Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's A Heat Wave

Heat. It's a fact of summer life here in the Tri-Cities, WA.



Heat zaps your energy, whether you're a human, or a rose bush. The roses are making an effort to bloom for me again, but most blooms are small and the color is paler than that first gorgeous flush of blooms in the spring. Some of those blooms open, and by the end of the day are dessicated and falling apart. Yes, we have heat and low, low humidity.



Water is the answer to keeping everything alive and we're blessed to have it available this summer thanks to a good snow pack in the mountains last winter. That snow pack/irrigation water, and air conditioning, make life here in the summer bearable. It also allows us to keep our lawns green when our Seattle friends have brown lawns. And it keeps our main industry, agriculture, going and growing.
 





Since Sunday we've had a break from the two-week-long heat wave. Relief, blessed relief! Even Saturday was a much nicer 95*! Don't worry, this weekend is the Water Follies when it's almost guaranteed to be back up to 100*. But this break has allowed me to finally plant a couple of new roses in the garden.



In between Apricot Impressionist and Sky's the Limit I've planted Jayne Austin, a soft yellow climber.


And in the narrow border next to our outdoor eating area, I've planted Angel Face.

When the heat returns, Angel Face is in a nicely protected spot. Jayne, however, will have to be helped along. Usually that means placing a plastic lawn chair over it for shade - which works nicely by the way!

Since it's pleasant out, I have lots of weeding to catch up on. See ya out there!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Bumping Lake Getaway

People, it's hot as Hades here in E. Washington and has been for more than ten days. For us that means over 100 degrees F, and many have been 105-109. While we are most thankful for working air conditioning, after a few days it's nice to get away from the constant heat. We went to Bumping Lake




Bumping Lake is just to the east of Mt. Rainier National Park boundary so quite a bit higher in elevation than the Tri-Cities, which is about 500 ft. So the days were warm, but it cooled off nicely when the sun went down. We even had clouds and a few sprinkles which never developed into even a light shower.

Matt and Mystie took the kids up to Chinook Pass where they got to play in the snow on one of the hottest days of the year. They really loved that.

Daniel and Melanie did some exploring and found a place for Melanie to do some plein air painting.

Geoff and Amber did a little exploring as well. Yep, the honeymooners joined us for the weekend, giving their new tent a try. The tent was great, but they definitely need some air mattresses for the next trip!

Lots of time was spent just hanging out around our campsite.



There were tadpoles galore in the shallows of the lake with just a few tiny frogs. In a couple of weeks the place will be overrun with frogs! Hans and Jaeger did a bit of tadpole hunting with Aunt Melanie. Don't worry - it was catch and release!



And Uncle Daniel gave a lesson in push ups to the younger set.



The weekend was a great success, although we missed my younger kids who all were working over the weekend. The lake is about three hours' drive from home, so not too far. The campground has no facilities except for vault toilets, no water and electricity at the campsites, so we had to take on water which was a trick because the faucets did not have threaded spouts to attach a hose to. That did not stop Gary though. He thought about it a bit then asked for a plastic bag. I thought, that's weird, got him one, and he proceeded to create a gasket out of the bag and we filled the tank without a lot of spray on us! That's why I married him!

I didn't marry him for his winterizing skills. The trailer kitchen faucet didn't get emptied of water apparently, as when I turned on the water pump, water came streaming out of a rip in the neck of the faucet. Argh! So I resorted to tent camping techniques and all went well. Except for the trailer battery was going out and wouldn't keep the refrigerator lit! So Gary trekked into the Costco in Yakima for a new battery.

The worst though, was when in unhitching and leveling the trailer, the tongue of the trailer wasn't balanced properly on the blocks. As he was raising the tongue, it slipped off and the trailer went forward and boom - the thing hit the ground. Luckily, nothing was broken, but what an alarming event! That was a first in ten years of trailering.  So back to square one, rehitching to the Expedition, repositioning the trailer, leveling on a very stable base, then unhitching.

So a very eventful start to the weekend. I think maybe next year we should take a little preseason camping trip and check out all the systems before we go on a big family trip!






Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Monday Night Softball


For the last couple of months, Monday night has meant church league ladies' softball games. Our team is sponsored by our church, but we've taken in players from other churches who don't have teams.


Kirsten has been playing for several years now and has gone from a total neophyte, to one of the team's better hitters and a good catcher. They usually make the young girls catch as it's pretty hard on the knees.

Pregame Prayer

Action on the Sidelines


About to score!
We have some lovely summer evenings so watching softball games is a nice way to spend some time. Usually there are friends to chat with and lots of little kids to entertain us too.

This week, though, we're having a heat wave and the hundred-plus-degrees zap your energy! In between games, they turn sprinklers on the fields to keep the dust down, so some of the girls soaked themselves as well. Water inside and out is definitely what it takes to manage the heat.

In honor of our July heat, I've changed the header on the ol' blog here to reflect what I spend my time doing - moving the sprinkler around!

Stay cool, my friends!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Something I Finally Learned

The roses are putting out another flush of flowers so lately there's been some new growth, which means aphids again. It's funny how some of the roses really attract lots of aphids and others have just a few. Anyway, along with the aphids there are lots of lady bugs and lacewings.

But I saw another bug that I hadn't noticed before.

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/ladybug-stages.htm#page=2
How could I have missed this creature all these years? Or perhaps I just blasted them away with the hose and didn't think about what they were.

Yep, it's a ladybug larvae - and I saw lots of them. You wonderful gardeners out there are chuckling at my obtuseness, but now I know those are what I want to see in the garden!

And today I saw several of the next phase in the ladybug life cycle: the pupa.  Soon another generation of ladybugs will be helping me keep my roses healthy!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Summer Swim Lessons

Now that the wedding is over, life is quite serene. My older grandchildren are in swim lessons at the city pool, so the last couple of mornings, I've gone down to spend some time with the gang. Kirsten went along with me to take some head shots of Mystie for her blog or some such thing.

Knox climbing on the "ship"
Today Knox decided not to play in the wading pool, but play in the sand pit and climbing structures.

Geneva trying to get to her mother
Geneva thought she wanted to play in the ship, but when Mommy started to walk away to sit down, she decided she wanted to go along.

Life is better on Mommy's lap
My oldest and youngest
I didn't get pics of the kids in the pool, so maybe next week I'll be able to get a couple of good shots. It's really lovely to spend a couple of hours outside with Mystie and her little group, enjoying the weather and watching the kids play.