Christmas come early

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… or at least mid-August did. It is folly to hope for rain between June 15 and August 15 here. The forest goes hot and dry as a tinder box, and we all hold our breath until we can reasonably expect rain. Most years, there are forest fires that break out, and of course many of those are caused by humans. The shepherds spit into their hands to extinguish their cigarettes, knowing how easy it is for an ember to grow into a hungry fire.

In the garden, summers have always been a time of struggle between this heat and relentless dryness and the need to keep plants alive and quenched. This year is a huge change for us because of the drip irrigation lines. Suddenly, it is always spring under the surface of the soil. We spend less time watering, yet the garden is doing better than it ever has. We’re eating peppers and eggplants months ahead of when we used to, and the heat actually seems to help things grow rather than slowly killing everything. Of course, there have been casualties, most notably among the tomatoes. I have some plants that have just up and died. Or more puzzlingly half died. I am still not sure why. Did the heat zap them? Were they under watered? Over watered? Scratched by the chickens? Peed on by animals? Should I have pruned them? Luckily there are enough healthy plants that we have plenty to eat, but the questions are always at the back of my mind. Like I’ve said before, though, this is the way we learn — through disappointment and confusion!

Although the drip irrigation has changed our relationship with heat and water, this did nothing to dampen our amazement at having not one but two torrential rain showers last week. Our mountainside (for it did not venture all over, this rain. It seems to have gotten snagged by the mountains) was drenched. A sweet smell of pine and dry vegetation newly dampened filled the air, and the garden seemed washed and brighter afterwards. It was such a pleasure to walk through wet grass, to feel the earth beneath our feet give way gently as we walked, and to see leaves and flowers weighted down, hanging their heads with droplets of water.

The weather has snapped right back, and it’s 38 C (100 F) again today. But it was lovely to have a short reprieve, even if, as my mother remarked afterwards, it almost instantly felt as if it had been a dream.

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12 thoughts on “Christmas come early

  1. “A sweet smell of pine and dry vegetation newly dampened filled the air…”
    That is the most delicious smell! I understand your fear of fire in the summertime too. We had so many horrible forest fires when I lived in southern California. The last really big one (before we moved) it rained ashes on us in the valley for days. Scary. So happy that you got refreshing summer rains there! ~ Lynda

    1. One summer night when we had just moved down to Antalya, we saw this ominous glow on a distant hillside. We eyed it nervously and were about to call one of the neighbors to see if they had heard of any fires when we realized that what we were seeing was the moon rising. Still, it never hurts to keep your eyes open!

  2. What a wonderful respite from the heat of Summer! A couple of weeks ago, while we were in the midst of our heat wave, a storm blew in, giving us an unexpected rain. I stood on my back porch, taking it all in. I can only imagine how wonderful it was for you, especially given how much more dry your Summer months are.

  3. Alice

    We soak up the cool and rain like the plants do. Lovely that you had a respite from the hot days.

  4. You may have done nothing wrong with your tomato plants…it could be a blight and if that is the case not too much can be done.

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