Bye bye, Brussels.

Four “trees” in a row.

I saw the harlequin beetles starting months ago. An abandoned plot there with an overgrown radish. Another ignored plot that way with some once-beautiful brassica. I sprayed them with the hose.

They didn’t bat an eye. Or a wing, either, seeing as I’m not sure if they have eyelids.

They multiplied.

Eventually the left-alone plots were cleared out or cleaned up. Eventually the beetles were repeatedly carried with the best of delayed intentions to the compost box.

Eventually they went looking for fresher, living, brassicas.

Like my kale. I didn’t count the squirts and squishes today as I ended each beetle‘s attempted relocation plan. I did count the bucketfuls of kale lost to them (2.)

I took these Brussels home and we processed them in the front yard. I’m not sure how far they can fly in search of food, or how many stowaways I had left after the clear and present danger of my thumbs, but processing the trees in the front yard at least gave my back yard a chance to avoid transference.

Until next year, Harlequin. Or perhaps you don’t populate where I’ll be in a year’s time and whatever I’ve encountered will make me miss you. As you are, at least, kind enough to be easily spotted.

Overlook.

Too small to see yet are the Red Russian Kale, Lacinto, and carrot sprouts. The spinach is hiding to the right of the post.

Freshly compost mulched and watered: the bigger cabbages, broccoli, Brussels, rutabaga, and some peas not perpetually topped by the rabbits.

It was a glorious weekend and this garden visit capped it off nicely.

Almost again.

I almost forgot to water the seedlings. Again. There are spikes in the neediness of work. A flux in the hours I spend around people, in front of a screen, or rarely anymore – scribbling notes to myself on paper in a hand few can decipher. This past week has been one such spike. Three weeks prior, I downloaded an app to my phone that tracks usage. It was part of a social experiment called Bored and Brilliant. I’m not sure how much I contributed to their experiment, but I do know that simply downloading the app has made me more aware of time spent diddling on my phone instead of doing things I, you know, actually want to be doing.

Let’s just say that there’s a little monk that provides encouragement and feedback, and last week he had tears running down his face while he begged me to put my phone down. But such is work sometimes. (Othertimes he smiles, hugs himself, and let’s me know he appreciates my taking it easy.)

So among all the monk feedback and work madness, I nearly forgot to water the seedlings. Again. But they were still moist, and were ready for the light to inch up slightly higher, and had more friends in the neighboring plugs. The aspects of gardening I find most successful in the days since becoming a mother are those that succeed under a “set it and forget it” plan of action. I’ve begun building a compost pile (as opposed to feeding the spinning barrel composter DH gave me as a gift years back) and building it smack dab where I want a perennial bed. Why not? If I can get it to cook where I want to serve it (so to speak) I won’t have to find the time to shovel and haul and spread it.

I did manage to pull and burn more grass weekend before last, which was satisfying. Anytime the world feels off-kilter, I know that I either need sweat running over a pounding heart or dirt cramming under the nails of fingers building calloused skin. Or a nap. Occasionally all it takes is a nap to set the world right again.

So I continue to marvel in the child who grows like a loved upon weed and allow the new beds I wish to build, the grass I wish to pull, and the plants I wish to invite into my space…to wait.

She really is growing like the most beautiful creature I could imagine. And all of my gratitude for that erases any itch I can’t scratch in the time I do muster together to work on calluses or dirty up my nails.

So instead of any pictures from recent days let’s take a peek at Februaries past…

2012 –
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2013
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2014
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