I've been sick with one of the worst colds I have ever had this past week. The days passed slowly. Within minutes in the garden I was so hot I could not see straight or even stay focused on the tasks before me. So I limited each visit to one specific chore, like just collecting japanese and flea beetles.
I walk around with a jar of soap and water and push the beetles into it where they drown. In a few days, their decomposing bodies produce a most unpleasant scent that works very well to keep other beetles away. I learned this trick when, on my first year of food gardening, I bought a japanese beetle trap that used sex pheromones to attract beetles to the bag and theoretically away from plants. But what actually happened was I had more beetles than ever on my plants, even though I located the bag far from the garden as the instructions stated. On the box of the japanese beetle trap it said to be sure to change the bag after it rained because the bodies would decompose, stink, and render the product useless. When I read that, I knew what to do. The smell of death repels the beetle better than the scent of sex attracts.
The drought seems to have given way to a pattern of daily afternoon showers. All manner of fungi have sprung up on the rotting logs and in the springy damp mosses of the forest. I've noticed how much better the garden does with real rain than it does with being watered with the sprinkler, no matter how thoroughly. I have a garden toad that lives under the log of the second row bed with the asparagus, although I could not find him today. I was glad when I discovered him as I have been worried when I had not found even one salamander this season, though I have seen many snakes swimming in the creek this summer.
Yesterday, I finally threw in the towel and went to the walk in clinic and got a shot of steroids and some antibiotics and some codeine laced cough syrup. Im a little better now, still very hoarse, but in a day or two will probably have the essential raspy voice for a good outing at the country music karaoke at Donald Rays Brother's Place (no joke, that is the name of the bar) up in Copperhill TN. I have accomplished very little this past week, and it makes me feel as if the world is passing me by.
Easter has been broody and creating havoc within the flock. She will not allow any other hen into the nest and so who knows where the eggs are. If any eggs are laid in the nest, Easter sits on them and when I come to take them she screetches at me, puffs up like a turkey, and when I toss her down she comes over and gives me a good dose of the "flying foot". I take her and immerse her in the creek where only her head is above water and hold her down for about 5 minutes to drop her body temp. It works for a little while but sure enough I find her back in the coop on the nest. This has been going on for days, and I am over it. Easter is in jail now. A pen with no comforts whatsoever. no shavings at all. just newspaper laid flat and no way to cuddle up or nest. I am unmoved by her mournful peeps and trills, however, I am trying to locate some fertilized bantam eggs for her to hatch. She wants to be a mother so badly I am willing to give it a shot even though it is no small feat to travel with 4 hens and 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I can't imagine adding one more creature to this equation
Speaking of Ridgebacks, It was a lucky break for me that a rat has taken up residence in my barn. I call the rat "the babysitter". I have been able to nap some with this cold without worrying about where the dogs are thanks to the babysitter. This rat keeps the dogs busy for hours, no exaggeration, at a time. Eventually I will have to trap and kill this poor creature, but I swear, I have actually become fond of him. Its funny as hell to watch him toy with the dogs. I made a little video of it -very hard to do because I have to try and shoot while using a long piece of trim to motivate the rat. The sound of the dogs voices in slo-mo make me laugh every time. I need to sample those sound effects for future video work.
Thanks to everyone for your support regarding the Frida Kahlo challenge sponsored by Bohemia Beer. I did not win a prize, but I did receive an email yesterday inquiring about buying the painting for the Bohemia collection. I have given them a price and we shall see. If they agree, the day I spent on that project will have been well worth it.
As Per Trolls request in comments, here are the winners of the Frida Kahlo Challenge:
first place: Ernesto Cammacho
second place: Elizabeth Ortiz
third place: Jose Luis Padilla
you can see all the entries here