Wednesday, June 24, 2020

I've Got the Grumps

After several years of not seeing a single cutworm in the garden, it's an every day occurrence to find at least one little juvenile plant cut off at soil level and lying limp and dead.  The worms cut the stems of young plants to suck out the juices.  Maybe they're just thirsty.  I'll blame it on our extreme dry conditions.  Or an up-cycle of the cutworms.

Our asparagus production may be attributed to not enough moisture also.  The stalks have become extremely thin and not nearly as plentiful as they should be this time of year.

One would think our lack of rain would be a deterrent to the annual biting bug population.  Not so.  Recently, my left hand was bitten and got so swollen I had to get my wide gold wedding band off my finger while I could.  Years ago, I had to have it cut off (the ring, not my hand) because of a black fly bite on my finger.  We've even had mosquitoes in the house which has prompted us to put up netting over our king-sized bed.  No easy job but something we have to do some years in order to get a good night of sleep.

Because of our hectic summer schedule, my desire and need to spend time in my quilt room continues to go unfulfilled.  It's been so long since I've been in there, I may have forgotten where it's located.

I've been doing a lot of wheelbarrow work in the garden hauling mulch in an effort to retain some moisture in the soil.  A couple of days ago I was pulling the wheelbarrow instead of pushing it.  Never a smart thing to do.  I stumbled and one of the metal "legs" of the wheelbarrow ran over the back of one ankle bone.  Although I don't bruise easily, I have a very colorful sore spot that is a reminder to always push rather than pull. 

But all of this grumpiness on my part is nothing compared to an unfortunate accident of my blogging friend, Lisa B., over at 
Ewe's Crazy & So Is I.  This tiny powerhouse of mighty womanhood runs her farm nearly single-handedly and just took a bad fall which she wrote about in a current post.  Another instance where it would be wonderful if, somehow, we all lived close enough together so we could help out at a time like this.

And maybe a whole bunch of us gathering together to do a rain dance would entice Mother Nature to send much needed moisture down upon dry and cracking garden soil.  Although, I know, be careful what you wish for.

So, my grousing work here is done.  In reality, I have absolutely nothing to be grumpy about.  And I realize that.  It just felt good to get some things down on paper.  Or onto the keyboard.  Or sent into ether land.

25 comments:

Rosalea said...

Grump heard! I had a battle with cutworms in my turnip (really rutabaga) patch, having to replant a few. It is such a disappointment, seeing the wee plants you've planted and nurtured, keeled over. We have been suffering a string of hot, humid days, until last night. About a quarter inch of much needed rain. I can water 10 times as much, and not do the good that Mother Nature does with a little! Its cooler and very breezy this AM, keeping the bugs at bay. Now that things are in and growing, and before the picking and processing start, I got out my knitting bag, which is my crafting 'go to'. It usually goes on hiatus for the summer. Stay well, and un-bitten!

SmartAlex said...

Its not usually hard to round up enough things to get grumpy about. Trust me, no matter how many things are going right, there is always something going wrong or a bug bite to nurse. And my last Amazon order looked like a poison ivy clinic stock room! Drought always frays my nerves. Of course now that we've finally had some rain, all of my perfect, gorgeous, full geranium blooms went to mush overnight :( I knew it was coming. I enjoyed them while I could.

Mama Pea said...

Rosalea - I dug in the soil where yet another plant was annihilated by a cutworm and found it. Ha! That was the end of that one! Glad you got your rain. It's so true that no matter how much we water by hand (or hose or sprinkler) it's never as good as natural rainfall. And, yay, for you getting reacquainted with your knitting! Felt good, didn't it?~

SmartAlex - Although I always have a big garden which most of the time gives us a darn good supply of food for the year, I was especially eager to grow as much (if not more to share) as I usually do because of our social disruption which will probably not only cause food prices to go sky-high this fall but also cause shortages. This year's garden, so far, is looking to be the least profitable that I can remember. Boo-hiss!

Lisa B said...

MamaPea I do believe I have learned to be tough from you! All you and PapaPea get done in your shorter growing season makes me seem so lazy. I will heal and manage to get it done by sheer grit again. I am missing handwork to fill the boredom. No sewing, quilting or knitting :[ but eventually.


Mama Pea said...

Lisa B - Knowing you, m'dear, you'll be doing everything you usually do using only one functioning arm. Gosh, you must have hit hard when you took that dive of the loading ramp! Please take care of yourself so you heal as fast as you can, and keep posting to let all of us know how it's going. Hugs.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

I know how that feels we had zero spinach and lettuce greens this year and I think they are eaten by bugs. We've had a lot more rain than usual but now it's getting warmer. Living in the high desert I always love to see real rain! Luckily we're on City Water and its cheap or we have a lot of trouble growing anything here. Here's praying for rain for you! Just no flooding hopefully

The Happy Whisk said...

You made me laugh at the bit, “the ring, not my hand”

I am sorry about your friend and her bad fall.

Hope the writing made you feel better. I have a friend that lives far away and I wish we lived closer so I could help her with her chores. So I can related to what you’re writing about.

Mama Pea said...

Nancy - No spinach or lettuce for you this year? Ugh, what's a garden if not for those first luscious greens after a long winter?? I think I finally got enough spinach this morning to make our first Green Pie (kinda of a veggie quiche) of the season for dinner tonight. Yes, real rain just can't be beat when it comes to raising fruit and vegetables. When we're short on moisture I can't help but think of farmers and what a spell of dryness can do for their big fields of crops. At least we gardeners can water to a certain extent.

Mama Pea said...

The Happy Whisk - Even though we don't live close to good friends or blogging buddies, we certainly do form real connections and relationships and can support each other with our words via posts and other correspondences. That's one of the really great things about blogging, I think.

Michelle said...

Every time you mention the pestilence of bugs you deal with there I feel guiltily grateful to live HERE, with few bugs! Spent some time in the garden today after being chauffeur for Brian all day yesterday; my Red Kuri are looking great! All six seeds germinated. I got a water line set for the beans, "pod peas," and some of the sweet potato slips, and picked strawberries for the fifth time – the first time with help! Now to prep them for the freezer....

tpals said...

Bugs are our bane! While weeding I had to remind myself that spiders in the garden are good and not something to squish. Do you know where the mosquitoes are breeding since it's been dry there?

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - What?! No strawberry shortcake with the strawberries? ;o) I finally got my Red Kuri squash seeds in the ground a while ago (even though I didn't think it was quite warm enough) and am glad to say they've all germinated and are strong, sturdy looking sprouts. Yippee!

tpals - I suppose they must be breeding and hatching down by our pond. I wonder if ducks gobble up that kind of bug larvae? If so, they're not doing a very good job!

Granny Sue said...

...and here we're sogging wet and the potatoes are blighting because of too much rain! What craziness. I am sure come July it will turn dry as the Sahara, it usually does. I do hope you get rain soon.

Tigger said...

Mama Pea - try this spinach-like veg if your summer gets too warm for spinach-spinach. https://harvesttotable.com/how_to_grow_new_zealand_spinac/ This guy makes it sound like more work than it needs to be. Just soak the seeds, get them started, plant them out. They ain't fussy about soil really, and true, water does make them grow better (what doesn't), but don't worry about the sprawling, just be aware that they do sprawl and give half a dozen plants a space of their own. Tear off the stems that start to get away on that space. Eat the leaves not the stems. It really does seem to get left alone by the bugs (which does make me wonder about its attractiveness - maybe they simply don't recognize it) and it makes great spinach pie, or cooked and mixed into a polenta bake (with cheese of course)

Retired Knitter said...

You are so right. When I am grumpy and feeling low about something in my life, I look outside myself and see that I really have more than my share of wonderful things to be grateful for ... it works every time.

Mama Pea said...

Granny Sue - I know, I know! There's no rhyme or reason as to why some areas get way too much moisture and others not enough. To my mind (even though I whine about it), not enough moisture is easier to handle. All in all, it's probably for the best that man has not yet figured out how to control the weather!

Tigger - Very interesting! I know I've read about New Zealand Spinach in the past but haven't given it a fair try. Sure keeps gardening interesting to have new thing to experiment with. Thanks for your info.

Cockeyed Jo said...

There's enough bad stuff around, even here on the homestead, to encircle the globe half a dozen times, and yet, I find little blessings each day to keep the grumps away. I hang on these for dear life and focus one them.

I use cut up 16 oz soda and juice bottles as cut worm guards whether I've seen cut worms or not. Nothing is worse than nurturing a seedling to planting size and having some pest kill it.

Goatldi said...

Good grief !

You are a hot house flower aren’t you? Poor plants vs cut worms sounds down right vicious. I immediately had a mental picture of you and Papa Pea staring in a hybrid film somewhere between Out of Africa and Casablanca. Darn mosquitoes!

Maybe we should all join in with a rousing chorus of the old but good 1959 hit Poison Ivy by The Coasters. Just in case you know.

https://youtu.be/ZRfRITVdz4k

Kristina said...

We need rain too. I have spent 2 days weeding in the garden. By the time I come in, I am so tired, I don't want to do anything else. That's bad when I bring in peas to put up too.

Mama Pea said...

Retired Knitter - For the most part (maybe don't ask Papa Pea about this), it doesn't take me long to forget whatever it is that's making me grumpy. I only have to look at the multitude of things around me that I have to be thankful for and poof! My ugly-bugly mood goes away.

Cockeyed Jo - It's back to the old axiom that we can choose to be negative or positive. As long as our minds are functioning (at least to some extent), we can make that choice and choosing to be negative never, ever, ever leads to anything good! Regarding the cutworms, for years I always put collars of one kind or another around my transplants and emerging starts. Then when I hadn't seen a cutworm for years, I stopped doing it. Now, of course, I need to start with the collars once again. :o\

Goatldi - You called it! I am just a delicate (cough-cough), widdle hot house flower and I simply cannot deal with these bugs and cutworms! I need a climate controlled greenhouse. And a full-time gardener. And a six man grounds crew. And, and, and . . . ;o} Happy to say I've never had a case of poison ivy, but I did back into some stinging nettle with shorts on once. And I stepped into a nest of ground hornets which wasn't nice. And got stung on the eyelid by a wasp. That turned out really ugly. Feel sorry for me yet??

Kristina - Not many folks who don't garden have any idea how physically taxing it can be. (Still, it's good for us -- physically anyway.) Especially heat and humidity can zap the stuffin's right out of ya!



linnellnickerson@gmail.com said...

hope your asparagus survives. The darn bugs do one heck of a job on a garden. I had the potato bug one year and wrecked all the plants. We chose another spot in the garden the next year and we still had them. The black flies are horrible. I don't have them here ,but in Maine we had them when we went up for the summer. My best friend got bit so bad she ended up in the hospital. I think i'd be disappointed not being able to be in my quilt room, Too!! Hopefully better days are coming!! take care!

Mama Pea said...

linnellnickerson - I'm needing to give myself a good talking to today so I don't get all negative about the current state of the garden. A litte teeny-tiny bug is making lace out of all my salad greens and I've found more damage from the cutworms again today. Something (I don't think it could have been a cutworm) severed a good-sized zinnia flower stem at soil level. More and more I'm blaming the insect problems this season on our lack of rain. I think the bugs are eating the plants to get much needed moisture. And no. rain. in. sight. Drat. It might do me good to head into my quilt room for a day or two and forget about the garden! But only for a day or two.

tpals said...

We had a much needed rain last night. It must not have gone far enough north to reach you. :(

Mama Pea said...

tpals - Oh, how wonderful that you got the rain. Nope, it didn't make it up here. And we had a wind all day today with the temperature IN THE SHADE of 83°. Talk about drying things out even more. :o(

ILLUMINATI GRAND LODGE® said...

INVITATION FROM THE ILLUMINATI ORGANISATION 666

This is an open invitation to everyone that is interested in becoming part of the world's biggest conglomerate and reach the peak of your career. As we begin this year's recruitment program and our annual feast of harvest is almost at hand, so we decide to introduce you to the "New World Order".

At this point, we're assuring anyone who is ready and faithful to become a member of this great organization, that once he/she becomes a full member of the Illuminati brotherhood then will automatically become rich, powerful and be famous in life and achieve all their heart desires and also receive a monthly salary of $500,000 USD. We are ready to change your life, we can make your dreams come true.

The great Illuminati district offers you a life time opportunity of making your heart desires come true. I believe everyone on this planet "Earth" knows about the ILLUMINATI, but for those that don't know much about this Organization, I'll brief you about it. The Illuminati is a secret society that bless man kind and fulfill his/her dreams of becoming a millionaire, billionaire and also promote their various business. At this moment, I believe you've know more about this organization and there's no reason to be afraid of anything.

I'm not here to mess with you or play games with you because as it stands now there are lot's of people out there who Impersonate us, claiming to be members of the ILLUMINATI. So the Brotherhood then comes to conclusion of Globalizing this organization in order to help those who are really ready to become part of this Great Family and those that were misleads by Impostors. Now i believe this is your opportunity to join our prestigious Organization and make yourself and your family proud.


If you're interested in joining this Great Organization, then contact our Grand Lodge at Pennslyvania, USA via
WhatsApp: +1 315 203 9948 or our official Email: illuminati666grandlodge@gmail.com

Or click on this WhatsApp link to message us: https://wa.me/13152039948

Signed: GRANDMASTER