Thursday, July 21, 2011

Looking for Shade

Our farmhouse faces south. Someone long ago knew that it was a good way to position a house. Nice sun in some of the windows all day long. Thing is, back then in the 18th century they didn't do much with windows. Our cape is perfectly symmetrical with very small windows facing south. I suppose back then they were more worried about keeping the heat in and not worrying about the aesthetics of beautiful light pouring in.

In the summer, I spend most of my time outside on the south side of the house. The sun pours down and because it is a farm, there isn't much shade on the south side. Makes for a good garden and keeps the critters away but escaping the heat is difficult. When we moved here, I decided I wanted a pergola to grow grapes on to create some shaded seating areas. My friend Will built me a beautiful patio out of Goshen stone and on it, we built a sturdy pergola that unfortunately I painted white (way too much upkeep - I am letting it peel). I copied an pergola design I saw in an issue of House Beautiful. Here's a good link if you want to DIY.

 

I planted some green grapes in the pockets around the posts. I purchased them from Miller Nurseries. Planting grapes is such a leap of faith - sticking a twig in the ground and hoping for the best. I knew they wouldn't all take and I was right. But a few did and they are thriving today.

Unfortunately although these grapes look gorgeous, they always shrivel and fall off the vine. I took this photo last week and now they have all turned black and dropped to the ground. The Farmer says I should spray them but I'm not too into chemical treatments of plants my family and animals are going to be around. So I let them drop. After all, I planted the vines for the shade and I am getting that.


The vines took years to establish themselves and thrive. Now I have to hack away at them to control them. I've got more pruning to do - I know, wrong time of year - but it is getting difficult to walk beneath the pergola. Next to the veggie garden, I have more grapes and they have gone nutty this year. I love the way they grow out into space. They are so graceful looking, aren't they?


I took these photos on that foggy morning. The lambs were curious - as they always are.


It was foggy again this morning. So pretty but a sign of the upcoming heat and humidity. It is going to be oppressive here as it is throughout the country. I hope everyone finds a place to stay cool.

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Perhaps there is someone in a nursery over there who could tell you why the grapes are turning black. Too much water--not enough water, etc.? You could probably dry them, grind them up and mordant them with alum and come up with an exciting new color of Julia Yarn!! Our heatwave dome is coming to you today.