I know that many of you are used to extended periods of Hot and Dry. Here on the West Coast of Canada, though, we expect temperatures of 20-22 degrees through June, with the occasional happy surprise of what kids might find to be good swimming weather. Often, June includes enough rainfall that gardens and lawns can stay green without much additional watering.
Not this year. We've had about six weeks of drought now, and there have been worrisome forest fires on the nearby mountains. My neighbour's having her roof redone today and I'm wincing every time I hear the torch. Everything's dry, dry, and more dry. It's supposed to hit 29 today, higher inland, and there's a Weather Warning posted alongside the longer-standing Fire Risk Warning. And we've been on twice-a-week, before 10, after 4 watering for a few weeks now. The government weather office forecast for the next week shows expected high temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees. No precipitation at all.
So we've been trying to do our bit to conserve water (the crude grey-water system we inherited from the previous, pre-code owners having been sadly dismantled at our reno years ago). I keep a big bowl in the kitchen sink to catch all the water that gets used washing and waiting for the right temp and emptying pots out to use for something else. A good way to see how much we generally consume.
I've also been plugging the tub when I shower. Even though I keep my showers as short as possible, I can fill this plastic watering can at least twice. . . (Lisa posted about water conservation from her Californian perspective several weeks ago).
2. What gets first dibs on all that grey water? No question that home-grown, vine-ripened tomatoes are worth toting and hauling for. Besides, these are growing right by the back steps, so we don't need to splash too far. . . Pater was so gratified to see so many promising green globes this early in the season. (all those nasturtiums surrounding, by the way, are volunteers that have sprung up from seeds left by last year's plants.)
3. I can't even imagine how much water it takes to grow watermelons, and perhaps we shouldn't be indulging. They're certainly not part of a 100-mile diet! But oh, do they scream "Summer"!
As do bright, fresh salads. For this one, I cubed a few cups of watermelon, added perhaps 1/3 cup of pitted Niçoise olives, crumbled up feta cheese (1/3 to 1/2 cup?) and sprinkled in some fresh basil (maybe 3 tablespoons, torn into small pieces). Ground some black pepper over it, then mixed it all up with a dressing made from balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Easy, delicious lunch.
4. Perhaps I'm hoping for some cooling effect from the title of Fred Vargas' latest Adamsberg mystery, Temps Glaciares (the English title will be Ice Age). That's probably too optimistic, but it is perfect for reading in the shade. Perfect in a few ways, actually, because any guilt I might feel about lazing around mid-day reading a mystery novel is assuaged by the conviction that I'm "working on my French." Win-win! If your French doesn't want to be worked on at the moment, you could check out Vargas' books in their English translation. Highly recommended!
5. The last item here might seem to be the "one of these things [that] doesn't belong," to quote a Sesame Street song, but the segue is that I've had a reprieve, because of the extended spell of hot, dry weather, in finishing the baby blanket for Fergus, born back in March. I've actually had his finished for a while, but was waiting to block it until I'd finished one for his big sister -- at 2 1/2, she's hardly a baby anymore, but everyone needs a cuddly blanket, no? Somehow, I never made one for either her or Nola, and it seemed a good time to remedy that. I'm finally ready to cast off on hers, so I got his blocked and out in the sun for a photo op. Although I don't think either of them will be snuggling up in wooly garter stitch anytime soon. . .
For now, though, I have a rendez-vous in the shade with a certain Parisian Commissaire. Talk amongst yourselves. Feel free to leave comments. . . You know I love to hear from you.