Friday, February 25, 2011

Black Widow No More

The other day the kids and I were playing on the patio when I noticed a dead caterpillar wound in a spider web in the crevice between two floor bricks, where mortar should have been. We love bugs so I called the kids over to see it. They were equally excited, pointing and squealing with delight. I bent down to get a better look when I saw a round black body with a flash of orange. Black and orange, black and orange. Somewhere in a dusty corner of my brain, I remember any spider black and orange is very dangerous and highly poisonous. Especially for kids. I shood my kids away, drawing their attention to a ball in the distance. As they scampered off, I ran for my cell phone.

My daughter's godmother is my go-to source for all things local. I called her up, described what I saw and she informed me that it's a black widow spider. OMG! Mama Bear mode kicked in and I stood sentry, waiting the stomp the threat when it appeared.

After a few minutes, the kids wandered back over, just as I noticed a flash of orange crawling over the dead caterpillar. Not waiting for my brain, my sandaled foot went for it and missed. The spider at least. Green goop splattered everywhere. The spider fell onto the grass and my kids were in heaven. Arms out and flailing to keep them at bay, I stomped again. This time brain and foot working together. It was pulverized. I hit it again just for good measure. In the nanosecond it took to register the black widow was no longer a threat, the grossness of it hit. Bug watching and bug squashing are two different things.

With the nice weather the last few weeks, the kids and I are always in and out. Doors open, kids running wild in the backyard. Lots of possibilities raced through my mind. I thank God I was out there and noticed the caterpillar first and was able to get it. I don't even want to think of what could have happened if I wasn't and I didn't.

For those of you unfamiliar with black widows, and you have small children, here's how they look and what they're capable of. If that's too much to remember, just file this mantra away somewhere in your brain - black and orange catch your eyes, pulverize, Pulverize, PULVERIZE!

Photo: Female black widow spider on a leaf

More Progress

Heavy winds last night blew away last year's crinum lily decaying foliage to reveal this year's upcoming foliage. So exciting.

My blueberry bushes are coming back to life:

And I planted bell pepper, chives, dill and moon vine seeds in biodegradeable pots and am storing them in my makeshift greenhouse. Thanks for the tip JG! Of course they come in at night.

For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Onion Breath

I love onions and its cousins garlic, shallots and garlic chives. I put them in just about everything. So it can get a little costly to keep repurchasing these items. Last year, I tried planting the semi-mature white onion bulbs from Bonnie Plants. They weren't too successful. Although since the clump was not labeled, it is possible they were pearl onions. In which case, they were successful. I suppose it's a matter of perspective.

A week and a half ago, the kids and I planted red onion and shallot bulbs. It's been a few weeks more since planting the garlic chive bulbs. As it's still winter and I only plant a spring/summer garden, my plot is a work in progress, so I don't check on it everyday. Imagine my surprise when I notice today the onions and shallots had broken the surface (the garlic chives made progress earlier, but not as quickly). I was estatic!

I'm looking forward to enjoying the fruits of my labor this summer. There are few things as rewarding. The DH better prepare himself for some major onion breath. Yuuuuuuummmmmmmmm.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring - Is That You?

After a long and brutal winter filled with flu bugs, winter blues and even an adenoidectomy, I finally believe spring is coming. Not because of what some silly groundhog did or what an even sillier groundhog whisperer said. Rather, becuase of what's going on in the ground.

To the average eye, it might not look like much, but take a look at what I found in my gardens.
This is an amarylis leaf peeking through.
The Stella d'Oro's are coming back to life.
Even the transplanted (from ground to pot) lantanas are waking up.
Muscari waiting on their crowing glory.

There was even a discarded onion top in my vegetable plot which took root and sprouted. Who would have thought that rotten thing would have any spark left.

I hope this warm up is just the start of things to come because I really am ready for spring.