Monday, July 25, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

It has been brutally hot here the last week. The weather forecasters say it is because of of "bubble" of hot air extending from the midwest USA. Maybe that is the case, maybe it is just a change in our environment, or maybe it is just a really hot and dry July. Regardless it has put a damper on my willingness to go outside.

The green beans, on the other hand, seem to be loving this heat. I've been keeping them watered, every other day or so, and I was rewarded last Monday with a huge harvest. I estimate we picked 10 lbs of green and wax beans, with plenty more ripening up. If this turns into a trend then we'll have beans to last us the whole winter canned up.

The peas are not so happy. Before the heatwave hit we were getting a pound of peas a week. Since the heatwave has started the pea vines have died back and the peas that were developing have turned a sickly yellow and stopped all growth. If the weather stays hot and dry much longer I'll have to pull all my pea plants, turn the soil, and wait until August to plant a second batch in time for fall harvest.

The carrots, shallots, and beets seem to be pretty happy as long as I keep them watered. The garlic, which was doing so well when it was cooler and wetter, seems to be stalling in its growth. Even with watering every two days the garlic just doesn't seem to be all that happy.

Of course when I was in the garden yesterday I found that about half of what I thought was garlic was, in fact, an annoying look alike grass. From a couple of feet away you can't tell the different. Instead you have to look at the base of the plant. Garlic has a stalk with the leaves splitting off an inch or so above the soil. If the leaves split at the ground it is grass, and has to be pulled out of the bed.

As with every year there are successes and failures in the garden. Somehow, this year I managed to pick the right combination of vegetables to plant and I have more successes then failures, at least I did before the weather turned so bloody hot. I hope we get back to normal summer temperatures soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Baronial Muster

PeterC and I decided to attend Baronial Muster this weekend. It was a three day camping event but we drove out for the day on Saturday. It was being held at Raven's Knoll campground out past Eganville, Ontario which is a 3.5 hour drive so we left home at 5:30 am. The drive was actually very pretty especially after we entered the Bonnechere Valley.

Usually we don't attend events being held so far away but there was ulterior motive on my part. Someone from Ottawa had been very kind and picked up some black walnut branches from Scarborough and wanted to give them to me at Baronial Muster. I had been told there would be a chance to authorize in armoured combat as well so I decided we were going.

The campground was beautiful and was bordered by a slow moving river. Even with such a beautiful site it was still very hot and no one really wanted to do much other than swim. As a result there was no armoured combat except some pick up fights later in the afternoon.

Since we had time to kill and the Baronial Archery tourney was being held at 11am we borrowed a bow and some arrows and decided to give our hands to archery. The tourney started very late, there was no shade, and the sun was very hot. Needless to say my face is sunburned very badly.

However, the tourney did eventually start and we took turns using the bow to do the various competitions. PeterC is a natural and once he got his range he did very well with the target shooting. In fact he did so well that he managed to come in 2nd place overall. Pretty good for the first time he ever used a bow in his life.

After the tourney we headed up to the fight area and armoured up. The gentlemen were willing to run me through a mock authorization to get me used to the process. I almost didn't pass the equipment inspection but luckily I had received my full gauntlets in the mail and they allowed me to continue.

We took the field and fighting began. I did really well with the normal hand and shield fighting, though I forgot to call the light blows. Something I seriously need to work on. I also did well when we moved to the knee fighting. Unfortunately, I did not do so well when we moved to the off hand portion of the test, nor with the quizzing on the rules and regulations. But now I know what I need to work on and I'll try again at Feast of the Hare.

As soon as the fighting was done we headed home. We left the campground later than planned but still managed to get home by 7:30pm, much to the relief of the puppies and the ferrets who had been in their kennel all day. It was a long day and I am suffering from sunburn and sore muscles today, but overall I think it was a good day. I doubt, though, that I will attend Baronial Muster again.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Vacation Time

Vacation is here again. It started with a visit from a friend of PeterC's. They spent the day at the Biodome in Montreal and then came home for supper, some SCA sparring, and of course lots of good company.

Since then we have spent at least part of every day out in the yard working on a open sided shed. Once the shed is competed this will be PeterC's blacksmithing workshop. In the Winter we will have to install tarps on all sides to keep the weather from ruining is anvil and forge. Until then though the sides will be open, except for some trellis that will give him some privacy from the far to close neighbour on the west of the property.

We've also been getting some yard work done. The two year old pile of hedge trimmings has finally been burned off, much to the delight of the chickens who got all kinds of bugs and worms in the process. The part of the yard that never gets mowed has been trimmed with the trimmer. And, we harvested a couple litres of green beans and peas.

The evenings have been spent working on garb for myself for the SCA. I had hope to get at least two outfits completed for both of us, but things are going slower than planned. I've also managed to get my Barony token, a sign of membership in the Barony of Skraeling Althing, sewn to a belt flag. Eventually it will be embroidered with a white rabbit, the device of the Barony.

There is still a week to go and it has already been booked with things to do. The truck has to be taken to the repair shop Monday. PeterC has a riding lesson or two next week. We have to get his workshop finished. I have to get at least my tunic and trews finished before next Saturday when we will attend Baronial Muster where I will attempt to authorize in Sword, Shield, and Dagger armoured combat.

Vacations are never very relaxing for us but this year's seems even more hectic than normal. Perhaps that is because we have been so busy earlier in the year that all the little things we normally get done have been put off for another day. I guess "another day" has finally arrived.