Browsing Archives for June 2010

We are knee deep…

Make that chest high in baseball season right now.


I assembled the boys on the stoop for a photo of the start of the season and you can see for yourself just how thrilled they were to cooperate with me.


Well… these two weren’t too bad…


But my eldest and my youngest…?

With them it’s a whole different ball game.

Our whole family loves baseball.  Even me!  My boys started playing it when they were still in diapers.

Holding foam bats in fat baby hands.

Swinging at cloth balls in the living room.

They all bat left even though only two of them are left handed.

“It puts him one stop closer to first base.” is what my young husband told me years ago, when he first started throwing pitches to my newborn, Calder.

And yet, in spite of all those years of ‘training’ and also the hours and hours that Drew spends every day in the side yard throwing up a wiffle ball and hitting it over the roof of the barn, my third son has been in a serious batting slump this season.

He just could not…

Hit the ball…


He managed to get walked pretty consistently, but we are not a family of stinking walkers!

Get out there and HIT THE BALL!

C’mon Drew!

SMASH THAT THING!

So this Saturday at a tournament…

In ninety seven degree heat…

The bases were loaded…

There was one out…

And Drew approached the plate.

We all got a sinking feeling in our stomachs.

It was getting to the point where he was losing confidence in his ability to make any kind of contact.

But we cheered him on anyway.

“You can do it Dewey!  Crush it!  Send it Drew!  Just hit the freaking BALL!”

And he did.

He smashed it to center field!

Rounded first…

Rounded second…

Grand Slam!

Batting slump officially OVER!

But just a few innings later, he slammed his catcher’s mitt into a kid as he was running to home plate.

And when he was still hurting the next day, the Country Doctor took him up to the clinic to put a cast on his thumb.

We couldn’t be bothered to get an X-ray, but it might be broken.

Which could mean that Drew’s baseball season is over.

But we are trying not to think about that.

Because this boy here…

He loves to play baseball.

Last year, I stumbled across a few techniques on how to outwit the bugs in my garden in a book called  something like “Gardening for the Weak and the Shaky ‘or maybe it was called ‘Gardening Know How for Those Who Don’t Know How”.  After reading the book I found out that I had  unwittingly employed a few of the techniques to keep bugs at bay without even knowing it!  It’s like I am a clairvoyant gardener or something!

Here!

Let me list them alongside a few shots of my awesome garden!

Tip #1 – One of the easiest things you can do to slow down the damage of pesky garden pests, is to confuse the hell out of them!
Don’t plant all your peppers in one tidy patch! Instead, sprinkle them in amidst your tomatoes and your lettuce and your heirloom rutabagas!  This stops the insects from mowing down your entire crop in one fell swoop.

While confusing your garden pestilence, you may want to take advantage of something called ‘companion planting’. This is a theory by which one plant does another plant good just by being in close proximity to it.  So consult a good resource and companion plant away!  I have yet to master the intricacies of companion planting as I subscribe to a competing garden theory called ‘planting like a giant behemoth twitchy spasm’ which means that I just randomly stick things in the dirt wherever I think that they will look good, and possibly fit. Sometimes I accidentally ‘companion plant’ but far more often I tend to plant two things side by side that are forsworn enemies and they battle with each other all season long over who is going to thrive.  BUT while doing so – they do confuse the HELL out of bugs, so at least I am winning that battle!

Tip #2 – Randomly and generously plant eggplant all over your garden.

Many predatory bugs prefer eggplant to any other vegetable on earth and they will chew it down to a nubbin before they even consider your other tender veggies.  Fortunately, in my family, I am the only one with a penchant for eggplant so the three or four that I harvested last year after the bugs took the lion’s share was more than enough.

So stick in some random eggplants.

It just might save your pattypan squash.

Tip #3 – Mix up some homemade goop.

I recently made up a batch of garlic spray.  I did this by steeping one entire chopped garlic bulb into a cup of mineral oil for two days.  I then added 1T of the strained garlic oil to 1T of dish-washing soap and mixed it up with a small sprayer full of water.  This concoction’s potent smell, strong taste and soapy goodness, supposedly keeps the bugs at bay.  I’ll let you know if it works.  I found the garlic spray recipe here.

I used the garlic oil to spray down my squash plants and my cucumber plants.  Last year, after a gorgeous harvest of cucumber supermodels, my plants were sucked to death by an infestation of either cucumber beetles or squash bugs.  I have yet to determine which.  If it was squash bugs, the garlic should hold them at bay.  If it was cucumber beetles, I am going to have to get a bit harsher.  I also moved my cucumber patch from one side of the garden to the other to slow down the little buggars who overwinter in the soil, hatch, crawl to the surface and happily find a brand new crop of cucumbers to feast upon.  Which bring me to my final tip of the day…


Tip #4 – Move your vegetables around every year.  It’s hard to think of a gardener not knowing this one – but I am stating it here to cover my bases.  I have had more than one customer at the Garden Center tell me that their tomato patch has been in the same spot for twenty five years and they don’t understand why they aren’t producing very well anymore.  One woman told me that she catches a fish from her pond for each tomato plant that she grows and actually sticks it in the dirt JUST LIKE THE NATIVE AMERICANS!  I had to give her an extra big A PLUS for effort, but I think moving her vegetables around would be just as effective in boosting her garden’s performance.

After maybe shaking on a bit of composted cow manure…

Which is LOADS easier than catching and burying all those fish!

Update!

I took a blurry photo of one cucumber beetle humping another cucumber beetle on a cucumber plant!  This means I have to up the ante against these pesky pests as the cucumber beetles laugh in the face of garlic spray.  I have been hand picking them whenever I see them, but the durned things have wings and can fly away if I am not fast enough.  The organic people suggest neem oil which will probably be hard to find.  I may have to go all chemical bad-ass on them if they get too thick.  Dang it!

A fabulous post filled with mirth, tragedy, hope and the needly pincers of nibbled despair is up at Farmhouse and Garden.  Hurry! Scurry!  Or the bugs will hurry scurry all over your patty pan squash!

(Or squarsh as my mother likes to say).