A little doom and gloom this summer season

I am not looking forward to the cold temperatures that will soon arrive, but I am thankful that I can venture outside and not be on the menu of those relentless mosquitoes. I can be sitting outside with my other half, either swatting away the offenders or having had to bathe in bug repellent, while he is totally ignored. Life is not fair!

According to a study, it appears that only about fifteen percent of the population is ignored by the mosquitoes.

Unfortunately you have no control on what side of the percentile that you fall in. Genetics, according to research, is a definite factor why the female mosquito seeks you out.

Blood Type A people are usually shunned, while Type O are the favorite. Mosquitoes will not pass up at the chance of draining blood from Type B’s.

There are other factors that make you appealing. Beer and wine drinkers, body size and sweating after exercise make you an ideal target. After reviewing the list, I can at least take solace in the fact that I am attractive to something. Ugh!

After a long week, Friday night’s dinner is usually pizza or a sub and the beverage of choice is a nice cold beer.

But there is a dark cloud on the horizon regarding the availability of having that nice cold beer. The disturbing thing to all of this is that it wasn’t just one article, but a second totally unrelated article indicating there is a major problem.

It has been discovered that the spotted lantern fly, that is making its way in several Eastern states, has a liking to hops.

Hops is a vital ingredient in brewing beer. Wine drinkers should also take note that grapes are on the preferred list for the spotted lantern fly. What! No beer or wine, life isn’t fair. Thankfully my whiskey appears to be safe, so far.

Another important ingredient in brew making is barley. Maybe the climate change doubters having to pay more than double in price for a glass of beer will realize that the increase in droughts and heat waves does not only affect the barley plant, but life in general.

Maybe it’s me or the area where I grew up or even being a child in the late forties and into the fifties that I am amazed how snoopy and picky that we have become.

I know many of you can remember going up to a grape vine and helping yourself to bunch of delicious purple grapes, or reaching up into a sour cherry tree, popping a cherry into your mouth and then spitting out the pit. Apple trees were abundant in my neighborhood and an apple lying on the ground would be picked up, rubbed on your dirty pants, checked for the bruises and for worm holes than eating around the bad parts.

Recently apples that had been grown in Pennsylvania had been rejected by retailers because their appearance was not up to standard.

The apples had suffered a physiological skin disorder called scarf skin. The perfectly healthy apples skin had a dull gray appearance on the skin and the retailers were afraid that the consumer would mistake that appearance for pesticide residue. Maybe they could have been sold as seconds with a disclaimer. But then stores can’t be bothered. Hopefully the rejected apples were still used. Scarf skin does not affect the taste or quality of the apple.

Hey, I’m on a roll here with doom and gloom, I may as well continue. It appears that pumpkins took a hit with the wet rainy season. Many pumpkins simply rotted in the field.

Others, according to the article, suffered sunburn since many of the leaves were no longer around to shelter the crops from what sun we did have this year. The article was about crops in the eastern part of the state.

My observation of the fields and at the produce stand indicated that we had a good crop in our region.

You may or may not be aware of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center located in Texas. The center is one of the leading organizations when dealing with native plants.

An article that was published in November of 2015 was not very favorable to the use of bird feeders. The article indicated that nonnative species such as the house sparrow numbers increase to the determent of native birds. Some species of birds are more prone to diseases when using bird feeders. Many alternatives were included in the article, which makes for some very interesting reading so take time and read the article. Here is the link. https://www.wildflower.org/magazine/native-plants/skip-bird-feeder

In years past I’ve mentioned using mulched leaves in your flower beds. After the recent frost, the annual bed of zinnias underwent a cleanup. Since I am blessed with having help to maintain my beds, we checked the previous year’s leaf covering and found that the leaves have broken down into a fine covering, adding much needed nutrient to the soil and making the soil much richer. This year a new layer of freshly mulched leaves will be spread. Oh, another plus, there were very few weeds in that bed.

Now here is something that really surprised me. I have always been told that sunbathing or too much sun was harmful but according to the World Health Organization, the health benefits of sunbathing far outweigh the risks. Since we are now entering the time of year when sunlight is rare, I thought I might give you a monthly dose of information from this article starting next month. Meanwhile enjoy what little sun that will come our way for the next several months. Now that I think about it, did we have much sun this summer?

Please feel free to ask me questions. Your questions give me material about which to write. Email me at qstocum@gmail.com or if you see me out and about, stop and talk to me. I thank everyone who has contacted me.

Remember, it is easy to be green. Happy Gardening!

Quentin Stocum, Just Your Common Ordinary Gardener