Kitchen Garden

Heat Advisory Blues

Rest Area in Polk County, Iowa

It seems like spring was never here.

Big Grove is under a heat advisory until 7 p.m. today. That means hot temperatures and high humidity creating a risk of heat-related illnesses. It barely cooled overnight so the day gets a head start on being oppressive.

There is a three hour gardening window before temperatures rise back into the 80s. As soon as the sun rises, I plan to harvest what’s ready and plant bell peppers and basil seedlings. There’s a lot of gardening and yard work to do. I’ll keep at it as long as I can.

The rest of today I’ll work inside — at my desk, in the kitchen, and folding laundry — getting ready for another busy week.

My shirt was drenched with sweat on the drive home from Des Moines yesterday. I made a pit stop at a state run rest area and bought a 20-ounce cherry Coke to drink on the way home. I can’t recall the last time I had one but couldn’t bear the thought of buying bottled water. Regretfully, I forgot my refillable water bottle at home.

I finished making and canning spring vegetable broth after arriving home. Seven new jars are on the shelf with three and a half more in the ice box, about three gallons. My target is to have two dozen quarts on hand, so another batch of seven will do it. There are plenty of turnip and beet greens plus kale for the broth.

We have a functioning air conditioner and will run it to cool down the house. It takes the edge off the heat and humidity and that’s positive. I learned the oppression of high heat and humidity during the drought of 2012. It felt like there was no escape. Today reminds me of that summer.

Light peeks around the curtain on the east side of my study. It’s time to get out in the garden for a while. And to contemplate what is next.