When I got up this morning, the barometer had dropped, big-time. By mid-morning the wind had come up so badly I could hardly see across the valley for all the blowing dust. Yesterday, knowing this was in the forecast, I picked tomatoes and peppers, then drafted Aries to help me get the grapes and pears. So this is what my kitchen counter looked like this morning.
And it still looks like that tonight. I had a dentist appointment this morning, and then Pilates. The chair of our fundraising golf tournament committee brought over all the money from the day of the tournament plus all the sponsors' checks she'd been holding in case we had to cancel the tournament. So this afternoon it took me more than an hour to get a deposit slip made out, everything totaled up, and the books brought up to date.
We also have to be out of the building donated to us for the Rummage Sale by the end of the month. Other members have taken care of cleaning out everything that didn't sell, but the sign guy that said he'd take my sign off the windows never did. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot colder, so if I'm gonna be slopping around with a bucket and sponge, this afternoon was going to be the best time to do it. So after getting the deposit to the bank, I swung by the storefront and washed the paint off the windows.
I'd already gotten the last of the Burbank Red Ace plums picked a couple of days ago. That's a wonderful plum - if I only had one plum tree, it would be that one (but it needs a pollinator - Starking Delicious is almost as good, and although that tree was almost killed by rabbits walking on deep snowpack one year, girdling it two feet above the ground, it spouted back from lower on the trunk and blooms enough to keep me in plenty of plums about every third year or so). The Burbank has a weeping form, so needs more space than an upright tree, but sets lovely big red firm juicy plums that ripen incrementally over almost a month's time.
I eat them right from the tree whenever I'm out in the yard starting in late August, and then dry whatever the birds leave me by late September. Cut in half around the equator (easier to tip and twist the pit out) they're better than any prunes you'd buy in the store. I packed away two gallon bags full of dried plums, leaving a little bowl of those not-quite-dry enough out to snack on now. Next into the dehydrator will be the grapes in that big grey tub. The tomatoes I'll can as whole tomatoes, and most of the bell peppers I'll freeze cut into 1" pieces - that's on my schedule for tomorrow.
Junior was still setting her nest out in front, but she was right under the eave of the shed, and if the rain comes it would be dripping right on her. So after getting all the grapes off the grapevine that grows on the side of the dog run/brood pen, I got the pen all set up with food, water, and a nice little protected nest. Last night, in the dark, we scooped up Junior and all her eggs and put her on the nest I'd made up. She settled in ok, and this morning was still there. We'll give her a few more days setting time - at least now she's a bit more out of the weather, just in case anybody hatches.
Temperatures are dropping, but it's not supposed to freeze tonight. But I decided to cover the tomatoes and some of the pepper plants, just in case. So just before dark I got out my bin of old draperies. If I can protect the plants during the September cold snaps, we'll often get a spate of Indian Summer weather in October - long enough to ripen a few more vegetables before everything has to be inside or perish. The really cold weather is supposed to be Wednesday and Thursday nights, so I'll see what it does tonight before deciding to cover everything tomorrow, or just pick it all.
As long as I'm blathering on about my harvest, I have something really bizarre out there this year. In June, when I was thinning the apples, I cut back one of my apple trees that had long whippy branches, hoping to shape it into more fruiting spurs and a stronger branch structure in the future. Some of those headed-back branches are blossoming now, in September. Of course, those blossoms will get frozen any day now, but I think it's so strange that even though this tree set a nice crop of apples that we just picked a few weeks ago, it's trying to make another crop without having gone through any chilling period or dormancy. The only thing I can think is that the daylight hours are now the same as they'd be during the Spring Equinox, normal blooming time. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?