Underground Critters

So far so good on the rabbit fence. I’m seeing plenty of rabbits but none inside the garden.

I know some of you have been waiting with some anticipation about the sweet potato crop. The books tell you the time from planting to harvesting is 90-120 days so I set my computer schedule for 120 days. Today was day 110 and I considered that close enough to at least try one plant. For sure they were ready and I went ahead and harvested the whole crop – 6 plants. The pic shows the pile I dug. You would think digging the potatoes would be free of adventure but you’d be wrong. Turns out we have an underground eco system that includes toads and snakes. I’ve dug up the toads before but the snake was a real surprise. The soil is so heavily mulched that it’s really soft so I could dig down with my bare hands easily to my elbow. You dig down an feel around for the tubers. I didn’t actually touch a buried toad or snake but one of each did pop out of the ground very, very close – I know they were less than a foot away. I might have had a heart attack or a major bowel movement had I actually grabbed hold of either. The picture doesn’t do the snake well but it’s about 2′ long, very sleek, smooth and shiny. The toad was about the same color as the soil.

head shot
head shot
Underground snake
Underground snake
Underground Toad
Underground Toad
Fall sweet potato crop
Fall sweet potato crop

I’m officially crossing okra off the list of things I grow. Two years ago, when I first decided to try it, I was disappointed when the plants became infested with ants. Last year I switched to another variety and the ant problem went away but the okra was often too tough and fibrous to eat. This year with yet another variety and a new location in the garden, I was hoping for a break through. Ants again. Today I yanked out the plants but not before being seriously chewed up by fire ants.

Nancy is home for a week or so before traveling again. She travels light with only a carry on bag but when I picked it up after her trip, I risked a hernia. That little bag was crammed with 50 pounds of booty from Jersey – including 20 pounds of pasta. Unless you’ve been in a deli or grocery store in Jersey or NY or Philadelphia, you can’t appreciate the wide selection available compared to our limited selection in Florida. So when we travel in that region we invariably end up restocking. This time she came home with a few shapes I’d never seen before. Should be fun eating and we have enough stock piled to last a year at least. That’s because we supplement the purchased stuff with home made.

The lake level is over the third step finally. That’s an important milestone because I’m fairly sure that I could lower the boat into the lake again. If the rest of the month holds, I could start trolling for spec’s in early November.

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