Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gardening and the Poor Souls

Yep, you are ugly my friend. Even St. Francis thinks so.

(Noah, did you just shout, "MY BAD" ?)

Bet you never thought you'd see a gardening post here, did ya?

At ease, folks, the "zucchini queen" has laid down her weapons (temporarily).

Yes, that means YOU, my dear neighbor who put the "DANGER! MINE FIELD!" poster up on my lawn, may freely step out onto your front porch once again without fearing a zucchini apocalypse.

Though, do be aware I planted some fall crops.

Just giving you a heads up.

But who really worries about tripping over spinach and sugar snap peas, right? It's the zucchini that folks run away from most of the time and here in the Northeast zucchini season is winding down. (Except for this ONE massive zucchini plant that WILL NOT DIE. It's kind of spooky actually.)

Have I told you that the souls in Purgatory LOVE people who garden?

Yep, they do. They LOVE 'em. Especially *squeamish* Catholic gardeners.

Really, you have to hand it to the Catholic Church:

NOTHING goes to waste.

And the poor souls just love it.

I mean, they get a "twofer" when I have to pluck BOTH slugs AND tomato hornworms out of my garden.

Tomato hornworms make me shudder. From a distance they look like little green puffed up cartoon character caterpillars but up close they are like something out of a B rated horror flick. Fat, gushy, and twice the size of a grown man's thumb.

The souls in Purgatory are tickled when I come face to face with Mr. or Mrs. Godzilla T Hornworm.

Me, I simply close my eyes, reach out a gloved hand, and PLUCK.

Pluck, yuck, offer up.

 Pluck, yuck, offer up.

There's a sacred rhythm to it, my friends.

I can still hear the echo of the poor souls now:

 "Bean beetles coming up next! And there are thousands! Yee haw!Fling those gates open, St. Peter!"



P.S. (Yuck! I mean, SHEESH, did you SEE the HORN on that thing?! And it looks like it has dozens of eyes on its sides to boot! God should count them as a "threefer", don't you think?)


34 comments:

  1. I just realized I'm sitting here grinning so widely at the computer screen that my face is starting to hurt. "Pluck, yuck, offer it up." :) I'm not a gardener, but I think your line might be just what I need to remind me to pray and offer other little annoyances. Yee haw, indeed!

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  2. Hi Nancy,
    Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Truly, there are *things* in gardens that would make your toes curl. Gives me nightmares...

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  3. Mary, you are so funny. I love this.

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  4. Thanks, Kathleen - life is funny sometimes!

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  5. I have never seen or heard of a tomato hornworm before. Actually, I think it's very beautiful, but I don't have to pluck it. I'm sure I'd find that distasteful, too. I would probably just let my tomato plant die if I had to do that. I am not very Franciscan at all.

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    1. Hi Anne,
      It's textures and colors are amazing, aren't they? Until you accidentally get up close and personal with one that is. Trust me, outer beauty fades quickly in this case...
      In other words, be very glad they like tomatoes not grapes ;)

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    2. I forgot to add:
      Love the Franciscan comment!

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  6. LOL! We are become gardeners more and more every year. Although it's my husband plucking the bugs. Great deal...he plucks and pulls...I eat.

    Much love dear sister...miss you on here!

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  7. "Great deal...he plucks and pulls...I eat." Come again?! Yes, they are beefy little critters, Theresa, but don't you think that's taking it a bit far?

    I can point you toward some alternate forms of protein if you'd like. Anything for a friend.

    Hugs! (Miss you too!)

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    1. Oh gosh...I walked right into that one. Well, have I told you I am eating more organic foods LOL!?

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    2. Sorry, Theresa ;) (Picture me here grinning and looking very unrepentant.)

      Lol on the organic foods comment! Good one!

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  8. As a fellow gardener, I have to laugh. In the seven years or so of gardening I've only had white flies and aphids on the tomatoes. It's a shame the birds don't go after those nice juicy worms. They blend in with the color of the leaves.

    What gets me are the squash beetles that attack the zucchini and ruin it. I'm laying off zucchini and other squash for the next two years to give the bugs a chance to die out. Sprinkling sulphur on plants discourages insects and I've used it the past two years.

    Bean beetles can be so ugly, but this fall I found some really pretty ones on the Asian long beans when I was tearing out the plants.

    I have to hand it to you, plucking bugs is something I can't handle. I just use the sulphur and spray with Neem. The poor souls are just going to have to make do with my other sacrifices! It's great, though, that you are thinking of them while tending to the plants.

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  9. Hi Barb, how are you? The bean beetles that attempted to decimate my beans this year WERE very pretty - iridescent green on their backs. Japanese beetles and there were thousands. Still, my bean crop was enormous, thankfully. I didn't have any trouble with squash beetles this year though I did lose one winter squash plant to vine borers. Next year I'm moving the plants that were in my side garden to the back one - that should confuse the critters a bit.

    I know you love gardening - glad your garden produced well this year! I love it too :)

    My garden was incredible this year because I remineralized the soil with rock dust. The soils are poor up here and doing this made an enormous difference. I still can't get over the difference between the yield this year compared to last. Who'd have thought something as simple as rock dust would make such a huge difference. Going to use it on my young fruit trees and bushes next year as well.


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    1. Great plans. I hadn't heard of rock dust. Living here in the Ozarks the soil is very rocky. The limestone breaks up easily. To have a decent garden we have to truck in good dirt, preferably with compost, or buy garden soil at Walmart. I crush my egg shells and blend them into the dirt for tomatoes. Makes for yummy fruit.

      Since our last two winters were really cold, the Japanese beetles have disappeared. If we have a third cold winter, it will take them awhile to return. The beetles on my long beans were the size of lady bugs and colored with turquoise and green. I've never seen them before. Ants love the long beans.

      Happy gardening!

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    2. Hi Barb,
      We have rocky soil too - no limestone though. I'm guessing your soil 's ph is much higher than ours. The soil here is very acidic.

      For my raised gardens I imported soil. I get a half soil, half compost mixture from the town next to us. It's pretty inexpensive thankfully. When I use our own soil I REALLY have to amend it or nothing will grow well. The rock dust helped a lot.

      You grow asparagus beans, right? I haven't tried growing them yet but I'd like to. (Though we have LOTS of ants!)

      Good idea about the eggshells! Thanks, Barb!

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  10. Oh but they taste so nice ... the zucchinis I mean, not the bugs!

    You did not say what you do when you pick the slugs and hornworms. Do you squash them with your fingers until they're dead? I bet it's a nice squelchy sound they make as they pop!

    Here in the UK we kill slugs by placing small plastic beakers near the plants with beer in them. The beer attracts the slugs and they drown in it.

    As for the hornworms, just place a large flat stone or tile next to the tomato plants. On the flat stone mix fine sugar and pepper. The sugar attracts the worms. They breathe in the pepper and sneeze knocking their heads on the stone and die. Works every time.

    Honest!

    God bless.

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  11. Hi Victor,
    Now THAT'S classic!! Okay, off to try your hornworm "recipe"...

    Or not...lol. But what a hilarious picture you painted in my head!

    You can't squash hornworms. Well, I take that back...you could I guess but only if you have a very strong stomach.

    And heart.

    Zucchini queen banishes the slugs and hornworms from their garden kingdom and sets them loose way in the backyard. Well, my husband does this actually since I can't carry them without getting the heebie- jeebies. Good man that husband of mine :)

    Thanks for the laugh!

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    1. If you banish them to the backyard they WILL come back. If you don't want to kill them then toss them over the fence onto your neighbor's garden. It's the Christian thing to do ... sharing and all that!

      God bless.

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    2. Yeah but our yard is big - tomatoes are done by the time they make it back ;)

      You may have a point about the sharing thing though!

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    3. Victor, I DID suggest them to a fellow blogger on Facebook as an alternative pizza topping but looking at her answer I don't think my suggestion went over very well. She has an outdoor pizza oven and it goes well with your sugar and pepper idea ;)

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  12. You're a real trooper to actually handle those things, Mary! However, over here, that stunning creature would be thought of as cute and cuddly ;-)

    It's my guess that the little guests who visit our outdoor dunnies have played a vital role in the redemption of many a convict - and the reprobate generations that have followed them :-D

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  13. Hi Vicky,
    Can I send them your way then? And before I go any further:
    What exactly is a dunnie?
    Because I may agree but first I need to find out what a dunnie is. And are you talking about the hideous spiders that you mentioned on your blog in the past? If you are I agree that our hornworms are cute and cuddly in comparison :)

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    1. Dunny is Australian for toilet. Either the room or the seat itself. When inhabited by spiders it is called "AAAAAHHH !!!"

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    2. Thanks Victor, I thought that might be it. I agree, definitely an AAAAAHHHH moment there! Especially with the type of spiders Vicky has mentioned in the past. No wonder she thinks I'm a wimp ;)

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  14. Mary, I got quite a chuckle out of your post!!! That was funny!

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    1. Thanks Mallory, glad you got a good laugh out of it. And I know everyone probably thinks I am kidding around like usual but certain bugs really DO give me the heebie-jeebies and I DO offer it up. Why waste anything, right?

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  15. Funny post Mary! (A good lesson, though, to offer up more prayers - even coinciding with less-than-enjoyable activities...)

    God Bless you.

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  16. Thanks, Michael - there are lots of things we have to do that are less than pleasant. Honestly, God is good and anything handed to Him with love (okay, plus a bit of creepy crawly fear) is pleasing, right?

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  17. Hi Mary! Ah, so much 'offering it up' involved in your gardening. Good for you! At least you turn a negative right into a positive.
    I had these gross bugs on my roses. My brother said I had to pick them off and drown them in water and liquid soap. Shudder. I did it and saved the rose bush, but I should have offered it up! I will next time.
    Keep on being intrepid Mary. The bugs will fear you and the souls will cheer you :)
    Ceil

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  18. Hi Ceil! I offer up the good parts of gardening too and most of it is good. Gardening is so peaceful and I love puttering around in it. I intersperse flowers with my veggies to draw the bees :)
    I drop bad bugs in water and liquid soap too! Not the hornworms though. I just don't have the heart, as pesky as they are. Glad you saved your roses!

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  19. "Pluck, yuck, offer up."

    I love it! I almost wish these garden bugs made me squeamish. Haha!

    I just found your blog and I really like it.

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  20. "Pluck, yuck, offer up."

    I love it! I almost wish these garden bugs made me squeamish. Haha!

    I just found your blog and I really like it.

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  21. Thank you, Molly. I have a crazy sense of humor! Glad you liked my post!

    Garden bugs don't make you squeamish? What about spiders and snakes?

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