Monday, August 10, 2015

Milk, Honey, Apples, Silk, and Duct Tape

Yesterday the three girls came back from 10 full weeks of summer vacation at their dad's farm in Wisconsin. I have never been away from them for so long so it was an incredible experience, both to be so happy to see them and to see how they love and adore and marvel over their little baby brother. My husband met them at the Illinois State Museum (which focuses on Illinois' cultural and natural resources and heritage) in Springfield yesterday afternoon. And they got home at about 8 pm last night.

So, now things are happy and lively! They are unpacking their suitcases and cleaning their rooms and I'm thinking of fun things to do with them. Ah, what luxury!

I have three gallon jugs of skim milk, unopened, which expire today, so I am going to let them play Cleopatra and add a gallon of milk to their baths. They are excited about that. I wish my mom had let me do that as a kid!!! Someone gave them to us and I feel badly that we didn't use them fast enough. I really didn't want to let them spoil... but at least I feel better that they won't be completely wasted.

This is also the day everyone is redeeming their honey facial coupons.

Late last week my husband brought home 15 gallons of apples from the apple trees at work, which they were going to throw out in order to be able to mow the grass, and we saved five gallons to make Crockpot Applesauce with. The remaining apples, which are bruised or smashed, will be spread out in the yard for our rabbits and deer. I felt like Ramona Quimby, sitting on the patio in the backyard with all the apples poured out on an old sheet, sorting through which ones we would like to keep for ourselves. Remember Ramona and the Apples?

Getting ready for Natalie's first main lesson, I requested three books from the public library (and had to pay my $1.50 fine first).

Animals Marco Polo Saw: An Adventure on the Silk Road

The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History

A Single Pebble: A Story of the Silk Road

Every day I go out to our once lovely squash garden and tackle the problem of the squash bugs. They suck sap from plants and do it so destructively that they will KILL the plants. "Both nymphs and adults feed by sucking sap from plants. However, their manner of feeding, sometimes described as ‘lacerate and flush’ is quite destructive. Cells around the feeding site are destroyed and with multiple feeding punctures areas of the leaf or stems may collapse and no longer move water. This produces wilting, which may rapidly and frequently result in the death of the whole plant."

We've learned that it is very difficult to get rid of the adult squash bug, and that your best bet is to remove all of the eggs you can find each day.

I have such a hard time with the idea of picking off an insect, adult or nymph, and drowning it in a jar of soapy water.

But I am willing to go out into the garden with duct tape and lift the eggs off the tops and bottoms of the leaves. I fold the duct tape in half to seal them in and I throw it away. We REALLY don't want to lose our spaghetti squash, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, and tiny decorative pumpkins and gourds.

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