Monday, June 11:

   An evening running errands is far more tiring than the same period of time spent chopping weeds in the pasture, watering the dry gardens, or folding laundry.  Staying home is so comfortable.  But there were errands to be run, to the thrift store for jeans, to the hardware store for, well, hardware, and a scavenging stop at a site where a new copper roof was being put on a building.  The crates in which the roofing was shipped were heavy things cobbled out of many two-by-fours, and we obtained permission last week to take as many as we liked.  Only thing, we weren’t the only people who got that permission, and it was first come, first served.  Or maybe finders keepers.  So we have to show up often in our F-250 to be there when the crates are empty.  Tonight was a good haul, and we brought home almost enough lumber to make all the studs for one of our present projects.

So the time in town was probably well spent, but it was still tiring.  Give me good straightforward manual labor over shopping anytime.

Growing summer lettuce is always a challenge, when the heat makes even Black Seeded Simpson bolt like a startled horse.  Always looking for new tactics, we have cleared and composted the herb bed behind the greenhouse, empty now of everything except chives and some volunteer strawberries.  This bed spends most of the day in shade, but in late afternoon the sun breaks past the big maple by the woodshed and pours down on the now bare earth, heating the soil so that lettuce, if it germinated at all, would grow bitter and bolt young.  To counteract the harsh sun, we put hoops over this bed and clipped on wide panels of row cover to shade the ground and keep it cool.  We dug and raked the bed and soaked it in late evening to give it the best possible chance to cool down before we planted it to spinach and lettuce.   This morning we sowed two rows of greens, watered them, scattered straw lightly over the newly-seeded areas, and lay panels of old hog wire and chicken wire over them to make them less attractive to cats and invading chickens.  The idea is to see if we can keep it cool enough there to grow good lettuce.  We’ll keep you informed.

The spring lettuce is bolting faster than we can eat it.  When I go down to move the cow’s paddock I pull six or seven overgrown stalks like highrise apartments for earwigs and take them down as a treat for the pigs.