A Year at Pleasant Hill Farm: June - Blueberries, Lavender, and Drought

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, 
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.  
(Genesis 8:22, KJV)

One of the things I love about living on a farm is that life continues in its typical rhythm despite whatever drama takes place in personal events. There's no slowing of blueberry ripening just because one member of the family happens to be in the hospital. The chickens still need to be fed and watered, and the garden and fruit trees still require regular tending. While that can be annoying at times, overall the regularity and predictability of it all is immensely reassuring.

In the garden the main thing we are dealing with this year is drought and excess heat. Our county is in a "severe drought" region. We rent out our tillable land to a real farmer who grows corn and soybeans. It practically breaks my heart every time I look out my kitchen window at his corn which is turning all spiky like pineapple instead of the lush plants that it started out as. In June our area had 0.2" of rain (4.89" is average), and for the year we are running some 12" behind. What the low rainfall means for my youngest boys is that they are doing a lot of water hauling to keep our garden and fruit trees alive!

The blueberry bushes seem pretty happy at the moment anyhow. After last year's dismal blueberry production, this one has been over the top fabulous! We've put 12-1/2 gallons in the freezer so far and have been eating them in every way possible as well. Picking sessions get to  be a drag after the initial thrill, so Jonathan and Tim read to us while we pick. (P.G. Wodehouse for Jonathan; C. S. Lewis for Tim.) We're expecting lower than normal yields next year because of this year's drought, so we're packing away a surplus.

The lavender plants are thriving. For the first time I tried my hand at making a lavender wreath. This year I'm trying to be creative with things we already have on hand, so instead of buying a wreath base, I went in search of grapevines. How handy - there were some in the woods just steps from our front yard. After soaking briefly, they were easily formed into a wreath shape.

Next, I collected lavender in bunches. In our science electricity box I found a nice spool of wire which worked well to secure the bunches to the frame.  Next time I'll make it more full, but this was a fun, easy craft.


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