Life with spidermites, lots of plants, and too much time to think

The decision: do the spraying ourselves, or call in an exterminator?

The problem: we spotted a healthy and happy black widow spider with a huge web right outside the guest bedroom.

I don't like spiders, and I especially don't like them making happy little nests right outside my guest bedroom when I've got three guests coming to stay with us in the next 30 days.

Either way, her days are numbered.It's been a quiet day at work—things coming in slowly but steadily, so the day has passed quickly. I'm ready to go home, although I'm not totally sure of what I'm going to do when I get there. Perhaps clean the kitchen or something eminently useful like that. Or maybe I'll just sprawl out on the guest bed and read for a couple of hours—that sounds pretty good.

I totally forgot to set meat out to thaw, so I guess that we'll be having leftover chili tonight. We'll live.

Sean reminded me of something useful today—and if you just finished reading yesterday's commentary you'll understand—that you've got to enjoy what you're doing for a living, or it's not living. Because we geeks and semigeeks spend way the hell too much time at work for us not to love what we do. Point taken, and thanks for the perspective, dear.

Speaking of spiders, yesterday was just a bad day overall for that sort of thing. I finally discovered what's going after my little rosemary plant—spider mites. This annoys me greatly. They're not attacking any of my plants except the rosemary plants. It explains why the little one wasn't growing as quickly as I thought it should be. I bought insecticidal soap yesterday and hosed both plants down hard—hopefully with a few more applications, the little plant will become healthy and start to grow again.

My plans for the flowerbeds are starting to take shape. I'm going to fill in the back of the beds with blue or white hydrangeas. I'm going to dig up the irises I have and plant them in clumps scattered throughout the beds. I want to construct a low loose hedge of rosemary and lavender; I've not decided if I'm going to combine them together or plant separate hedges of each. I know that I want to plant some sage, and a whole slew of annuals. (basil, oregano, parsley, dill, summer savory, etc.) I'll probably fill in a good portion of the bare space with chamomile and thyme, both of which have low creeping habits and are good for groundcover. I'm also going to plant some sunflowers.

Other plan—in the back, I've got to trim the crape myrtles, as they're a bit straggly. Jeff's asked that I come up with some kind of landscaping solution so that he doesn't have to mow directly up to the trunks of the crape myrtles. The plan: I'm going to sink some landscaping border into the ground this fall, and put a thick layer of bark chips over the circle so that the grass will die down.

In the spring, I'll remove the bark chips and dig up the ground and work in a good bit of organic material. Then I'm going to plant probably four things: tarragon, spearmint, peppermint, and catnip. All four are highly invasive plants, and while I really don't want them taking over my front flowerbeds, I do want to have them in my little herby garden.

I haven't figured out yet when I'm going to have time to tear out the entire flowerbeds. This is going to hurt. The wondergeeks have offered to help in exchange for free access to the proceeds. Sounds good to me; my goal is to have enough growing that I won't feel the least bit deprived if I give a good portion of it away. It's a good metaphor about how I'm trying to live my life, I think.

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BugZyme is a NEW product out that is made form kelp and uses enzymes to kill bugs. It is like food grade and not a poison. We tried it on roses and orchids and it works the first squirt.Try it.