Tag Archives: Gardening

Tomato wars: Hornworm-0 / Wasp-1

As soon as the massive hornworm hosts the eggs of the braconid wasp, cotesia congregates, the worm, while continuing to live as feeding host for the baby wasps, no longer eats or even moves. Nature working for you, as it should be. The little red wasps are friendly. Be nice to them.


Filed under Gardening, Nature

Gardening weirdness

All the beans were pulled up yesterday, and all the corn. A couple of tomatoes.

Some of the corn was monstrous. I won’t be eating that.

I’ve been noticing weirdness in the past couple of years, with carrots, with corn, with squarrrsh. I’ve never seen such weirdness in my life.


Filed under Gardening

Army worms on the attack

My poor tomatoes.

Are you disgusted?

Jesus said about Himself (in our perspective) Psalm 22: 6-7…

  • “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me. They hurl insults, shaking their heads.”

Yep. That’s us, in our fallen human nature, if we are without grace. With grace, we already know that that’s who we are on our own, total idiots who don’t see God right in front of us.

If we don’t recognize that that’s who we are if we are without grace, we have zero integrity, zero honesty, zero humility. We are full of ourselves, and we’re full of **** as pictured above. That’s not the kind of person who goes to heaven. I wanna go to heaven. The way to go to heaven is not to congratulate ourselves that we are holy, having saved ourselves because we’re the ones, the only ones; the way to go to heaven is to recognize that Jesus is our Savior because He’s the One, the only One.

Oh, and we are to be happy to stand with Jesus in His trials.

That means that if we are with Jesus, we are also considered to be worms by the rest of the fallen world. Ready for that?

Just be to persnickety: It’s not so much “worm” in the biblical text, but rather more specifically, “maggot.” Baalzebul, however you wanna spell it, means “Lord of the Flies”, that is, The Lord of Death, so, rotting corpses, so, maggots, hence, flies. Satan is the murderer from the beginning. Jesus says, “I am a maggot and no man” (in our perspective). How far we have fallen.

Jesus is considered a maggot because we are fallen and that’s how we roll in self-protection: Jesus is bad and evil, not me.

Again, the cure to this, in Jesus’ grace, is a bit of humility, honesty, integrity, so that, redeemed and saved by Jesus, being in His grace, standing in solidarity with Him, we are also then considered to be maggots, the worst of the worst. And moreover, we’re happy about this.

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Filed under Jesus, Nature, Spiritual life

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Veggies, bees and beasts, edition)

This is the very first bumble honey bee I’ve seen this entire year. And it’s weighed down with pollen, finally taking care of the tomato flowers. There’s been a zillion flowers, but with no bees, there are very few tomatoes that develop, mostly because of the work of one or two of what I call tomato wasps. Here’s the result of their work, the third harvested so far this year:

I couldn’t get a picture of a bee actively busy with the October Bean flowers below. With these, the bees and hummingbirds can entrench in mortal combat. Quite the entertainment.

Right now, the October Beans have run out of fence, itself starting about 1 or 2 feet off the ground, and are reaching high up into the sky, a good six feet higher than the string beans, which themselves are a bushy two feet high.

I’m thinking that that’s no bumble bee, but rather an Italian version of the honey bee. They must have heard my complaint about there being no bees around, as they were here in great numbers this morning all over the string beans and squarrrsh:

Meanwhile: sqarrrsh:

Here’s one with a bee:

So far, here’s one of many of the results so far:

Another bee:

Oops! That’s a cicada. I was wondering what that hole in the ground, very deep, was all about.

Anyone else with a prepper garden? Or just a garden?

Either way, it’s good for the soul, and delicious.

And it’s a chance to say Hail Marys for the souls in purgatory.

A flower for you, Mary: Hail Mary…


Filed under Flores

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Initiative, edition)

  • “Hey, Father George. Can we, using our own money, have permission to put some flowers around the Immaculate Conception?”

I love my parish. They started the other day, and then made some progress:

I think Jesus in happy with that initiative. There’s another project pictured there, that steep embankment that stretches along the entire southern perimeter. Yet another volunteer hacked the tall growth down with an expertly wielded machete. In this parish, those are actually garden tools.

All this has been going on in Mary’s garden, which has gotten a radical sprucing up.

The name was changed as days went by to Garden of the Holy Family:

Then, many truckloads of trimmings were taken taken away from the front of the church. There’s another statue of Mary on the far side. More work to be done there. We’re thinking of replacing the Sacred Heart Statue. The flag is half-mast for obvious reasons these days in America.

The steep driveway has also gotten radical changes for the better, with all new plantings, except for the bush, which was just a twig growing out of a hacked stump. The previous bush was starting to block off both front and side steps and a view of the Garden of the Holy Family.

All for you, Mary. That’s what the whole parish says.


Filed under Flores, Gardening

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Medusa, edition)

This is a “volunteer” in the garden, next to the asparagus patch. In high school or in the early years of the seminary I wasn’t one to have much interest in Greek mythology, so, I have no analogies to make here except that it’s not Perseus who ends the threat of Medusa’s viper-hair:

Rather, it’s the Immaculate Conception who intercedes for the salvation of the soul of Adam’s wife.

Rather than be so grotesque, dearest Mary does a little dance:

This flower up top is wild garlic which is illegal to harvest on public property. But this is in my garden. In this case, I don’t want to harvest it as I’m hoping it will spread next year. Do I just let it alone, or do I pull it up, separate the cloves and plant those individually?


Filed under Flores, Gardening

Gardening exploits. Mighty mites might mollify. Attitude on purgatory.

I call them red cement bugs. These arachnids are quite harmless if they don’t get into the house. If they do, just make sure they have no food (live plants) or any water source (like from your watering the same plants) and you’ll be fine within a few days. They also calm down in serious heat. I’ve not seen any inside, but a zazillion outside on the very top of the experimental rocket stove. They invaded the tomatoes last year as there’s not much grass near that western edge of the house’s cement foundation.

Meanwhile, the garden is now fully planted with Potatoes, Spaghetti Squarrrsh, October Beans, Corn, Green Beans, Lettuce (two kinds), Spinach, Asparagus. The bulb-flowers are done already, so I planted some milkweed seeds that I got from the car dealership years ago. We’ll see if they catch on. I’m wondering about Marigolds to keep the varmints and various kinds of bugs away. Is there any kind of marigold that’s best for this?

So far, squirrels have eaten most all of one kind of lettuce, with the other kind not doing well. I’ll have to use cages next year. That was the plan for this year but it all got away from me. The one row of corn… well… I’ve never seen a single row grow well waaay back in the day. Remember the old days of non-engineered corn when the border rows would be quite short? My level of gardening still puts me waaay back in the day. It’s an experiment. That’s all part of it.

But who has time for gardening? Certainly not me. So, it’s just a little every day or a couple times a week with the major projects only once every month or so, starting in late winter. On a daily basis it’s just a matter of few minutes of watering and harvesting a half dozen tall-enough asparagi. But harvesting is part of food prep, replacing that time otherwise spent on grocery shopping, and so doesn’t count for gardening time.

And anyway, walking the perimeter is exercise for old geezers like me and one can fit in Hail Marys for the souls in purgatory. Just to be clear, praying for the souls in purgatory is also working in the vineyard of the Lord. Praying for the souls in purgatory is not an exercise in condescension. For me it’s more like an apology: “Sorry for not having prayed more for you during my own sojourn upon earth. Please, forgive me. Hail Mary…” Something like that. Otherwise, gardening is like being a mere red cement bug arachnid.

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Filed under Gardening, Purgatory

Starting the rectory garden, and then the winds blew and the floods came

On the “Day Off”. Ten tomato plants planted. Those are deep holes of good potting soil. The buckets are to put over them when it frosts (another few times over the next few weeks). I learned my lesson last year: Don’t leave the buckets over them into the day!

Below, the seed boxes aren’t quite ready. The middle one will be spaghetti squash. The one nearest in the picture I’m hoping will be rhubarb. Mmm. The far one, not yet placed half in the ground with cardboard underneath (that stops the roots), well, I don’t know. I might move it toward the front to head up the line of tomatoes. Perhaps lettuce for that one.

Below was yesterday’s project, the garden along the driveway. Weeded and tilled, then Cooper-pooped (Cooper being the small horse next door, two wheelbarrows full, then potting soil). I think this year it will be a row of corn on each of the long edges and then a row of string beans all along the central trellis.

But not finished yet:

And, yes, that is Shadow-dog. More on that contraption above him in another post.

Meanwhile, the seed boxes out front need some lettuce:

Are you going to be doing any gardening this year? Any flowers? Any veggies?

UPDATE: I wasn’t able to publish this yesterday. I’m good with that. Yesterday was a good day. So happy to be a priest. We night came we had quite the rain storm, with strong winds. Temps got down to only about 60F. One of the tomato plants was severed at ground level. I gave the stem a slant cut and planted it again. Maybe it’ll come back. Meanwhile, all the buckets went flying round the rectory, banging into things. When you’re woken up by unusual crashing and banging, you might think of any number of things. Going back to sleep, I had a dream about those who, in the same storm system, were wiped off the map by the winds and the rain and the flooding. Hail Mary…


Filed under Gardening

Finally, a non-epic “Day Off”, preparing for Hanukkah and Christmas, et alia.

A million little projects. Just calm, at a million miles an hour, but a breather for sure. To start off, the Hanukkah and Christmas picture window display needed setting up. The lighting from last year, pictured above, was not easy. A simplified version was in order, which I like much better:

That was just for the picture, a trial lighting making sure everything works. I’ll change out the “Shamash” candle in the middle. I know, I know, it’s not even Advent, or even Hanukkah, or even Thanksgiving for that matter. Just preparing.

Hanukkah is all about God’s joyful intervention in assisting the celebration of the rededication of the Temple. Christmas is all about the Living Temple in the Body of the Messiah, the Lumen gentium, the Jewish Light of the Nations borne amongst us.

I totally get that the candles or lamps should be wax or oil. I mean, I wouldn’t use electric candles for the Altar for Holy Mass. But this is a celebration at home, which doesn’t have the same candle/lamp viability as does the church.

Hanukkah is super early this year (the lunar calendar thing), beginning Sunday Night 28 November, 2021, which coincides with the evening of the first Sunday of Advent. Hanukkah runs through daytime of Monday, December 6. Only the “Shamash” and the first candle are lit Sunday night, from right to left, night by night. The prayers the first night (from Chavad.org):

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְּמַן הַזֶּה

  • Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
  • Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לִזְּמַן הַזֶּה

  • Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion. [This one is just for the first night.]

Next up on the day off was the cutting of a rose bush out front (which was obscuring the picture window), then the ripping off the Jasmine from the inside fence of the backyard (lots more to be done there), as well as ripping up of the Jasmine that had been hiding “Brake-Man” since springtime. The asparagus forest was also knocked to the ground.

Next up on the day off was attaching the tiniest of all concealed carry holsters next to the standard shift of Sassy the Subaru. I rarely use stuff for what it’s intended. Benefits: availability-at-speed instead of struggling with the seat-belt over the open carry and now, almost winter, under a jacket (the concealed carry permit was just renewed). I can’t imagine concealed carry under a shirt, under a jacket, under a seat-belt. That would be worse than carrying non-chambered. Also, there’s a comfort factor while driving, however slight. But most people won’t carry if there’s the slightest discomfort. I’m no better than anyone else.

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The footwell of the passenger seat is a catchall for rituals of all kinds, Holy Water, a sacramental stole, the mail that day, other items of various projects. I don’t care what any ecclesiastical authority, say, in Rome, says about priests being forbidden to give Last Rites because of Covid-whatever, I’m always a priest and always have the right to provide Last Rites. That rebellious spirit applies over against any secular authorities as well. Going up against all the lawyers and upper-echelon admin of the hospital and going up against the governor’s office brought immediate positive results.

The bit of orange you see is a glass-breaker should the doors be wrecked and the electric windows fail. All the electrical in the car failed just the other day. Just sayin’. A left-over from years gone by next to that bit of orange is a really old wallet filled with cancelled credit cards and one dollar in cash. That would be given to any would-be robber who would ask for the wallet if the circumstances permitting that kind of deescalation and avoidance of conflict were present. It just buys enough time to leave a situation and have it resolved another way. We live in weird times. I’ve already been in a car-jacking incident helping transport a retired cop to the hospital. But that guy was apprehended on the spot by the police came screeching up with miraculously good timing.

  • “But Father George! Father George! You start off with the Temple and the Prince of Peace and wind up with guns?!”

Lol. Yes. That’s me. You might want to read up on the violent occasioning of the celebration of Hanukkah, the celebrating being brought about by God Himself. You might want to recall the violence occasioned in this world throughout time by Adam with original sin (see “Brake-Man” above) but the actual peace we will have in heaven, please God. You might want to remember that the second amendment is a service to one’s fellow man in violent circumstances. This is about just defense over against unprovoked and already being delivered deadly aggression. Statistically, where the second amendment is respected there is a huge decrease in crime. But there is always an increased risk for those who render the service of deescalation and defense of the innocent. There’s really so much good with Jesus intervening amongst us, but it helps us appreciate His entrance into this world when we remember why He came!


Filed under Gardening, Guns, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Liturgy

“You know you have tomatoes growing when…” – JLK

  • “You know you have tomatoes growing when you see three or four in a bunch.”

So said my neighbor to the hermitage of yore, many times over the years, as he patiently tried to teach me some gardening. Each time I see three or more tomatoes I think of him. The best thing he taught me about gardening (which was the whole point of teaching me about gardening) was that it was to be a time to walk about with Saint Joseph and the Lord Jesus.

When I saw these six tomatoes in a group above (if you look closely you’ll see another hiding behind, top center) I knew I had to put this up on the blog, which he follows from time to time. I know it’ll make him smile. And that’s good.

He’s a good teacher. I’ve tried to learn how to grow tomatoes, and I’ve begun to learn to recognize being smacked down by my guardian angel so as to know that Saint Joseph and the Lord Jesus is with me. It couldn’t be clearer that this is the case when I see a new flower for the Immaculate Conception to put up on the blog. No matter what chaos is happening in the church and the world none of that matters, because salvation is with us, the simplicity of being with the Holy Family.


Filed under Gardening, Spiritual life