Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Buggy Day

What a beautiful day it was today.  Not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was a perfect 80 degrees with a slight breeze.  We got to the farm knowing we didn't have much to do.  We probably wouldn't have even made the trip today, except I read that if you leave the bug bags up too long, the dead bugs in the bottom start to rot and stink and chase away any new bugs drawn in by the lure.  Jeff gave me a choice before I looked at the bags.  Did I want to change the bags or whack weeds around 120 trees?  I opted for the bug it too late to change my mind?????  They weren't lying about the smell!!!!!!  OMG!  The aroma was that of rotten meat!  The bags were full to capacity with roiling, live bugs on top!

This was one of the most disgusting things I've done for a long while!  As I'm loosening this moving mass of bugs from the hangers, I'm being buzzed by incoming beetles.  Brings whole new meaning to Beetlemania!!!!  They were landing on my shirt and buzzing in my hair as I was trying to get the smelly bag of boiling bugs into a big, black garbage bag.  Ugh!  One down and three to go!  At the second location, after getting the bag off the hanger, I had images of the bugs in the garbage bag, escaping their prison in a massive cloud in my face.  I opened the bag cautiously, and, thank God, they were still in the little bag inside the big bag!!!!  I was now a bug bagging expert and proceeded to put new bags on the remaining two traps. Then I dragged about 2 pounds of dead and dying Japanese Beetles back to the truck.  I left them on the ground in the sun to bake them dead before we took them home to put them in the garbage.
While Jeff finished trimming around the trees, I checked in on the new pumpkins.  There's one that's basketball size and getting orange!!!!!  Another one is a little smaller and elongated.  They hold promise of being pretty big before the first frost!!!!

We had five Bluebird houses up this year and all were occupied.  We had Bluebirds in one, wrens in two and Sparrows and Swallows in the other two.  One Wren's nest had an abandoned egg in it.
While I was cleaning out the bird houses, a Bald Faced Hornet landed on the side of one and was munching the cedar wood off the side of the house.  I didn't think to get my camera out until he was gone.  Here's a couple of paths he chewed in the wood!!!!  Fascinating to watch, but I kept my distance.  They are a very big, heavy bodied, aggressive hornet and can sting repeatedly.  Not something I wanted to experience!!!!

We relaxed a bit down by the creek before packing up to head home.  That's when I discovered that my decision to leave the bag of bugs in the sun was a bad one!!!!!  I thought they smelled bad EARLIER!!!!  The stench was sooooooooo bad, we left them in a garbage can at a gas station!!!!
All in all, it was an easy day compared to the past few weekends.  We are taking the week of September 21 as a "vacation" and plan to camp there for a couple days and build the shed.  I will "shed" light on that week after it unfolds!!!  Have a great week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pumpkin Harvest

Saturday was a good trip to the farm.  The pumpkins were ready and we picked them all.........but much to my surprise, there were a couple NEW big jack-o-lanterns forming on the vines.  The vines had recovered amazingly well from the hail and put out new shoots and blossoms and the new "babies" were about soccer ball size already!!!!!  We may get a few more!
As you can see there's evidence of the hail damage......but that should just give a face another creepy dimension for Halloween!
We finally brought some Japanese Beetle traps with us.  These critters do MORE damage to the trees in July and August than anything out there!  Spraying really helps, but we decided to try these traps as an added control method.  As we assembled them on the tailgate of the truck, we started getting buzzed by a few of the bugs.  By the time we got the first two traps ready to hang, we had swarms of them flying around us.  One even dropped into the trap before we hung it!  When we hung the second set on the opposite side of the orchard, as I walked back toward Jeff hanging his, I could see a cloud of beetles in the corn taking flight to find the scent!  The bags look like they will hold about a quart of beetles.  I will bet they are full when we go back next weekend.
So, I wonder, what happens inside the bag on the trap?  You've lured these bugs to the trap with a powerful pheromone.  They drop into the bag below, still smelling this pheromone making them as amorous  as can be.  Now you have a bag FULL of horny bugs.  Do they just screw each other to death?  We'll find out!