Dog days

Whoa, no posts since the 14th…That’s not good.

The most momentous thing that happened in my backyard in the last two weeks was, hands down, the Chelsea Fair.  The fair is always a fun/exhausting week. We eat a lot of bratwurst, spend a too much money on carnival rides and see a lot of friends all week long. They have a barn where, if you’re lucky, you can see a calf or a lamb being born – two years ago they had twin calves, one breech, and I got it on video. It’s gotten more hits than anything I’ve posted, except for a video of a bunch of third graders singing “Can’t spell hippopotamus.”

But I digress…

Every year, a few nights before the fair starts, someone from the fair board drives back and forth across the field that borders our property, spraying nasty smelling stuff that magically makes all the mosquitoes disappear.

I wish I could convince myself that they disappear because they don’t like the smell, but usually when we hear the sprayer tractor we close all the windows and try to hold our breath. For two days. This year I was pretty happy to see the sprayer (although  still closed the windows.) Predictably, the mosquito menace in the hoophouse dropped off pretty hard.

The peppers and basil in particular seem to have gotten a second wind, maybe because the general bug population took a hit. Meanwhile,  my beleaguered beans keep on keepin’ on, even though I’m constantly plucking dead leaves off the trellis. It’s pretty obvious they’ve been getting chowed on all summer, which makes me wonder what the bean harvest would have looked like if they weren’t around. Whatever got the beans also beat down most of my cucumbers. I think I have one or two healthy plants left. Lesson learned: pay attention to all bugs and moths immediately, and never, ever cut them any slack.

I have a tomato dilemma – about four plants in one corner that have grown huge and bushy and produced exactly one (1) tomato. Weird. There are no flowers, just lots of  leaves. My tomatoes should keep going for a couple of months yet, so should I let the slackers be and see if anything changes, or yank them out and let the sun shine on other plants?

Is there anything I can do to encourage the tomatoes to produce fruit? (maybe some wine and romantic music?)

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