Yesterday we picked 60 pounds of cucumbers from Robert’s Cucumber Haus. We’re going to make Bread and Butter Pickles, so I had him pick up the necessary ingredients form the store: ground turmeric, ground ginger, canning salt, vinegar and yellow onions. I already had mustard seed and whole peppercorns (from last year’s batch), and sugar. Of course we have plenty of cucumbers. Yes, it’s time to get out the Ball jars, lids, and canning equipment. Why is it always 90 degrees out when you want to can?

It‘s been an incredible year for growing vegetables. I’ve never seen the garden look so lush. We’ve had hothouse temperatures and just the right amount of rain – enough to make the garden look like one of those sci-fi movies with 40 foot tall plants (I exaggerate a wee bit). Actually, the sunflowers are the tallest I’ve ever seen them – I’m guessing they’re about eight feet (tomorrow we must measure them). We’ve harvested some grape tomatoes, but we’re still waiting for those big and juicy “home grown tomatoes.”

Lest I paint too idyllic a picture, we’ve had our share of pests, too. Today Anna and I took duck tape, turned sticky side out, and dabbed up a multi-generational family of squash bugs sipping the life out of one of our zucchini plants. I really haven’t been paying attention and I’m afraid we’ve lost most of our acorn squash. For some reason you don’t see squash bugs until it’s almost too late. As you lift a leaf to see if a plant is infected, they stealthily move to the underside or hide under the stalks close to the ground.

We’ve been staying away from toxic bug killers this year, hence the duct tape method. I did read that imitation vanilla repels them, but I don’t have any. We’ll go on patrol again tomorrow and see if we can spot any more and apply a little friendly pressure as we escort them off the premises. I might draw a squash bug for you, but only if I’m inclined. They make me so mad; I hardly feel a desire to record their likeness for posterity.