Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Siding guys busy at work at 7AM...

Lots of squash in the garden, some okra, peas, tomatoes, more squash, and beans...

Barefoot all day... good garden earth under the feet...

Wonderfully warm, not overly hot, absolutely magical late afternoon...

Samuel and Megan in Columbus...

Eliza at afternoon band camp...

Tom here to till the garden...

"Cleaned" up the computer the best I know how (and that's not saying much...)

Time alone this afternoon...so, so nice to sit outside and listen to the Cedar Waxwing who was perched atop the pine tree in the side yard...

A very happy, and yes, a very earth motherly, Virgo here at the farm with her camera.

I love my life....Namasté

Monday, July 30, 2007


Surprises abound around the farm, and it's not uncommon to come upon a snake, millipede, slug, coccoon, or other creature from time to time. Saturday's discovery while I was mowing was one of the neatest things I've stumbled upon in a while. Take a look. (I've seen this species here before, but it's been several years.)

The colors on this caterpillar were a brilliant, and the tiny little knobs and spikes along its back made for really interesting designs. I'm thinking this might morph into a Luna Moth. If it's another destructive muncher, I'll be bummed.

(By the way, the moth and butterfly population this summer is way down. I attribute that, in part, to the late spring freeze that wiped out most everything, except the beetles in my garden.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Thanks to those of you who responded to my plea for suggestions concerning the sudden infestation I've had in my garden. The bummer news is that today, I discovered that the long, slender black bug, which my friends Beth and Sherm call a Blister Beetle, has found the tomato plants down in the garden below the barn. Closer inspection of my turnips and okra revealed that the orange spotted beetle, now identified as the Harlequin Beetle, has also found its way there.

I read all I could find on these voracious pests, and short of bringing in kill-everything-that-it-touches pesticides, my approach today was to make a mixture of a large quantity of cayenne pepper and nicotine in soapy water. I took my sprayer down to the garden where it promptly exploded and drenched me in my own concoction. Nonetheless, I was determined my plan of attack would not be thwarted, so I started again and drenched the hell out of every beetle I saw and all the plants in the neighboring areas. I have no idea if my attempt at eradication will work, but I did feel quite satisfied when I saw the veggie-munching bugs falling of the vines in what looked like an attempt to run for their lives.

I leave tomorrow to visit my folks in NC for a few days. My hope is that when I return the Blister and Harlequin Beetle clans will be pushing up daisies. I've got my fingers crossed, but realistically, I know there's an army of those suckers that I didn't get. Hopefully, their relatives will spread the word that my potion is no fun and they'll all go away.

Wishful thinking, huh??

Stay tuned....

Monday, July 16, 2007


In less than 24 hours, my garden beds up by the barn have been taken over by voracious bugs that simultaneously mate and devour my plants! Man, am I on the warpath!

There are two different bugs that have made themselves at home. The first is an orange beetle with black spots that likes to fly away quickly when he/she senses me coming in for the big SMUSH! (Sorry, I know that's gross, but I refuse to put any pesticides on veggies I grow. I get enough of those chemicals from the not-organically grown food I have to purchase in the stores.)

I believe the second bug is a common squash bug. It's slender and black, and I think I've seen them on squash plants before, but this year, they've taken on the tomatoes!!!!! (Note the damage done on this plant alone in less than 24 hours.)

I've spent a goodly amount of time this afternoon pouring over articles on the internet about organic eradication of these and other pests. Sadly, I believe an attempt at wiping them out could be a losing battle without some sort of assistance.

If any of my three or four blog readers has advice, please post a comment. Until then, I'm off to pick beetles rather than beans! *&^%#@!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Here's what caught my eye today on my morning walk...
Squash blossoms that produce...

succulent, organically grown squash...

brilliantly red gladiolas....

sweet, colorful zinnias that are blooming despite the drought...

and the first dahlia of the summer. Grandma would love it!

I am grateful for the Earth and the beauty that surrounds me.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

SUMMER OF 2007--So far....

This week marks the official half-way point of summer for me. In about 5 weeks, I'll return to work, a thought that produces waves of nausea and/or diarrhea if I think about it too much. So, I just won't think about it at all.

To catch up on all that's happened / happening around The Farm, we'll have to start in early June. I missed graduation at WSCC because I was in San Antonio doing my annual stint of work for the Educational Testing Service, grading AP Spanish exams. Along with 999 other graders, I sat for 8 hours every day for 8 days and listened to students respond to the oral portion of the test...Exhausting and deadening work, BUT I got to see my friends that I see once a year there, I went to the San Antonio Museum of Art to see a Botero exhibit, and I had some great food and libations. And, as one can discern from the picture, I danced the night away!

Two days of pretty useless in-servce awaited me at WSCC when I returned, and my summer away from school officially began thereafter. Since then, The Farm's been a busy place, and several people have come home - -

Craig and Kara Garrison and their children have spent the last two years in Thailand, where Craig and Kara have been involved in relief work and relocation efforts with people in Burma through PARTNERS . The Garrison clan is an amazing group, and their visit was fun, inspirational, and informative. They'll be returning to Thailand for another two years in August, and the love of The Farm travels with them. (Craig, Joe, and Bobbi were best friends in high school. Joe was here the evening Craig, Kara, and family visitied, so it was even more special for all of us. Eliza got to meet all these special folks as well.)

Brett was home for a week before taking off to do some trekking in northern India. From India, he returns to the States to meet up with Betsy, his fianceé. Before heading back to California to begin school in August, I think he has a couple of other trips planned, but at the moment I can't remember his itinerary. Anyway, notice that Betsy is now Brett's future wife. Their engagement is official, and from the sound of it, the actual proposal was a very sweet and wonderful moment. (Farm note: Since this photo was taken, Eliza summoned her courage and got her nose pierced.)

Shortly after Brett's visit, Eliza, Samuel, Joe, and I took off for the beach (see previous post). Here's another pic from our week in Avalon, NJ. I am behind the camera, of course, and Isabella was watching TV when this was taken.

Samuel's now returned to Boone, of course, and Joe's moved to Logan, Utah to begin a job there. It's a little lonely here without those two guys around.

In other Farm news, Tom J. and I have been working in the garden, battling the deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits and an abundance of weeds. Today, with thoughts of being nice to animals, I bought some Liquid Fence. I have no idea whether it will assist us in discouraging the critters or not, but if it doesn't, then we'll have to take other action. I hope the animals take me seriously when they read my blog! Despite critters, a severe drought, and hot temps, the garden is thriving, and yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes are starting to come in. YUMMY !! With sunflowers in bloom and squash in abundance, yellow is the color of the week.

In other Farm news, the house is taking on a new exterior. Before and after photos will follow in the next couple of weeks. Eliza and I will go to NC to visit Papa and Petie soon, and I will take off to Miami in August for 8 days.

For the moment, however, I'm off to cut down some branches around the barn and put out the liquid fence.

Stay tuned.......Namasté

Friday, July 06, 2007


Not much to say here except that our week at the beach was one of the best family vacations we've ever had...Good connections all round, lots and lots of LAUGHTER and LOVE, great LOVE...Details to follow at a later date...Bottom line: The Farm Family had a super-dee-duper great time every minute of every day we were there.