Bzzzz July 21st, 2008

One of my plans when I first started blogging was to create an online journal of what was going on in my garden.┬áSo let me tell you about my day…

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Today I marveled at the perfection and beauty of my squash plants. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware that they won’t stay this lovely. These perfectly formed and perky leaves will start to wilt. The bugs will discover them and chew tiny holes in them, some in lace-like patterns. Some leaves will wither and yellow even as the squash starts arriving by the bushel full.

But for now, I love these squash plants. They are perfect. They are mammoth. My hand cannot even reach from one side of the leaf to the other. Today, they represent the potential of abundance and are an ornament to my garden.

Today I also picked blackeyed peas. I have never grown them before, but a family friend gave me some seedlings she purchased at the local Amish market. Frankly, it was during the throes of spring planting and I just plunked them in a convenient spot. They are, perhaps, a bit crowded. And at first I thought they would need some sort of trellis to climb. But they have done just fine here, shooting up their long pods above the plants.

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It was very satisfying picking a whole bucket of these beans today. Tomorrow I will shell them and find some appropriate dish to highlight their freshness. Secretly (okay, secret’s out), I am grateful that the men in my house do not like blackeyed peas. ALL MINE!

I also admired my pink bed today. When I planted the cock’s comb seedlings in the bed near the cone flowers I didn’t realize they would intermingle so companionably. But now I think I’ll do this again, since it’s a winning combination.

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The cone flowers also make me smile because they are from a clump of flowers given to me by a friend about four years ago. I always think of her and her husband when I see them.

I also started harvesting the seeds from my spent cilantro plants. These coriander seeds will be a fine, fresh addition to some dish. I’ll need to begin exploring recipes soon to take advantage of the new harvest.

So, aside from the watering and bush squishing, that was my garden today.

What was going on in your garden today?

Posted In: Flowers, Gardening

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Bzzzz July 16th, 2008

Every day is an adventure when you live in the country.

Just yesterday morning I was gazing out my bathroom window and saw–in a single glance, mind you—two deer (mommy and baby), a brown bunny, a bunch of crows, bluebirds perched on the purple martin gourds, a red-tailed hawk (circling) and, well, bugs. Stink bugs on my upstairs bathroom window, to be precise.

Since we moved out here to the boonies about eight years ago, I have noticed that bugs come in waves. The first year—just a couple of months after we moved into our newly built home–those nasty, hybrid Korean ladybugs arrived. They aren’t really ladybugs. And they stink to high heavens. They collected INSIDE MY NEW HOUSE in the corners of the windows, oh, about 20 feet from the floor. They formed clumps—several clumps—about the size of a softball. Did I mention that this was INSIDE MY NEW HOUSE? I had to send my husband up a very tall ladder carrying the vacuum cleaner to evict them.

The following year we had thousands, nay, MILLIONS of tiny, shiny black bugs that invaded every space and landed on the ceiling. They came in through the screens. They walked through walls! I could only fight them with the vacuum cleaner. (Again with the vacuum.) Every time the little dogs went out, the bugs would come in and I would have to vacuum the ceiling. Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…Dogs out. Bugs in. Vacuum out…

The year after that was the fruit fly plague. Again, the vacuum cleaner was my weapon of choice. I could not sit on the couch and read the newspaper without the vacuum cleaner beside me to occasionally suck the swarm that formed around my head.

And tonight, oh tonight! After a hideously long and frustrating day, I have a BRAND NEW SWARM. I took the little dogs out and the zelkovas in the back yard are COVERED with a new and unheard-of-in-these-parts (at least to me) swarm. Here’s what they look like:

 

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Here’s what they look like having, uh, making whoopie:

 

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I know my friend Carol tells me to “embrace bugs.” But frankly, she doesn’t live here in the country. She lives in a nice, tame neighborhood, with a neighborhood association with rules against plagues, in that nice, sedate state of Indiana. Here in the wilds of Southern Maryland we don’t just have bugs, we have plagues. Lemme see Carol write a post entitled “Embrace Plagues!”

By the way, folks, what the heck is this current plague I need to embrace?

 

Posted In: Nature and Wildlife

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