Monday, July 01, 2013

Gardening

After nine days vacationing following a week or two of deck reconstruction (during which we ignored our lawn and garden), we were greeted by a veritable jungle when we arrived home. We ignored it all day again yesterday, due to its being the sabbath, but took a machete to it with vigor and vim this morning (after a luxurious post-vacation sleep in, of course). And, actually, we don't own a machete so what we actually took to it was a lawn mower and a garden hoe.

Andrew spent nearly three hours mowing the lawn because we have a rinky-dink (but easy on our wallet and the environment) reel lawn mower. Grass spiders, large and small, were fleeing before the blades. And then a ginormous, muscular, hulking spider ambled out from the wild weeds and sought refuse on a pile of neglected deck stuff.



She's some sort of wolf spider. I know it's a girl because she's lugging an egg sac half her size around with her. We caught her for further inspection. Carrying the jar around gave me the heebee-jeebees.

That's Andrew's hand, not mine.
She didn't appear too happy to be trapped in our jar, but just look at her mouth. It's huge!



We were going to dispose of her in some way, or at least release her a thousand miles or so away from the house, but then I read about how helpful wolf spiders are, hunting down pesky things like ticks (I'm a lot more thankful for grass spiders since discovering that tick on Benjamin's leg) and small frogs (I'm not even joking—wolf spiders have been known to hunt small animals, not just insects). And they're apparently rather friendly, only biting when provoked.

I'm not sure about their venom. It's either less toxic than a bee sting or requires hospitalization. The internet can be so fickle sometimes!

We meant to release her later in the day but we forgot so she's spending the night in the jar because there's no way I'm releasing a wolf spider, known for their hunting skills, in the dark. At least she has her egg sac for company, right?



Karen's father was all about educational opportunities for his children and would do crazy things like shoot a cow in their yard and then butcher it right there in front of them. He'd put the stomach into a pit and then throw sharp objects at them until they exploded, revealing the stomach contents, or would attach a garden hose to the lungs and then breath into the hose to make the lungs expand and contract. He also kept bees, so he was pretty much fearless.

One day he found a black widow spider and instead of killing it he collected it in a jar, poked some holes on the lid and set it on the kitchen counter for the children to...enjoy. Somehow he also collected the spider's egg sac and overnight the kitchen was filled with hundreds of poisonous spiderlings because although the adult black widow couldn't fit through the air holes, the tiny, though equally toxic, baby spiders could.

Karen's mother was not a happy camper.

We could totally leave our spider in the kitchen with air holes in the jar lid, though, because wolf spiders carry their young on their back for a full season before sending them off into the wide world. Can you imagine having hundreds of little spiders crawling all over your body? It's probably not so bad if you a) are a spider and b) are their mother, but still.

In other, less arachnophobic news, would you like to know how my garden grows?

We have sunflowers gaining height on our shed. We have little cobs of corn forming. We have tomatoes ripening left and right (though have only harvested three so far). Our cucumbers and melons are doing who knows what—but they're all over the place and have both male and female flowers out so I figure that's a good sign (and just in time for the hottest, driest part of the summer). I'm having a hard time keeping the garden inside its fence, to be honest.


Our potted plants are doing just fine as well. We got a few carrots from one of our pots. Our potted carrots are doing better than the ones in our garden...probably because they aren't competing with all the foliage we have going on in there. We harvested a few carrots to eat with lunch this afternoon.


Miriam picked the smallest one of the bunch:



The girls were excited to eat them "just like rabbits!"

I think we're going to try carrots again after things cool down a bit. I've read more about how to please them and think we could have a better harvest if I planted them better. Live and learn.

I'm excited about my flowers! I spent quite a while pulling weeds in the flower beds while Andrew laboured over the lawn (things do like to grow out here). Next year we'll definitely be growing zinnias and marigolds from seed again—no need to start the seedlings inside. I can't seem to grow daisies though and Rachel really wants daisies. I also haven't managed to grow any snap dragons.

I did, however, grow a petunia from seed without even knowing it. We got a random seed packet in the mail from a realtor so I scattered them around in a few pots and when we came home we found a nice pink petunia nestled among the carrots we harvested for lunch.

Please, please, don't mind the weeds, please. Don't mind the weeds, please. Please, please.
Our girls are upset that our sunflowers aren't yellow. I bought a seed packet that had a variety of blossoms so we could still get a yellow one but so far all the ones we have are this reddish colour. We have several flower heads we're waiting on though. Maybe next year I'll get a package of typical sunflowers since that's what the girls were hoping for.


I'm just excited that we were able to grow anything at all! I love going into the yard to look at our flowers—all the green around here is great but I enjoy a pop of colour every now and then—and we've enjoyed what little we've harvested foodwise as well. 

PS. Happy Canada Day! We were lame and didn't celebrate. I think we were vacationed out today. Everyone was grumpy and no one felt like doing anything.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the update on your garden and yard and critters you found.

    I know that pink flower isn't a petunia because they tend to be shorter and vine-y-er (? - sorry). OK, maybe trailing is a better word. I was trying to figure out what it was. Do you think a zinnia fits it? Very pretty, regardless!

    How was Ms. Wolf Spider this morning? YIKES about Karen's dad and the baby black widows in the house!

    The reddish sunflower is pretty, although I understand the girls wanting the bright sunny ones. Cute carrots.

    Welcome home!

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    1. You're absolutely correct. The pink flower is one of my zinnias. I didn't take a picture of the petunia (which is in a pot). :) Thanks! I'll have to go check on Mrs. Wolf Spider. She was fine when I went to bed last night...

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    2. And...good news! A yellow sunflower opened up this morning, so everybody's happy.

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    3. Yay for yellow sunflowers!

      Ah, sorry. I thought that lone pink flower was supposed to be your petunia. You should have seen me googling "pink flowers" this morning and looking at the images. Pretty start to my morning! :D

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