We did another batch of pickled jalapeno – 4 pints. I was smart enough to wear gloves throughout the whole procedure so no burns but for whatever reason, the fumes were way, way stronger this time and had Nancy and me coughing and sneezing the whole way through. This will be the last batch for the season but I should have enough to last until next season, 9 pints total.
I put an insect cover over the butternut squash. I didn’t see any signs of problems but no sense in taking any chances. I’ll keep the cover on for at least a month when I expect blossoms to start appearing at which point I guess I’ll have to uncover them to allow pollination – good bug/bad bug thing. The first set of pole beans and the first zucchini bush have germinated and the bush beans, planted a week later, are just starting to pop out. I keep adding tomato bushes as they get large enough to move from the starter containers to the garden – so far 6 have made the transition. There are literally hundreds of renegade/volunteer tomato plants springing up and I pull them the same as weeds. I plant mostly hybrid varieties and those special characteristics are not necessarily transferred to the next generation so no telling what they would grow into. I still might pick a couple stronger ones and plant them along side the hybrids just as an experiment.
Had a nice call from Simon the other day. He’s in Gainesville studying Environmental Science or Wildlife or Ecology or something along those lines. He called to tell me about a project he had volunteered for with a grad student who’s speciality is the Fox Squirrel. He took Simon to a UF managed forest where there were squirrel traps set out to capture, tag, and document what’s going on with the Fox Squirrel. He spent all day there and they caught and released a goodly number of squirrels so he was just bubbling with information about how the forest was managed and how the Squirrels fit into it all. There is no question he has found his niche – not necessarily Squirrel tagging but working in the great outdoors. He’s seriously thinking graduate school now and told me something I had no understanding of at all. In fields I’m acquainted you get into grad school by keeping your grades up and test in. Apparently in Wildlife management, there’s a clearing house at Texas A&M where professors from all over post needs for grad students as research assistants. You visit the board and find something that interests you and then contact the Prof. I guess that becomes a one on one negotiation and if there’s a match, you’re in. Simon’s personality is such that he’ll be studying that board religiously and finding all manner of opportunities that interest him – no intimidations or doubts at all. So I bet he’ll come up with something really interesting for this summer, his last before graduation. Will he go back to the Smokey Mountains, as was a near certainty last month, or strike out on a totally different project?