Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chemical Warfare

No, not in a middle eastern hot zone - right in my side yard where nasty, awful, don't deserve to live beetles have killed one of my Agave.  For those of you who don't live in the southwest - an Agave looks like an overgrown Aloe vera - but meaner.

They are beautiful and as hardy as all get out - except when it comes to their one natural pest "the snout nosed beetle".  This little black hellion, seeks out agave and lays it's eggs deep in the leaves of the plant.

When the beetle and its larvae finish with your beautiful plant it looks like this:

And you can't save it because by the time you know anything is wrong - the roots are completely eaten...
The best you can do is to protect your other agave.

The above are all photos that I have found on other websites as I began my search for:
a)  What Happened?
b)  What caused it
c) What do I do about it?

The answer is pesticide.  One to kill the adult beetle, the other to kill the larvae.  Treatment must be ongoing as once the soil is infested things are hard to clear up.

I am so looking forward to this battle.

little of this...little of that


You know you're getting old when...
You start using those little pill sorters that your grandma used to have...

It didn't really start with us - it started with Ms. Flippers.  When they were trying to get rid of her chronic migraines they tried several different medications - to help her remember whether or not she had taken them on any given day we got a one week pill sorter.

EZY Dose Jumbo Weekly Pill Reminder
Just like Grandma used to have
 What finally worked was the headache diet and we were left with one unused pill sorter.

Since we never let anything go to waste in our family, The Bearded One began using it for the handfull of pills that he takes each morning.  To be sure, his pills started out as blood pressure and cholesterol meds but after dietary changes and exercise, he is now under doctors orders to cut one in half and discontinue the other and the pill taking has morphed into an handfull of vitamins and such that his physician recommends.

So The Bearded One saw a really cute multicolored stacking number at CVS and bought one - because it looked "neat". It worked so well that now we have two of them so that he can take them on his travels.
Stackable 7 Day Pill Organizers - Items 368-small, 369-medium, 370-large
NOT like Grandma's - and really cute!

He found it so helpful in the morning to just open a container and not have to open multiple bottles that I tried it also...guess what?  It is a real time saver.

These containers are so NOT elderly.  They are handy and stylish and don't really look like your health and mental faculties are fading.  They make them now for busy people who are in a hurry every morning.  For people who are into vitamin supplements. 

This is a grab-n-go

Multi-Day VitaCarry 8 Compartment Pill Box Holds Up To 60 Pills (Assorted color)
This is a Vita-Carry

Pill sorters.  They're not just for Grandma anymore!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pond -2- Go, Part 2

So I'm sure that there are many of you who wonder why, when I needed an instant pond, I didn't just use my assorted bricks and blocks and the pond liner that is in my garden shed already.

Well, I have an answer for that.  Several, actually:
  • The blocks and bricks are all mis-matched and the result would have been even more of an eyesore than the current rigid pond liner
  • I would have had to move all of the blocks myself (the bricks, I could handle)
  • There are a few small pieces of the liner missing.  I used them to line my mini-water gardens.
  • I didn't think about it until after I had purchased the rigid liner.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pond -2- Go

Our old house had a pond.  Our new house does not (yet).  I have a "goldfish emergency".

From time to time I  have custody of largeish numbers of feeder goldfish.  Now if I were a great disciple of "The Circle of Life" when I was done with the fish I would feed them to something. But I am not.  Once they have survived the feeder tank at the store I owe it to them to find them "forever homes".  I really can't just go to our renters and say, "By the way, could I please dump these fish into my (I mean YOUR) pond?  It will only take a few minutes."  I don't currently have any students willing to adopt the fish - one of my former students had a (large natural) pond at his Dad's house.  It could absorb any number of fish and did for over 3 years.  But he has moved on to other schools and greener pastures.

And now I am pondless.  Or at least I was until yesterday when I got the word that there were no potential adoptive families for about 20 goldfish.

I lept into action.  The fish MUST have a home.  I went to Home Depot and bought a pre-formed plastic pond. It is now on my patio, its plant shelves supported by cinderblocks and assorted bricks.

I dismantled my small water gardens with their tiny 60 GPH fountain pumps, moving the water lilies and marsh plants into the new "pond" and putting the way-too-small  fountain pumps into the 95 gallon mini-pond.  The Bearded One arrived home and immediately said, "What have we here?  And where is the aeration?"

 I told him that "it was a pond"  (actually, with apologies to humorist Dave  Barry, "our emergency back up pond, Zippy") and that there were 2 tiny pumps.  He sniffed and proved exactly why it is that our garage is filled with shelving lined with labelled plastic tubs.  You never know when the contents of one of the tubs will come in handy.  The Bearded One quickly emerged from said garage with one much larger 250 GPH fountain pump, along with its extensions and its nozzles, and proceeded to fix the problem- and quite attractively too.

In three more days, I should have the water conditioned and adjusted (pH, pond salt, etc.) and the fish can "come home to Momma".