Monday, July 18, 2016

Update on My Japanese Beetle Trap Hack

In THIS post last Thursday, I showed you that a raccoon was using the collection bags on my Japanese Beetle traps as a convenient source of snacks ... ruining the bags in the process.  I reworked the traps by replacing the plastic bag with a half-gallon milk jug.  

Is this new container catching beetles?

Mugging for the camera, as I was out with my trash bag to empty the beetle jugs.

Yes, it is ... just as well as the bag did, I think.  After two days in place, and each of my three traps was half full of beetles.  

What about the raccoon?

The game camera captured one raccoon photo last night, an action shot.  The little guy looks frustrated to me.  I see no damage to the trap ... so far.

Beetle season is definitely waning, as I'm finding fewer and fewer of them during my morning trips through the garden to hunt them out and drop them into my bucket of soapy water.  

I can't wait till they're gone.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who's Tearing Up the Beetle Trap Bags?

When everything goes according to plan, Japanese Beetle trap bags look like this.  The scent/sex attractant lure draws the nasty critters toward the trap, and they fall into the bag ... by the thousands.

On numerous mornings over the last two weeks, I found the bags looking like this:

Something bit holes into the bottom of the bags, and the beetles were going in the top and out the bottom.  Solving this mystery involved my Bushnell trail camera, and some patience.  

July 5, 2016

July 5, 2016

July 9, 2016

July 9, 2016

July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

What to do?  I needed to come up with some other way to contain the beetles, because Rocky Raccoon was destroying bags almost as quickly as I could replace them.  What could I use instead of these plastic bags?  

Brainstorm ...

... a half-gallon milk jug with the top portion of the plastic beetle bag secured to it.  I tried this on one trap last week and it worked really well.  Now I have milk jug modifications on all three of my traps.  Rocky Raccoon should have a much more difficult time biting a hole in these.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Gardener, All Dressed For Work.

My husband and I have been working on the Rose Field, to free it from the neglect and overgrowth of the past four years.  With the roses in a large section of this garden located and moved elsewhere, I set my husband loose to mow with his DR walk-behind bush hog.

Our next door neighbor saw all the commotion and came over to get a closer look ... "I have to get a picture of this," he said.  "Go stand over there."

Just for fun, here is a video of my husband and his bush hog cutting a few passes of brush.  It's a very powerful machine that makes quick work of saplings and brambles ... and I think that the operator is pretty awesome!

We have about one-fourth of this garden cleared.  For now, we will  keep it mowed so it doesn't grow up and get out of hand again. I hope to eventually redesign it and turn it back into a rose garden, and I am doing my best to be satisfied with what seems like small accomplishments and baby steps ... as we work our way through this huge garden whenever time allows and weather is favorable.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Before, During, and After

When I was out in the garden early yesterday morning on my daily mission to drown Japanese Beetles in a bucket of soapy water, I spotted this beautiful bud on "Fredericksburg Cemetery Tea".  (I grew this plant from a cutting taken from a large Tea rose in a cemetery in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.  It resembles 'Madame Lombard'.)

A couple of hours later, as I was making my twice-monthly rounds with my sprayer full of fungicide, I passed this spot and saw that the bud had opened ... and it was being visited by one of the honey bees from next door at Hartwood Winery.  

Later in the day, I passed this spot again and found this scene.

You wouldn't know it from the concentration of Japanese Beetles on that poor flower, but it seems that I may have fewer beetles this year than I did last year.  There are only certain rose bushes that are getting decimated, while many others are relatively untouched.  It's still pretty awful, and I imagine that it will probably continue to be that way for the rest of July, if prior years are any indication.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Favorite Music

I am a child of the hard rock 1970s.  I loved parties and dancing to disco, but my heart was already given to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and others.  As I have gotten older, this is still how I am.  I went through a phase in the 90s where Alternative and Grunge were my favorites ... Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden.

At 56 years old, my taste in music hasn't tamed much.  If anything, it's now more diverse and eclectic ... I like just about everything.  My 6-disk CD changer in the Jeep currently holds One Republic, Fall Out Boy, Eminem, Adele, Metallica, and (one of my very favorites) Disturbed.

David Draiman, the lead singer, has one of the best and most expressive voices out there in any genre.  Disturbed is a hard rock band, for sure, but the messages in their lyrics are almost always positive, encouraging, and empowering.  Here's an example from one of my favorite Disturbed songs ("I'm Alive" from 2005) ... lyrics that always make me better when it feels like life is stepping all over me.

Never again will I be dishonored
And never again will I be reminded
Of living within the world of the jaded
They kill inspiration, it's my obligation
To never again allow this to happen
Where do I begin?
The choices are endless
Denying the sin
My art, my redemption
I carry the torch of my fathers before me

The thing I treasure most in life cannot be taken away

There will never be a reason why I will surrender to your advice
To change myself, I'd rather die
Though they will not understand
I will make the greatest sacrifice
You can't predict where the outcome lies
You'll never take me alive.
I'm alive.

Disturbed's new album is one of the best yet!  Included on it is an amazing version of "The Sound of Silence", the old Simon and Garfunkel song.  If you haven't had a chance to hear it yet, prepare to be amazed at the depth of emotion and control in Draiman's voice.  This live version of the song is even better than the studio recording ... and the studio version is pretty incredible.  Turn up your sound, click on the video, and prepare to love it as much as I do.

(I could SO see him singing the role of Javert in Les Miserables ... see if you agree.)

Disturbed is on tour right now, and they will be coming to a venue near me on July 10.  I have tickets ... I'm so excited that it's hard to contain myself.

Once a hard rock fan, always a hard rock fan.  It keeps me from getting old.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sights From the Garden

It's no surprise to you that I spent a good part of Wednesday out in the garden.  I always have my iPhone in my pocket when I'm outside, to take photos and for my works-from-home husband to find me if needed.  Come along, and I will show you some of the sights.

This time of year, Japanese Beetle populations are ramping up.  To help control them, I go out before breakfast, while it's cool in the early morning, to drown as many beetles as I can in a bucket of soapy water.  It rained overnight on Tuesday, and raindrops on the roses reflected the early morning sunlight.  Sights like these make my morning Beetle hunts into a lovely way to commune with the beautiful parts of the garden.

'Sharifa Asma'

'Comte de Champagne' flowers, beginning to open for the day.

Lovely pink bud on 'Bow Bells' with a nasty beetle burrowing into it.

Japanese Beetles emerged last week, and they will probably be here till some time in August.  They love rose flowers, and leaves.  They eat, and mate, and eat, and mate .... over and over.  Nasty creatures!  Every one that I drown or trap is one that ISN'T still out there adding to next year's population.

Japanese Beetles have damaged these flowers on 'Ma Perkins'.

This flower on 'Sir Clough' must be mighty tasty.

There's nothing left of this flower on 'Lafter'

Later in the day, I took a walk with my sprayer of herbicide ... carefully edging our driveway and continuing my war on Nutsedge and Poison Ivy.

Our ancient apple tree sets a few apples every year, but they never ripen.  I blame Cedar Apple Rust, and whatever else infects apples.  I spray for fungus on my roses, not the apple tree.

This Black Rat Snake was making his way northward from our backyard.  I left him alone.

Our neighbor's bees were hard at work on the open flowers on 'Moonlight' and other roses.  They are safe here, since I don't use any sort of insecticides in the garden.

Summer weather, hot and humid, has arrived ... after we enjoyed a relatively cool, wet spring.  Except for the Japanese Beetles, the roses appear to be relatively happy and are growing well.  I will work my way through the garden, deadheading and removing beetle damage, following the shade and working early and late in the day, to avoid the hottest temperatures and strongest sun.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Flowers on Friday: Mid-June Roses

Wednesday was fungicide day.  I like to think of this as an opportunity to get up close and personal with each of my roses individually ... instead of a bi-weekly necessary nuisance chore.  The sky that day was overcast, creating near-perfect light to take some really nice rose photos.  Here are the best ones, presented approximately in order as I walked through the garden.  (links below each photo take you to Help Me Find, the best rose reference site on the web.)

Shrub, 2004

Floribunda, 2001

Climber, 1931

Found rose, from the garden of President Garfield's Aunt Louisa

found rose

Portland, Damask Perpetual, before 1900

Hybrid perpetual, found rose from California

Noisette seedling bred by my friend Robert.

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1910

China, before 1894

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1903

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1918

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1900

Plant that I grew from seed in 2008.

Shrub, English Rose, 1996

Shrub, English Rose, 1983

Shrub, English Rose, 1984

Shrub, Hybrid rugosa, 1968

Climber, 1940

Shrub, English Rose, 1997

Climber, 1954

Hybrid wichurana, Rambler, 1917

Miniature Climber, 1964

Polyantha, 1929

Polyantha, found in a cemetery in Sumerduck, Virginia.

Hybrid Tea, 1943

There are still SO many nice roses in the garden, and I am enjoying them like crazy!  Things like spraying fungicide, and weeding, and deadheading are hard work ... but being outside in the garden, surrounded by lovelies like these, makes the work into a much more pleasurable way to spend the day.

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