Sunday, August 06, 2017

What Do Wasps And Hot Peppers Have In Common?

Welcome back!

I hope you've had a productive and peaceful couple of weeks. It's hard to believe that we're already zipping through the first week of August. Pretty soon my youngest will be getting back on the school bus and the day-to-day focus will change. But for now, we enjoy the nights we can stay up a little later.

There's been a lot of activity around our house lately, most of it can't be witnessed in the normal way. I go out back to the garden every morning to check on things, and I might notice a large cucumber that didn't seem to be there the day before. Or the tomato that has quite suddenly turned red. This past week, while taking out one of the rare weeds in my garden, I glanced up at the back of the house to notice a grey paper wasp nest under the eaves.

I was not impressed.
Because it hangs over the stairs to the basement (my only access to the basement where we do laundry), I was even less impressed than you'd expect.
After a couple of days, a can of wasp spray was located, and I waited until full-on dark to spray the nest as best I could from the ground. It was quite nerve-wracking, but for two days, I was relieved to not see any waspish activity. Until yesterday.

So another can was purchased, and this time the woman I rent the house from climbed up on a step ladder for a better shot and sprayed the hell out of the nest. Also at full dark. Let me just add in here that I think RAID wasp spray might be my favorite wasp killer on the market right now. Normally, I try and have a live and let live attitude, except for rodents. And wasps. Neither has any place in or on my home.

The garden seems to be settling into the maturation phase. The tomatoes are all in various stages of girth-building and reddening.

I'm confident we'll have lots to can, although I think we'll be doing them all up in small batches. More on that later. My two blueberry plants started to fruit before I could plant them back in the spring, so they've been living in the containers they came home in. I'm happy to report we got about twenty fat, tasty, dark blue berries from them! The last three were snacked on just yesterday. I think it's safe to plant them into their containers now. They're not headed for the garden because I want to be able to control how they over-winter and how their soil is managed. So for this year, and next, they'll live in planters.

The two hot pepper plants have exploded with peppers.

I didn't expect much from them initially, so it's safe to say I'm quite pleased with them. The bell peppers...nothing. They have the beginnings of flowers, wonderful leaves, but nothing else. The kale has been eaten down to the stem by something that has proven to be elusive, although I know there's no slugs in the garden. Out of the five plants I put in, only one looks like it might possibly live to mature. Disappointing for obvious reasons, but I was really looking forward to making my own kale chips this fall. The cucumbers are in various stages of maturation as well. There is one that I really should harvest it's getting rather large.

 The rest of the cucumber and the zucchini are all following the large one's example. My compost bin is coming along nicely too. I worried I was overloading it with scraps and peelings, but I've also added (mostly) dry grass clippings and leaves last fall. I haven't had to stir the things yet, the layers seem to be doing pretty well so far. There's no obnoxious smell, and as I understand it, that's a good sign.

Harley (our German Shepherd cross) and I saw a yearling black bear just the other morning not more than 50 feet from our house. He was coming up from the pond, and seemed as startled to see us as we were to see him. He took off and we headed rather briskly back to the house in case he was younger than I assumed and still hanging out with his mother. We haven't seen him before, so I think he was just traveling through and got thirsty. I've kept a close eye on the compost bin and my garden. Neither has been touched. an acquaintance down the road reports his compost bin was turned over, and I wonder if it's the same bear looking to fatten up as our days get shorter. The white-tailed deer I saw before with her then brand new fawn hasn't made an appearance lately and I can't help but wonder if they were only resting in the area until the fawn grew strong enough to relocate to a less populated area. I haven't seen the rabbits lately either. I got used to watching them watch us every time I took the dog out. I'd love to see an increased owl and hawk population, but not at their expense.

My "little" update has grown a fair bit longer than I intended. I'll set this aside for now and go see if the fog has burned off enough for me to get a few photos out in the garden.

Do you have a garden? Do you have a collection of herbs on the windowsill?

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Cucumbers (and zuchinnis) can reach mammoth proportions overnight. I am itching to start our vegie garden again - but it will have to wait a few months.
A bear? How wonderful. Ditto deer.
We now have four compost bins (and a worm farm) and I love them all.