It’s been blistering hot up here. Of course, “hot” is a relative term. “Hot,” by Stonington standards, means any temperatures above 70 degrees, and “blistering” means the thermometer touches 80. (Given their sensitivity to heat, I don’t know what the good people of Stonington would do if confronted by a true Midwestern or southern summer, where temperatures in the 90s and above are commonplace. Probably, they would be grateful they live up here, nod and say ayuh, and then stolidly retreat to these rockbound shores.)
But I digress. On the days that promise to be hot and dry, I try to give our plants a good watering. Because of the configuration of our yard and flower beds, that means using different watering devices and following a circuit.
I begin with the beds by our front door, where I can use a hose. We don’t have a spray nozzle, so I use the thumb-over-the-water-flow method to achieve a sprinkle, and give the beds a good dousing. They are on the western side of the house and won’t get sun for a while, so the water will get a chance to really sink in and do some good before the day heats up. The hose water gets very cold against my thumb and helps me to wake up, and I do the watering while I’m making coffee so I can get a hot cup of joe when the watering is done and the hose is rolled up.
The next stop on the watering circuit comes later, after I’ve taken a walk and given the ever-hungry neighborhood deer a reasonable opportunity to eat more of the down yard flowers. Because the down yard is in deep shadow in the morning, it can wait. There’s no hose, so I need to use a watering can that I fill to the brim in our basement sink. I carry the can down the steps and hillside and water three areas: next to the outside stairs, where I’ve tried to transplant a lupine and set up a little flower bed, the flowers I planted in the crack between our two big rocks and next to the creek, and finally the vegetables we got from Russell. It usually takes three trips and helps me to get my daily stair climbing in. I also inevitably fill my daily quotient of obscenities when I survey the damage the deer have done to the flowers in the crack between the rocks, where we’ll probably never get the black-eyed susan blossoms — they always get neatly clipped off by deer teeth just as they are ready to bloom. As I trudge back up the hill, cursing inwardly and trying to figure out some new, actually effective way to discourage the rapacious deer, I’ve become mentally ready to face the work day.
The last step in the watering circuit comes in the early evening, where I use a different hose to water the beds in the side yard and a little tree that has always struggled. The side yard is starting to get shade by then, and the hose water feels cool and crisp after a hot day. Watering, with its mindless back and forth motions to try to fully cover the relevant territory, is a good way to wind down after work and let the brain wander a bit. The side yard beds also are a bit more uplifting to water, because the yard is fenced and deer don’t bother it, so the flowers are actually blooming rather than being consumed. At the end of the day, it’s nice to see some fruits from your labors.
That’s my hot day watering circuit. The deer appreciate my efforts, I’m sure.