Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Dreaded Zucchini Bugs

Can I just tell you a story real quick? I promise, it's a quick one. Be prepared, this isn't one for children. Nightmares will result.

This is the story of Amanda and the Zucchini Bugs:

One summer day, after a long day of work, Amanda went out to her beloved patio garden to examine her healthy, thriving, if slightly weed-y, plants. She exclaimed with joy over her baby cucumbers...sighed with delight at her reddening tomatoes, and beamed over her ever-larger herbs. As she was exuding such happiness over, if you'll pardon the pun, fruits of her labor, she turned with anticipation to her zucchini plants. Amanda loved her zucchini plants, for they produced the only vegetable in the garden everyone would eat without complaint.

Peering expectantly among the leaves, searching for signs of a tasty zucchini....she found


Now Amanda is a pretty brave girl, but when she saw these terrifying creatures, a scream of shock escaped her. And can you really blame her?

Amanda's husband ran to her, worried that aliens were invading or she had broken a leg or something truly dreadful had happened.  Amanda, shaking with fear, choked out the word, "Bugs!" She pointed to the afflicted plant. Amanda's husband, scoffing at the reaction she had to some bugs, went to the plants, determined to see what caused his beloved wife to react so violently.  "Agghh!" he shouted, when he too, witnessed the frightening sight.

Once the shock wore off, Amanda and her husband went to the trusty Internet to determine what these monstrous creatures were. The conclusion? Stink bugs or squash bugs.

Stink bugs are not native to the United States. They were first collected in 1998 in PA and have since marched their pesty little selves across the continent. They are frequently found in IN. Squash bugs are related to stink bugs, and are also pesty little creatures.

Treatment for the devil bugs includes spraying with soapy water (tried it), removing the bugs themselves (NOPE!), removing infected leaves (tried it), and spraying with neem oil (on the list for today).

In the meantime, Amanda's zucchini plant is in sorry shape. Death is quite likely. Fortunately, Amanda has gardening family and friends who will hopefully share their non-infested zucchini with her.

I told you this wasn't a story for kids!

If you'd like to know more:
Kill those stinking squash bugs

The truth about stink bugs

 PSU's fact sheet brown marmorated stink bug

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Garden update


Baby cucumbers! Lots of tomatoes. Herbs that are starting to thrive. Massive pumpkin plants and sunflowers to my knees.

The garden is good.

Life is good.

God is great.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Shake it up!

Summer in Indiana usually means hot, sticky, muggy weather. Which means a lemon shake-up at the State Fair is pretty much a requirement to be a Hoosier.

It's not State Fair time, and it's not been hot. Muggy and sticky, yes, but not really hot. But it was the 4th of July, so I decided that meant a lemon shake-up was the perfect way to celebrate.

Was it possible to make a really good lemon shake-up at home?

Why, yes, it was.

Lemon Shake-up
(1 serving)

12 oz  cold water
1/4 cup (or to taste) granulated sugar
1/2 lemon

Materials needed
a container with a lid (I used a food storage container, and then a clean, empty olive jar)

Pour 12 oz of cold water into your container. Add in sugar, and then squeeze the lemon. Really squeeze it. You want bits of pulp in there too. I cut my lemon into quarters so I can get all the pulpy bits in there more easily.  Put the lemon in the container too. Add ice.

Shake, shake, shake.....shake, shake, shake....shake your shake-up! Shake your shake-up!

Then pour it into a glass and enjoy! I figure the cost of one of these at less than 50 cents. Compare that to the whopping $5.50 they charge at the fair! I found the recipe at compliments of Sue Lau.

I think these would be a great fundraiser idea too. Super inexpensive to make, relatively fast, and perfect for baseball season or soccer games!