Monthly Archives: August 2010

Creatures Great and Small

This year I am being tested. To be quite honest, I’m not sure how much more I can take. Seriously, I can’t win! My last home the most I had to worry about was blight and Japanese Beetles, which I have here as well. Although the beetles weren’t near as bad as they have been in the past.
First it was bacterial wilt which was being spread by cucumber beetles. Wipes out ALL of my cucurbits.
Then I have an infestation of Eastern Cicada Killer Wasps which are reported to be non aggressive, unless you are me. I can not tell you how many times I have been CHASED out of my garden by the females!  Probably doesn’t help that I am allergic to bees and I’m sure they can smell my fear! But seriously, can you blame me? Just look at the size of these suckers!
They’re quite a beneficial insect as they control the Cicada population. This year I have tons of Cicadas so I can only imagine their numbers if the wasps were not around. But that still does not mean I like them!
The beginning of August my cat unexpectedly dies and a bunny up and moves into my garden. Decides it’s now his personal smorgasbord. I’m so not cool with that or his ever mounting piles of poo!

 

He chows down in my garden till I get too close to his tomato safe haven and then bolts out OVER the rabbit fence and into the mess of cone flowers behind the tool house!
This week I have discovered Tomato Hornworms. This tomato shows some of the damage they do.
Nice Huh? At first I was picking them off and tossing them into the outside covered trash can. After a bit of research I’ve learned the white sacks covering their backs are actually braconid wasp pupae that eat them! Woo Hoo!!
I have more caterpillars than I can count!
I believe these two are Black Swallowtail in their first instar.
maybe a Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar
Tiger Swallowtail cat in my fennel
Cabbage Worm

 

And when you have lots of caterpillars usually a few weeks later you have tons of butterflies!
What I thought was a Comma Butterfly is probably a Question Mark Butterfly…thanks Tree!
Tiger Swallowtail
American Painted Lady
maybe a female Black Swallowtail
I think this one is a Spicebush Swallowtail.
possibly a male Black Swallowtail
Monarch Butterfly
I have Colorado Potato Beetles on my eggplant
Scoliid Wasp in my mint.
pretty Ailanthus Webworm Moths
and my reason for growing so many sunflowers…the American Goldfinch
I’ll be back soon with a post on whats growing in my fall garden as well as whats being harvested from my summer garden!

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Sawing Down Sunflowers

Yes, you read it right. Today, I actually had to saw down several of my sunflowers as if they were trees. Four of my mammoth sunflowers reached a record height, for me anyway. They were estimated to have grown to an astonishing 14 feet. They just kept growing and growing and GROWING! You can see a picture of me standing next to one in this post.

They bloomed a while ago, so now their sad leafless heads were drooping and beginning to drop seeds. The time has come for them to be cut down. I have video of me sawing down the last one. I had to fight the urge to yell “Timber” each time! hehehe I also had to be careful as to not step on my newly planted zucchini and winter squash. I am giving it another go and pray that I don’t have a recurrence of bacterial wilt!

The cut heads are now drying on my potting table so that I may harvest the seeds for next year. Who knows maybe these are mutant mammoth sunflowers and will grow even larger next year!! I guess only time will tell!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Wordless Wednesday – Essence of Summer

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Filed under The Critters, Wordless Wednesday

Plum Crazy

Several weeks ago I ventured across the river to my cousin’s abode.  What were once thought to be flowering plum trees, turned out to be fruiting trees.  Score!  Fresh, sun-ripened, organic plums, ready for the pickin’.  Having never worked with plums I decided to explore my recipe possibilities.  I decided my kitchen adventure should be to make and can a spicy plum chutney, as well as plum conserves.  Both recipes came from Food.com, formerly Recipezaar.

Spicy Plum Chutney
makes approximately 6 half pints

4 quarts (about 6 cups) plums, pitted and chopped (I used my food processor)
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup onion chopped
2 Tbsp mustard seed
2 Tsp dried ginger
1 Tsp fresh grated ginger
1 Tsp salt
1 jalapeno, diced
3 cups vinegar (I used 1.5 apple cider and 1.5 white)

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thick, stirring constantly.  Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space and remove air bubbles; wipe rims and process in a BWB for 10 minutes.

Plum Conserves
makes approximately 6 half pints

5 cups plums, pitted and chopped (I used my food processor)
3 cups sugar
1 cup orange: peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup raisins
orange rind from one orange, finely sliced
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot except for pecans.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking until almost reaching gelling point, approximately 15 minutes at a rolling boil.  Add pecans and continue cooking, stirring 5 more minutes.  Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4″ head space and remove air bubbles; wipe rims and process for 15 minutes in a BWB.

Both recipes turned out deliciously awesome!

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Filed under Boiling-Water Bath Canning, Chutney, Vegan, Vegetarian

Wordless Wednesday – Harvest

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Mine is Bigger than Yours

Yep, that is me standing next to one of my truly MAMMOTH sunflowers! To put it in perspective, I’m two inches shy of being six-foot. This baby is one of three that I am estimating at being right around 14 feet!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Filed under Micro-farming