Thursday, June 12, 2014

The good and the ugly

The cherry tomato plant outside our
Park Falls office has begun to bloom.

Fresh food and lots of bug bites

There are two headlines in town right now - gardening and mosquitos.

With the final winter frost just barley out of everyone’s rear view mirror, gardens have been going in like crazy. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, corn - everything delicious under the sun is being dumped into the soil right now.

My own effort has only a handful of cherry tomato plants in terra cotta pots, but hey it’s a start. We also planted petunias because they’re easy to take care of. We found some that are an interesting orange/pink color called papaya. In my eye, they mix really well with the classic purple ones.

We also started a little herb garden in separate pots and have been enjoying fresh oregano, parsley, chives, and dill in many recipes. If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of hearing people tell you that fresh is the best, but holy wow it’s the truth.

I guess that’s the bane of clichés, is that they’re clichés because they’re true. Still doesn't help the fact you get tired of hearing them. Anywho, if you like to cook, grow your own herbs...

The best part about gardening is watering the plants. It relaxes me somehow into a sort of whimsical trance and I forget about the world for awhile. On the hotter summer days I’ve been watering twice a day - morning and evening so as not to shock the plants too much with a dose of cold water in the middle of the day when the soil is warm. I also fill the watering cans with water and let them sit all day or overnight so they warm to air temperature and avoid shocking the plants with cold tap water. Next step is to collect rain water.

The worst part about gardening is the mosquitos. Good gravy where did they come from? They’re actually a little less intense right now than they were a couple weeks ago when they first hatched, but I swear these ones are the result of some other-worldly mutation. They bite through anything, they’re immune to direct, scorching sun rays, they even seem to be able to fly through high winds.

How?! Why?!

The only ounce of joy I’ve been able to squeeze out of mosquitoes this spring has been watching my dog try and bite them off her back and tail. And even that is not funny for too long because hey, I love my dog.

Funny thing is, last weekend myself and several of the staff at the paper were out of town in different locations around the state for the weekend. When we came back everyone compared notes and guess what? No mosquitoes anywhere else. It’s almost like as a resident of this beautiful area we’re taxed with several ounces of blood loss each year to these tiny flying terrors.

The word on the street now is that the dragonflies have hatched. Oh thank goodness, saviors of our sorry hides, please cure us of this plight!

A group of us are planning a camping trip to the U.P. in a couple weeks. I just hope the black flies are in an off year when we get there, otherwise I’ll have to write a second chapter to the battle with the winged wolves.

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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