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Monday, September 30, 2013

Cheese With My Whine

Grasshoppers continue to plague my garden. No sooner does the current species die out that a new breed takes up residence. With over 8,000 species in existence, I might not win this battle.

I blame the large fields within five miles surrounding us. Some commercial outfits have planted corn and sorghum and that's like open buffet to grasshoppers. My guess is whoever is farming that land is spraying heavily, so instead of the hoppers munching on their fields, they go to those of us who aren't using pesticides.

We didn't have this trouble two years ago. The only thing that's changed is the rise of these massive fields of grain.

I could whine about this (and I have) but I've decided to fight back. Next year, we'll be building some raised beds that will be easier to net and cover. It's a shame we have to go through so much trouble but these pests leave us no choice. We refuse to use pesticides so we have to fight them with other means.

But this brings me to the point of this post. It's normal for us to complain when things get hard. The trick is not to let it win. There are always options. --not necessarily easy options, but then nobody ever promised us easy.

In the publishing side of my life, social media is eating my lunch. I used to be able to keep up but even my own blogging is suffering. I'm seriously thinking of posting once a week here and once at Back to Basics. That's one option. Another option is to combine my blogs again. Or I could get rid of one.

As for visiting others, I'll continue to fit them in as time allows or playing catch up on Sundays when it's quieter.

Do you have a set time or day when you do your visiting? How do you decide when and if to leave a comment? I don't like to leave a comment unless it's meaningful and those take more thought and time. What's a "burn the candle at both ends" girl to do?

36 comments:

Stacy McKitrick said...

Oh my gosh! Grasshoppers. Ugh. I know they aren't harmful to me, I just don't like things jumping at me! Good luck in your fight against them!

I probably visit blogs way too much, but only comment on those that ask questions. If it doesn't appear the writer wants any feedback, I'm not about to offer any - haha!

As for finding time, well, I try to do my blog visiting after I exercise and before my shower. Key word: try. Haha! It's a time sucker, that's for sure (and I like it, which makes it worse I think), but it's one way to keep my name out there. At least, I hope so!

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: I feel the best way to gain exposure is to comment more and blog (or tweet/FB) less.

People follow me here for no other reason than because they found my comment on someone else's blog interesting.

Angela Brown said...

This is going to sound so mother hen when I say (er, type) this, but a "burn the candle at both ends" girl has to slowly trim back on burning the candle at both ends. I know, not much when it comes from me but I'm in "burning the candle at both ends" rehab lol!

I'm working on getting a bit more active, though not too much, on FB. Maybe a comment or two each day and the such. I also try to comment on as many blogs as possible through the week, though I try to do most of it on days I can multi-task b/w my paying gig and "dodging" the internet blackout they like to put up. I don't have an easy formula. It's mainly getting in what I can fit in :-)

Sarah Ahiers said...

Maybe it's just a one off year for the pests, though?
Like, last year squash bugs absolutely destroyed our zukes. So we were all prepared to battle them this year. And then, not a single squash bug. The season last year must have just been perfect for them. We hadn't seen them before, and hopefully we won't see them again

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, I sympathise with your grasshopper problem but for obvious reasons have nothing constructive to say about it - other than your general philosophy is spot on.

Ref Social Media burnout I'd burn one end of the candle only and that at a low wick (if I'm not mixing metaphors with lamps) I would try posting just once a week - and even combine blogs. My favourite FWITW is this one. I appreciate the generality and never being able to predict a post. Just try it and enjoy the leisure of loosening your belt. Now that is a mixed metaphor :)

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Hey, Rehab girl, how can you lecture me? LOL!

I don't think I'm as active on social media as you are, so I feel like a failure in comparison. But the bottom line is, I just don't have the time.

Maybe I need rehab...or cloning.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: I thought that too last year. We had a bad grasshopper the year before, but this year it was 10x worse. The buggers even ate my new pecan trees.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I do like mixing it up. I'm getting more involved with organic and homesteading communities so I'm even thinking of discussing more about those topics. Though I wonder if I'll start losing my writer friends in the process.

Anne Gallagher said...

This year I've been plagued with spiders. Not the nice kind either. The big huge totally Vincent Price scary kind.

I don't bother to look them up anymore because they're not such a rarity, and they all just look alike. HUGE. I'm telling you, it's like they're all on steroids. I think it's because of all the rain we had over the summer.

I'm not killing them, just relocating webs and waiting for a good cold snap.

Sorry about your grasshoppers. Raised beds and cover sounds like a good idea. Yes, it is too bad you have to resort to that. However, next year, you won't have to stoop, and you'll have a good crop.

As for social media, I'm lucky if I catch that break. I've been saying I need to get back to Twitter but who has time. I love those media guru's who say "just fifteen minutes a day" Yeah, like who has the extra 15 minutes.

Okay, sorry to blather on so. But it's Monday now and I'm caffeinated to the hilt.

Cate Masters said...

Sorry to hear about the grasshoppers. I wonder if there's some natural repellant? A plant they avoid, maybe?
I visit blogs when I can fit it in. I wish I had more time to make the rounds!

Gwen Gardner said...

Those dratted grasshoppers *shakes fist*. It's tough being a gardener. I commend you for going pesticide-free, though. If you're going to grow your own food, then it should be healthy and organic.

My blogging life is suffering. I'm unable to make return visits as I should. I'm thinking of going to once per week. The only time I can do it is if I sneak in while I'm at work, or blog at night after a long day at work. But then what about my writing? It's a dilemma.

marlenedotterer said...

Grrrr. A pox on neighbors who plant monocrops and spray!

It does sound like your raised beds and nets will help. Good luck!

I'll continue to follow your blog(s) whatever you decide, because I'm living vicariously through you! I combined my blogs a long time ago. I'm glad I did - I just can't compartmentalize my life enough to keep separate blogs. And you know - people have varied interests. I like science fiction AND homesteading. There are plenty of people in the world like that who don't mind reading a blog that covers more than one topic.

Maria Zannini said...

Anne: I'm sorry. What kind of idiot thinks you can do Twitter in 15 minutes? :P It takes me 15 minutes just to scroll through the list of tweets.

I've always wanted to be good at Twitter. If someone mentions me by name, I always join the conversation, but I rarely start one because I feel I'd be rude to take off after this alleged 15 minutes.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: Well there's a fungus that's effective on little grasshoppers but the big ones are immune to it. And there aren't many plants they avoid. They'll even eat paper. I'm beginning to think they're better survivors than roaches.

Maria Zannini said...

Gwen: Now I know why famous people have assistants to tweet for them. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Marlene: In a perfect world, I'll be able to talk about many different things and occasionally be interesting. ;-)

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Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Maria, I empathize. It's getting more and more difficult to even do the necessary things, let alone blog and visit blogs. I'm also running two posts a week now and I might have to go to every other week as writing is suffering.

Maria Zannini said...

Jim: I marvel at these social media wizards. But even if I knew how they managed it, I couldn't do it. It still comes off as spam no matter what their fans (or publishers) say.

Darke Conteur said...

We've been invaded by ants. First, big black ones that came in with the load of wood, and then flying ants came through some cracks in the floorboards in the livingroom. I think it was the light from the wall lamps that attracted them inside. Anyway, we covered the area with some drywall and so far, so good.

As for social media, this month has been the best for my writing, too bad I can't say the same for my blog. Woefully neglected. I went through my lists and wrote out some ideas, so hopefully I can get back on track.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've actually had less insect trouble this year than last but I sympathize.
I don't consider sharing a problem and stating your solution whining.
I do my blogging during the time I watch TV. Even if it's my favorite show or the news, I get it done then.

Jenny Schwartz said...

First up, sympathy on the grasshoppers and kudos to you on not resorting to pesticides.

Second, I don't think there's any solution to the social media time and energy drain. Fortunately, reading blogs like yours fills me up with energy.

My strategy is an hour in the morning doing all things online. Then a little bit of Twitter and Facebook through the day when I'm bored. I'll never be a social media hit, but I can live with that. :)

raelynbarclay said...

I feel your pain. I think your raised beds are the way to go and will make gardening easier in the long run.

Oy, the blog, the Twitter, the Facebook...LOL. I've been struggling to find some kind of happy medium. The simple fact of the matter is family comes first and the older the wee beasties get, the more directions I get pulled. My candle is more of a puddle of wax with more wicks than I want to admit, LOL

Shelley Munro said...

The plagues of grasshoppers must be heart-breaking. Good on you for not resorting to pesticides. I'm sure you'll outwits the critters soon.

I have no solutions regarding social media. I've been focusing on writing and doing the best I can with FB, Twitter & blogging. I'm not blogging as much as I used to either.

Most of my blog visiting is done late at night, just before I go to bed.

Misha Gericke said...

Ouch! Sorry to hear about your grasshopper problems.

I make a point to comment on all posts by people who commented on my blog.

After that, I go to blogs that interest me. Sadly, though, I simply don't have that sort of time any more. :-/

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Ants with wings? It's not the season for it that I'm aware of, but that kind of sounds like they're swarming. I hope that's not the case--and I hope they're not termites. If they are, you need to spray and quickly. Termites (and even ants) can cause a lot of damage.

Maria Zannini said...

Susan: I have a hard time concentrating with competing noise--probably because I never had kids. LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: That's my modus operandi too. I try to fit everything in while it's still too dark to do anything outside.

But it seems I have more social media than I have pre-dawn hours.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: Absolutely, family has to come first. The older I get, the more I remind myself what I don't want to regret if I were on my death bed. Social media doesn't even make the top 100. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I used to complain about all the wet weather and mosquitoes in east Texas. Now in north Texas, it's the drought and grasshoppers. It's always something, I suppose.

Maria Zannini said...

Misha: I won't visit out of obligation to a friend, but rather if I have a comment worthy to make.

I still read the posts, but only comment when I feel I have something to contribute.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I streamlined my blog by changing Blogger email. I posted about it a couple times on my blog, just because I was so thrilled by the results. And like you, I visit when I can, comment when I have something to add, and spend a little more time on those days when life slows down a bit.

Darke Conteur said...

No, termites do pop up in certain places in Canada, but not here. These are flying ants.

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: I wish I could do that but there are just too many blogs on my list. Maybe I should concentrate more on paring them down. ;)

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: Oh, good. Ants can be destructive inside the house too, but not as efficiently as termites.

Marian Perera said...

I used to have this soul-destroying job that nevertheless gave me a lot of empty time on Saturdays. So I'd sit before the computer on Saturday and try to comment on as many blogs as possible, though I'm with you: it takes time to read posts and leave comments more thoughtful and, you know, participatory than just "great post".

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I think it shows appreciation for the blogger when you leave a thoughtful comment. I know it always makes me feel good. :)