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. 🙂

Seeds Sprouting Up All Over

The seeds are sprouting and Anna thinned the row of Brussels sprouts… so exciting!!!

I harvested some carrots, one beet and some radishes and we tried out the sink for the first time…

Anna cut the stems…

and washed the veggies right there in the greenhouse…

Did you notice the cool faucet…totally free…it was a left over from a remodel job…so cool!

We also found aphids and squash bugs on some of the pumpkin leaves. Anna bravely picked the leaves and dropped them in a bucket while I sprayed with an organic pyretheum insect killer…

But what really works is this…

I sprayed it in the bucket and filled the bucket with water and the squash bugs are gonners…

A new kind of bee has appeared in the pumpkin patch…

I hope it’s a nice one. From what I have read it is hard to tell the difference between a honey bee and a killer bee…

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.

Squash Bugs

Last night I went to set the sprinkler out in the garden and I walked around to see how all the little seedlings were doing.  I noticed that the zinnias were looking absolutely gorgeous, so a grabbed the garden sheers and commenced to cut a beautiful bouquet…

And what to my horrified eyes did appear???  Squash bugs all tucked into the beautiful green leaves of  healthy zinnias, as though they were lounging around on vacation at a  luxurious resort. There must have been 30 of them, but it seemed like hundreds!!!
Of course…I always get the creepy crawlies…the heeby jeebies…whatever you want to call them and I went to my husband with the problem.
Exclaiming with eyes wide in horror,” There are tons of squash bugs luxuriating in the zinnias waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on the  little unsuspecting baby cucumber vines lying a few feet from them!”


He answered, “Well, what do you want me to do about it?  Look it up on the internet and see if there is anything we can spray on them.”
So I did…and here is one site I found, someone who could sympathize…and with beautiful photography as well…The Zinnia Patch She says that her beautiful flowers helped her to appreciate the look of her garden from far away where you can’t see the dead bug-eaten plants.

But I wanted to prevent that…so I found out that you have to go hand pick them, “Yuck!!!!!!”And spray dish soap diluted in water on them. I told my charming husband and he sort of rolled his eyes. After a hard days work and a nice shower, I knew he did not want to contend with this.
I rolled up my sleeves and put on my determination, yanked on my garden gloves, grabbed  the dish soap and headed over to handle this myself. My plan was to fill a bucket of soapy water and shake the squash bugs off the zinnias into the soapy death trap waiting to engulf them, and that way I wouldn’t have to touch them!
After I got everything ready, I heard the distant sound of the tractor…my husband coming to the rescue. He had a squirt bottle and we began our project which didn’t work as planned. It was hard to get the bugs to hit the target and they would fall to the ground and I would have to chase after them…

And then the SWATF team (Sisters With Amazing Tenacity and Fortitude)  came one by one armed with cups and scissors. Sarah with her soapy water in a glass jar raked in the most by far, Anna attacked with the scissors cutting the little monsters in half…Tera got two in her red plastic cup and then freaked out when she saw one fly and jumped out of the garden, but cheered us on from the sidelines. And we did it!!! I think we got everyone of them.
This morning when I went to check the garden, they were still floating in the bucket, an ominous warning to any more squash bugs that have the idea of leisurely living in our garden. I did find one more on the zinnias and a couple on the cucumber plants that I quickly plopped in with the rest.
What I’m going to have to watch for now are any eggs under the leaves…

And I’m going to spare you from seeing what the bucket looks like by not posting a picture of it.

But I did capture our sweet little bumble bee this morning…on film that is…