Exploring Starlight

Our sleeping-on-the-porch experiment has now turned into our regular practice.  For about a month now, we’ve been enjoying the night air and sleeping under the stars.  On nights when rain is likely we sleep on our covered front porch, but we can still see the stars from there.

When we go to bed on the back porch we’re facing north and the Big Dipper hangs above us, while to the west we see Jupiter and Venus, drawing a line to Regulus and the rest of Leo.  When I was a boy I knew the night sky very well and could name and identify dozens of stars and constellations. I’ve forgotten most of them, but I’m enjoying becoming reacquainted.

I hope we’ll continue sleeping outside as long as the weather permits it.  I’m just sorry we waited so long to do it. The night air is cool and refreshing and the sky, of course, is magnificent.

I’ve been surprised at the sounds of wildlife in the middle of the night.  The whippoorwills, crickets and frogs I expected.  But not the coyotes.  I didn’t realize there were so many of them here.  They come through in packs, yipping and howling.  The deer and goats must be terrified at night by those sounds.

On the subject of deer, they’ve decimated our squash and cucumbers.  With the cukes I knew better and I should have taken precautions.  But I had no reason to think they’d eat the leaves off of squash plants.  Why??  It’s not as if they’re hungry and have nothing else to eat.  It’s summer (almost) and nature is providing more than they could possibly eat.  Very frustrating, to say the least.

We don’t have enough net fencing to fence in every one of our 21 gardens.  It’s expensive and, danggit, we ought not have to fence in crops that deer don’t normally eat.  As it is, we spend more money and time protecting our crops from deer than from any other pest or threat.  Deer are by far the greatest obstacle to success on this farm.  Even though we grow our crops without using any pesticides or herbicides, it is deer, not insects or weeds, that drag down our production and threaten our viability.  But enough of that whining.

So I took down the fence around the spring brassicas, surrendering the rest of our broccoli and cabbage, in order to protect the summer squash. For now I’m relying on deer repellent to try to save the winter squash, cantaloupes and okra.  Experience says that won’t keep them back very long.  I’m still trying to decide what our next step will be.

But back to the joys of sleeping outside, here’s a post I enjoyed on that subject. We too are exploring starlight and finding deep space quiet (even if the nocturnal critters aren’t).

These days, the sun is up early and sets late.  We’re given plenty of time to work and we’re using it.  But nature is doing her thing with all that sunlight too and it’s hard to keep up.  There is much to do today and I’m anxious to get to it. Today’s forecast high is 99.  Ninety nine.  Ninety. Nine.  That’s bound to be a record.  And it will be humid to boot.  But there’s a lot to do and I’m ready to get started.

I’ll be without a computer for the next few days, so no blogging till it returns. May you all enjoy whatever weather nature is giving you.  And, if possible, I hope you’re able to explore some starlight.