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THE PNW IS ON FIRE
The main story this past week here in Yakima has been all about smoke. The wind took a turn last Monday and blew a humongous smoke cloud over the mountains into our territory. This cloud is a result of the fires in Northern California and Oregon. As if we didn’t have enough smoke already with fires burning all around Yakima, this just added into the mix. So it has been a “stay inside” week for me. I’ve had to go out to the garden a few times to pick stuff, water, and check things out, but I did not stay out there long. Yesterday I did a bit of pruning to my tomatoes and my head started to hurt from all that smoke. It’s nasty. I realized it was really bad last Saturday, when I went outside and looked up at the sun and all I saw was a large orange ball. I ran inside and got my camera, but the picture doesn’t do it justice. It was way more orange than the picture shows.
Despite all the smoke we have had, it is nothing compared to what the people in the path of these wildfires are going through. The loss of human lives and property, not to mention all the wildlife and their habitats, is just unimaginable. My heart goes out to them all.
The smoke has been especially bad over in the Seattle area, where Emily lives. Thankfully, she was able to get away for a few days and go camping in Winthrop, Washington, which is about 4 hours northeast of Seattle. The air was decidedly clearer there, as these pictures she took prove. I wish I was there right now!
Meanwhile, I had heard that this huge smoke cloud was heading our way, so on Thursday, September 10th, I took a picture of the sky looking up from our patio. Then on Saturday, September 12th, I took another picture of the same view. See if you can guess which is which.
A new addition popped up in the garden the other day. Back in June when I planted the garden I tried desperately to grow some sunflowers out there to attract bees and facilitate pollination. I was outdone by bugs at every turn. I planted numerous seeds in three different places around the garden. All were completely eaten by bugs before they were even an inch high. As a last resort, I planted some on the far side of the garden where they wouldn’t get much sun but also where they weren’t near the weeds (where I think the bugs live). To my surprise, most of those came up and survived the buggy onslaught. I have been waiting all summer for them to bloom, and just a few days ago I was surprised to see one, just one, had put out a pretty little flower…little being the operative word here. The entire plant is only about 2 feet tall, versus the volunteer that came up which is about 6 feet tall. The flower is about 3 inches across, but pretty nonetheless.
While out there in the garden I was searching for cucumbers to pick when all of a sudden I came across this guy below. I am not a big fan of spidery things, but since I know this fellow is a beneficial insect, I didn’t bother him aside from taking his picture.
Another surprise out in the garden has been how well the volunteer tomatoes have been producing. I’ve gotten quite a few of these little gems off of those two plants. These plants came up from tomatoes that fell on the ground last summer, decomposed over the winter, and the seeds germinated this past spring. The only red cherry tomato that I planted last year was Grape Juliet, so I’m guessing they are clones of that plant. They have been pretty good!
Some of the Facebook nature groups that I below to like to periodically do a “critter find.” This is when someone posts a picture with a hidden critter of some kind, and you have to see if you can find it in the picture. Here’s one below, although this critter isn’t nearly as hard to find as some of the ones in the group.
ANOTHER “JUST BECAUSE”
While Emily was on her camping trip, she came across another sweet card and sent it to us, along with a very nice sticker. I laughed when I turned the card over and saw the title of this drawing…it’s “Rockin’ Robin.”
Since it has been getting cooler here in Yakima lately, we fixed up Summer Girl’s little house for her in preparation for winter. She has been taking her siestas in it quite a bit this past week instead of napping in the house. I guess she feels like she is still “outside.”
Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.