The Backyard

The Backyard

Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm a Slacker

No doubt.... I've been slacking on posting on this blog. Sorry kids -- I've been sidelined a bit (see Chilibloggin for more details). Since my temporary detainment, the gardens have been sorta left go for about 3 weeks and man on man are there weed TREES growing. I tried to pull some only to have them break at the roots. The shovel is needed. Crap. I managed to keep the weeds semi under control in the food patch... so the mater's are going crazy, the cantelope is doing its vining thing and the zuchinni will be picked in about a week or two. The pepper plants are looking good and my mom is ready to pick the onions (but they aren't quite ready yet). The basil is looking fine and dandy -- ready for some drying and vinegar making. My dear, dear hubby helped get things under control shortly after I came home from the hospital. The greens bolted, so they needed pulled and he so sweetly pulled them all for me. My dear mother came up to help me one day, but my dear hubby beat her to it. (I think she was releived -- she gets tired gardening). In the meantime (until I get more pics), here's a cool website to check out Green stuff.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pics of the Week - Roses are Fading in the Heat

A couple Pics... this will be the last few decent shots of the roses as the heat and humidity affects them terribly. They are rotting in the buds, thus not much of a bloom. It was hard to get these couple pictures.

My favorite: "Charles de Mills" A Gallica shrub rose.

The striped rose is "LEDA", one of the few multi-colored varieties.

The Red rose is ironically, "The Red Rose of Lancaster" reported to be the original "Apothecary Rose" used extensively in the olden days for a variety of herbal remedies. And you can't see it well, but the purple flower next to it is "Cat mint" and in it is honeybees! Honeybees are supposedly dying off from an unknown disease/sources...but not on the catmint!

This is an "Eglantine" shrub -- reported to be one of the oldest species of roses dating prior to the 1500's. You can't see it real well, but there's a mockingbird nest smack dab in the middle of it. She made a nest last there too. The rose isn't popular for its 5-petal blooms, but the hips are incredible in the fall -- I've even used them in Christmas decorations.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Would you Believe Organic Sneakers?

Here's a short diversion from the gardens for a moment. I came across this website, entitled The Organic Athlete while looking for running shoe reviews. The Website is interesting enough, but organic sneakers? How cool is that?! I knew there were "eco-friendly" shoes of all sorts, but my naive brain always believed that it simply meant no animal products went into making the shoe - which is quite common in sneakers since leather isn't the best of materials for a running shoe. Eco-friendly also means the process in which it was made -- less petroleum and carbon use mainly. So the Brooks Cascadia gets top honors for an "organic shoe." Funky looking, but good for the environment.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Praying Mantis

They hatched. Like the arrival of the hummingbirds and bobolinks, seeing the tiny 1/2 inch praying mantis hop around on the plants is yet another summer backyard entertainment highlight. It doesn't take much to entertain me...bugs, birds, turtles, toads. (Wait until I write the article about feeding grasshoppers to orb weaver spiders -- very cool). The question is - what does a mantis do for the environment. Actually its half and half. Mantis are simply a part of our ecosystem. Its interesting to note some oddities about mantis. The females eat the males while mating. (Holy shit!) And their main predators are bats which they have suepr-sensitive ears and can hear them coming. Lastly, and what I found the most freakish, while we always assumed they eat other bugs -- spiders, crickets, aphids -- they are carnivorous and full grown adults will also eat mice, lizards and hummingbirds! They'll disguise themselves in a flower, and paralyze the hummer in the neck and immediately start eating it at the neck area. Fascinating. So watch your praying mantis - it may eat your pet lizard if you aren't careful!