August 5, 2009

We have more shrub and tree damage – more weeds in our lawn – more weeds in our slow developing dry vegetable and flower gardens than ever before!  I just hope it wasn’t caused by my retirement!

Last fall I wasn’t able to do the last weeding of our gardens.  Judy has done most of that work, and nearly all of the gardening this year.  I had a severe pain problem, solved by getting an epidural every two months (that is a shot in the spine, containing an anesthetic to combat the pain, and a steroid to control swelling).  Patients needing this medication, given while being x-rayed to assure no damage was done, are limited to six a year, and after five or six weeks, I started being unable to function due to pain.

It has now been three months since my last epidural, and to test it, I decided to weed our asparagus plot, on my hands and knees, under six foot tall, living asparagus plants, in a bed four feet wide and 40 feet long. We load pulled weeds on a trailer, eight feet long, four feet wide,and sides three feet tall.  I filled the trailer twice (well, Judy added many pails of pulled weeds from our vegetable garden during the many hours I slaved under the one un-weeded asparagus!).  But I was able to complete my assignment, and days later, I have suffered no back pain!  Thankfully, in our rural county, we are allowed to burn weeds and tree prunings – and this year, because of the strange weather, there have been a plethora!

Life is much better for me.  Many MDs and PhDs. are still trying to decide if I am bonkers, but I am a much happier camper than I have been for years!  I don’t know about global warming, but it is surely hot this summer!  I surely don’t know about Obama and his advisors, but I pray they know what they are doing!  The value of my retirement stock dropped shockingly, but seems to be recovering slowly and consecutively, and we hope it continues.

I plan to use the 12 gallon sprayer I pull with my five foot motorized mower, loaded with broad-leaved weed killers when I mow in the fall, when everything green is trying to recover from the summer drought.  We will have a good sized piece of cardboard carried along beside the gardens to prevent the broad-leaved poison from reaching any broad-leaved desirous plants.

There were an enormous amount of maple seeds produced this year, and we plan to use our leaf blower as a vacuum to collect them and burn them up.  We haven’t seen any Japanese beetles dining on our roses this year, and we are happy about that, but there are plenty of leaf eaters chewing on leaves in our garden.  Judy is dusting our squash vines with Dipel, where they come out of the ground, to keep the borers from invading and killing the vines that produce the lovely squashes.

I think this year hasn’t produced as many slugs as normal moister years do, but when I walked by the planting in front of my shop, I noticed an opened empty beer can planted so the top, with the opening tab removed was even with the soil.  When slugs invade your garden, I want you to know that slugs LOVE beer! ! If you have, or have an acquaintance, who has parties where cans of beer are provided, I will guarantee that a few guests will leave partially filled, open beer cans standing on the chair arms or tables.  COLLECT THEM and BURY them where you have seen slugs!  I don’t think slugs have a favorite kind of beer, any kind will work! 

If you worry about neighbors finding beer cans in your garden – relax!  The tops of the cans look just like pop cans!  Who would suspect?  And if they are against drinking beer, tell them a partying friend gave you some leftover cans!  I hate slimy slugs!  Of course, there are things with names like Slug-getta that good garden centers have, but my Father was Scotch, and I love gardening, but the recession is here, and I don’t know how long it will last, nor how long my freedom from pain, nor my memory will last. . . .  Good Gardening

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