Cardinals eat bugs – sometimes

A couple posts back I speculated that perhaps the smaller number of bugs inhabiting the garden this year was connected to the high number of cardinals that are flitting about. I don’t recall ever seeing so many around here. I mentioned it to Simon who has an ornithologist friend at Tremonton. According to her, cardinals are nominally seed eaters but when nesting, they feed on insects to feed their young – insects being much higher in protein needed by the newly hatched birds. So I guess it is possible that the cardinals are helping keep the bugs under control this year.

Back in January, one of my favorite casting reels broke. Actually it wore out – the part that works the level wind had just worn down. I’ve had that happen in the past and was always able to fix it myself quickly by getting a new pawl. At my advanced age, I can no longer deal with these tiny parts so I took it to the Tackle Box in Daytona where I’d had reels repaired in the past. About 6 weeks later they called and said the reel was old and no longer supported with spare parts. Luckily I had picked up a card for a guy that repairs reels and decided to give him a try. He also told me (over the phone) that the reel was old and out of production for quite a while but that he maybe had a source for the part. A week later he called and said the reel was fixed and ready to go. Cost $10. I tried out the reel today and it works like a world champ. To replace that reel now would cost $200+ and that is way outside my pass band for a fishing reel. Interestingly I never saw the guy who fixed the reel. He lives in the high rent district, on the Halifax river in a big buck house where he hangs a cardboard box beneath his mail box. You drop off the reel in the box and then retrieve it from the same box when he calls and says it’s done. He just charges for the parts, no labor. I got his name from another small tackle shop and he mentioned that the repair guy used to have his own tackle business but retired and just repaired reels for the fun of it. Looking at his house and the location, I’d say his tackle business was quite successful. I couldn’t just pay $10, so left $15 and still felt a little guilty with that.

Nancy outdid herself the other night with a batch of 10 stuffed peppers. She used the sauce from the season’s first spaghetti sauce along with green peppers straight from the garden. With all the peppers and tomatoes in our future, I’m sure this will be repeated several times this summer. Update – in the past three days we created two cherry tomato pizzas and another giant batch of spaghetti sauce. I rate 2 gallons as a giant batch. Looking at the plants, it looks to me like we’ll be able to do a giant batch once a week for quite some time. In fact if all goes according to plan, we’ll be whipping up the last batches just after Thanksgiving. I’ll start the fall seedlings in September for harvest in November and December.

Oh, by the way. I measured the cutting board holding the fish in the last post. It’s 16” across so it looks to me like that fish probably fit within the 18” to 27” slot, especially if you measure from the fork of the tail and not the tip.

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