Happy International Bacon Day. This tradition has been observed the Saturday before Labor Day since 2005, thanks to three grad students at the University of Colorado at Boulder! Bacon waffles with a side of bacon for breakfast, BLTs with a side of bacon for lunch, watch Kevin Bacon movies…….

Happy International Bacon Day. This tradition has been observed the Saturday before Labor Day since 2005, thanks to three grad students at the University of Colorado at Boulder! Bacon waffles with a side of bacon for breakfast, BLTs with a side of bacon for lunch, watch Kevin Bacon movies…….

What a way to start the day. The modern meteorological autumn begins tomorrow, September first, based on the Gregorian calendar used by most of the world. It helps weather scientists compare seasonal weather patterns. Our traditional astronomical date starts September 21st, the autumn equinox. The tilt of the North Pole toward the sun (summertime in the Northern Hemisphere) straightens to an equidistant position where the sun’s rays directly hit the equator. To extend autumn a few weeks longer, I plan to observe both dates. Today I can legitimately begin eating candy corn and autumn mix.

I enjoyed Bill Hagen’s “Nice in Iceland.” It made the waning days of summer feel cooler. My son and girlfriend traveled around Iceland last August in a rented Land Rover Defender that slept two with kitchen, electric cooler and heating system. It was some trip for the geologist rock hound and volcanologist Puffin lover. They lived out of the Rover and often veered off the Ring Road to plow down primitive B roads in wind, rain and cold temps. Perfect Puffin country. Even the Puffins leave in August and head out to open sea to live for the next 8 months. Most pictures were of rock formations, breath-taking views and water—frozen, falling, steamy or salty. I think I would rather explore Iceland the way Bill and his son did.

Peaches are still here in the flesh. Last week, the Wind Drift Nursery in Harrah was harvesting yellow fleshed Messina peaches. The tree is quite robust, a vigorous early bloomer but produces peaches that mature late. It has low susceptibility to bacterial leaf spot, can get by with minimal spraying, or none at all. The tree is self-pollinating, but the crop is increased if another early bloomer is around to help!

The patented Messina (US PP#18,091), introduced in 2012, is considered a large freestone peach with 85% scarlet color over yellow. Peaches ripen mid to the end of August (4 weeks after Redhavens). The firm, freezable peach has less fuzz for those of you who are put off by really hairy peaches, but is juicy, tartly sweet and flavorful.

This week Encore peaches came on the market. Ripening 7 weeks after Redhavens, the late August early September peach heralds the end of this year’s peach crop. This peach, also with resistance to bacterial leaf spot, is similar to the Messina peach in size, flavor, and texture. Hurry if you want a fresh local peach.

After the nasty storm winds last Monday night detached a large cottonwood branch and sent it thudding down the roof to the ground, pruning the hollies and persimmon along the way, it appears some of my plants were decapitated. The sunflowers toppled, flowers snapped, but the tomato plants held firm in their cages. The apricot tree still had some fruit only because the main bearing limb is a foot off the ground and dodged the gales. Land hurricane is how the meteorologists put it as two strong storms merged over the OKC area. Ninety plus mile per hour winds roared over the zoo. When the edge of that super system zoomed past our house, the ferocious winds sounded odd. Luckily, we never lost power.

The Pottawatomie County Free Fair is coming September 4th-7th 2019. The complete 2019 Fairbook is online just for you. Plant Science is where you go to check requirements and categories for your agronomy samples, fruits, veggies, flowers, honey, scarecrows and decorated melons. This year, why not enter your best potted plant, cut flowers, veggies or fruits? You can paint a melon or make a scarecrow! The theme: American Flair at the Pottawatomie County Fair.

Scarecrow it is. For the fair, two of us Master Gardeners are building Henryetta from scratch. She began life looking a bit emaciated. Her firm arms, soft round head, insulation padding held together with duct tape and shoe strings, and chicken wire legs were strategically arranged along a metal lamp pole that screws into a round metal base. She will be able to stand when her base is put on a short table. The blue dress, cover shirt with embroidered cows, and red, white and blue pinwheels (American flair) simply enhance her beauty. No hair yet, but after she gets a face, also missing, and hair, a few flowers in a pot and some shoes, she’ll be ready for anything.

Last year Henry was our project. He was ringmaster of the veggies and fruits. The year before was Bob the BBQ expert. Our first scarecrow was Myrtle with the theme: country pride, county wide. Words can’t describe Myrtle’s paper mâché head with paper curls covered in a bonnet. It was a tasty exhibit. The goats munched on the scarecrows set up next to their pens. The next year the scarecrow exhibit was moved.

While retrieving the lamp stand on the porch, I noticed the orb weaver. Charlotte had spun her web, with thick zig-zag stitching in the center, on the support trellis by the rose bush. Friday it poured three inches. The spider and web were gone… until Monday morning. She was back with a new web spanning the width of the porch from the brick wall to the porch column. No one could walk down the porch. I toyed with the idea of detaching her gossamer guide lines, but decided to wait for a passing wren or another storm, which promptly arrived Monday night. Her web was once again destroyed. Tuesday morning, she was in the process of renovation when I gently detached the main silks from the wall and moved them to the asparagus fern. She got the message.

The new intricate circular web was parallel to the wall, supported by the fern, red sage and one Spirea bush. We can go up and down the porch without disturbing Charlotte’s work. Wednesday morning her web was reduced to 3 strands and a reinforced center. By lunch she had woven yet another complicated web in the same place.

My orb weaver is the Argiope aurantia, otherwise known as the black and yellow garden spider, writing spider, corn spider, or zipper spider. They are not aggressive. The zig-zag pattern reflects UV light which attracts insects to the web. The male is smaller with less cool markings. He will spin a web alongside hers. After they mate, the female places her egg sack in the web to overwinter. The spiderlings emerge in the spring.

This week’s Aldi flyer had “bring home the bacon” with advertisements for Maple Brown sugar or Cherrywood smoked bacon, bacon potato chips, bacon pretzels, bacon guacamole, maple bacon coffee, and bacon pizzas.

Remember, you are just like bacon. You make everything great!

Becky Emerson Carlberg, graduate of Oklahoma State (Plant Pathology) is a teacher, artist, writer as well as certified Oklahoma Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at Becscience@att.net.