Our high temperatures have been above 100F/38C since Sunday. Yesterday at 4 p.m. it was 104F/40C. It’s 7 p.m. here now, and the temperature is 101F/38.5C. The humidity has been hovering around 12%, which means the heat just sucks you dry. The wind is only around 17 mph/27 kph, which for out here on the flatlands doesn’t even qualify as a breeze.
Last night at 3 a.m. I connected my soaker hoses and soaked my flower beds good for the first time since April. I did have a good, almost 2-inch thick layer of leaf mulch built up in my front two flower beds that completely covered my soaker hoses, so that I would lose a lot less to evaporation when I water, but those yahoos that the duplex manager pays to do the yard raked them all out of the front beds this spring. (Why suddenly decide to clean out the beds this year when they’ve ignored them for the past ten years?) The manager and I went round and round about it, and the upshot is that instead of using the free leaf mulch provided in profuse abundance by the paper mulberry trees next door, I’ve had to spring for bags of “commercial” mulch out of my own pocket. I’ve had two bags of it in the trunk/boot of my car for almost two months now but haven’t managed to find the energy to spread it. But, after I attached my soaker hoses last night, I did spread one bag on the bed by my front walkway to cover the soaker hoses. It’s going to take at least two more bags to do that bed to a uniformly adequate depth ($4 a bag), and another two to do the crepe myrtle bed, but I’m a little tight for funds at the moment.
I tend to leave the hoses connected to the soaker hoses so all I have to do is just turn the faucet on and off, but if the hose is attached to the soaker hose in the climbing roses bed when these yahoos come to mow the yard, instead of simply unscrewing the hose, they just cut the end off my soaker hose and throw the hose up on the back porch. They’ve done that twice now.
All these yard guys do is mow the grass, edge the sidewalks with a string trimmer and blow the walkways clean once a month. If I want to have anything growing in the yard, — like grass — I have to buy the hoses and sprinklers out of my own pocket and, of course, pay for the water. Back when I had a decent job, I bought cinder block edgers for the back three flower beds, and decent hoses, two in the back and one in the front. Over the years, I’ve bought several rose bushes to fill in the gaps in the back rose bed, and two to put in the front bed, plus 8 honeysuckles, and a bunch of irise corms — just to have something pretty to look at out the window. I’ve been trying to find a good drought-resistant perennial ground cover to fill in the climbing rose bed, but so far no luck. I had to buy a new hose for the front, and I got a wall-mounted hose holder for one of the back hoses at the same time, which I need to install. The hose holders I have now are just metal hooks that stick in the ground, and the loops of hose tend to crack at the point where they bend over the hook. I should get wall-mounted holders for the other two hoses but, like I said, money is tight right now.
In a little bit, it’ll have cooled down enough to do a load of laundry and hang it out. (I stop using my clothes dryer when I switch over from heating to air conditioning.) Yeah, it’s almost 8 p.m. and nearly dark, but believe me, it will be more than hot enough to dry the clothes, and there’s a yard light that provides more than enough light for this blue-eyed WOL to see by. I have these soft, organic cotton “sleep shirts” — knee length T-shirts for all intents and purposes — which I wear around the house during the summer as I keep the air conditioning set on 80F/27C. (It’s electric AC so every time my AC comes on, the electric meter spins like a top, and it makes no sense at all to run the clothes dryer and then have to run the AC to cool the house back down again, when I have a perfectly good clothes line in the back yard.) These sleep shirts are so cool and comfortable, that’s all I wear, unless I go out or am expecting someone to visit, so it takes a while to accumulate a load of washing. Just doing my bit to conserve water. Once those are dry, I’ll do my bed linens.
Once the weather starts getting hot, I tend to become nocturnal, and do my “activities of daily living” at night when it’s cooler — which was why I was mulching my front flower bed by porch light. I want to make some chopped ham spread for sandwiches with some pickles and onions and mayonnaise, and maybe a little horseradish sauce to add some piquancy. I’ll probably do that while I’m waiting for the clothes to dry. I’ll chop the meat in my little food chopper thingie. I may try making some biscuits, too. We’ll see.
Twice now I’ve tried to make the “totally” whole wheat bread recipe (which uses only whole wheat flour, rather than part whole wheat, part white) and have ended up with a whole wheat door stop both times. I think I’ve finally sussed out why. There’s an error in the recipe — an ingredient was left out. All the other bread recipes in the book call for either either butter or oil — except this one. Last night, I tried it with the same amount of oil the “semi” whole wheat recipe calls for. It came out a little dense grained, but otherwise fine. Go figure. When a recipe calls for vegetable oil, I’ve been using olive oil. I may get a small bottle of vegetable oil and see how that changes the bread.
Well, I see by my weather widget that the temperature is down to 93F/34C now (it’s just gone 9:30 p.m.). I’d best get cracking and load up the washer. . . .