June 1st–Rain and More Rain. by Georgia Totten-Sioux Falls

June 1st already and it is still raining most days.  For newly planted garden seeds that’s a bonus, and for many like me who suffered turf damage due to last year’s drought, this even and gentle rain is just wonderful to help newly planted grass get off the ground (no pun intended).  I’ve had to cordon off areas of new grass to keep my spaniel out, and this was easy to do with a few inexpensive garden stakes and a roll of poultry wire.  My very helpful and awesome brother-in-law from Indiana raked and planted most areas for me during his visit here along with my sister for my oldest grandson’s H.S. graduation two weekends ago, and I’ve got a solid amount of grass already establishing. 

A word here about dogs in the yard and garden; I highly recommend English springers!  They are biting, chewing maniacs as young puppies (as I imagine most breeds are) but by eight months they begin to settle down into really wonderful dogs. A side benefit is keeping unwanted squirrels and rabbits (and ducks!) out of the garden area.  I cannot believe the flash of white and mottled brown my Molly becomes when one of them enters the yard.  The evening before last she caught a young rabbit that wasn’t yet mature enough to evade her blazing quick responses and brought it up the deck in her mouth.  I simply commanded her firmly to “Let it go,” and she released it.  Before I could turn to see if it was injured it disappeared.  I think (and hope) it fared pretty well.  I have kept my poultry wire protection around my new raised beds to avoid her uprooting the newly planted seeds as she races around the area. Springers are a hunting breed, and need a good amount of exercise.  Not a dog for apartment dwellers, unless you plan on running them at the dog park or in the country frequently.

 I just purchased a magazine called Taste of Home Canning & Preserving for its pretty impressive recipes for conserves, pickles, pie filling, spaghetti sauces etc.  At $9.99 it is a bit pricey for a magazine, but it really does have a vast amount of canning and freezing info.  It’s a cookbook, really, fairly thick with no advertisements.  No idea how long it will be available. I purchased it at Hy-Vee on Marion Road and 26th Street this morning.

 Today is really just flat out cold and windy, but I know that soon our weather will heat up and the garden will begin to flourish.  This weather is ideal for getting those early tasks done that seem so arduous in hot weather, so I am pulling perimeter weeds and getting everything planted.  Yes, it’s a little muddy, but better that than the heat and humidity to come.  My hope is to get everything in order by the time the true heat of summer is on us, and just maintain, maintain, maintain.  Then let the canning begin. . .

Oh, just a note about something that happened in late fall and winter in my particular part of town.  Late last October, granddaughter Piper and I heard the call of an owl in early evening on several occasions, and then in February, I saw a great horned flying at dusk down the greenway behind my house and then sitting in one of my backyard trees a few days later.  Because my dog was still pretty young my concern was that she or her next door litter mates might become prey to this obviously large predator, but the Outdoor Campus assured me that they should be safe at their current size.  Well, this owl made several recurring appearances and just amazed me with its size and wing span (which had to be a good 6-7 feet.). Several neighbors also sited it.  I learned that they actually nest in January and February! 

More garden talk later as the season progresses–all is in readiness and anticipation