Friday, July 5, 2013

Little Problems in a Great Big World

It is late and I have awakened in the night. Because my young dogs think this is playtime , I have given each a rawhide chew. As usual, Gracie is under my feet, enjoying very much. She still growls from time to time to tell Brody, whose jaws are much stronger, that she won't relinquish her chew when he finishes his early, and in case he wonders, Mother will protect her. All true.

It is only fair.

My family is going away for 11 days, and I am in charge of the chickens, the cats and the injured, half-grown chicken recovering nicely in the rabbit hutch. The other chickens tried to peck (her?) to death and almost succeeded.

Because of the long, temperate spring,  their garden went in early and is almost finished.  A factor is the third year infestation of grasshoppers, eating plants to the ground. Not all. They don't like Four O"Clocks, they do love roses. They like one breed of okra more than another. They annihilated the climbing green beans. So far, they are leaving the climbing winter squash alone. They really like the antique tomatoes.

I am 100 yards away. I have thousands of young, hundreds of middle and mature grasshoppers. I'll be testing my theory that if I shake the leaves with sulphur, the grasshoppers will find something else to eat. I planted lantana because I like them, but also because I heard grasshoppers didn't. Seems true. Just discovered they love marigolds, and those are eaten to the ground. I have sweet potato vines under the Bradford pear with day lilies. They don't attack the day lilies. They love the vines. So far, they aren't into my tomatoes, planted much later than next door and only now bearing.  They don't like iris, ate my arbor vitae to the bark last year and it has rebounded.  I have two knockout roses, which are impervious to most pests and diseases. But  grasshoppers ate one to the ground last year.  I have a replacement and don't want to lose it.

Funny  thing. I  know an avid gardener about  a mile and a half  north, and she has no grasshoppers.  Another, about  a mile and a half east, has it worse than I do.

Good news: grasshoppers aren't a plague across North Texas.  Bad news: they are pests in my immediate area. Wish I dared let the chickens loose, because they love to eat grasshoppers.  Nope, I daren't.  (love that word).

My grandcats already come over to visit, and always run up for petting when I walk next door. While they have a pet door, they much prefer a human opening The Big Door.  After I get water, food , and belly rubs for them for the future 11 days, I will reign high until their REAL family comes home.

I can live with that.


clairz said...

We have drought, you have plagues of grasshoppers. I'm so sorry that you have done all the work of gardening only to see things chewed to the ground,

I wish I could let my chickens have the run of the yard. I wonder if they would eat all the ants? However, as soon as I let them out into their own little chicken yard the hawks came by to see if perhaps I'd left any gaps in the netting over the top of the yard. I hadn't, but they would be back in a flash for a chicken feast if they ever found an opening.

Always the struggle with nature, yet we persist, don't we?

charlotte g said...

Yes, we do. And BTW, chickens will eat ticks, chiggers grasshoppers, and occasionally, each other, but to my knowledge, they don't eat ants.