My Little Friend



Holy Smoke!

This photo has nothing at all to do with this post. I just love it.


Well, hello there world.  Where have I been?  I’m going to claim I was trapped in a fairy raft.  That’s believable, right?  No?  Well, frankly, I’m not sure where the time has gone.  I logged on today and saw that it has been nearly a MONTH since I last posted.  I feel like it has been a week.  Two at most.  I apologize.  Lots going on, I suppose, without my really noticing.

We have had something of a monsoon season.  I swear there is a gator squatting in my greenhouse.  That is, if I could FIND my greenhouse.  The Handyman hates to cut the grass.  It is his least favorite thing of all time.  And with all the rain, it has been next to impossible, to be honest.  But now the grass is probably at least a foot tall.  And I won’t go out in the yard anymore.  I’m afraid of snakes.  Snakes, spiders and bears.  Those are my fears.  But I’m rambling.  The truth is, I have sucked at the blogging thing and I apologize.  So here are the rough updates.


One.  There will be no robbing of the bees this year.  Yep.  Sad but true.  We have had wonky weather this year and the Handyman tried a new deal with the bees this year but he has been too busy to follow up (or listen to the person who was paying attention, but whatever), and so no honey for us.  I suppose I will be stocking up in the next couple of months from other local beekeepers.  I don’t buy the grocery store stuff.  It’s not real honey.  Really.

Two.  The Handyman has a new schedule.  It is wrecking mine.  See, I’m a person who needs to be alone.  I crave solitude almost as much as I crave… well, air.  Or water.  I need solitude.  Now he is home when I get home.  And he is always THERE.  It is a bit suffocating.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t love him.  I do.  He’s wonderful.  He builds things, changes the oil, and keeps bees.  He tolerates my hippie tendencies, he builds me greenhouses, and he drives whenever we go the mountains because the drop offs scare me.  He is the yin to my yang, but he is also the oil to my vinegar.    So the fact that I don’t have that down time has worn on me.  We are going to have to set some new ground rules.  Which means negotiating.  Which means that I will give in to nearly all his requests just to have an hour of alone time to decompress.  I tell ya, being an introvert can be a trial sometimes.  See, I absolutely need that time alone.  But even though he gets it, it can hurt his feelings.  It’s like walking a tightrope sometimes.   Hopefully things will return to normal in that area after the winter holidays.  Fingers crossed.

Three.  The garden is gone.  Mostly.  Tomatoes ripped down or given over to pests.  The only things surviving are the peppers and eggplants.  Tomatillos are long gone.  It feels strange, because I usually nurse my plants into November.  But between the drought and heat then the monsoon season, well, I waved the white flag.  The forces are regrouping and planning a new strategy for next year.

Four.  There are other odds and ends of course, but you don’t need to know those.  I’ll try to be better.  However, if I disappear for another month, I’d appreciate it if someone contacted the authorities.  The gator may have gotten me.

Bath Water

I have one week to “relax” before I get back to the nitty gritty.  So, I went to the beach.  Who wouldn’t?  Well, the people who want to avoid the tourists, but there is a trick to that.  I’m not sharing it though.   No way, no how.  Uh, uh.  I’m not giving away my secrets to living at the beach.  Tourists, are a part of deal, so well, you deal…  But I digress.  I have a week, I went to the beach, oh and Friends, let me tell you, it was heavenly.   When we went the Handyman declared “No Board, No Nook.” before we left.  I nearly panicked.  You see, we have a routine.  Two chairs, one of which won’t be used because he will be on his surf board, and I take a book or my Nook.  It makes for a great relationship.  I get to read for hours in the sun without feeling guilty, and he goes out and plays in the water.  I get peace and quiet, and he has fun.  It’s a beautiful thing.  But if there are NO waves.  Well, life sucks.  He gets antsy and wants to get home so he can do something with himself.  Relaxing is difficult for him.  Me, I have a doctorate in it.  I’m expecting an Ivy League school to call me any day to discuss my course load…  Not that I’d go.  Dude.  Those schools are in cold places.  I don’t do COLD.  I do warm.  Heck.  I do HOT.    Then I got there and I realized why he declared the “No Board, No Nook” rule.  The ocean was fairly flat.  People were standing knee deep on the sandbar about 75 or so yards out.  So we went swimming.  It was lovely.  The water felt like bath water.  Which, on the one hand, was great.  We swam, and had some pretty great us time.  BUT.  The water was warm.  That makes me nervous.  It makes me worry about storms.  You see, cold water kills storms, and warm water breeds them.  AND it brings sharks and a local surf shop posted a picture today that will probably keep me out the rest of the season!  It’s shark week for real around here.  I don’t need stinkin’ cable to see it!  But we went.  We swam. (I was counting on the local sharks to test bite someone a bit, well, not local.)  We had a really great time.  And today I spent all day stripping my Grandmother’s old Hoosier cabinet.  Me and my heat gun.  We’re pals.  Cause I’m not even close to done.  I should have just dragged it outside during the heat wave.  I’ll try to post pictures of that when you can even tell what I’m trying to accomplish.  Which means… don’t hold your breath.  I only have a week.

With calloused hands,


Attack of the Killer Hornworm…

I’ve been dealing with all sorts of pests and pestilence in my garden lately.  OK.  Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I have had a sudden increase in bug damage and I’ve had to deal with some blight issues as well.

Dolly Parton Rose  She has big blooms.

Most of this summer has been quite hot and dry.  When we have had rain, it has been of the torrential, turn my yard into a swamp where the gators want to live variety.  After the rain, the humidity has been off the hook as well.  This is not good for a couple of reasons.  One:  mosquitoes.  These things are the size of Apache helicopters and can drain you dry in no time.  At the very least, a quick run out to the compost around dusk will live you looking like you have chicken pox.  It’s crazy.  Most of our collected water is in closed containers, but we do have one that is open.  Obviously, this means it is a skeeter breeder.  I have found that a couple of ounces of Dr. Bronner’s soap takes care of the situation though, and I can still use the water on my plants.

The heat wave was good for keeping the bugs down, but now they are happily breeding and that means that they are happily munching their way through my plants.  I have killed several hornworms.  Four this morning alone.  They are the worst simply because they can totally strip a plant overnight.  It’s kind of like putting a pizza in front of a teenage boy.  You turn around and five minutes later the whole thing is gone.  The damage hornworms can wreak is amazing.  When I first started noticing damage to my plants I waited until the sun went down and then I took my flashlight and started hunting.  They are really super hard to find.  I’m sure my neighbors thought I was nuts, but I did find two.  Since then, I decided I would like to keep my blood so I have been hunting in the day.  I will have to do daily checks for a while to look for damage.

Hornworm before he met his doom.

I also found these guys.  This year was the first I’ve had to deal with them.  I looked them up and they are some kind of looper.  They stick bits of plant on themselves for camouflage.  It almost worked.  I found two and they didn’t like each other.  They fought.  I, uh, broke it up.  Sorta.

Loopers or inchworms.

Today I pulled up some plants that were looking pretty spent or damaged.  It is getting to the time of year that I will start wrapping things up.  I’ll be too busy to tend to the plants like I should.  Not to mention that the storms will start getting a bit more intense.  They have been rolling through because of the sea breeze daily.  Such is the life cycle of a garden though.  I’ll pick a few to nurse along for a couple more months, but most of them will be pulled up in the coming weeks.

The compost benefited from the rain. It looked great!

Then I’ll start planning next year.  Actually, who am I kidding.  I’m already planning. I’m also planning on adding more squirrel feeders to my yard.  The Handyman made this one for me.  I love it.  And the squirrels actually run off the stray cats defending their territory.  Nice.

My guard squirrel. He’s dangerous business.