28 August 2009

Just FYI

The nasty rodent was shot and disposed of. We don't have a gun, but luckily we have some friends that do and were happy to use it.

We also discovered how the little fellers were getting in--a fencepost that looked just fine but actually was loose at the bottom. Jeff nailed it back together and the dead nutria's buddy hasn't been back since.

26 August 2009

The trap worked. . .

. . . .but now what do we do with this nasty little tomato thief?

About 11:30 last night I thought I heard the trap snap shut, but I was too scared to go out and look. Then at 3:30 I was up feeding and thought I heard Owen crying. I went into his room but the boys were sound asleep, and that's when I realized it was actually the nutria crying.

Jeff woke up and put on his head lamp to check it out, and ran back inside when he realized these dudes travel in pairs. He put his shoes on and got a shovel to scare the other one away, but couldn't ever find it again.

Imagine the excitement this morning when I told the boys to go check the trap. I sent James outside with the camera to prove that it was really there because I couldn't bring myself to go out and look it in the face. When I think about that disgusting animal sitting in that trap out there I get sick to my stomach. I get even more sick when I think about how we're going to get rid of it. I suppose we could just leave it to starve in that cage, except if we're going to catch his buddy we need it to be empty before tonight.

Luckily, Jeff has been volunteered to deal with it. I don't see myself even going into the backyard today. Poor husband--he doesn't even like tomatoes.

25 August 2009

Tomato thief

Okay, so the saddest thing that happened in my garden was not actually the premature picking of the butternut squash. In fact it is what happened to my tomato plants.

See for yourself the carnage:

I feel a little bit like I've been punched in the stomach--by a nutria. Somehow a tomato-loving nutria has found its way into our yard multiple nights in a row and ransacked my tomato plants. After these several months of caring for them so carefully, gently, waiting so patiently for the blossoms to turn into fruit, this disgusting rodent comes and nullifies all my work AT HARVEST TIME, no less, with his rotten little chewer. Ew. I am so angry.

This was one plant before nutria:

And after:

So we borrowed a live trap from Tom and Tara and Jeff set it up tonight. I am scared to death to think it actually might catch this little nasty and it will be thrashing around in that cage tomorrow morning. We'll see if it works.

My parents have deer at their house eating their flowers, fruit and veggies and are constantly frustrated by the situation. My dad told me he wants to throw rocks at any deer he sees. At first I thought he was just mean. Now I get it.

Garden 2009: part 3

Update #3 on my garden.

This post is mostly for me to help remember the phases of my garden, but if you think you don't have a green thumb and want to read how I think I do but I really don't, read on.

First the bad news:

  • At first glance, this looks like a healthy crop of green beans, right?
  • Wrong. This is the first and only green bean I can find on this whole stinkin' crop. I have no idea what I did wrong. Until yesterday, I couldn't even find one. I mean, maybe it will just be a really late crop, but I'm not holding out any hope for that. It looks like we will each have 1/4 of a green bean for dinner and call it good.
  • This is what you see when you look inside what, from the outside, looks like a pretty healthy yellow crookneck squash plant. Yep. Not one single squash. There have been about 4 or 5 small ones that all shriveled away before they had a chance to thrive. We're still waiting to eat one of those. Again, I have no idea what I did wrong.
  • This is the saddest story of all. There was a vine that came up on its own from the compost that we tilled into the dirt this year. I figured it was a pumpkin, but discovered this squash on it the other day. I had no idea what it was, so I picked it to eat and when I showed Jeff he said, "Isn't that a butternut?". Yep. I'm pretty sure he's right. I've planted butternut squash for about 3 years running now and have never had any success with even a single squash on those plants. Now one comes up all on its own, makes a squash and I pick it before it even has a chance to thrive. I thought it was some sort of summer squash. I'm still sad about it, being that butternut is my FAVORITE of all the squash varieties. I'm holding out hope that the plant will produce another, but kind of don't think it will.
Okay, now a little bit of good news:

  • Italian parsley is thriving and delicious
  • We've had many, many delicious cucumbers. They are small and chubby, but lived up to their variety name: sweet slice.
  • No picture, but we've also had enough zucchini for a few great dishes but not so many we're sick of it and can't give it away fast enough like some other people.

21 August 2009

Embrace the chaos

I almost had a mental breakdown today.

Life with any children is difficult, but I'll tell you--life with these three children of mine is really throwing me for a loop.

My plan this morning was organized and simple. Or so it seemed. Wake up, eat a good breakfast, read scriptures, spend twenty minutes with Jillian Michaels, get the kids ready and take them to the free admission before noon day at the Lane County fair where could see animals, get cotton candy, have lunch at a nearby park and head home for naptime and quiet time.

That was how the morning went in my head. Here's how it really went:

While nursing Henry, I noticed his diaper had leaked all over my sheets, requiring me to strip the bed down to throw in the wash. While I was giving him a bath (much needed due to the leakage), the boys decided to make a "tent" in the living room which was really just a giant pile of all the couch cushions and every pillow in our house for them to jump into.

With the bath done and Henry tired, I figured I could get him to sleep, fit in a workout and shower while the boys were playing in their tent and we could leave just after 11 to make sure we got there by noon.

BUT putting Henry to sleep took way longer than usual and the boys had a couple of fighting meltdowns in the meantime--usually screaming for me just as baby had drowsy eyes, therefore waking him up again, which is of course why it took longer than usual.

AND of course on this day when I needed him to take a short nap, Henry decided to sleep for a long time and I decided to ditch the fair idea, except that the boys were already so excited about seeing all the animals and getting cotton candy.

SO after a pitiful little workout(Jillian would be disappointed), I find myself yelling at Owen from inside my frantic shower to get his clothes on by the time I get out or we wouldn't go, and James yelling back how that wasn't fair because HIS clothes were on and why should he not be able to go just because Owen wasn't listening and my empty threats that if everyone didn't stop crying and screaming we wouldn't go at all, I threw on a wrinkled outfit and snatched Henry from his peaceful slumber to have his arms wrangled into the freaking car seat buckles and ran out the house.

WELL, in the end, we didn't make it to the fair before noon because we hit every single red light on the way and the free parking lot was full by the time we arrived. Since wandering around looking at stinky animals is only worth it to me if it is free and not when it costs $7/person entry fee and $5 parking fee, our morning ended about one block from the fair where I had to pull over to feed a screaming Henry, passing snacks to the boys in the back seat, all the while telling them I knew it was pretty annoying that we came all the way down here to turn around and go back home.

We did end up having a consolation black bottom cupcake and caramel brownie from the best bakery in town, and so while I completely negated my pitiful workout with chocolate, I came to the conclusion that making plans in this phase of my life just makes it more stressful, and that I need to just embrace the chaos and have no expectations. It is definitely easier said than done. I'm sure there will be many more days like this in the meantime, and I will try not to go completely crazy.

As I buckled all the kids into the van outside the bakery, I looked over and saw a couple in a very expensive BMW with two expensively groomed dogs parked next to us. I watched them back out and drive away and wondered how their morning went compared to mine.

Embrace the chaos. I'll keep telling myself that.