The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Creation Book.
Tropical Heat Wave - Sweet Corn Harvested by Squirrels

Norma Boeckler designed this cover
for the upcoming book, which I will work on after
Justification by Faith is published.
The plan for the book is to coordinate these areas overlooked in many gardening books:

  1. The Doctrine of Creation by the Word - this explains why soil creatures, beneficial bugs, and birds all work together to give us healthy plants without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  2. The Ocean of Life in soil - once we realize what the soil microbes--fungi, bacteria, protozoa--we realize how to feed our plants correctly.
  3. Beneficial bugs - the insects and spiders work together to reduce pest damage to almost nothing.
  4. Flowers, vegetables, bushes, and roses - we can grow the plants we want without rototilling, hauling loads of materials, and spending vast amounts of money.

Shrink these down, add some insect damage, and remove some rows
where the squirrel feasted - that would be about right.
But delicious and far better than anything at a store.

Sweet corn is ready for eating when the silk turns brown. Squirrels know that. Sometimes they tear down the stalk to get it. They also climb up and chew the ear open and eat half of it.

I have had three small ears myself and harvested three small ones for Mrs. Ichabod. One large fat ear was well eaten on the stalk. The corn stalks and ears are rather thin.

Chris loved the corn, but we agree that is a lot of time and land for a corn crop. That is based on where the sun lands in our yard and how the weather changes here. This summer we had far too much rain at times and now an August without much rain predicted at all.

I pointed out that our bumper crop of Silver Queen in Midland came from a very large hole we dug and filled with pure compost. I began the excavation and some neighborhood boys finished it with Little Ichabod helping out. The fee was cash plus any ice cream treat they wanted at Baskin Robbins, a short walk away. That was when BR had good ice cream. I could not resist buying some for the supervisor, me.

Corn, pumpkins, squash and beans all grew like magic out of that compost. That was a fun experiment. In Midland I had problems with corn smut - but not here.

Instead, I have insect damage from where the silk is on the corn, probably from the corn borer. I can cut the damage out from the affected ears. The squirrel damage is far more impressive. If a squirrel has chewed on an ear, I shuck it and toss it in the feeding area for birds and squirrels to pick clean.

The heat today was oppressive during the day and cooled off at dusk. Sassy and I did our walk around the cul-de-sac.



The blueberry canes looked stricken, so I gave them a long soak. Tomorrow the blackberries will be watered for a good length of time, and I will add layers of mulch around the blueberries. I want pine needles too, but they are one house away and can wait a bit. I figure a pine needle mulch all winter will be good for the berry.

Extra mulch is good treatment for plants during a drought. The more I work with newsprint, the more I see how spongy it is, holding water and giving it up easily to sun and wind. If newspapers are on the bottom layer, wood mulch on top will hold them in place and help keep the moisture in the paper. Earthworms and beneficial fungi like that combination of darkness, moisture, and food.

Where the new roses are on the border of grass and mulch, I add more newspapers and mulch around them to give them a no-compete zone. Grass next to the roses is not good,  because grass roots are heavy and greedy for nitrogen and water. A heavy wood mulch layer will quickly nurture a spider web for the pests to enter, and the bugs are jumpin' and jivin' to upgrade from grass to roses.

The starlings and grackles seemed to have stopped their constant feeding on the suet in the yard, their splashy baths in the community pools. However, the little birds are often at the finch feeder, and the doves are always on the ground getting food.

Beneficial insects like Yellow Coneflower.
The seeds feel like steel daggers.

Many plants are going to seed now, and that provides a lot of bird food in the garden. I was looking at plants on the clearance table at Walmrt, more like a hospice. The coreopsis were $2.95 but a few feet away - fresh coreopsis were $11. That is easily one plant that will revive after digging it in and watering it, but the 106 degree real-feel killed all ambition for more planting.

Leaning over the cone flowers, I was impaled by the seed heads of that strange flower. Cone flowers are going to seed, and coreopsis seem to be always living up to their nickname - tickseed.

Coreopsis is another favorite for beneficial insects.
The seeds look like little ticks, so it is called tickseed.

I was watching a video of a flashmob doing Putting on the Ritz in Moscow. The nature of these events is to pretend one person is acting a bit crazy on his own. Then a few more start and that seems to be casual fun. Soon more join and this is obviously planned. This particular video is the most elaborate I have run into, and it is great fun.

Does this happen by accident? No, it is all carefully planned, designed, and rehearsed. Otherwise it would be total chaos.

And yet people imagine the far more elaborate choreography of the garden is by accident, or developed by very intelligent soil creatures, insects, and plants so they can work together in perfect harmony and benefit one another.

Putin on the Ritz