The gardens have been loving all this rain, some of the plants are really kicking ass. I’ve been eating a lot of Nanking cherries as I walk around checking, chopping and mulching; in a few years we should have enough production to let people do a U-pick for those. Strawberries are jammin’ (on the stove) as I write, this is the first year we’ve had enough to do anything with. Next year I will finally divide those plants’ runners to get many more and tidy things up a bit. Potted up a bunch of catnip volunteers today, will offer to anyone who wants some and/or sell at the farmer’s market later on.
Different years, different crops and pests. No mulberries on our trees (late frost?) this year, and more pressure from aphids and earwigs, in addition to the old faithful slugs, cabbage moths, and moles. Also some fireblight, apple rust and peach borer. Wildflower beds are a delight. Pleased with progress overall!
(A week or two later)
I had the goddamn bejeezus scared out of me today while I was planting a wild indigo seedling. Saw something move out of the corner of my eye, heard a hissing and what sounded like a rattle, stood up thinking I’d angered a nest of ground-dwelling bees, and saw this dude puff up his neck and hiss before slithering away for cover in a hazelnut bush. After doing some research, it seems like it was one of these, an Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12201-61207–,00.html
The good news is that they’re harmless to humans, though I wish their diet was based more on moles than toads. Be careful in the strawberry patch!