The Ottumwa Courier

July 20, 2012

A summer of drought, lions and time

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — Areas in my yard that held big ponds of water in early spring have turned into giant, dirt-colored cracks. The grass has gone brown, and the few flowers I struggle to water need daily drinks. The day lilies have more or less given up in this brutal heat. I’m not sure how some of our garden producers at the farmers’ markets have anything for us to buy. But a few do. And it’s not even August, and I’ve almost had my fill of tomatoes and sweet corn. Thank you to those gardeners who work out in the tireless heat to bring us their produce. We buyers appreciate your efforts.

For some reason, I have trouble growing cilantro and parsley. However, the oregano continues to thrive and takes little, if any, care. The basil and thyme in the pots are doing well, but again, there is only so much pasta, fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and Parmesan I can eat. So, I just bring in sprigs of basil, put them into little vases and let the aroma fill the kitchen. I have volunteer blue bachelor buttons, which I am enjoying immensely. They go well with my straggly zinnias and the occasional rose bud.

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The latest news reports that more mountain lions are making their way eastward across the country. The last few years I was working, we received maybe one or two calls every few months from southern Iowans discovering what looked like mountain lion footprints, and sightings were reported along with the footprints. Early on, officials discounted the reports, saying that the felines would never venture this far away from their Western climes. Well, I guess they were wrong. More and more sightings have been reported. But we are not to be fearful. The creatures supposedly are afraid of humans, too, and would leave if they got too close to us. I, for one, really don’t want proof of this personally. I would gladly stay out of their way, too.

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I don’t know about you, but I was very happy last month when those in charge of the Earth Orientation Service added a leap second to our lives. I, for one, didn’t know there were people in charge of keeping the earth orientation correct. It all has something to do with the sun, the moon and the earth’s rotation. Sounds like math and science to me — not my strong points. The funniest part of the story in the June 30 Courier was the last paragraph when official timekeepers across the world discussed whether to eliminate the periodic adjustments to time. Turns out, they said they needed more time to think about it and will continue discussions in three years.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.