the only curses of rain

borderokie(7)August 1, 2013

I love the rain and am so excited to see it hit us. I pray for it often and every time it thunders and it goes around us(which is quite often) I am disappointed. But I went out today and really looked at my flower beds and man did it make the weeds jump!! They have almost taken over the beds. And the only other bad thing is mosquitoes!! Every time I've gone out the last few days they have had a hay day on me. They love me for some reason. I always tell my kids its my sweet blood!! Really hadnt had any problem till the rain. Guess this too shall pass in a few days. Sheila

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Sheila, we finally got out the mosquito candles/lanterns/OFF last night. I told DH that we'd held out almost until August 1 and that was a personal best - we did have a few months of very lucky weather that kept our mosquitoes at bay, but now they are out in force.

My favorite thing is the OFF personal mosquito fan things that you can set on the table or clip to your belt. I like that I don't have to spray myself with gunk and that they work pretty well (if I'm sitting still, at least. Don't know how they work moving around in the garden yet).

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Weeds, mosquitos and 2 acres of grass that needs to be mowed again. There is still way too much Johnson grass in the orchard, and it doesn't need much water to grow. The 6" we've had since it was last mowed has allowed the stuff to get almost 2ft tall in places.

Dh and I eat a lot of garlic and take our B vits, both of which are supposed to repel the skeeters and chiggers--but I've had more chiggers this year than in many years so don't know what went wrong this year. Mosquitos seldom bit me though. I do hear them buzzing my head more the last week though.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I guess every sort of weather brings its own downsides.

Even with the weed explosion, the explosive growth of the grass (some of the meadows we routinely mow got too tall for the lawn tractor, so I painstakingly cut them with the weedeater), and the increased population of skeeters, I'd still rather have the rain than not have it. But....

It is the higher heat index numbers that are the biggest downside here at our end of the state. With the higher dewpoints and higher RH values, our heat index numbers have been painfully high. Yesterday the heat index at our local mesonet station tied with Lane at 110 for the highest in the state. At our house, we were four degrees hotter than our mesonet station so undoubtedly our heat index was higher too, but at this point it is all numbers. When the heat index is over 100 degrees, does it really matter how much higher than that it is?

It seems odd to me that our end of our county remains in moderate drought, the ground still has some big cracks in it, ponds are very low or empty, creeks are the same, and yet we have rapidly growing green grass (Dorothy, we should measure how fast Johnson grass grows---it has to be inches per day!) and high humidity.

Although more rain would be nice and is needed to close up the cracks in the ground and to fill up the ponds, I am glad it isn't falling that heavily here right now. The watermelons and cantaloupes have great flavor now as they ripen, and too much rain right now could ruin that.

We are getting increasing levels of grasshoppers, though not as many as George has had. We are getting enough that it is starting to worry me.

Dorothy, No chiggers here at all this year, but I have sprayed my legs from the knees down with OFF when I have gone into high-grass areas because I am a chigger magnet. What we do have is spider mites everywhere. Of course, we always have them here in our rural location, and some years they have been worse than they are this year, but their population has about quadrupled in the last week and they are hitting the pickling cucumbers very hard. I don't think the plants will last more than another week or two. It is okay. I finished making pickles (and I made a ridiculous number since I wasn't spending much time canning tomatoes) about a week or two back, so every other day or so I harvest the pickling cukes and slice them up for the deer and the chickens. I let the cukes get a bit bigger than I would if I actually was making pickles, and the chickens get a few, sliced in half lengthwise, every afternoon, and I put some sliced ones out by the back compost pile for the deer. We have hordes of deer come for the cucumbers. I also keep one of the green turtle sandboxes that was Maddie's when she was little filled up with water for the bunnies and deer in between the two spots where I toss the cucumbers. When the spider mites kill the cucumber plants, the deer sure will miss those cucumbers.

If I just stand in the yard and look around at our pastures and woods and at those on all 4 sides of our property, I am sure this is the greenest we have been in August since at least 2010, or maybe even 2009. It is nice and I hope it lasts.

We actually haven't had as many mosquitoes as I expected, but I have put mosquito dunks in virtually any standing water, except the dogs' water bowls and the chicken waterers, which get changed daily, so there's not too many places on our property for them to hatch.There's no any standing water here anyhow, except the little puddles I make for the butterflies and birds, and the small amount of water in the birdbath.

All in all, I'd rather have a wet summer than a dry one, but if our heat index keeps getting so high every day, I'll start thinking about how nice it is when the relative humidity and dewpoint are so low that the heat index actually is lower than the actual temperature.

We mowed about half the place this week, and I'd like to get out tomorrow morning and mow some more of it. It gets so hot so early that I have to choose what little I'll do before the heat drives me in, and usually that means I work in the garden instead of mowing. Tim mows when he is home, but he's working an awful lot of overtime lately so he isn't home enough to keep all the mowing done.

Our local electric co-op just sprayed herbicide on the right-of-way areas under the power lines a week or so back, so everything that was growing there is dropping leaves. With the sumac, they haven't dropped their leaves yet, but all the foliage turned a flaming orange or red, making it look like it ought to be October or November when you drive past those fencelines filled with the sumac that was sprayed. I wish it felt like October or November out there!


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:09PM
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I much prefer the wet summer over the dry ones even with the humidity. We have cows and if you dont have rain you dont have grass. Started feeding hay sometime in July last year I think. So much better this year. Thank you Lord!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:18PM
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I've had chiggers at my house this year. First time I ever remember having them. It only took me a few bites to remember to start using the OFF spray! I used to be violently reactive to mosquitoes, the swelling and heat would last for days, but that seems to have subsided with age...or something!

I can't keep up with the weeds...but I say that every year, so maybe that is just me ;)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Another downside of the rain. Today found all five of the cantaloups from one hill split out the bottom. And nowhere ready to slip from the vine. Sigh..

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:37PM
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Skin so soft is now making a mosquito repellant spray and lotion. The stuff is a miracle worker. I like to sit on the back porch at night and the skeeters eat me alive. They must be carrying some powerful juice this year because they are leaving welps on me and then it turns into a brown spot that doesn't fade for a few months. I guess I'm having an allergic reaction. But if I spray the skin so soft on, they will buzz all around me but will not land.

I think it works ten times better than off. However if I were traipsing through the woods or tall grass, I would use off for chiggers or ticks.

I will post a picture of it when I get home. I got mine off amazon because I don't know anyone who sells Avon.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:00AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Well that just stinks. It is precisely the reason why I'm perfectly okay with not getting heavy rain in August. It likely would ruin the melons. (Not that our part of the state ever gets heavy rain in August, except maybe if the remnants of a tropical storm travel northward and hit us like Hermine did a few years ago, or like Erin hit some parts of central and eastern OK a few years back.) I think Hermine hit us in early September and dropped 6 or 8" on our part of the county, but by that late in the season, most of the melons already had been harvested. I don't even remember tomatoes splitting and cracking, but surely they did.

Emma, I love Skin So Soft but it seems to work sometimes for me and not at other times.

Skeeters aren't a big problem here now. I think we've dried out enough that they cannot find standing water in which to breed....but I bet they'll be bad all month in the areas that are being hit repeatedly by rain.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 1:08AM
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The biggest problem I've had is that all of our green beans got mildew and mold. Still pretty and generally green plants, but the mold and mildew have pretty much destroyed the crop.

The last few days down here have been hot as blazes.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Mine had a blight this spring. My new ones are coming up. We will see. The grasshoppers may win.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 10:37PM
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My son told me how to make a mosquito trap. Cut a 2 liter pop bottle in half. Put a cup of water, a couple tblspoons of brown sugar and a tsp of bread yeast in the bottom half. Invert the top half into the bottom and set out away from where you want to be. The CO2 is supposed to lure them in and then they can't get back out. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to. I went out to water this morn without spray and killed 10 mosquitos on me in a half hour.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:42AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Warren, We're as hot as blazes too. Our front porch (east-facing) thermometer hit 106 yesterday and the one on the north side of the house in full shade hit 107. The formerly green pastures are drying out really fast now. I don't see the drying out of the green plants so much in the yard and garden yet where I've watered a little, but in the areas of the garden where I'm not watering, everything is wilting and dying. The first 10-14 days in August here in our county are usually our driest, hottest, most miserable weather of the year so I try to have all my outdoor work done before noon, and then I stay inside and try to keep cool.

Sheila, My new pole beans are up now, too, and I'll plant bush beans soon.

Dorothy, The sugar and yeast make a homemade version of a product called wheast that also is used in gardens to attract beneficial insects. I never thought about the fact that it might attract mosquitoes. I hope it works for you. Ten mosquitoes in a half-hour is ten too many. Feel free to send your mosquitoes down here and we'll roast them to death for you. It it almost 12:30 p.m. and already 100 degrees here.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 1:27PM
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