Monday, August 06, 2007

Blessed Rain

Almost 2 inches of rain fell in my yard over the weekend. Yay! Unfortunately, the relative humidity is about 95%. The grass needs to be mowed, but I'm thinking, Another day.

Almost every time I take a moment to sit on the deck and observe the garden, I see butterflies and hummingbirds.

This past Saturday I even saw a hawk perched on the back fence.

What is a summer garden without zucchini? This is the first of the season. I was a little late getting the seed planted, then it was so dry. Tomorrow night: zucchini pizza!

Shred the zucchini and saute with onions, garlic, fresh basil and oregano, etc. Top flat bread pizza crust with this concoction and a cheese of your choice, and enjoy!

Every year I try some new things in the garden, sometimes on purpose, sometimes accidently. The results are sometimes successful and sometimes not. Here is an accidental success.

It's hard to see in the picture, but the tomato plant is supported by a typical tomato cage, but the cage is upside down. This is one of those cages that is narrow at the bottom and wide at the top and you are supposed to stick the bottom prongs into the soil to hold everything off the ground. My soil is so hard, though, that I can't get the prongs in deep enough and once the tomatoes set, the whole thing usually falls over. This year I temporarily set the cages upside down over the tomato plants, and there they stayed. The tomatoes needed a little encouragement to stay within the cage initially, but once the plants reached a certain height, they held the cages in place themselves.

This is Queen Anne's lace, and if you look closely, you will see the spot of Anne's "blood" in the center of the blossom.

It's really an invasive weed, but while I am getting my bird, bee, and butterfly garden up and growing, it fills in the gaps. In the future, I will probably regret letting it get a toehold.

I truly did not expect the Rose of Sharon to bloom this year since it is a newbie, but it did, much to the hummingbirds' delight.

My plan to plant mammoth sunflowers was not executed, but a few volunteer oil seed sunflowers are filling the breech.

Reach for the sky, stranger!

Friday, August 03, 2007

This Means War

A few posts ago, I mentioned some flying, presumably stinging insects in the ceiling of my Florida room. Well, earlier this week, I tried to eliminate them. The problem is the nest is not external to the house. That, and I believed in the "residual" power of the 8-year-old can of insecticide I used.

I waited until near dark, then generously sprayed the junction of the eave and the siding where the little buggers come and go through gaps I keep telling myself I should caulk. I used an ancient can of flying insect killer spray that I found in the garage. Maybe its powers had weakened, though, because the next morning the little buggers continued to come and go. So I sprayed them again, until the can was empty, but that night they were still coming and going.

Wednesday night I bought two more cans of spray, and Thursday night emptied one entire can, this time targeting individual bugs as they came and went. A direct hit produced the expected results, and after a while I felt I had decimated enough of the population (and soaked the side of my house and the deck directly beneath) with plenty of poison. Maybe the residual action would work this time.

This morning there were still a few valient bugs coming and going, but they looked a little hung over. I still have a whole can left, so I may keep zapping them one at a time, but what I would really like to do is spray something inside those gaps, to make sure I get the queen and any of her drones that don't come and go. Because I read that if you caulk up the holes and there are live bugs inside, they will chew their way through the ceiling in their attempt to escape.

Or I could call a professional, I guess, but that would be admitting defeat.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Brown Toes

This summer I have been a little surprised to look down at my feet and see brown toes. No, not from dirt, at least not always. This summer my toes have a sun tan. Usually, I wear old sneakers to mow in and these funny rubbery river shoes to garden in, but my feet have spent most of this summer in an old pair of Birkenstock knock-offs. Hence, brown toes and striped insteps.