The Homestead Organic Journal
July 2: Semi-monthly self-reminders: I need to stop complaining about the heat. We're probably not into the worst of it yet. I'm keeping a farm journal for my readers this year that may contain some exaggerations for readers' pleasure. Pants first, then shoes. I stole that last one from Gary Larson.
July 3: Lately I've been thinking about how lucky I am to have the kind of support around the farm that I do. I should really write some of these gratitudes down in this journal. Good help, like good health, is easily taken for granted.
July 8: We discovered a new hornet's nest, in early stages of construction, on a piece of rafter above our outdoor coffee-break space. We recognized the species: Bull Hornets. Coincidentally, Joe had just told us about Bull Hornets. That they're one of North America's most aggressive species. That he once watched one leave a hive dozens of feet away and head straight for his face, stinger first. Despite this, we marvelled and laughed and took photos, to no apparent irritation of the wasps. It appears we can live and let live. We congratulated each other for our compassion and empathy.
July 9: The hornets stung Ryan, on the face, three times. Twice more on the arms. Our truce was short-lived. Later on Ryan torched the nest. Threat neutralized. Magnanimity be damned.
July 13: I'm happy for all the beach revellers, I really am. But gardening in this kind of heat is awful. Theoretically, the solution is to get up early, stop when it gets hot, and pick it up the hoe again in the evening. But managing a farm this time of year is like playing Whack-a-Mole. You finally finish one task, and two more have popped up to tackle. One of which includes trapping moles. Well, gophers. But you get the point-it's hard to just lay down your tools and head for the lake. The Extended Siesta Plan also assumes you don't live in a sauna and sleep between bed sheets you thought were made of linen but upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be made of 100% Gladwrap. Falling asleep sufficiently early to manage an early rise has proved impossible, so that I don't start any of these hell-cyon Okanagan summer days until 7 and so the whole cycle begins again.
July 15: Any intention I had of keeping my birthday low-key was dashed by a visit from Nicole, who showed up at coffee time bearing gifts: a pound of good coffee, a Rubik's Cube keychain, and a plate of (chocolate peanut butter!) cookies. Nicole entered our picture when she contacted us out of the blue a year ago to ask if she could help out once a week around the farm. The initial email was earnest and polite. So was Nicole, in those early visits. It took some doing to get her to knock that off. I knew we'd succeeded, that she had become one of us, when she showed up one day while I was on the phone, and returned my quick wave with a quicker flip of the bird. At that moment, I felt like I imagine a mother bird must after seeing its chick soar for the first time. Meanwhile, she showed up week after week to weed that bed, harvest that kale, plant those seeds, burn that pile of old tires. If I'm honest, I was a bit leery about welcoming her here. What if she messed up the farm's feng shui? Plus, it was one less day I had the option of farming in my underpants. But now I'd be bummed if she stopped coming. I'd probably be skinnier, though.