August 07, 2002

Flotsam, Jetsum, Bric-a-brac Well,


Flotsam, Jetsum, Bric-a-brac

Well, dear hearts, I sit here at The Helm in my Moon Boot Slippers and a flannel shirt....ah, the cool clear air of an August morning! Not to gloat: it will get hot, hazy and humid again in a week or so. But hope springs eternal; meanwhile, think I'll go out on the front porch and see if I can see my breath!

Today promises to be a jewel of an Early Fall Day, with the cooler, dryer air affording unlimited visibility, and giving everything in foreground and distance an aspect of razor-sharpness. Ann is off today, and even though we are probably a mite too early, we are going to Grayson Highlands to pick what blueberries have ripened. Mostly, we are going because it is one of our favorite family places, going back more than 20 years. There are memories all over Massey Gap and Pine Mountain. More about this later, and in all probability, some pictures to boot!

It's vertical bean picking time. The plants are spent, and yesterday, I plucked the plants up whole and picked the remaining beans off the plants while standing up...blessed relief from harvesting from garden produce that grows lower and lower every year. The plants usually snap off just at ground level, leaving the nitrogen-bearing root nodules of these legumes in the ground to fertilize the rows for next year's garden.

By this time of year, in our low-pesticide garden, the plants were heavily infested with bean beetle larvae...1/4 inch squash colored bristly piercing-sucking machines. Once the plants and their diners were gathered and piled near the compost area, I applied the lethal biological bean beetle elimination method I call the Teva Stomp...180# of mechanical compression, the gardening version of stomping the grapes for juice. Very satisfying, and quite effective, if yukky.

Note to self: NEVER walk through the squash plants in short pants, you idiot! Those things on the leaf stalks that appear to be stinging hairs...ARE stinging hairs! Fortunately, the antidote was close at hand.

Touch-me-not, also called Jewel Weed, a species of wild Impatiens, is well known (among some circles) for the soothing nature of its juicy stem, for bee stings and to soothe the itchy sting of stinging nettle. It grows within a stone's throw of the garden, and I crushed the stems and rubbed it on the backs of my knees where it hurt the worst. Note to self: Jewel Weed works for the new condition called 'squash dermatitis'.

Maybe on Friday, I will post the large version of my little millipede 'bullet' here...I think you'll like the image, even if you are not best friends with millipedes.

Posted by fred1st at August 7, 2002 06:53 AM
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