Friday, August 26, 2011

Funky harvest

My garden is a land overflowing with abundance and mutations. Seriously, I apparently can't grow anything normally. I planted over a dozen zucchini, which ANYONE can grow, and while they flower exuberantly, no squash appear. I mean, shit, everyone else in the world accidentally grows so much zucchini they have to force them on others at gunpoint. Then I plant carrots and cucumbers, which all decide to grow perfectly round. Instead of long, slender, beautiful vegetables, I get this:

I mean, what? I can maybe understand the carrots, since they might decide the ground is just too wearying to try to push through, but the cucumbers? They are all like fat weird balls.
Also, my marigolds are MONSTERS. I grew them from seed. For a long time, they didn't look like they would live. They drooped, and looked depressed, and lost leaves. Then, after two months of being emo, they shot up five feet into the air and exploded into flower. I've never seen marigolds so tall. 

 My corn looks beautiful... from the outside. I peeled back the husk on a few ears of corn, and found that each one seemed to be the home of a new and interesting bug. None of them would be edible. They certainly didn't look appetizing. I am disappoint.

 Speaking of bugs, the yellow jackets are doing fine. Bastards. I tried to take a picture of them as they flew in and out of their burrow, but they were not cooperating. They were flipping me the bird as they buzzed past. So, instead, here is a dumb picture of their evil festering nest.

Also, here is a caterpillar. She's huge. I was picking tomatoes, and I was startled to find this big darling hanging underneath one of the tomato plant branches. I poked her a little, and she pulled her face out of the branch and drooled juice everywhere. I would be annoyed, but as you have read before, I have approximately 28,000 tomato plants. I can afford to lose a few. I already have gathered several big baskets of tomatoes by now and there are still dozens green still on the vine.

I found a nifty catepillar ID guide online so I could figure out what she is, and found that she's a Great Ash Sphinx. I like her shiny green face.

Despite everything else being weird and funky, my green beans are still producing like mad, and if I'm REAL FAST I can scoop out some potatoes a few at a time, and I'll eat the carrots and cucumber despite their questionable heritage, so I can get a whole big bucket full of happy fresh foods! I look at this and feel pretty damned satisfied with myself. And I think, someday I will grow normal-looking things! And maybe even the mighty zucchini!

In other news, my bees are not making me any damned honey yet. I mean, they are finally making some honey, but I'm worried they won't have enough even for themselves once winter hits. I really don't want to have to feed them syrup to get them through to the spring, but it looks like I might have to. I also noticed two weeks ago that Small Hive Beetles have finally found the hive. At first, I freaked out. I thought they would kill the colony. I made a bunch of stupid and worthless traps that managed to catch, like, one ant. But the last time I got into the hive, I saw that it wasn't that bad. There were only a few beetles, and when I opened the cover, the bees were actively murdering the couple of beetles that were suddenly exposed. Rock on, you hardcore babes. Here is a picture of them looking busy without actually doing much work:

Newsflash: Yellowjackets are little bastards

I haven't posted in a long time for two reasons. 1) I've been very busy and haven't had much time other than mowing and random weeding. 2) I forgot my password to this blog and it took forever for me to remember it.

I still had adventures, though.

About a week ago, I decided I REALLY wanted to have potatoes for dinner. I didn't have any in the pantry, and I didn't want to go to the store, but never fear! Because I have a beautiful lush garden full of opportunistic weeds and also potato plants.

Last spring, I had read about all the different and strange ways people grow potatoes, and I picked what sounded like the easiest method, which is under straw. For those who are not seasoned gardeners ('cause I sure ain't), it's the simplest thing in the world. You simply mow the future potato patch as closely as you can. Then you put down the seed potatoes right on the ground. Then you just cover them up with a thick layer of straw. The potatoes grow throughout the straw, and there's very little weeding, and the soil under the straw breaks down and makes it ready for it for planting with something else next year.

I had noticed that my potato plants had yellowed and began to fall over, so they were ready for harvest. Rock on. That means it's potatoes for dinner! Get yo forks and butter!

So I go out there and start digging around in the straw. I pull out a few spuds, but they are small, so I want more. After another few minutes, I notice one of my hands kinda hurts. As I'm thinking that, I realize, no, it REALLY HURTS. Like burning acid and horror.

I yank my hand out of the straw, and a damned yellow jacket is stinging the crap out of my finger. I go to smash it off, and then my world turns to pure hell as an entire swarm of the little beasts come flying out of the straw right at my face.

I had dug directly into their nest. Like a boss.

I go AAAAAAHHHHHH! and throw myself backwards. They are all over me - my shorts, my shirt, my legs - stinging like mad. I keep screaming and start swiping them off of me as I dash for the fence. I notice they are stinging right through my clothes, so in my panic I just start ripping my clothes off in the yard as I'm still running for the house. On the other side of the fence, all four dogs are barking HOORAY! at me, because obviously this is some new and incredibly awesome game I've thought up.

I finally rid myself of the yellow jackets and most of my clothes, and make it into the house in only my boxers and shoes. I want to vomit. I start shaking. I realize I'm crying like a baby. I see that my shoulders and my knees are covered in red swelling welts, and my hand is on fire. I think I'll probably die of some ridiculous sudden new allergy to stinging insects.

And I think, fuck... all I wanted was some damned butter potatoes for dinner and now instead all I get is pain. Blah.