In the Garden

The first round of tomatoes didn’t fare so well during my absence, so a few days after I returned from Scotland I went to the Greenhouse and purchased a few plants to replace the ones that were dying or stunted. They had a hard time at first in the extreme heat, but soon after our days were filled with rain and some cooler evening temps and the tomatoes have been thriving since then. Except for the flea beetles and my homemade organic insect spray. It was close to the miracle recipe I used last year only I think I went a little heavy on the clove oil. That’s how to burn your plants, folks.

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The plants that are doing the best in the garden this season are the mint and sunflowers — thanks entirely to me being lazy and not cleaning out the bed after last year’s harvest. That’s most likely the reason for the flea beetles as well. Learn from my mistakes.

I’ve got a ton of mint and all these big sunflowers that are very close to blooming and if that’s the most I get out of my garden this year, I’ll be thankful because it smells nice and sunflowers make me happy.

Also in the garden – peppers (jalapeno and bell), lemongrass, dill (it came back to life!), and chives.

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This is Clare, eating bermuda grass that’s growing up in the sides of the garden. It’s her way of helping.

Over on the west side of the yard next to the shed I have my butterfly garden. It’s grown quite a bit since I planted it last year and it’s served its purpose in attracting pollinators and covering up the dilapidated part of the shed.

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There’s sage and bee balm and echinacea and zinnias and coreopsis and sunflowers.

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I noticed the leaves of echinacea withering, looking lacy, and turning brown. Investigated further and found a few plants covered in frass (that’s fancy talk for insect poop). This was terrifying thanks to my long struggle with pests, but instead of jumping the gun and spraying it with insecticidal soap I turned to the internet and found that I’ve got a nice little colony of Silvery Checkerspots.

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It would be nice to see them make it to adulthood, but for now I’m just happy that my butterfly garden is doing what I wanted it to — attracting butterflies and giving them a good place to lay their eggs. Even if they are making an absolute mess of my echinacea. That’s why I planted it!

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Five Minute Friday: Tree

Paw Paw carried me up the hill as he looked out across the pasture for a mama cow and her new baby calf. I don’t really remember this part, only that I was out with him that day to check the cows. I think he’d taken me to give my mom a little break (she had a new baby — my brother, Kyle).

We got to the top of this hill and somewhere along the way the mama cow was located and she was none too happy to see us. Paw Paw knew he was going to have to run and he knew it wasn’t something safe or smart to do with little 20 month old me in his arms.

There, on top of the hill, was a tree. One of its branches was low enough that he could reach up and set me down on it. He put my tiny arms around the trunk of the tree and told me to hold on and not let go. I don’t think I was scared just then, but I knew he was serious. Maybe I should add that I was speaking in full sentences at this point, so it wasn’t like he was sticking a tiny baby up there with no clue what was going on. I was a toddler though and we should probably be glad this all happened in the 1980s and not now, otherwise I might have ended up on the news.

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Paw Paw told me to sit still and hold on tight to the tree and that’s exactly what I did. I trusted him absolutely. He went to lead the mama cow away from me and to find her baby. I don’t know how much time passed, but the next thing I remember, and the strongest, earliest memory of my life is what happened next.

Running up to the tree where I sat high above the ground, here came the mama cow. She ran right up underneath me and the top of her head brushed the bottom of my little bare feet. I hugged the tree tight and squalled just as loud as my lungs would permit. That scared the cow and she turned to run away from my bellowing cries.

A few moments later, after what felt like forever, Paw Paw returned and rescued me from my perch. I recall telling this story, especially the bit about the cow rubbing my feet, to anyone that would listen. I know Paw Paw can tell it better, so maybe I’ll ask him to refresh my memory on all the details. And maybe I’ll go find this tree.

Photo above was taken around the time of the cow adventure, maybe even the same day. I feel like that might have been the outfit I was wearing when it happened.

I’m participating in Five Minute Friday and you can, too!