Monday, August 3, 2009

Hot Summer Days and a Pea Emergency

It's been hot here. Have I mentioned that already? Even if I have, it bears repeating. We haven't had a day under 90 degrees in over two weeks now. And last week, well, we're just going to try to forget last week. Triple digit temp days are no fun. Gardens wilt, animals languish, people get's ugly. Oregonians aren't used to such extreme temperatures.

Fortunately, here on Critter Farm, we're pulling through just fine and everyone is doing their part to make the best of it.

Roxy, my farm pup, and Reggie the goat have decided that the quickest way to the water is to drink from the hose at the same time:

The time of year and the higher than usual temperatures have made my perennial gardens look very dried out and overgrown. Being helpful goats, Pete and Reggie kindly offered their brush munching services:

...which I politely declined, telling them I preferred they keep their munching at the garden perimeter, helping me to maintain the veggie garden fence line:

They're very good at this. The goat boys love balancing on the boulders surrounding the garden(s), eating the weeds between and next to the rocks. They've resisted head-butting their way through the fence netting to get to the tasty vegetables inside so far. Good boys!:

Here's Reggie taste testing the apple tree rope. His work is never done:

Despite the heat, to do their part for garden clean-up, the chickens gobble up grape leaf trimmings. It's a tough job, but, well, you know. Here they are, taking one for the team:

Of course, Reggie and Pete are always willing to lend a jaw, too:

Thanks, boys!:

Something is eating my green cherry tomatoes. I think it's the ravenous Skeleton Key Worm. Kidding. I don't think such a thing exists, but doesn't this hole look like a key would fit in it?:

The grapes aren't complaining at all about the heat. Here they are, looking perfectly photogenic:

Here comes the pea emergency part.
With this extreme heat, we've had to water our garden twice daily lately. I had been procrastinating getting a bigger trellis up to support the imminent 8 to 10' pea vines that are growing unbelievably quickly. The weight of the additional watering pulled over about half of my beautiful, succulent, Alderman shelling pea vines:

This is just short of catastrophe around here because the peas are my man, Jim's, #1 favorite crop of the entire year. The peas had just started to produce and, due to my delay, here they are, suddenly folded in half. Not good!:

I launched into almost immediate damage control. Measuring was necessary. I like to measure things:

The driveway became the emergency staging area for the new, soon-to-be-taller pea trellis:

Fortunately for me, my step-dad was on hand to assist with everything, including the vital lashing of the crossbeams to the stakes:

My strong farm son appeared just in time to pound the new structure into the garden soil:


Peas, safe and stable again:

Here's how the peas thanked us:

They're actually doing quite well in this heat. Go figure!


  1. Your grapes look wonderful and I would use those grape leaves to stuff with meat and rice to make Greek dolmathes! I don't have access to fresh from the vine grape leaves since my neighbors pulled out all of their grapevines a few years ago. You can harvest the leaves, wash them and either freeze them or can them in saltwater to use all year round.

    It's been way too hot here for my snow peas to live. They are all dried up now and need removing from my garden. It's been so hot (in the 100's) during the day for so long that my tomatoes stopped setting fruit or ripening the ones that are on the vines. They went into survival mode. I am hoping that this week will cool down enough for them to get started making more tomatoes for me.

    Pete, Reggie and Roxy are so cute!

  2. Having those "farm hands" are a God-send when it comes to getting help on the Critter Farm. And your Jim will be so grateful when you're able to harvest twice as many peas due to the extremely hot days we've been having. Life is good!

  3. Step- dad says, "Anything for Jim's peas!"
    I never knew that you have a measuring obsession. I believe your step-dad assured you that the peas would not know the difference if one side of the trellis was off by a nano fraction of a millimeter.
    My peas are long gone, and I really have pea envy. Could you talk your step-dad into sowing me a second harvest?

  4. Global Warming, Climate Change..,extreme summer weather? Call it what they will, it makes life difficult for man or beast..., or pea.
    HOT is normal for us in the California foothills. We have days of 100 degree plus temperatures. All I can say is water, water, water. and what lives will live..., and what doesn't will not. It's a fact of hot summer life. My roses have stopped blooming in the heat, but today the weather took a turn and it cooled off.
    Maybe it will be the same for you soon. Hope so.

  5. Glad you got it all fixed! Having a pea crop fail would be disastrous. :)

    Hope you (and we) get cooler temperatures soon.

  6. I'm sorry that it is so hot for you guys. It does make for good peas. Your garden looks wonderful. Thank goodness the goats are so helpful.

  7. Isn't this weather insane?! I'm so ready for 75 degrees and sunny!

    I'm VERY impressed by the answer to the pea emergency - and those peas are lucious. I can only imagine how amazing they taste!

    Nicely done!

  8. Nice pea rescue! I have just found your blog and look forward to reading your posts.

  9. Great work to all! I wish I had your kind of garden helpers Danni! I have to say though, Reggie may need to go on a diet. Did you notice his little beer belly showing? Tell him to lay off the hops.

  10. i sympathize with your weather conditions. i would pack up and leave. unreal weather you have been having. i just cooked my first peas this morning....all 15 of them. and i cooked my first favas. yum on them big time. i had to pull out my snow peas. they got powdery mildew. but i had a pretty good crop so i am not complaining. my eggplants are jut starting to flower which makes me think that crop is toast for this season. i am holding out for my tomatoes. i have tons of them but not one that looks like it will be red any time soon. i love the pics of the animals!!

  11. Pete and Reggie are getting so big! Are you watering them twice a day too?

  12. I like to measure things too.

    I am extremely jealous of your peas. Eat an extra pod-ful for me :)

  13. You take such nice pictures! The goats are so cute - I absolutely LOVE the picture of Reggie and Pete smooching! The chickens are adorable - and the girls look so fashionable in their saddles.

    Your grapes are perfectly beautiful! What will you be doing with all of them?

    Lucky you to have such good help with your pea emergency! And those peas sure do seem to appreciate it. Beautiful little peas in a pod - they look delicious!

  14. wow, look at the belly on Reggie as he stands up against the tree, somebody ain't goin' hungry. I absolutely love fresh peas out of the garden, glad you rescued yours.

  15. You have such helpful goats and chickens. How wonderful that everyone pinches in! Your garden is beautiful.

  16. Those grapes are gorgeous. Hmmm, the goats here have learned how to lean through the garden fence. There will be no horseradish this year.

  17. Hi Farmer Jen - I think it bothered you last year, too, when I mentioned feeding the grape leaves to the chickens. lol. I'll try to get organized and cook something for humans with those leaves this year - if I do, the meal will be dedicated to you!

    Hi CA grammy - How are you feeling? Jim is very thankful that I keep growing these peas for him (this is his third batch this season, btw...did I leave that part out?) lol. Speedy recovery to you!!!

    Hi Zitrone - Yes! Step-dad *totally* told me that my entire garden is very forgiving and nobody in it would notice if my measurements are off. This, of course, drove my measuring-weighing mind a bit crazy, but I recovered quickly and I don't think he noticed anything. :-)

    Hi farmlady - Thank goodness for water, eh? The nice news is that it started to significantly cool down last night and, this morning, it's very, very pleasant outside! A breath of fresh air!

    Hi Sarah - yes, the forecast has us cooling down a lot over the next few days. Yay!

    Hi Kelly or Alex, though I think it's always Kelly who writes to me - :-)...Thanks for your kind words about my garden. I've enjoyed it a lot this year, but I think it looks the way it does mostly because I don't have any donkeys this year. Those beautiful guys took up all my gardening time last year!! :-)

    Hi Dina - I think our 75 degree temps are on their way - if our forecasters are accurate in their predictions...let's keep our fingers crossed! The peas are really good! As I mentioned above, this is the third batch I've grown this season and the Aldermans (this batch) is definitely the best variety so far.

    Hi Leslie - Thanks for commenting!! I will pop over and take a look at your blog.

    Hey Eve - That Reggie, I'll tell you, he's a porker...especially in comparison to slender Pete. Reggie is still able to squeeze through the slats of the stall divider in the goat house, but he has to squeeeeze that big belly of his. I'm worried that one of these days, he's going to get stuck!

    Hi jaz - Every time you comment, I notice how much we have in common!! I have about 20 different tomato bushes and all of them are literally COVERED in tomatoes...all of them GREEN! Not a bit of reddish color to them. I'm getting worried that we're going to run out of time! Let me know when you start to see any color in yours, would you? I'll do the same! :-)

    Hi Carolyn! Welcome home! So you're a bit of a measuring nerd, too, huh? :-)
    Mmmm...peas....just extra effort needed...yum.

    Hi Basicliving - I *love* taking pictures!! It makes me very very happy and my computer very very unhappy. Waaaaay too many photos needing to be stored! :-) What will I do with my grapes? Well, originally, we wanted to try our hand at wine, but we didn't get enough last year. They're too tart to eat as table grapes, so they pretty much went to the chickens. Not sure what else one can do with a small batch of sour grapes, you know?

    Hi joanna!! You should see that same belly squeezed flat to get through varous fencing. He SHOVES his girth through without any trouble! Do you think he's too fat? He's not quite 5 months old. Pete is very skinny, but I've attributed this to some of the health probs he's had. I was hoping he'd fatten up like Reggie.

    Hi cindy, aka AJ-Oaks! Isn't it wonderful to have helpful animals around? LOL
    Thanks for the nice words about my garden - we've really enjoyed it this year.

  18. Pete and Reggie have always been great helpers. So it doesnt surprise me one bit that they offered to help keep the weeds at bay for you. Such good boys. And the chickens too. They like to help pick the berries, so a nice grape leaf was a tasty way to thank them!

    Your peas look so beautiful. And I know they must taste delicious. The new trellis looks fantastic. Now youll be all set for the next crop of them!

    That third horizontal piece, tho...are you sure thats even?

    Theres Aidan getting to use that T post pounder again. Make sure to tell him that I got to use mine today, too. :)

  19. I would not deny your chickens their succulent grape leaves. I would simply ask that they share a few dozen with me!

    Your tart grapes would make great jam or jelly.

  20. Ohh what a great post, my beans did the same thing, now they are sprawling everywhere! You critters are just precious, Kim

  21. Wow, such bounty! I'm envious!!

  22. I'm sorry y'all have had such bad heat up there! I know it's hard, but I'm glad y'all seem to be doing okay.

  23. Your garden does look beautiful, even with all the heat! My friends in WA keep telling me about the heat wave...but I have no sympathy being in Idaho now! :)
    Reggie has quite the belly on him in the tree photo! Glad to see they are so helpful!


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