Most weekends, it is not uncommon to find me outside working on one of my projects from sunup to sundown, but this summer is different. Lately, the temperature starts out in the mornings in the mid to upper 80s. By noon, it is up to 100 and by evening, the temperature peeks between 105 and 110. Sometimes the temperature does not drop below 100 until hours after sundown.
I decided that if I want to live to see my projects to completion, I should spend a little less time in the heat, so I am trying to get as much of my outdoor work done as I can in the mornings. Although these summer mornings are warm, there are a couple of hours each morning that are fairly pleasant.
I am not the only one to take advantage of the "cooler" temperatures. The wildlife seems to be most active at this time of day as well. The birds are out looking for food and bathing in the bird bath or the neighbor's constantly running sprinklers. Hummingbirds (still very few of them) drink fresh morning nectar from the desert willow and flame acanthus flowers. The bees fly around to the few flowers that are blooming on my prairie.
Here is a project I am working on now. I found this 5 foot diameter stock tank on craigslist for $20 and I could not pass up the deal. I had several potential ideas for the stock tank such as a redneck hot tub, a redneck swimming pool, or a redneck fishin' hole. I settled on making it into a planter. It is in the front yard, so some of the neighbors may refer to it as a redneck planter. I will probably plant it with horsetail reed.
The picture looks like it was taken in a relaxing country setting where the morning sunlight shines through the trees. The live oak tree in the background is a borrowed view from the yard of the abandoned house next door. The house has been vacant since last November. Once the foreclosure proceedings are complete and the house is on the market, I will be advertising for a good prairie neighbor. That house will be a huge project for somebody.
As I mentioned, there are a few flowers blooming on my prairie. The summer morning is the best time to photograph them because by afternoon they are mostly dry and shriveled from the heat. Here is a look at some of the flowers that are tough enough to bloom in this heat and drought.
Bee Brush, Aloysia gratissima, normally blooms after a rain. I encourage blooms by giving it a little water from a hose.
Clammy Weed, Polanisia dodecandra. I will regret letting so many of these plants grow this summer because each one produces thousands of seeds that will sprout next spring.
Green Milkweed, Asclepias viridis
Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii, flowers are just starting to turn purple.