space-invaders-clipart-1Sue gave me the idea for today’s post and I’m so grateful because I hadn’t truly thought of a good subject. I know, I know – over thinking again. Here’s how it works. Before I start blogging I ask Sue if she has any photos for me from the day, if so- she sends them over and talks about the happenings of the day. If not, we talk about the happenings of the day and I go take a couple shots of the subject matter. Then I try to come up with an overall “theme”. If you’re a regular reader, you know that sometimes


man sized gopher invasion

that works and sometimes it just really doesn’t. It’s all an adventure, right?! Today, Sue dug out old holes and dug some new holes for the trees we plotted the other day. So, I went out to take a photo of her hard work (believe me, digging holes in this earth is very difficult – fraught with rocks of all sizes and simply hard packed dirt) and she said, “Looks like a huge gopher invasion.” Ta da! a title is born. Because we have had some invasions lately, of odd things. Not to mention a huge gopher.

aphidsInvasion Phase I: Aphids. Yuck. I have never really liked aphids, I mean – who does? – well, besides ants. I’m used to fighting them on my rose bushes and sometimes on the broccoli or cabbage, but they have really been a nuisance this year in all the vegetables. We’re trying to grow our vegetables organically, without pesticides and other chemicals, so I’m not going to spray them with anything horrible. My mom has always told me that they don’t like to be wet, so spray things down with the hose in the evening and in a few days they’ll die off or go away. So, I started doing that at the first sight of the little buggers. They showed up on the return cabbage in the kitchen herb garden and I thing I actually got them under control there. Then they migrated tot he Gabion Wall Gardens, with a vengeance. They are in the cabbage, the broccoli, the kale, the Swiss chard, I even found them on the tomato plant. They stay off most of the herbs and they haven’t migrated to the cucumber, egg plant, nor the yams – as of yet. Now that it’s raining some every day, maybe they’ll just disappear. At one point, they were on the kale so bad that I purchased this organic essential oil spray for pests, specifically for aphids. Liberally sprayed it on the kale one evening. It did take care of the bugs, but I should have washed it off in the morning or something because, during the next day, the sun was so hot on the leaves that they basically fried. I picked them all off, but jeesh. The plants are still growing, but the aphids are still there – in smaller numbers. We haven’t been eating these, just feeding them to the chickens, and they don’t care if the aphids are there. Just makes me irritated that I can’t get ahead of them.

Microsoft Word - Squash Bug Network Article.docxInvasion Phase II: Squash beetles. These guys give me the creeps. Last year they completely decimated all the squash plants that I had planted in the trench and that were producing so well. Again, I just couldn’t get on in front of their invasion. This year, I didn’t plant anything yet, except the cucumber that was a gift, they haven’t shown up there, and I haven’t seen them anywhere else on this side. Dustin did plant some pumpkins before he left – which are thriving under our care, by the way – and I did see a few early on, but lately nothing. Sue and I had talked about spreading some diatomaceous earth around them, but I don’t recall if she did that or not. Hopefully, we’ll not see so many of them now. I do not like them, but I must say that they have some really interesting origami-like folding wings. You can kinda make them out in this photo.

asiatic beetleInvasion Phase III: Asiatic Beetle. This was a weird thing. I was out later than usual one night, watering the trees in the nursery area, and this low hum started up. It got louder and louder, and then I was getting pelted by hard little bugs that couldn’t fly worth a damn. I  sprayed at the trees and hordes came flying up. I thought maybe they were something swarming and would be gone in a bit. The next morning, no sign. A couple of days later, I was watering again and noticed that the trees were being stripped! Those dang beetles were eating everything. That’s when I covered them all with the tulle. I believe I talked about doing that, right before I left for Cali. I think they have moved on, or gone through their life cycle or something, because they haven’t been around. I left the covers on the trees, though, just in case.

japanese-beetle-identification-350Invasion Phase IV: Today’s monster invasion was Japanese Beetles. I didn’t experience this one, but Sue said that they were covering the oak trees – everywhere, and eating all the new leaves down to the branches. It was so bad that she was looking for traps. I didn’t even know they made traps for them, we only saw them occasionally on my folks farm. Come to find out, Arizona doesn’t allow the traps here. You can buy the bait at Walmart, but not the traps – interesting. When I came home, Sue said it seemed that the invasion was over, they moved on or died or something. It caused me to investigate a bit. Seems that they are rare in this area, and even rare west of the Mississippi. We certainly had them in spades today! Seems the best way to get rid of them, for the future, is to use a combination of beneficial nematodes and milky spore, which I had never heard of before. When Sue talked to the horticulturist at Ace, he told her that it is incredibly odd to have them like that. So, maybe this is just a freak “bloom”. We’ll keep an eye on it and see. It might be worth the price of nematodes, especially if the beetles can strip our trees bare.

963_maxI’m sure we’ll have other phases of invasion – or had; I didn’t mention the grasshoppers from last year. We’ve been told they come in waves and last year was the largest wave, this year they’ve been minimal. Gophers, which I thought would not be an issue here at all, have killed several trees that were planted before we came and are at least 5-7 years old. Now everything goes in a welded wire basket; however, one of our bald cypress trees that was doing incredibly well has had it’s roots gnawed off all around the basket and is rather stunted. I think I’ll put some fish emulsion and vitamin B on it this weekend and see if we can get it fixed up a bit. We had a squirrel in the yard for a while earlier this summer, but I haven’t seen him in a long while and we just had the one close by. Oh, and the mice! Mice in the chicken coop. Sue was living trapping them and getting 15 a day for a while. My admin at work was say she should sell them. They would be organically fed, farm raised, free range mice… someone must want those! So tell me, with what invaders are you doing battle? I’m interested to hear – especially if you’re in a different part of the country or the world! Let me know. Until next time, as always~
Thanks for reading.

Today’s Weather: Currently, rainy with a dusting of thunder and lightening. We’ve had almost an inch of rain this past week, according to our weather app, but it seems like it’s rained a bit more than that. .15″ in the last hour. Today’s high was 84°, currently (8:01pm) it is 68° and 80% humidity. We’re in for more of the same tomorrow: high of 85° overnight low of 65°, more rain with thunder and lightening.

Egg Report: Thursday – 0 goose, 0 duck, 32 chicken. Friday – 0 goose, 1 duck, 26 chicken eggs. We think that the four nudie hens are hiding their eggs somewhere, possibly under the pomegranate tree. We haven’t had any from them for a couple of days. We’re not sure why the others are down in count today. Maybe they aren’t fond of the thunder?