It’s Been a Year…

It’s been a year since I started this blog. What reminded me of this fact was seeing the cicada killers buzzing frantically around my garden trying to scare me, like I blogged about  last August…

gulliver

I think this drawing  looks a lot like me… It especially shows how I feel most of the time when I go outside to do anything…It’s a war zone most of the time…

Here’s me, braid and everything…just like the top pic, except I don’t have any shoes like that 😉  I either wear flip-flops or barn boots depending…

me

And here is the cicada killer that was resting on my basil after trying to scare me this morning…

cicada killer

This one wasn’t the only one. There were about 10 of them. So can you see the resemblance?

So they are back, but so far they have not turned my garden into a mine field, in other words they haven’t started burrowing yet. Here’s a great little video so you can see what they are like…

This year my greatest enemies so far are these sweet looking deer…

deer

Three spotted fawns and one mama have made their home in my gardens. Amazing how cute these creatures are…but how destructive they can be. I think they have delayed both my bean crop and my cucumbers by eating on the new leaves as they were beginning to grow. My solution was to hang CDs and human hair around the garden, and it seems to be working. 🙂

photo3

Comparing last year to this year weather wise…we were having a drought of epic proportions last year and the temperatures were over 100 degrees for 6 weeks. This year we are having the most beautiful summer ever…plenty of rain and cooler temperatures.

Last year I was starting a fall garden. I started this blog as a type of journal to keep track of what worked and what didn’t.

I planted Lavender, only 4 plants survived, but they are still growing strong and I started a couple plants from cuttings…

Lavender

I can’t believe I propagated this lavender from tiny little cuttings…

The Parsley was amazing in the greenhouse, but this year I have none, as it has all gone to seed. I still hope it will reseed itself in that same bed in the greenhouse where it thrived so well.

I need to replace about 6 Asparagus plants that didn’t make it, and actually it would probably be good to make another bed to have enough asparagus to feed our large family. Right now the asparagus bed desperately needs weeding. 😦

asparagus

Basil always does well. This year the basil went in a little late, but I have planted lots of plants so we will be able to make and freeze pesto.

basil

This is the first year ever that I have not had a lot of chigger bites and it could be due to the unusually late freeze we had here in May, the one that killed all my tomato plants, but also made this summer the best ever. We haven’t had a lot of Squash Bugs either, and come to think about it I haven’t seen any Bees…That’s not good…

Last year I began to work out the  Problem in the Greenhouse. Even though I made some progress there is still a lot to be done.

greenhouse

That’s it for today. Hope you all are having a great summer. 72 followers in the past year… who would have thought, and it has been so nice to make friends with you all… I’ve learned so much from you about gardening and raising chickens and I’ve laughed and I’ve cried and I’ve prayed…Hugs to all of you. 🙂

Cucumbers

I’m really rejoicing tonight.  My hero husband has successfully killed all the cicada killers, except one… and he knows his time is limited!

And… I saw a bumble bee on the zinnias.

After a horrendous week of battling these creatures that made it impossible to step inside the garden, we can take a big sigh of relief and get busy repairing the damage they have done.

I finally was brave enough to harvest some cucumbers and cut some basil…

 

The little squash plants are looking good. The pumpkin leaves look fabulous, but I’m not seeing any fruit. I pulled out the remaining very sad and wilted tomato plants. Peppers are still doing well. As soon as the temperature gets below 100, I’ll plant the lettuce, spinach, and kale. I hope that is soon. : )

Sail-back Dinosaur Bug (Wheel Bug)

Can you believe this? My lovely garden blog has turned into a blog about awful insects…I should have titled it Cicada Killers, Dinosaur Bugs and Chiggers…

A dear friend stopped by the other day and when we were telling him about our woeful situation in the garden with the squash bugs, he ever so gently informed us that these may not be squash bugs , but in actuality a friendly sort of  bug that kills and devours other insects…
I almost posted this question the other day, but it sounded so absurd that I refrained from embarrassing myself with my gardening ignorance, but today I know why this appeared strange to me. My question…Do squash bugs eat wasps and bees? Now I know the answer, squash bugs most definitely do not kill bees, but their look-likes the Dinosaur bugs do!


So, we have done a very effective job of ridding our garden of  helpful Dinosaur bugs!

Except when I found out that their sting can be worse than a bee sting… then I was glad we killed them! I really don’t care to have them in my garden.
Oh…what a paradise it would be to have a garden that was pest free, dream on…I think I will always be dreaming…
The on-going war with the cicada killers is still in full swing. Last night at dusk I carried over a large pot of boiling water and poured it down each newly dug hole. There were two killers flying around me like crazy…buzzing their heads off, and as I hurriedly left the garden one followed me.

They hate me…I hate them…The war goes on!!!
And my bee…RIP :’ (          Sad to say, I have not seen him since the horrible sight the other day when he was in the clutches of the…Sail-back Dinosaur Bug.

Cicada Killers

Cicada Killers…I mentioned this wasp-like insect in my post about Bees. They have been very busy in my garden and I no longer consider them friends. My garden has turned into a literal mine field, because this is what they do…

And if you step on one of these holes you endanger the wrath of the female. Supposedly she can sting, but it doesn’t hurt very much, but you know what???
I don’t want to try it out!!!

Here is what my garden looks like right now…

 

The males can not sting at all, but they buzz around like they want to attack and they just freak me out. So, I’m taking the advice of Prof. Chuck and I’m going to eliminate these critters. Here is what he recommends…

“Here is what I say to those who ask me how to deal with cicada-killers on their properties:

I have two suggestions. First, you can swat and kill the wasps very easily with a badminton racquet (not a sword, which Swift’s Gulliver is using on the right to dispatch the Brobdingnabian wasps that tried to steal his breakfast sweetcake) and, if you like, call it aerobic exercise. Most of the wasps you see in July are males and they can’t sting because they use what would be the stinger for sex. Just ten males flying around waiting for the females to hatch can look like 50; wade into them with the racquet and they’ll disappear quickly. The same is true for female wasps. I have caught, tagged and released over 1000 cicada-killers, and never has one tried to land on me and sting. My second suggestion involves water – lots of it. The wasps use your property because it is well-drained and not likely to flood their burrows. Use a hose to convince them otherwise. Try keeping the areas where they dig nests much wetter than usual – fill the burrows with water, plug them with a short length of stick, wash away the piles of dirt surrounding them and keep the area wet. My guess is that you’ll break the cycle. Good luck! ” ~  Prof. Chuck Holliday

Tomorrow is D-Day…I’ll let you know how it turns out…

Bees

I have a Bumble Bee in my garden…and I’m so excited about it!!! I know that there are probably more than one, but  I’ve only seen one at a time visiting. It’s hard to get pictures of bees. So I borrowed one…

Last year I saw no bees in the garden and I was very concerned that some of the plants wouldn’t get pollinated. The temps were really high last year and there was a bit of a drought which can be very harmful to bees, but also on a worldwide scale the bees are having trouble. And trouble for the bees is trouble for the gardens…

There is also another strange looking bee-wasp-hornet in the garden. It took me hours today searching online to figure out what it was, but I think it is a cicada killer…

Which makes sense as the cicadas are out in full force. These guys are a little scary to me as they are about 2 inches long and I really wanted to know what they were so that I could protect myself, but apparently they won’t bother you, they are just out to get the cicadas.

“Eastern cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus) are the large wasps which dig burrows each summer in well-drained lawns, playing fields, plant nurseries and sloping terrain with varying amounts of grass east of the Rocky Mountains in the US and south into Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. They begin their excavations a few weeks after our annual cicadas start singing.” ~ Prof. Chuck

I’m comforted to know that they rarely sting, and they are the natural predators to keep the cicada population in control.

Thought you might enjoy this rendition of The Flight of the Bumblebee to celebrate our little friend…