Thursday, October 22, 2015

They're everywhere

Market List;
Grass Fed Lamb, Rainbow Cherry Mix Tomatoes, Super Food Salad Mix, Radishes and Tomatillos

About 10 days ago, the Cucumber beetles came out in droves. We had a few all summer, but kept in check with trap crops and hand picking. I like to use pig weed as a trap crop but Max pulled most of it out. Suddenly they were everywhere. Since then, everywhere you walk, they fly up in a cloud from their damage-doing activities. Two days ago I checked my Zinnias and my Dahlias and thought to myself that there would be enough for bouquets this week. Today, this is what I found. Major damage in such a short time. Like their name, they are very hard on cucumbers and their first choice of food. They are nasty little creatures that spread disease to cucumber and squash plants.  If you look closely you can see that Cucumber beetles look very similar to Lady Bugs except that they are a neon yellow/green color and slightly more elongated.
 And speaking of  Lady Bugs;


As many of you probably know, the Asian Lady Beetles landed on Tuesday. It's crazy, there are so many that they hit me in the back of the head as I  walk through the yard. To many they are an annoyance. I get into a heated discussion with my mother in law every year. She kills everyone she finds. She complains that they don't belong here. It's like bug racism. Ha!
It's all instinct to them though.
See in the 90's, these bugs were imported into the US to save the Citrus and Apple crops from Aphids and I guess they just like it here. About 8 or 9 years ago, they started flying into Missouri in October. I was wishing for them a couple of weeks ago as the Cucumber/Melon Aphids were sucking the life out of my lemon cucumber plants. I don't know exactly what attracts them but we get and I don't think I am exaggerating, millions. They fly into our house vents and our smokehouse and overwinter there. I feel kinda sorry for them really. We sweep up probably a hundred dead ones every week in one of our upstairs bedrooms. Seems like there is a new one in bed with me every night. They fly in and then they spend their whole lives trying to get out. I gathered some up last spring and took them to Vicki Lander's greenhouse to let them go there. I have a multi colored patio umbrella in my smoke house and when you pull back the folds, there are 1000's lined up end to end covering the umbrella fabric which probably reminds them of a flower. Any warm day and they start moving around trying to do what they are supposed to do. Mate, hatch babies that eat lots of Aphids and other soft bodied sucking insects on plants in the greenhouse or garden. They really are as invaluable as the cucumber beetles are destructive. Yesterday I was tapping them into a container to transplant into the Greenhouse where they can have a good meal of aphids and Scale.

So it's really weird but we are getting ready to lamb again already this year. Not sure what changed but this is the earliest we have ever had them and yes we usually run the rams with the ewes all season. Usually their heat starts late July to September which means December-March-ish lambs. But Sorrel is due any day now and there are others not far behind her. Last year we had one in November and I thought that was strange.

We're getting close to the end of the Famous Salsa. We managed to miss the frost last week but there is another one coming in on Thursday. Sooner or later it will get us and then no more tomatoes. 
I managed to make some Garlicky Chili Sauce today and spent the afternoon smoking tomatillos for another salsa.

See us Saturday at Tower Grove Park 8:00-12:30. Cortney should be back and believe it or not, we got a new tent. Maybe rain but it keeps moving out . We will have lemonade this week for you die hards.

God's Blessings on you and yours,


Sam and Bill

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