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July 4th 2010    Tim Candler

    It could get dryer.  It might not rain until September, or October.  But July here averages five inches of rain, and I have faith in averages except when I think back a month or so to a weekend during which eight inches of rain fell from the sky.  An incidence that messes badly with averages and creates dourness of mind in the person who spends more time than is healthy staring at dusty soil.

    The old timers that I learned to respect in the English countryside would say never water the perennials until they start to look like death.   This gives them their chance to send down the roots, otherwise they get lazy and shallow.  Annuals of course another matter.  And in the English countryside ten days without rain used to be a drought.  So comparison is complicated.    

    Nor was an old timer apt to feed his perennials except at planting time with bone meal and a top dressing of compost in late spring or autumn.   Mulch of course rots the roots and weeding was a good opportunity to avoid the family.   As for vegetables, it was all about humus from manure and winter spent double trenching. 

     When it is hot here in Kentucky.  When there are cracks in the earth little boys can fall into.  When the haze is high, the birds silent.  When a man on a tractor is looking for his beagle puppies.  When I think probably I should start seriously thinking about digging the grave, getting it deep enough to meet established practice.   When these things happen, I realize opposites.  I see the value of indoor/outdoor carpeting, plastic flowers, weed eaters, Crepe Myrtle  and tarmac.

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