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Volume 14, Issue 34 ~ August 24 - August 30, 2006

Earth Journal by Gary Pendleton

Not Everyone Skips August’s Heat

Hot enough to grow bananas and more

It was so hot that I just couldn’t work up the strength. Even to finish a sentence. That is how hot it was.

My old house was built with windows aligned for good cross ventilation. The walls are block with stucco outside and plaster inside, and that helps with cooling. We like it, but it is not air-conditioned.

I tried writing with the computer, but the keyboard kept sticking to my forearms and wrist. So I gave up.

Since then, the weather turned a bit cooler, and I don’t have any excuses, but it was pretty hot.

Down at the North Beach Banana Plantation, Jack and Joy Morgal were dancing moistly to celebrate this year’s bumper crop: bananas. Yes, it was hot enough to grow bananas.

It might be that this Maryland-grown banana deserves a special name? You have heard of the Tomato called the Mortgage Lifter? How about the Morgal Lifter Banana?

Speaking of tomatoes, I’ll tell you how hot it was. Just two doors down from the banana fields, a nine-foot tall and growing tomato plant stands to testify. Two summers ago, I wrote about a variety called Arkansas Traveler. The Traveler came out of the hot and humid Arkansas climate but likes it here, too.

It likes it a lot it seems, because I have an Arkansas Traveler in my garden this year that is healthy, tall and loaded with extra-large fruit. I don’t mean to brag, but it is a magnificent plant; supported by three tall poles that wrap around a corner of the garden like a wall. My heat-loving pepper plants are happy, too.

The hot weather didn’t seem to hurt the butterflies and hummingbirds that inhabit our neighborhood. We kept the cardinal flower, garden phlox and Joe-Pye weed well watered, and that kept the yard-based wildlife happy.

There is one particular type of butterfly, among others, that I associate with the end of summer. Skippers are small, and their colors tend to earthy brown and gold tones. They are easy to overlook compared to their larger more flamboyant cousins. Still, they help to liven up a lazy summer afternoon. Take a look for skippers in any local flower patch.

Meanwhile I’ll take the opportunity to skip out.

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