Summer days

Today, the screen doors were installed on the two sets of glass doors in the basement. The weather has been hot and humid with many bugs, so the screens are appreciated.

A screen door, made by the glass door manufacturer Andersen/Eagle,  was installed today on the southwest lower floor bedroom doors. The door leads to a small patio complete with wood bench and rain barrel.

A screen door, made by the glass door manufacturer Andersen/Eagle, was installed today on the southwest lower floor bedroom doors. The door leads to a small patio complete with wood bench and rain barrel.

So far, the temperatures have been very pleasant inside without air conditioning. However, indoor humidity levels have matched the over 60% relative humidity outside and so the minisplit system has been turned on a few times in dry mode to try to keep humidity and therefore potential mold levels in check. The weather has been nice though for the ivy geraniums and other plants on the rooftop deck.

Ivy geraniums cascade over the side of the rooftop deck rail today and a tomato plant is starting to grow up the trellis built at the east end of the deck.

Ivy geraniums cascade over the side of the rooftop deck rail today and a tomato plant is starting to grow up the trellis built at the east end of the deck.

The deer have almost killed many of the so-called “deer-resistant” plants in the ground, unfortunately. Only the two kinds of garlic have done well as measured by their harvest starting July 1 through last week. So nice to have home grown garlic for the first time in my life!

On July 1, the first harvested bulb of Inchelium Red garlic sits ready on the kitchen counter top.

On July 1, the first harvested bulb of Inchelium Red garlic sits ready on the kitchen counter top.


On July 5 I harvested the rest of the Inchelium Red garlic bulbs and braided them to start them drying in the shade of the front porch. Now the garlic braids are curing in the kitchen pantry and the crop of hardneck Chesnook Red garlic is drying on a counter top.

On July 5 I harvested the rest of the Inchelium Red garlic bulbs and braided them to start them drying in the shade of the front porch. Now the garlic braids are curing in the kitchen pantry and the crop of hardneck Chesnook Red garlic is drying on a counter top.

Summer solstice and southern sun

The longest day of the year and, as per design, the southern windows are largely sheltered from the warm sun. (The photo exposure was darkened to make the shadow line more apparent.)

The longest day of the year and, as per design, the southern windows are largely sheltered from the warm sun. (The photo exposure was darkened to make the shadow line more apparent.)

Wildlife and hot weather returns

An eastern box turtle takes advantage of the lack of progress on the driveway project.

An eastern box turtle takes advantage of the lack of progress on the driveway construction.

Although the driveway project should start soon, the post-construction quiet coupled with the new plants starting to fill out around the house seem to have given the local wildlife beyond the ubiquitous deer enough comfort to return. Today, a homecoming from work around 7:30 pm led to a surprise encounter with a box turtle crawling across the construction gravel drive in front of the garage. Yesterday saw toads in the area. A lizard crawled across the deck railing two weeks ago. Most puzzling on acres of trees though is the bird that took up residence on a single blade of the front porch fan while we were out of town for a conference a week ago. This week promises heat advisories, but relaxing on the front porch with the fan spinning as per design will have to wait until the brood hatches from the nest sitting above the front door. Nature is perplexing and amazing!

Perhaps the bird was on to something, as the fan blade is unlikely to allow a snake or possum access to the straw nest and the white roof is certainly keeping the area cool. Walking inside with groceries after marveling at the turtle was a refreshing relief from today’s almost 90 °F (32 °C) weather and sticky humidity outside. The heat pump has been off since cold weather left the area and yet Casa Cresta has remained nicely comfortable. We aired out the house during the unseasonably cool weather this past weekend to leave the main floor hallway at 70 °F (21 °C) this morning and then return to only a three degree Fahrenheit increase. Little sun shines into all of the south-facing windows anymore as the two-foot roof overhangs and the trees help shade the glass. The rooftop garden is nicely sunny though. The potato grow bags are a lush green; the ivy geraniums, soybeans, spinach, parsley and cilantro are growing nicely; and harvest time has come for the sweet peas!

The pods are forming sweet little peas now—awesome rooftop garden snacks without competition from the many nearby deer! The Masterpiece peas are doing well in their Earthbox Junior homes. Some of the lacy tendrils were harvested earlier for a stir fry.

The pods are forming sweet little peas now—awesome rooftop garden snacks without competition from the many nearby deer! The Masterpiece peas are doing well in their Earthbox Junior homes. Some of the lacy tendrils were harvested earlier for a stir fry.