Things Have Been Very BUZZY Lately at the Farm!

The buzz around here these days is a repeat of last fall when I got swarmed by yellow jackets. Yes, they are back, but this time, they were after the concrete guys and not me! Luckily, no one got hurt! yellow jackey

We had noticed some recent yellow jacket activity at one of the ‘islands’ of river birches out near the street. This is where we had activity last year, but they had moved to a new location after being exterminated almost exactly a year ago. Apparently they get rather agitated and mean when this time of year. We warned the concrete crew to be aware of them as their work approached that part of the driveway.

The concrete guys attempted to get rid of the nest using an old remedy. They came very early in the morning (when the flying activity is at its lowest) and poured gasoline down the entrance to their nest, and then plugged it with a rag. This didn’t work for very long since yellow jackets often have a rear exit to their nest and this was no exception. So they flew out the other way and were just mad as hell. They responded poorly to the vibration and sawing noise of the crew as they worked on the last sections of driveway preparation and so the crew had to pull off until we could get an exterminator out to do the job with heavy duty chemicals.

We called the same company that helped out last year and they were out within a couple of hours to help us eliminate this nest. What excitement! Here is Chuck, posing by his truck. IMG_4645

He sprayed the nest from both entries and then all around the general area. He was in his full ‘swarm’ regalia and asked me to stand back and away by at least 30 feet while he did his work. After he doused the area thoroughly with his spray, I crept back to see the end result. He pointed out the queen to me who had dragged herself out of the nest and was floundering around as she tried to escape. The queen is about twice the size of the rest of the bees. The chemical takes 24 hours to kill them all thoroughly, but they were rather dazed and silly as they sauntered out of their nest and tried to figure out what had happened to them.

We hope the concrete crew can return safely to do the final pour at the mouth of the south end of the driveway! In the meantime Scott worked on acid washing and sealing the part that had been poured last week so progress continued despite the ‘buzziness’.

The fall crops are enjoying the cool nights and In the last few days I’ve been attacking the mounds of green beans, green peppers and hot peppers as well as the eggplants in order to keep processing the bounty from the farm. As of yesterday, the total harvest year to date is just over 1,545 pounds! Tomatoes finally climbed to the top of the list (topping the cucumbers)! That is a lot of tomatoes, but remember that 15-16 pounds reduces to about 5-6 jars of sauce, and even fewer jars of ketchup. Here are the weights (in pounds) of the top ten items of 2013:

  1.  Tomatoes           320.859
  2.  Cucumbers        319.641
  3.  Cantaloupe        243.266
  4.  Strawberries      159.234
  5.  Eggplant             148.750
  6.  Potatoes               83.016
  7.  Watermelon        78.813
  8.  Pumpkins             51.313
  9.  Green Peppers    42.813
  10.  Green Beans        19.203

We are still enjoying the watermelons since they keep well in the refrigerator and taste wonderful, especially when someone cuts them up and has them all ready to eat!IMG_5185

I froze 5 pounds of green beans, IMG_46334 pounds of green peppers IMG_4637and have used a pile of eggplants in several dinner dishes as well as in some pasta sauce that I currently have cooking on the stove. The hot peppers were turned into 3 more batches of Sriracha sauce. IMG_4574

The STL newspaper had an article about Sriracha sauce in the recent food section. Although they did not indicate how to make the sauce, (too bad) they had a couple of interesting recipes that use it as an ingredient. I might try using it the next time I make chicken wings. I have gifted a jar or two to those whom I think would be appreciative and it is getting good reviews so far which gives me confidence to continue to make more.

Farley has finished off all of his steroids and muscle relaxers and is doing well on just the pain meds and seizure meds. Crossing fingers and paws that he continues in this direction!

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