The dog days of summer have arrived. There has been a good amount of hot weather but there has also been some days of relief also. It is much easier to take the 90 degree heat and humidity if you get a break in between. Also important is a little rain so that the garden does not have to be watered. The rain is not coming as frequently as I would like sometimes, but at least we do get some from time to time. There have been a couple more violent storms the last month or so, but so far no power outages or tornadoes in the area.
The vegetable garden has done better this year than the past 3 years thanks to not so much flooding this spring. The rabbits are still eating some of not only the vegetable garden, but other flowering plants I have put in this year. Rabbit damage is still not nearly as bad as it was last year.
Since July 4th fell on a Monday, I had a nice 4 day weekend. Well, nice in that I was off from work but I had a lot of chores and projects to do around the house. One of the projects that I had put off for some time was that parts of my back stairs/deck were getting spongy so I knew that there was rotting wood to deal with. I had to purchase a reciprocating saw just to get some of the old planks off the deck as the people who built it sunk the screws so far in that you could not get them out. I removed some of the worst planks and did find rotting wood, but for the most part it was just the supports to hold up the mitered corners. The stringers were still in good shape. I purchased pressure treated lumber instead of the cedar that the deck was built with and the new lumber was a little bit larger than the original so things didn't line up quite like I would have wanted, but all in all it didn't come out too bad. I know there are a few more pieces that I will need to address, but I do need to buy more lumber.
On July 3rd I marched in the Bartlett Parade. Finally, this year the parade was not as hot as the previous 11 years I have done this event. Normally, the temps are in the upper 80's and 90's for the parade, but this year it was a refreshing 70's in the morning hours and even when the parade stepped off, it was only about 80 with a nice breeze. Following the parade the wind was a little stronger and that breeze felt great while trying to cool off for the parade. I still decided to wear my lightest weight costume and it was plenty hot. I stuck around for 2 beers and had a nice chat with fellow members since I didn't have to get up for work the next morning. On the 4th, I did more chores and went up to watch part of the Mokena 4th of July parade.
I also finally got to the Joliet Historical Museum on Friday July 8th to take down and bring home the Rebel Legion display that I had left there following the Joliet Star Wars Day event. Since I had brought Artoo home a few days before, I had plenty of room in the Jeep to fit everything in for one trip home. I took my time and folded everything up in the cases so that I would not have to deal with it when I got home. It was a pretty warm day, so much sweating ensued.
In the late afternoon on July 8th I had the New Lenox Relay For Life event to do in costume. So, I loaded up Artoo and waited for Blair who was going to change at my house for the event. Again, plenty warm day near 90 degrees, but the humidity had backed off and by 5:30 PM when it was time to leave for the event, there was again a nice breeze. It was still hot, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. We lead off the Survivor's Lap for the Relay and then hung around an hour or so after that.
Finishing out this past weekend I had butterfly monitoring to do on Saturday and on Sunday was a restoration workday at LaPorte Rd Access. Again, plenty hot out for both endeavors and it was a sweat-fest especially on Sunday. My goal for Monday was to not sweat as I think I had sweated out about 5 gallons of water between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.
Tonight I give a talk to the Joliet Area Garden Club on Monarchs. Last year I was up to my eyeballs in monarch caterpillars to raise, but this year I only have one and feel lucky to have it. I found 3 eggs and they all hatched, but 2 of the 3 caterpillars just never ate and died. This last one has made it to instar #4 and looks like it will make it. I keep looking for more eggs on my milkweed, but have not found any. Also, while butterfly monitoring there have been no monarchs. I am guessing that the storm that hit the sanctuaries in Mexico was a lot more devastating than was first thought.