We spent yesterday afternoon picking tomato hornworms out of our garden. They attack all members of solanaceae, so they weren’t just on the tomatoes… they were on the peppers and eggplant too. Grrrr. Literally overnight, they had stripped about half the leaves off of our tomato patch.
In the end, we picked all the tomatoes that were even half-ripe, to prevent further worm damage.
No… I didn’t take any pictures of the hornworms. Every time I saw one, I was too busy screaming and dancing around begging Sparks to get rid of it. I have some nice pictures of tomatoes, though.
We’ve had a cool spell here, with nights in the 50s and days in the low 80s. It’s a nice reprieve after three weeks of oppressive mid-90s heat, but I am NOT letting myself get excited about fall coming any time soon. Because it isn’t. We have at least a month of sweltering summer heat left before the weather starts to cool down… believe me. I am fall’s biggest fan. I know.
There’s been a bounty of garden and nature-walk related posts here lately, and plenty of Sparks’ shenanigans with jelly making (he’s done elderberry-crabapple now, too!), but precious little crafting on my part. I have to apologize… the sewing and knitting have fallen by the wayside. I have a much bigger project that leaves me completely wiped out:
Kidney Bean Parks is due in mid-March. I am 11 weeks pregnant today. We had my second prenatal appointment yesterday and heard the heartbeat, so everything is officially a GO! We will have the gender scan right around Halloween, and yes, we definitely want to find out ahead of time! Otherwise, how will I know what color sweaters to knit? You know that that mid-March newborn is going to need a lot of hand-knit sweaters, right?
This doe stood still while I got within 15 feet of her (there was another picture closer than this one, but it was blurry) and fiddled with my camera settings.
Here is one of two groups that nonchalantly crossed the trail in front of me, pausing in the middle of it to see if I was going to keep walking toward them, or if I would stop and ooh and aah and feed them.
My stroll was two miles long. I encountered three other people. I saw fourteen deer.
The pear and apple trees have set a (potentially) nice harvest. Some of the apples have even turned red–
Which surprised me, because somehow I thought apples didn’t turn red until late September or early October. Which shows how much I know.
And the pears, the precious pears. Wish us luck, having a chance to harvest these for ourselves. There is a doe in the neighborhood who is adept at standing on her hind feet to get at the fruit. Since our trees are all dwarfs, she can decimate the crop. And this year… she has twin fawns.
When it isn’t too hot (which has been never, lately) I like to step out to our little grove of fruit trees and feel romantic. The trees are so deliciously twisted and nobbly, and the fruit looks so much like an 18th century engraving. It’s delightful.
I have told you about our Tomato Miracle. The deer ate our whole crop of green tomatoes, and Sparks put up an electric fence, and 24 hours later… we had hundreds of brand new pea-sized green tomatoes. Amazing!
The big ones are still green, but the cherry tomatoes have decided that it’s Go Time.
We’re in the heat of the summer now, and some of the days have indeed been crazy hot. Since we haven’t had rain in nearly three weeks, there has also been a crazy amount of garden-watering going on. Happily, we are getting a regular harvest now.
These purple-and-white eggplants have been complete champs. We’ve gotten probably twenty fruits from each plant already, and will get at least twenty more. I have made Madhur Jaffrey’s eggplant cooked in the pickling style twice, and frozen some to boot (no, I’m not sure that freezing eggplant is going to work, I’ll get back to you on that). The peppers are also gearing up for true production, as is the okra which was eaten nearly to the ground about a month ago.
Yes, eaten. Our little army of water-squirting robots that protected the garden from deer suddenly stopped being a deterrent, and over the course of one night and one day the deer ate the okra leaves, the chard leaves, and all of the green tomatoes off of 13 plants.
Sparks put up an electric fence the next day. The morning after that, there were hundreds of pea-sized tomatoes all over the plants. It was our Tomato Miracle. So we are having a big tomato crop after all–just later than the rest of you. We’re satisfied with that outcome. The chard and okra have also made a full recovery, I’m happy to say. By the way, have I sung chard’s praises enough? We love, love, love it. We wish we had four times as much as we do. Best vegetable ever.