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It's About Time - August 2012

Golden mantled ground squirrel. Spermophilus lateralis.
Golden mantled ground squirrel. Spermophilus lateralis.

August is a month of uncertain excitement. This year is no exception; exciting because the many cold, rainy days that have preceded its arrival cause anticipation of its having the year’s second least average monthly rainfall. Average is a tricky word, and uncertain variation around the extremes is great. Let’s not forget the great thunderstorms that have drenched the county fair in past years. The average I hope for most is that mosquito levels will diminish in the high Cascades by the end of the month.

Consistent warm and dry means paying attention to keeping the garden well watered. We are enthusiastic fans of hose timers controlling mini sprinklers that allow us to change where and when the garden gets watered from year to year. Automatic timing means being able to leave on camping trips without fear of the garden drying out. Our big issue is being sure there’s somebody to come by to harvest the zucchini before they turn into baseball bats. They are good for thickening a soup or curry, but you only need a few. I like them best when they are the size of my thumb and crunchy enough to chop into a salad.

Camping around the state will bring you to places where little ground squirrels are practically tame. They are so cute; they come right up to take food from your fingers. But, please remember that feeding wildlife is not a good idea: in the end it harms them more than it helps.