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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hot Hot Hot!

It's hard to believe that just over a week ago we had frost warnings! I went to Mom's today and it got into the low 90's in Syracuse. I'm sure it hit 90 here too. All of my recent transplants are looking decidedly sad. I'll go out and battle the mosquitoes later to water them.

I had big plans in the garden for my mini vacation. I got quite a bit done Friday and Saturday. Saturday evening J & S came for dinner and a board game. Sunday my back was hurting and we went to Alex’s birthday party in the afternoon. Monday friends from out of town stopped by in the morning and by the time they left it was hot so even though I worked I didn’t get much done. The wheelbarrow fell apart so I’m forced to haul the weeds out back in buckets and with my back they aren’t all that full. John put the air conditioner in the bedroom. Today was spent with Mom and running some errands. I was beat by the time I got home so nothing got done today except to put out my new purchases; a swinging garden gnome, a butterfly stake that is supposed to glow in the dark and the cutest, tiniest bird bath on a stake that I’m going to put fruit pieces in. I find the neatest stuff at Real Deals! I went in looking for another little trellis but they had sold out of them. I also picked up a lot of 6 bamboo stakes before they were gone too.

The hollyhock and zinnia seeds have started to germinate. I only planted the Zinnia on Friday! The glads are getting big, the iris by the garage has finally started blooming, the red astilbe needs to be moved – they’re going to be big, and the pink butterfly bush is taking off. The other two buddleia don’t look like they’re going to make it but I’ll keep watering them and cross my fingers. The weeds are starting to take over out front but they’ll still be there in a couple of weeks when I have more time.

Pests

The tent caterpillars are terrible this year! They have covered the back of the house at various points. The only plants near the house that they seem interested in are the strawberries. Every time I went outside I’d pick 10-35 of them off of the plants. I finally got smart and put the planter in an old saucer and filled it with water, which they seem reluctant to cross. I can see the tents in the dead maple; the others maples don’t seem to be showing any damage yet. When I walk out back by the woods it sounds like it’s raining so many of them are constantly dropping out of the trees. They have hitched a ride inside with both John and I even though we have taken to checking for them before coming in.

I’m at a loss as to what else to do about the moles. (It turns out we have both voles and moles!) We have a huge grub problem; everyplace I dig I find tons of them. John spread poison for the grubs because the kids won’t be here for a week or so but from what I’ve read this isn’t the best time to treat the lawn and we’ll have to do it again later. I don’t want to put out more of the poison that I used for the voles because the kids will be playing in the yard and I don’t want to take a chance on them getting sick from it. I’ve been told not to put out beetle traps because that will just attract more. So I guess just about the time I’m done hand picking caterpillars I’ll be picking beetles off of the plants. Since I’m trying to attract butterflies I can’t use any chemical spray. At least the one area where we’ve lost all of the grass is by the house where I want to put more perennials next year.

I’ve given up on getting rid of the ants. They seem to make the soil sandy, I haven’t had any in the house yet and so far none of them have bitten me. If I find out later that they eat my plants I may change my mind.

We also have a little garter snake and at least two toads but since they should help keep down the bug population they’re welcome to stay as long as they stop startling the heck out of me. I’m planning to make a toad abode with some of the rocks that I’ve dug out, as far from the butterfly host plants as I can!

1 comment:

  1. I've had success getting rid of moles with 'Poison Peanuts'. It comes in a cone-shaped container and isn't expensive (about $3 I think). I found it at Walmart. You sprinkle a few pellets in their holes and then cover the hole with a small stone.
    Those tent catapillars sound horrible. I haven't seen them around our place, thank heavens. They're in the trees at school though.
    I'm glad all was well with the lump. Sorry you had the stress though.
    The bus roadeo sounded like fun. Happy birthday to Alex!

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