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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Suddenly Summer

We went from the weather of early spring to full blown summer (and temps in the mid-80s) literally overnight.

I had been waiting for the nigh temps to stay, more or less reliably in the 50s with occasional dips to the 40s and nothing below that, so as to set out the tomatoes, peppers, and vine crops that have been crowding the deck.  Between juggling the part time job, hex painting and house chores, I was thankful for several days of rain that allowed time to beat down the domestic jungle, before garden time took hold again.  I love it when I manage to stay in sync with the universe!

Tomato planting started Thursday and continued Friday. Over 170 plants... three full long rows... is a lot of plating. I had high hopes of getting them done Friday, despite the heat, but the body had other ideas. A tooth that had lost its filling (and indeed, according to the dentist, broken) finally decided to start hurting and get infected. SERIOUSLY infected. I was able to get into the dentist Friday just after lunch, was given antibiotics and serious pain pills and scheduled for an extraction Friday coming. No biggie... I did some planting, but bending over was NOT fun, so figured to end it on Saturday.

What they didn't tell me, though, was that both meds increase sensitivity to heat and sunlight. I found out the hard way Saturday morning when, after less than 1/3 of a row put in I started feeling ill. Yeah, it was hot, but not THAT hot, so I figured the noted side effect of dizziness/queasiness was in play. BOY was I wrong... I was on the early side of heat sickness, and lost most of Saturday to sitting, standing in the shower, sitting, lying down, spraying water on myself with a spray bottle, ad nauseum (pun intended.) It was bad enough that I called out of work for this morning... our busiest day at work... something I never have done before. But I had no idea how quickly this would pass; previous bouts -- admittedly more severe -- had me out of commission for several days.

Thankfully this was not that bad. I have, however, determined that all garden activity will be done in temps below 80, and for now below 70 and only in early morning and evening hours. I did need to wake up early for my antibiotic, and felt pretty much ok, so I decided to plant the peppers, put some pre-sprouted spinach seed out and start working on the cucumbers. Things were doing just fine in the early morning cool temps until the SUN broke from behind the cloud that those strange feelings started to return. I finished the flat, but not the row, came in and sat for the rest of the morning and now know.

Even more than previously, the sun is my enemy. I have never been a big fan of sunny days, though I know they are as necessary for the garden as the overcast and rainy ones. But as most folks tolerate the rain, anxiously awaiting a sunny weekend, I tolerate the sun, and greet overcast skies with joy. Gotta be a little weird, but it's me. I have not, previously, felt the sun to be hostile since I moved to Maine, though it often felt that way when I lived in the southlands. Even when the temperatures were not yet high enough to be uncomfortable, the sun rising over the fire station across the street and streaming into my kitchen window as I grabbed my first cup of coffee on a summer morning in Beaufort, NC, made me feel as if my skin was being attacked. For many years, each summer was accompanied with daily doses of St. John's Wart to offset the depression that crowded around me as the days lengthened and the sun rose higher in the sky each day.

It is called "Summer SAD -- Seasonal Affective Disorder" and I was researching it on the Internet several years before I saw any mention of such condition (other than as a way to talk about winter depressions in the southern hemisphere.)

But this is something else, thank the Gods. I have been reassured by several folks that the sensitivity to sun/heat that comes with various medications will fade as the drugs leave one's system. And I am also thankful that, in Maine, the unseasonable temperatures usually do not last for long. Today they are breaking and this week we will return to more typical, and acceptable to my strange mentality and body, days with highs in the 60s to 70 and partially cloudy skies.

So planting will continue, and painting during the mid-day as orders for 3' hex signs continue to roll in.