July 25, 2009

oh my, breeding at its best...

Alright, I'll admit, there's talent. 
However, all but the first two videos made me laugh uncontrollably, 
especially "A Kind of Hush." That one is just delightfully creepy... 
Just thought I'd share.
Pin It!

July 23, 2009

um, our garden is looking like a concentration camp...?

Stowell's Evergreen Corn!!!

Spent the day building a fence with Jamie and our neighbor Ted. So exhausted. Will show photos next time around. The posts are about ten feet tall, wrapped with black deer mesh, and we still have rolls and rolls of barbed wire to hang (everything was free though!). The deer are so persistent this year. Jamie's dad is bringing his crossbow to dinner tonight. I have a feeling we'll be living off venison again this winter. Yum.

Check this movie out. It's called Alone in the Wilderness. I haven't watched it yet but it's Ted's recommendation. He's just 16 and already has built a forge in his backyard and the blueprints for an Alaskan cottage are underway. He cut down a hickory tree the other day to make fishing rods and bows with too. Impressive. 
Pin It!

July 22, 2009


I like this a lot. 
Pin It!

Mexican Lady Beetles

three bean plants destroyed by lady beetle larva

yellow larva picked off beans

teeny-tiny rattlesnake beans

pubescent  rattlesnake beans

Yesterday I spent the morning training my little rattlesnake beans up bamboo poles. These are the crazy purple beans... Jamie pointed out a few plants that had transparent brownish leaves. I pulled them in case there was a disease. I still don't know much about plant sickness and pests and just wanted to be sure. Off plopped a bunch of orzo-pasta-sized yellow spiky bugs. I picked them off and searched for more on the other plants. We captured them all. Turns out, they are the larvae of the Mexican Bean Beetle. This enemy eats your leaves into skeletons. 

I searched for means of control... citrus...insecticidal soap...ladybugs... and then I stumbled upon Parasitic Wasps. National Geographic has a fantastic video posted on their website. This is the introductory statement:

They may look peaceful in this gauzy digital simulation, but parasitic wasp embryos inspired the infamous "birth" scene in the 1979 horror flick Alien. Injected into a caterpillar by their mother, the once egg-encased wasp embryos develop for about 14 days. Then things get ugly.

In a biological attack unique in the animal world, the unassuming embryos use a virus in their DNA to paralyze their host. They bite their way out of the caterpillar and begin spinning cocoons.

As a final insult to the injured host, the caterpillar--apparently brain-addled by the virus--builds a silky blanket over its attackers and defends them against predators until the wasps emerge, fully formed, and take to the skies.

Intrigued? You've got to watch the video. Gruesome!
Pin It!

July 20, 2009

Pin It!

DO try this at home

I have come up with a new game. "The-kid-who-pulls-the-most-weeds-decides-what-to-bake-game." Not really a title ... I know ... but it works! I know three wee-child-folk who happen to love gardening and baking AND painting. I really don't approve of bribery, but this is different. Game or no game, we'd still end up gardening and playing with sugar and paintbrushes. This just gives them a bit more incentive to work faster and harder. I couldn't believe the pile they pulled in just twenty minutes. It measured probably 5'x5'x5'. WOW. Reward? Potato stamps. (Which inevitably resulted in squirting a pound of paint onto each canvas and squishing it this way and that.) The smallest child even made himself full Power Ranger body gear: bluish-hued gloves, boots, and mask. He was defeated by more than a few sprays of the hose. 

Pin It!

July 15, 2009

Oh, I shouldn't have planted a garden the size of a football field

See most of that greenery in there? Weeds. 

Well, we are officially out of our minds with this gardening stuff. I still have a few packets of vegetable seeds left ... Corn, squash, beans, Okra... and 50 packets of herb seeds too! But the weeds just seem to grow stronger and stronger with each passing second. We've managed to de-clutter about a third of the garden, making more room for the existing squash, corn, tomatoes, beans, and melon to grow. It's incredible how quickly they thrive once unwanted competition has been annihilated. 

Our irrigation system also seems to be helping. We began summer with an excess of rain. Three of our neighbors have beautiful vegetable gardens and have been planting them for over 50 years. Needless to say, they have some experience. But the rain really threw them a curveball. The Schifflets have replanted their tomatoes about three times. Finally they are growing. My procrastination served us well this year. The rain would have killed most of the plants had I been timely. Anyhow, back to the irrigation system. It's dry now. I can't remember the last time it rained. Our hoses have been running nearly 24 hours a day! We have somewhere around 800 feet of black soaker hose running in four rows, lengthwise through the garden. 

Also, we started a second compost pile nearer to the garden and alpaca shed. We are getting 25 chickens at the end of the month and I figure it'll be easier access for poo disposal. We're creating a makeshift coop in one half of the shed. This winter it will be transformed into a straw bale coop.  I can't wait to have 14 dozen eggs a week! I found these awesome magenta, yellow, green, and robin's-egg-blue cartons that I'm sure will attract at least 13 regular customers (we have to save some for ourselves)!

I have a few more posts in mind and won't be absent from the realm of the interweb for so long this time... happy gardening!

Pin It!