In a few days Prince Charming, Chic, Chicklet and I will head out for our annual family vacation.  (The picture here is from last year’s vacation, not long after getting on the road.)  When I was a kid, we did not take annual family vacations.  My first out-of-state trip that could be labeled a vacation (not visiting close friends or relatives) happened when I was in seventh grade.  After that there were several, but certainly not every year.  They were worth the wait, however, as my dad did nothing in half-measures, and we got to see a lot of the United  States plus a few other countries.


Back to now.  We take a vacation annually because I go to a convention every summer for my business.  I used to fly there, but as Chic got older, and we moved closer to the Convention location, it just worked better to make a vacation out of it.  (I do not have to find childcare for my absence, and an annual vacation would never happen without the stimulus of Convention.)


Now of course I know you are wondering to yourself, “What am I going to do if Louise is gone and not posting???  What am I going to do with all that extra time that I usually spend reading her monstrously long terribly entertaining posts?”  Never fear, I am working on posts to go up while I am gone, but while we are en route (3 days) we might have sketchy internet.  And while I am at the actual Convention, I will have limited time.  Probably I will use my free time (if I find any) to check my Google reader, but probably not respond to comments on my site.  Of course that could all change once I am actually there looking at Prince Charming’s laptop at 1 a.m. (Rest assured I realize the above questions were not really running through your head, and that more than likely, you might have been a bit relieved to not see these lengthy posts, often about little that is important, regularly.   I cannot seem to accommodate you there, but the posts will likely be less frequent.)


One of the posts I plan while I am gone is about gardening.  I think it will compare what I do now to what I used to do in Missouri, or could do if I still lived there.  But today, I want to show you just a few things from my garden this summer.


My tomato plants are more than six feet tall.  They are loaded with tomatoes.  They have tomatoes from top to bottom, but so far, I am barely harvesting fruit.  I have gotten a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes, and that is it.  I have two early-bearing plants which I think will start being ripe while we are gone (but should have produced red tomatoes a month ago).  It is frustrating.  I’m DYING for homemade salsa, but I would never dream of making it with store tomatoes.  I have heard this is the case all over our area.  Maybe it has to do with how cloudy and rainy it has been.  What makes me the most frustrated is that I am a very good tomato gardener.  But this year it is not helping me.



The peppers are doing better this year than last year.  I have jalepenos ready to pick.  Nothing else is ready, but they will be soon.




The cucumbers are just now setting fruit.  They will probably be loaded by the time we get back.



Sunday I found my first tomato worm of the year.  I looked it up in Bug Guide (inspired by Marvin’s blog), and it is a California Tomato Worm, Manduca Sexta.  (I have never before used scientific names for bugs, or probably anything except possibly a flower or two, so I am feeling quite accomplished right now.)  I despise these worms.  I despise most types of worms (good or bad), but these top the list.  Before I moved to New Mexico, I had never seen such a giant, fat, wormlike creature.  Last summer I fed one to a black widow. It was gratifying to watch her wrap it up.  I tried to feed another to the same black widow a couple of days later, but she seemed to be too full to care.   Two summers ago I watched for 2-1/2 hours as a preying mantis killed a tomato worm.  (Sorry no pictures.  I hope against hope I someday have another opportunity to get some pictures.  It was one of the most disgusting, yet wonderfully intriguing things I think I have ever seen.)  Below is a picture of some of the damage the above-pictured worm did to one of my tomato plants.



So when I get back, in AUGUST, I will have lots of tomatoes.  But for now, no salsa.  No anything with tomatoes in it.  It is kind of like the Rainier cherries, I guess.  At least I have something I can anticipate.


And for now, I am contenting myself with this weed I allow to grow every year in my yard.  I love these flowers.  It is a Small Flower Globe Mallow, sphaeralcea parvifolia.  They are quite common, but I love the color and the delicacy of the flower so let two or three plants grow in my yard each year.  The one in the picture is over seven feet tall.



By Louise Cannon


Note:  I feel compelled to point out that I just previewed this post and saw no glaring spacing issues.  I totally do not understand why sometimes I have problems and sometimes I do not.  I guess I should just be happy when I don’t.