Monday, July 17, 2006

Wanna See Something Icky?

This is neither a bowl of black beans nor a photo-shopped bloom. It is Japanese Beetle season here in southern Vermont and my, aren't they lovely? JB's are an invasive species who are celebrating about 90 years in our fair land. They celebrate by throwing wild orgies and all-you-can-eat smorgasbords on your precious green leafy material. First discovered in New Jersey, they have now spread to the entire eastern seaboard and are working their way through the country at a rate of about 5-10 miles per year. Not that I'm timing them. It's all I can do to keep the creepy little things off of my raspberry plants. Everyday I dump about 4 cups of beetles out of my traps. If you put them in a bucket of soapy water they die pretty quickly. This is a picture of yesterday's catch in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. In a word - yuck.
Even worse, once dead they smell, well...dead. I made the mistake of tossing them into the field upwind of the house. Everytime somebody comes over these days I see their noses flare, then they'll issue one of the many charming and customary New England salutations, "Something die?"
Of course, killing beetles by the cupful is only satisfying for awhile and I am devising ways to hunt, trap and destroy these bugs at ever-alarming rates. It's a funny thing about gardening -- even the most soft-natured and loving people will viciously turn on their garden pests and kill with what can only be described as delight. And for people like me it's even better.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Perfect Day

Warm sun, low breeze. Putting pine boards on the roof of the new playhouse with my 3-year-old handing me screws one at a time. It was all right. I was in no hurry because the Red Sox and White Sox were on the radio in the middle of a real dust-up in Chicago. Boston won after 9 innings of the best baseball we've had all summer. My friend Peter Sagal was at that game with his family. I kept thinking how great that would be, and then I'd look around at our countryside, and Ben holding the next screw, and the playhouse taking shape -- and I was very glad to be exactly here.

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