• 25Jul

    I’ll save my complaints for last. I just finished watching a DVD of The Love for Three Oranges, one of my favorite operas by my very favorite composer, Prokofiev. I had an unexpected surgery that turned out to be a little more extreme than I anticipated (nothing serious, just an infection, but it required surgery and the healing process is tedious and difficult). It’s pretty much kept me out of the gardens, and that’s not good for my spirit.

    So I was feeling kind of low, and DH came home with a pile of DVDs, just pure glory. The Love for Three Oranges, Lakme and Madame Butterfly, plus some gorgeous ballets with my two loves: Barishnikov and the late Gudunov. It’s been a real feast for my soul. Madame Butterfly is my other favorite opera; it’s the first opera I can remember as a child, with my mother as the star. She’s a retired opera singer, and one of her sisters is as well (not retired, still sings). i used to dress up in Mom’s Madame Butterfly kimono and wig and float around the house. Thinking of the way that silk felt on my skin just makes me all dreamy and happy.

    Although it’s sucked not being outside very much, this pile of DVDs really helped. Thanks Tony**** You’re the best!

    The garden, despite its lack of TLC, is doing okay. A few weeds that need to be pulled, but they’ll still be there when I’m ready. It’s looking as if my wounds may keep me from doing any real work the rest of the summer, although I continue to hold out hope. It’s just day by day.

    I had set up my soaker system, and that’s been a lifesaver. All I have to do it go outside and turn the water on, then it waters itself. I’m very funny about the garden; I don’t like others in it, including family. They think things are weeds, and they aren’t. They’re important flowers for my butterflies. I mix everything up, so I have flowers amongst the vegetables and my garden is like someone’s messy desk: don’t touch it. I know where things go and I have my system. I know Sally Jean Cunningham would understand and approve.

    So things are coming in, several crookneck squash, tomatoes, lettuce, peas and greens are long gone, and have even started tossing Italian frying peppers into the freezer. And despite the lack of attention, my eggplants are looking good. The groundhog got one, but the others are moving along just fine. I’ve got white ones and purple ones. No sign of lavenders yet. Oh, and cukes. I’ve got three kinds growing. One variety is coming in now, and these curl at the end. Very odd, but they’re sweet. And yes, MELONS! Baby melons! My honeydew died. I think a borer got it. I had injected spinosa into the stems of my cucurbits to kill off any larvae, but haven’t been able to keep that up. Also have not been doing my kaolin spraying.

    I’m just having to accept things as they come this year, and I really missed picking the Japanese beetles off things and drowning them. I see where they did some damage, but they left my hibiscus alone. I had moved it to a different spot.

    I hope by the time my monarch cats arrive, I’ll feel more like spending time outside. Also, one of the antibiotics I’m on comes with a strong warning about sunlight, so I have to take that into consideration as well. I’m fair-skinned to begin with, although I do have a nice bottle of 30 SPF lotion.

    I thought I’d use the down time to edit and upload some of the movies I’ve taken, but the medications have had me in a stupor. I feel like the summer is drifting by and I’m kind of missing it.

    Now, my complaint. I hadn’t seen my neighbor, the one I call Grandma (because I can’t remember her name…lol; she’s in her mid 70s and has lots of great grandkids). I had told her about the surgery beforehand because I specifically did NOT want any company. She sometimes brings baked treats, which is very sweet of her. (And man, can she bake!)

    But she caught me outside yesterday as I was turning off my soaker hose. She said she’d been banging on both front and back doors, plus windows since the day after the surgery. Ummmmmm. Grrrrrr. I was SLEEPING. In a half-COMA.

    At least I never heard it, so didn’t have to answer the door, but geesh.

    That’s my minor complaint. Here’s my big one. She said she’d been keeping an eye on my garden for me, said she was just sick that my flowers were drying up.

    Ackkkkkk! No they weren’t. Even when I couldn’t go outside and turn on the water, I had Tony do it. Nothing was drying up. I know that “keeping an eye on things” meant coming over and snooping in my gardens every day. I know she does that, because not so long ago, she asked what one plant was (it was lovage), and she couldn’t see that from her yard. It’s hidden by my huge bamboo grove. She had to physically walk into our yard, around the bamboo and SNOOP.

    Yes, I know. I’m like a male dog with his fire hydrant. It’s a hazard of being an only child.

    And then the coup de grĂ¢ce: she said “Your squash is in terrible shape.”

    ::::scream::::

    No, it’s not. It’s just fine.

    Here’s my message to all: it is acceptable to have a certain amount of ornamental damage to plants from bugs. This is my way; I learned this from Sally Jean and Paul James, and if it’s not hurting the plants or crops, you need to let it go. Once I learned that, gardening became so much less stressful. And get this – this year I hardly even have any flea beetles.

    A few dead leaves on the squash isn’t the end of my crop.

    But this will tell you everything you need to know. Her granddaughter put in a huge vegetable garden (my neighbors have a big yard, the granddaughter’s house apparently doesn’t). It was a beautiful garden, and had two rows of spectacular tomatoes. The tomatoes were COVERED in huge tomatoes. There must have been 200 tomatoes on those plants. Gorgeous fruits.

    They pulled ALL OF THE PLANTS up. Why? Because some of the branches on the bottom of the plants had turned brown. It was nothing but a little blight or something. I’ve had that before, and the fruits still do just fine. I saw those plants – it was nothing major, just a few brown branches. And they ripped them all out.

    They also pulled all of their sweet corn because “it didn’t look right.” Good grief.

    Me, I wait until something is DEAD before I pull it. (Unless I know it’s a wilt that might spread, and then I’ll pull it.) I just can’t believe they aborted all those beautiful tomatoes. This was after nearly killing that poor groundhog with a bow and arrow because he stole a few fruits.

    These neighbors drive me nuts sometimes, but I feel guilty for kvetching. Overall, they’re good people and good neighbors. She’s just a little too nosy and always telling me something’s dying in my garden. Before my squash, it was my peppers, saying they were rotten.

    No, those particular peppers turn brown right before they turn…BRIGHT RED.

    Filed under: Organic Gardening

    Posted: July 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

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