll be ready that quickly this year. So, onward we go into the pickling and canning part of summer. Happy August to you!