Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Berry Season

I'm just going to start calling my blog Bug-a-Day, because that's basically what it's become. We found this in the garden yesterday morning. It's a green lacewing, and it's the first lacewing I believe I've seen. A few years ago Dave and I bought some lacewing larvae and set it loose on the plants, but we never saw a single adult. Maybe they hid, and this one is a descendant.

Also, the first flower has appeared on the big inula near the patio. The plant is so tall -- about eight feet high -- that I can only see the blossom from below!

I had a few minor errands to run yesterday. I packaged and mailed some seeds to a pal who'd asked for some -- foxgloves and lupines -- and hopefully they'll be viable. There's really no way to tell until they're in the ground and sprouting. Or not.

I've also been wrestling with what to do with my Florida primary election ballot, which arrived last week. The election is in the middle of next month, but all the races are for local judges and school board members, and let's be honest -- I don't have a clue who any of those people are. I don't think the local newspaper has even made endorsements, so I have nothing to go on. I firmly believe in voting, but I think I may sit this one out. As an overseas voter I really have more at stake in the national elections in November.

It's blackberry season! The berry vines are suddenly exploding with ripening fruit. This particular cluster is way at the top of the vine, in an area I can't reach, so these will be for the birds.

I've long had a vague idea that birds eat blackberries, but I'm not sure I've ever watched it before yesterday. While sitting on the garden bench, I saw a blackbird land about ten feet away with a berry in its beak. It pecked it apart, keeping a wary eye on me the whole time, and finally hopped behind the acanthus to finish its meal in private.

I've been picking them to put on my cereal. Dave doesn't really like our blackberries -- he calls them "acid balls" -- but I like the tartness. And they're free, from our own garden, which makes them even better!


  1. Bugger Day would have an entirely different meaning.

    ( I hope that this funny remark escapes censorship by the Christian fundamentalist who presides over this blog)

    P.S. Your brambles are way ahead of ours here in South Yorkshire but I can tell it is going to be a bumper crop.

  2. You're the first person I've known to buy bug larvae to plant in their garden. As for your blackberries, enjoy! They always taste better when they come from our own garden. I have a mulberry tree full of berries, and the birds just love it. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  3. It's a tropical (insectical?) paradise. Blackberries were one of the few fruits I would eat from the garden without washing when I was a kid.

  4. I love the way blackberries taste, but I hate how the seeds get stuck in my teeth. I am a blackberry snowflake - ha!

    Also, I approve of this new buggy direction that your blog is taking.

  5. As far as the election issues/candidate situation, you might check out the local League of Women Voters for that area to see if they have anything to help you sort the wheat from the chaff--so to speak. The group often provides background information on candidates--sometimes asking the same questions of candidates--rather than steering folks to a particular choice. Main website -

  6. like our wild blackberries or dewberries as we call them. they have to have no hint of red or pink and practically fall off the vine into your hand to be sweet.

    lacewings are so cool they way the lay their eggs in clusters. they somehow spin a long filament about an inch and a half with the egg on the very tip.

  7. No blackberries here. I think I bought them in the store once. I remember them being very good.

  8. If you decide not to send your ballot in, make sure it won't affect your November ballot. There have been so many voter purges, it makes me a bit nervous, especially in historically Red states.
    Those blackberries look delicious. I'd be tempted to make some blackberry jam with some of those.

  9. My hubby loves wild blackberries but they don't grow in Alberta, so he gets his fill when we travel to BC this time of year. Not this year sadly.

  10. Tons of blackberries here. It's a bit of an invasive species, but still yummy. There are also some delicious boysenberries, and our neighbors grow blueberries. All at once it's a berry nice time of the year!
    I like what Sharon said about checking to see if not voting now will affect your voting in November. Oy.

  11. The berry that bites back- ouch-timing is everything with blackberries up here, They seem to be good and sweet for about twenty minutes. If it rains before they are ripe, they lose flavor. Tricky and sticky, and so good for you!
    Looked up lacewing, they are lovely bugs and very helpful in the garden, their larva will eat leather, silk and wool , keep your drawers/closets shut or your silk underwear will be a nursery.
    Gorgeous photos as always, prize winners for sure.

  12. That is my favorite of your bug photos. There's a dark reflection in that drop of water--could it be the photographer?

    My Missouri grandmother had billions of blackberries--she'd freeze them, and when we visited in winter, she'd serve then on hot oatmeal. Some fifty years later, that remains a happy flavor memory!

  13. My voting method, before things got crazy, was if I didn't know the category, I'd vote for the woman if there was one. But now many women are as crazy as the men, so who knows. But do ensure you won't be purged.

  14. I love strawberries and blueberries, but blackberries and raspberries have seeds that get stuck in my teeth. I remember picking wild blueberries in Maine when I was a little girl of four. We were in a travel trailer, heading to Florida from Indiana via Detroit, Montreal, Nova Scotia, then into Maine and on south, stopping on a whim or to see friends. We must have filled every receptacle we had in the trailer with berries. There is a slide of me, my mouth and chin covered in berry juice.

  15. Voting to elect judges sounds hilarious to me and fraught with issues. Blackberries are a terrible pest here as they travel along waterways. However, they are so nice to eat but we have to be careful when picking them that they haven't been sprayed with poison. It is hard to deny to your parents that you haven't been gorging on blackberries when your mouth is purple ringed.

  16. It is purple bird poo time of year!

  17. YP: No Christian evangelicals around here! You must have me confused with another Steve Reed. In Croydon, maybe?

    E: Indeed!

    Edna: We've done it with ladybirds, too, but the bugs eventually go their own way. (Probably get eaten!)

    Mitchell: I still eat them straight from the vine when I'm walking the dog.

    Bug: Yeah, the seeds are a problem, I agree!

    Mary: That's a good idea!

    Ellen: It's tricky, though, because if they go TOO long on the vine they get soft and disintegrate when you try to pick them.

    Red: Your part of the world must be one of the few where blackberries don't thrive! I feel like I see them everywhere. They're often an invasive plant, even.

    Sharon: Yeah, I worried about that too. I actually did send it partly for that reason.

    Lilycedar: Can you get them in local produce markets? Seems like someone must truck them over from BC?

    Robin: Yeah, they can be super-invasive. We have to keep them in check in the garden.

    Linda Sue: No silk underwear here, and very little leather and wool, for that matter -- so we'll survive!

    Fresca: Lacewing self-portrait! We used to freeze them in Florida, too.

    Catalyst: Dave always has a colorful turn of phrase.

    Allison: I used to do that too, but yeah, these days I feel like I need more info.

    BethB: It's funny how many people are put off by the blackberry seeds! I agree they're not that pleasant, but they don't slow me down much.

    Andrew: Only certain judges get elected -- local criminal and civil courts, for example. (And I think it depends on locality.) Federal judges, on the other hand, are appointed and sometimes have jobs for life, with the idea that they should not be subject to popular opinion.

    Sarah: Absolutely! It will be everywhere! Glad I no longer have a car!