It is only May 1 and already many ticks have made their way into the house on our bodies or on the pups. Three bites already on me. It is going to be a bad year for them I fear.
There is a mowed path to the bees that will stay mowed as the adjacent hay grows, but sometimes you have to walk through the branches of a cedar tree to brush off any hitchhikers and in spite of pants tucked into socks into boots, the bee jacket, veil, and gloves, they are still finding their way in. I dislike chemical sprays even around my pants legs, much less on upper body, especially since most are from going to the bee yard. I’ve had folks suggest wrapping a dog tick collar around my lower pants legs, but that doesn’t stop them from the cedar branches above the lower legs.
They are disgusting, creepy crawlies, disease carriers. We need Guineas, but doubt they would stick around and they are so noisy, but definitely tick gobblers. This will be a difficult year to wild berry pick because of them.
This week, the last of the tomatoes frozen toward the end of the season last year were finally processed into pasta sauce. That puts 11 pints of pasta sauce on the shelf to start this year. Three from last year, 8 new ones, plus 3 in the freezer, 3 pints of canned tomato puree added this spring. There is still a supply of assorted tomatillo sauces/salsas/jams, and a bag remaining in the freezer, so they won’t go in this year’s garden. There are 8 peppers ready to plant in two weeks, plus another variety started from seed that will be a bit later. One of the Farmer’s Market vendors had several varieties of tomato starts so one each of two varieties were added to my purchase to give me 8 tomato plants, 2 more than originally planned. The huckleberries didn’t come up in the starter flat which gives me some space to accommodate the extras. The corn patch will be half sweet corn and half Bloody Butcher so seed can’t be saved, but extra seed of the dent corn was purchased to use next year. The plan this year has two varieties of beans and two varieties of peas, so again, seed can’t be saved. Already, a plan for next year is in the works to grow only single varieties of heritage vegetables and save seed for future planting. This will be somewhat limiting, but our primary hot pepper use is Jalapenos, primary tomato use is sauces, sweet corn is such a short season, the Bloody Butcher will provide corn meal and roasting ears. Though we enjoy bush beans, young Pinto’s can be eaten green and if enough are planted, dried for winter chili and goulash. With peas, we enjoy both sugar snaps and shelling peas, but if only shelling peas are grown like year’s past, seed can be saved. It will be an interesting experiment to see if the lack of variety bothers us or if the variety will just come from Farmer’s Market purchases. Seminole pumpkins are great for stuffing or pies and will be the third part of the Three Sister’s garden. Spinach will be planted, but I have never tried to save seed from spinach or lettuce. Cucumbers of course will be in the garden to eat fresh and to make pickles. Garlic was not planted for this year, but will be added back in for the fall garden to overwinter and provide bulbs next summer.
Here’s hoping for a great garden season and more putting by for the off seasons. I need to start gathering jars for processing vegetables and later for when honey gathering commences, probably not until next year though.