Monday, June 06, 2011

The fight for food

I'm sick and tired. Literally. Sick with a cold, aches and nasty cough. Tired both because of said cold and because of my battle with garden pests. Chemicals would certainly make the job easier, but hand-to-hand seems so much more honourable.

16 on one leaf was the most I encountered. Smaller than these.
At this time of year, caterpillars are our main foe. They particularly like our red current bush and Wendy's columbine. Last year they drove us to despair by consuming many baby bean plants and our beautifully maturing broccoli. I sent the girls in as a first line of defense. The insect hordes were as stars in the sky. Innumerable. Leora and Anwyn plucked as many as possible off the leaves, arms weary with exhaustion, and drowned them in a bucket of water. Hundreds from one bush. Then I sprayed the leaves to try and dislodge and discourage any too crafty to be caught. This morning I went out and counted another 150 or so plunging them to a watery death.

Thank goodness I was armed with my trusty Pringles macro tube for, while hunting my foe, I encountered what seems to be the vanguard of the next wave in the war. Aphids.
After my hard-fought morning, I invested several hours in the preparation of a Victorian Rhubarb BBQ sauce and some less fanciful, yet no less delicious, rhubarb preserves. Rhubarb, aside from being a fun word to say, also holds a dear place in my heart, being very hardy and seemingly never succumbs to bugs or blight.

Let the canning begin!