I got 1.75 inches of rain in 24 hours...no where near as much as was predicted BUT my rain barrels are full, the ground and mulch damp and so I expect even more vibrant growth, especially in my Water Wise Container Gardens, and so I am thankful. I have female (fruit-bearing) blooms on my Japanese melons and cucusa, my first crop of Thai hot peppers coming on, and a very sizable crop of seed pods on my 'San Ho Giant' mustard almost ripe enough to harvest. MANY thousands of grapes are enlarging quickly on my "Gracie's Grape" and "Gray Street Grape"....so many new shoots have emerged that I will do as I did last year.....layer them into pots of soil atop the duck pen, then sever them when rooted a few months later for sale as it (whatever it is!) is very reliable bunch grape for central Florida with excellent Concord-type flavor. It is supposed to be 51 in two nights...that should sweeten further my wonderful tender mild sweet 'Morris Heading Collards' before I blanch and freeze a lot for summer.
Cracker was suffering from a very thick long winter coat and is terrified of the electric clippers I am not good at using anyway. But he LOVES my using some very sharp scissors to daily cut off a bit more hair.....his huge butt haunches are gone! Dog hair is pure protein, so I put some at the bottom of a new hugel kultur pit I made last week, and the rest goes into compost barrels. I hope to at some point get his coat short enough to use the clippers to give him a VERY close cropping for summer as so many people here do. He is truly a wonderful beast!
Nearly all the many bags of leaves that neighbors thoughtfully dropped off are now stashed along the east side of the house out of sight, and./or have been spread in the gardens out back. I'm taking Pat and Mary Jo's advice and stashing the orange wood trunks I got from a neighbor's trash pile in my firewood stashes built into my red brick grille for use in winter for potluck fires. The vast number of oak and Brazillian Pepper logs dropped off here have been/are being used in assorted hugel kultur pits and mounds in my east, south and west beds as I finish revamping them. Once I pull up a piece of carpet I just found beneath the mulch in my SE bed out back where I recently planted a calamondin tree, I will dig a new hugel kultur pit and plant there my Ginger (not sure if culinary or Galangal) that has gotten very rootbound in a 5 gallon Water Wise Container Garden in two years time....that portion of that garden is semi-shady at times so I feel the ginger will thrive once I deeply mulch the entire bed when it is done, which is close at hand. SO NICE to have 90% won the battle against Balsam Apple in that bed via pulling and mulching!
The situation regarding my Dad's care has settled a bit so I am planning on offering classes for next month very soon to help people garden in summer plus plan for their fall gardens. I have some ideas for all-new classes I will offer as so many people begin to incorporate self sufficiency into their way of life. I've lived this way a LONG time and remember being teased in the 90s for it....."John, wouldn't be easier to buy your food in the store?"...so I am glad to see that what I've learned can help others lead freer, more frugal lives.