A Good Critter

With all the biting, stinging, wanting to kill me bugs and snakes we have around here, it’s nice to have an occasional good guy.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

He’s been in the house for four or five days but every time I see him, he’s where I can’t reach him.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Last night, just before I went to bed, I saw him on an egg carton and I grabbed him and took him outside. He might have been safer inside and I’m sure there are plenty of bugs in here to eat but one bad landing and he would have been a Rita snack.

We actually see quite a few of these around. Every now and then we used to see them around my grandparents’ place and my grandma always said “Leave him alone. He’s a good bug!” They’re so intriguing looking.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Last night as I was trying to get a good picture, he was moving his front legs around. The thought ran through my mind that he was telling me something and trying to use his hands.  Who knows? He’s outside now.

Someone on FB pointed out that it was ironic that the magazine cover under the egg carton says “Please stay!!” If I had noticed that, I probably would have left him in the house. Maybe that’s what he’s trying to tell me. It does look like he’s point to that phrase. Heck . . maybe I should go out and see if I can find him and bring him back in!  🙂

Greenhouse Heat

Several left comments or contacted me about putting the greenhouse heater on a timer. That won’t work for several reasons. First, the heater we have in there is propane with a manual igniter. 

Heater

Heater

It’s 30,000 BTU and with the greenhouse not being insulated, on the few nights when we have single digits, we need the power to heat it. We went with that model heater initially because it will work even if the electricity is off. It has an electric fan, which we use, but it would still work without the fan and would keep plants from freezing if the power was off. 

Rinnai makes a heater that has a thermostat and built in timer but it’s three times the cost of the Mr. Heater we bought and, it does not work at all if the electricity is off. I think, even with the high cost, it’s still a better deal than using the other one so much and sucking down so much propane, so we’re ordering the Rinnai heater. We’ll keep the Mr. Heater installed and use it for backup . . if (and it will happen) the electricity is off.

Another reason we having gone with a timer is that I just don’t trust them.  If an added timer fails on a sprinkler or lights, it’s not that big of a deal but if a timer fails on a greenhouse heater, everything in it could be lost. We have a remote thermometer in the house that will sound if the greenhouse temp drops below a certain point but we’ve never set it up . . I’m not going out there on an icy night in the middle of the night to see why a heater isn’t working and I’m 100% sure Vince wouldn’t either.  🙂

Our electricity is so expensive and at night we’re totally on purchased power (instead of our own solar power) so electric heat is not an option. 

Who would have thought keeping 4 lemon trees and 2 lime trees alive could be so expensive – especially considering how few lemons and limes we get!  🙂

Grasshoppers

The grasshoppers aren’t horrible this year . . there are some but not so many that they’re eating everything, including our window screens! A friend who lives on another side of town said they’re terrible at her house – eating the leaves off their trees and devouring every tender plant she has.

One year I had planted a fall garden and was watching the little seedlings break through the ground. They were about an inch tall . . several rows of plants. I went out one morning to check on them and . . gone! Not a sign of green. Had I not been watching their progress, I would have sworn the seeds never sprouted. The End! . . for that garden! I think that was the year they ate holes in our screens. I told Vince . . when they start nibbling on the tires on my car . . I’m outta here!

So, after planting all my seeds over the weekend, I looked at all my handiwork and thought . . GRASSHOPPERS! Even with shade cloth on the greenhouse, it’s still too hot to put anything in there. There’s no ideal place to put all those little pots so I was asking Vince if he could build me a little screened in cage to put the plants in and he remembered seeing a little plastic “greenhouse” on sale at Tractor Supply so we went back there. I’ve been disappointed in our Tractor Supply lately. Customer service seems to have changed a lot in the recent past. They always have a couple of markdown shelves along one wall and that’s where Vince had seen them. He came back to where I was and said “They’re gone! They must have marked everything down and sold it. Nothing is left on the markdown shelf.” He found an employee and asked him and he acted like he’d never seen a markdown shelf but said he would go ask his manager. The guy came back and said the manager said they sold both greenhouses. I was wandering around the store while Vince was looking for something else and stumbled upon the markdown stuff . . in a different location and there were the two greenhouses. It’s not a huge store. Someone in there should know that stuff got moved and for the manager to say they sold both of them without even knowing that . . not good customer service in my opinion.

Greenhouse

Greenhouse

Anyway, we bought both of them. They were regular $19.99 and marked down to $10.99 each.

Greenhouse

Greenhouse

It’s all plastic with no ventilation and even with it in the shade, we can’t keep it closed up as hot as it is so we bought some screen and we’re going to cover that opening with screen with a way for me to easily water the plants.

Greenhouse

Greenhouse

I isn’t big but should be large enough for what I have planted and should offer the protection we need from bugs.