Friday, May 21, 2010

Geraniums intoxicate Japanese beetles.


Thanks to my fellow blogger at Going Yard, I found this article on the sad, sad situation of habitual narcotic use on the family lives of Japanese Beetles. They just never learn.

Hatred.... It's a strong word. But I feel it for these beetles. I like this article.

Geraniums intoxicate Japanese beetles.

Several bites of a garden-variety geranium geranium, common name for some members of the Geraniaceae, a family of herbs and small shrubs of temperate and subtropical regions. Their long, beak-shaped fruits give them the popular names crane's-bill (for species of the genus Geranium, , and a Japanese beetle falls to the ground in a stupor stupor that lasts some 8 hours. It's hardly a great way to avoid predators or get on with beetle business, like reproduction. Yet researchers now find that the beetles never learn. They choose geraniums over perfectly good linden leaves and get paralyzed day after day.

Researchers described the knockout effect on Japanese beetles in 1929, notes Daniel A. Potter. He and David W. Held, both of the University of Kentucky Coordinates: The University of Kentucky, also referred to as UK, is a public, co-educational university located in Lexington, Kentucky. in Lexington, have studied beetle learning and the sad effects of geranium intoxication intoxication, condition of body tissue affected by a poisonous substance. Poisonous materials, or toxins, are to be found in heavy metals such as lead and mercury, in drugs, in chemicals such as alcohol and carbon tetrachloride, in gases such as carbon monoxide, and on family life. Their results will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata.

In theory, insects with wide-ranging tastes are the most likely to learn to avoid noxious foods, according to the few studies that have tested this idea, Potter says. However, Japanese beetles eat nearly 300 U.S. plant species but don't avoid geraniums.

The flower petals, especially from plants in full sunlight, seem the most narcotic narcotic, any of a number of substances that have a depressant effect on the nervous system. The chief narcotic drugs are opium, its constituents morphine and codeine, and the morphine derivative heroin.

See also drug addiction and drug abuse. , Potter reports. His most extensive tests were of red geraniums, but flowers of white, coral, and other colors also slammed the beetles. So did a water-soluble leaf extract.

A geranium "is like candy to them," Potter says. Beetle pairs offered a choice picked geranium flowers so often that they laid just half as many eggs as pairs provided only with linden leaves. Intoxication is dangerous for the beetle, but is it fun? Potter won't speculate.

Geraniums intoxicate Japanese beetles.

I'll be shopping for White Geraniums.



Getting Closer


Sweetheart's Mom mentioned a particular type of plantain that is even better than the regular one I am familiar with.

Here is what we've been using.

And I'm wondering if this is what you were talking about, SM?

We tried to get as early a start as we could yesterday, to beat the heat. With the rest of the metal sheeting in place...

...we turned our attention to digging the French drain above the deck.

Adding a little water to make sure there is a drop in level toward the direction we want the water to flow.

That ended up being perfect. Now we had to direct all the rainwater collection off away from the pool dugout. I made this up myself, so I sure am hoping it will work. LOL

We tried to save the turf for reuse.

Now digging out a bit deeper for the pipe.

I forgot to take photos of laying the special pipe for French drains, but if you go to my tag on French Drains you can see how to do that there.

It's finally ready.

Now to cut the PVC pipe at a difficult angle. Directly above the deck is the normal French drain type of pipe. But out in the open lawn we have to have something that will support the tractor for mowing, and some way to have it out there without it being in the way of the mower blade. This is what I came up with.

Normally, cutting PVC is easy with a variety of tools, but the size and thickness made all of those ways difficult without special tools which we do not have.

I had heard of using string to cut PVC, and we found this video...


So off we went to work some magic!

Only it didn't work. The string kept breaking.

I have no idea why. I thought it could have been because we had to get a start on the pipe with the hacksaw since the cut was to be at such an angle, but we also tried it straight across on uncut pipe and that did not work either.

After about 50 failures, I was back on the internet trying to come up with solutions. But while I was gone, Michael did it the old fashioned way. Hack away at something until it doesn't exist any more.

It took a while, but it was effective. Awesome!

So we laid it in, attaching it to the drain pipe.

We tried to get it as flush with the ground as we could. The problem is that in order for it to be perfectly flush, the angled pipe cut would have to be a good three feet long. That is not feasable.

And here it is, all covered up with the remaining gravel from the pile in the driveway, and utilizing only a couple of turf squares we'd set aside. The grass will quickly grow over the remaining earth. We'll have to mow over it carefully to get a feel for how high to have the blades.

Lunchtime!!! Michael went for the dark lettuce in the herb garden, and I went to pick lettuce from the shaded bed.

Some of you wanted updates on this particular project. They are doing fine. They are a little spindly, just getting a bit of dappled light in the afternoon, but they taste wonderful. The leaves are more delicate and tear easily.

I had also taken a couple of pear tree trunk suckers, put rooting hormone on them, and stuck them in this very light and rich soil mix. They seem to be doing well after a month.

We washed our lunch outdoors, enjoying the cool water from the hose.

Then we took turns spelling each other on mowing the place, and continuing digging out the caved in banks around the edge.

I am hoping the more gradual slope of the banks in combination with the redirection of water flow will keep erosion to a minimum. I don't want to buy retaining wall stones as they are too expensive.

Now to focus on the deck. We checked to see where we were at for level on all the boards. Of course, to make it perfect we would have to dismantle the entire thing and redo it. Not gonna happen.

So instead we reset the blocks and added a support post where necessary.

And that was where we had to stop. The deck boards have shrunk significantly over the years and we needed another board to add in, as well as new deck screws. We grabbed those really quick on the way to Men's group and Ladies Night.

Can you pick yourself off the floor at the cost of screws? It kills me!



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Black Rot and the Swimming Pool


After days of fall in mud puddles and traipsing through poison ivy, all of my shoes needed a good run through the washer and dryer.

Funny how kids today have never heard of doing that. I guess when we were kids it was something we always had to do, but these days either kids don't get their shoes that dirty, or they they just toss them out. I'm not sure. But YES! You CAN wash tennis shoes.

You need sustenance for all that relacing though.

Oh, and just because...

This is a great book. Don't let the cartoonish cover throw you. This book is just as good for adults as it is for the younger set.

I am always astonished at the lack of common sense I see in this world, and this book will help you learn to spot it, name it, and answer to it when you are faced with it.

The fig trees were pruned again. We began by cutting out all the bare wood on the first tree.

But we saw that some of that bare wood still had some life in it. It was hard to judge how high up that life went.

So we ended up leaving the rest at shoulder height.

Black rot has indeed made an appearance in our grapes. Michael went out and plucked off all the leaves with spots on them.

I know I should thin the clusters, but it's astonishing just how many there are.

Blackberries just about to bloom.

Maybe these are baby kiwi fruit? I hope so!

Time to take the pool deck apart.

Need to clear the earth away from the posts. None of that was there originally, just a bank. It had all eroded down and piled against the original pool.

Our stash at the back of the place comes in handy. We had torn down a barn a few years ago, and it still yields good stuff.

Part of it up!

Office cleaning awaited us, so we called it quits before we got much further.

A good day's work!



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thrills, Chills, and Spills


CHILLS ~ It was actually a little chilly at times yesterday. We LOVED it! When you've got all this hard work to do in the spring, it sure is nice to not be in summer-like temperatures for a change.

THRILLS ~ We finally got the first half of the garden beds covered in old hay for mulch. We got to where we could, for the most part, lift an entire round bale and put it into the little trailer. They are smaller ones, and being rotted a bit, they are not so big, but it sure saved time and got our trips to pick them up and offload them down to about 20 or 30 minutes each.

Now we just have to finish planting the beds. Today!

THRILL TWO ~ Michael is now battling contact dermatitis along with me. Ah, the pleasures of woodsy undergrowth!

We also need to apply the mulch to the herb garden. The early lettuce bed is taken care of so far. I hope the cooler soil and additional moisture retention will encourage sweeter leaves than they've been producing. But these, in combination with the very light and sweet leaves from the bed I planted under the woods, make really wonderful salad greens.

SPILLS ~ Another hour of strawberry picking, could have been less but my feet were so tired it felt like longer.

Michael had gone on before me and, when I arrived, I found he had been awfully, AWFULLY, choosy about the quality of the berries he kept.

That's him, trying to look ashamed.

My lovage is going all crisp on me. Wonder why....?

You think you've gotten away with your lackadaisical berry picking, don't you!

What comes around, goes around. LOL

Nothing like picking them twice!

We called it quits early to meet some friends at the theater for Cheap Tuesday, and saw "How to Train Your Dragon" ~ really enjoyable movie!

Heading back over to process all those berries into the freezer...



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More To This Life...

... than mulching. I hope - eventually. It's the slogging through tedious work over a long period of time to reach a goal that teaches us patience and virtue and diligence and all that sort of stuff. So this mulch is actually molding my character; making me a better person.

At least that's how I choose to look at it.

Michael found another location of moldy oldy hay the neighbor had told us about, so off we went. I love having my breath taken away almost daily by the skies around here. Almost always something beautiful going on over our heads.

Heading out the driveway, above the herb beds.

And hitting the road...

Yup, lines are still there. But fading. I hope they repaint them again, or I might just have to run out there with a few cans of spray paint. But it might take a while.

Show Off!

The woods are gorgeous.

And now a spot of sun.

Michael's head leads the way.

Hmmmm... hope that grass is dry enough.

A little still life.

Anyone hear the Little House on the Prairie theme?

Our quarry.

Why, oh, why do I take so many pictures?

Back to helping Michael. Not as much poison ivy here.

We got about 4 or 5 loads like this yesterday.

The wild blackberries are always a couple of weeks earlier than our cultivated berries.

And when we go outside lately, there is this heavenly perfume of honeysuckle that permeates the air all around. It grows everywhere and it's always fun to stop and sip some nectar.

Show Off!

Here are the results of our mulching labors so far.

And what we need to finish today, plus the herb beds as well, I hope.

Yikes, the weeds are already coming in thick where we've not had time to build garden beds!

So we better get at it!