I was about to begin my way home from work when Brandon sent me the photo above, and warned me to be careful, as the sky was ominous. The dog spent the evening cowering in the pantry, but the storm wasn't so bad that it ripped the chicken door apart, like it has before.
The summer thunderstorm wasn't the only frightening thing at the farm either. Brandon made sure to direct my attention to the wall behind a tool box in the workshop... is that what I think it is?!
Oh boy - that's a huge spider!
Handsome, in his way, with the bowl hair cut and the lightning striped pattern on his legs. I left my muck boots in the workshop, and after meeting the spider, it took me several minutes of beating on my boots while they were upside down to get up the courage to put them on my feet. What if that giant spider was taking a nap in there and wouldn't shake out?
The spider looks more like the photos I found on-line of the common fishing spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) than a type of wolf spider, but the habitat for fishing spiders is listed as forest or wetland - not a barn. The online spider guide says they can bite if handled carelessly, and bites are painful, but not serious. Pain is serious!
The storm was kind enough the fill our swimming pool crater with water, which helped us realize that we have more leveling to do before we can put the pool up. Brandon couldn't resist a dare, and went mucking around in the saturated clay.
Big foot has been here! If a volcano erupted and covered his footprints with ash, someone could excavate our pool crater in four million years or so and wonder what us early humans were up to.
I had fun mixing all the old or extra seeds I have collected over the years into a single mix. There are sunflowers, marigolds, millet, grain sorghum, corn, basil, pumpkins, squash, wildflowers, and I can't even remember everything else. I've been needing to do a seed purge, so this seemed like a good way to plant all the exposed dirt from the pool excavation. So far, not a single thing has sprouted on the tough clay blocks, despite my daily watering. It doesn't help that the chickens and birds have been eating the seeds, but surely something would sprout?
I spread some of the seed mixture on a patch of garden soil, and watered it daily too. All kids of stuff is sprouting now, so I know all the seeds weren't too old. I think the hard clay clumps that were dug from the pool crater are just too raw and hard to make a good seed bed. When I water the pile, the water just runs off the surface into cracks, taking the seeds with it.
In addition to the seed mix bed, I have an entire long row of baby sunflower plants. These are black oil sunflowers, which are the kind found in bird seed. With all the chickens I'm feeding now, I was curious to know if I could grow some of their food too. Plus, sunflowers are pretty, and hopefully will have tough enough roots to penetrate our tight clay and add some good organic matter to the garden.
I threw down some big clumps of sod, grass side down, and poked pumpkin seeds into them, and covered them with bedding from the chicken coop. Maybe we will have a pumpkin patch!
Our good neighbor gave me some corn to plant. It sprouted within a few days. Zinnia seeds sprouted quickly too, and I'm still transplanting my tomatoes from the pots they have been growing in to the garden. It's a late garden, for sure, and doesn't have much people food growing in it, but it's plenty to water and tend, so I'm getting some good motion and sun from it after sitting at the office.
If I stand on top of the dirt pile, I get a good vantage on the garden and barn yard. The pool crater does look like a meteor hit the earth! The long garden beds made by rolling out the carpet remind me of the terraces we saw in the Inca ruins in Peru. Instead of stone walls dividing the terraces, I have rows of grass. It looks just as cool though, right? Don't you immediately think of Machu Picchu when you see this photo? Ha!