Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, December 18, 2017

Attack of the ATOMIC SPIDERS at midnight

Ok, I’m admitting to a severe spider phobia.  Snakes, preying mantis (which are the coolest creatures in the entire bug kingdom by the way), all sorts of crawly/flying things … not a problem. Slap a spare pair of legs on that body and my instinct is to go running at top speed in the opposite direction.   

I don’t hate spiders; I’m simply knee wobbly terrified of them.  Spiders and I have had a long standing truce over the years, they stay out of my room and I don’t go out of my way to harass them. It’s worked quite well for over 2 decades. Until last night that is.  I was in bed watching some random garbage when a HUGE … I mean H-U-G-E spider skittered up the tv screen. He must have been at least 10” long …. Ok .. he was about ½” long … but he sure as shit looked huge to me.  The first thought that scrambled through my scrambled brains was “OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT”. The second thought was “Can I wake up my 78 year old mother to catch that spider”. I nixed the second idea, but I seriously thought about it. I actually peaked out the door to see if her light was on.  Yes, I am a coward.

So … I spent most of the night wondering where he was. At one point I panicked and thought he was on my bed, which led to a quick whipping off of the covers and a shake (both me and the blankets).  This morning I banged my runners together and shook them, just in case he was lurking there (I really have to stop watching Australian nature shows…. Their damned spiders are the stuff of nightmares) and inspected my clothes before putting them on. Chances are, he isn’t even in the room any longer. But tonight, I’ll don armour and go and search all the crevices.

When I was a kid, vacations with my dad and his wife inevitably ended up in some kind of a spider admiration group hug. Do you know how many spiders there are in the Everglades? No, do you? I could never live there. The two of them would stop at every fricking spider web and ooohhh and awe over it.  Oh and yes, take photos of them…. Yup … photos. Bad enough we were standing in a swamp that had alligators and spiders, they wanted to take souvenir photos of them. I once muttered something about next time they should leave me at home and take the spiders on a nice vacation, which, as you can guess really didn’t go over well.

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Heartbreak on Tomato Ridge - more tales from my balcony garden

The gardening gods conspire against me ... aphids, withering heat, smog and wind have all played a role in my balcony garden woes. I finally beat back the last of the aphids, admittedly, I think yesterday's furious winds might have blown away most of the stragglers. But holy cats… when those little bastards entrench themselves, they don’t give up. I finally uprooted a bit of oregano and surrounded two afflicted peppers … yes, they are up to their leaves in leafy, lush herbs. I also go out and prune the garlic chive moat around the other pepper. Since doing that, there hasn’t been a sighting on any of the peppers. I’ve taken to muttering “I love the smell of chives in the morning”.

The morning glory has been a different beast! That was the last aphid bastion and they stubbornly clung to every leaf. I soaked some tomato leaves in water and sprayed the leaves for days and days and days… each time they reappeared, I’d blast them. Finally, my balcony is aphid free! Mr Morning Glory is looking quite robust and aggressive. It’s now hanging down onto the balcony below, looking for more things to grab onto.

But … sigh ….

I’m in mourning ….

Read more: Heartbreak on Tomato Ridge - more tales from my balcony garden

Finally! One of my balcony roses

I finally snagged a good photo of the rose bush growing on my balcony:

Photo of rose growing on my balconyMy rose bush has come along beautifully this summer. It's popping blooms all over. Really, really pleased with it. I'm going to wrap it up in burlap this winter and tuck it into a corner of the balcony. Maybe it might survive.

No idea why it's such a hard rose to get a photo of. Almost all the ones I've taken have been are all over saturated. But, victory at last.

Of aphid wars, mutant lettuce and balcony potatoes

It’s been a bit of an odd week around here. I’ve been trying to figure out a schedule for posting on the mighty Bitter Grounds… and like a noob, I spent so much time deciding on a schedule, I didn’t get around to publishing anything. Okay not one of my more stellar weeks. I’m doomed to remain mildly disorganised.

…. and ….. they’re back … aphids. ****ing aphids. They’ve taken up residence in one of the peppers. The others have remained untouched. I think they set up a fun fair on the leaves, complete with little Ferris wheels and bumper cars. They seem impervious to everything I’ve tried so I found a lady bug to put on the pepper, thinking I was tempting it with an aphid buffet. The ungrateful little sod wandered around the plant a few minutes and then buggered off. Guess my aphids weren’t good enough for him … her ..?? how do you sex a lady bug? I’ll have to plan my next moves carefully. I suspect the aphids have hazmat suits. That’s the only explanation for their stubborn resistance.

However, my other peppers are beginning to actually look like peppers:

Photo of pepper plants growing on my balcony

A wind storm blew off some of the markers so I haven’t a clue which pepper is which. It’ll be an adventure in the kitchen.

Read more: Of aphid wars, mutant lettuce and balcony potatoes

Do it yourself smart phone kits - an idea ahead of it's time. #humour

I was thinking about some of the cockeyed ideas I had yesterday while I was basting on the subway and revisited the stickers for "do it yourself smartphone kits". I made a mock ad for them:

Image for a mockup ad for do it yourself smart phone kits

I just might get these made up as vinyl stickers and sell them. Would be great stocking stuffers. What do you think?  Instant smart phone service... just add imagination and a good set of lungs.



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"Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life."

- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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