Monday, July 24, 2017

A Faerie Ring

I couldn't believe my eyes: a faerie ring in my very own front yard!
July 24, 2017

Around 5:00 today I glanced out the kitchen window and noticed a big brown area on the other side of one of the oaks in the front yard. What the heck? I stared at it for a long moment, and then I realized what it was. I grabbed my camera and raced outside in the rain, which has been coming down steadily all week. 

We always get mushrooms this time of year. They thrive during the monsoons, when everything outside is wet for long periods of time. However, I'd never seen them grow in a circle in our area. To my eyes, it was a magical moment. As a child, I was very much into faerie tales and fantasy stories, so I'm quite familiar with the lore of faerie rings.

A closeup of the toadstools in the circle.

You see, the ring of toadstools protects the ground where faeries and elves love to dance, in the middle of the night, when prying eyes are closed in slumber. In some cases, the ring rests above the underground homes of a faerie village. If you should be out after dark and come upon a faerie circle, don't attempt to enter and join in the merriment, for you are likely to fall under their spell, unable to leave for a year and a day. Even then, you may only leave if a human outside the ring knows one of the counter-spells to release you.

Furthermore, do not be tempted to destroy the faerie ring. If you do, the best you can hope for is to be beset by horrible-bad luck for the remainder of your days. At worst, you may die a terrible death. I had planned to have Mark mow the yard when the rain let up, but now... On the other hand, if you respect the faeries' ways and keep your distance, you may actually gain their favor and enjoy some good luck. And I can use some of their charmed luck, especially in my garden.

Little mushrooms are growing literally all over my yard!

We've had so much rain that I haven't had to water my garden for almost a week. For the past three days, I even quit uncovering the plants I'd put under the bell-cloches. At first I took off the cloches whenever it rained so the plants could enjoy the natural moisture, but there's been so much steady rainfall lately that they've been getting plenty through the air holes on top, as well as from the extremely saturated ground.

The cucumber plants are recovering beautifully.

After marveling over my own personal faerie ring for a while today, I went back to check on the garden. Since the rain at that time was falling gently, I decided to finally un-cloche the covered plants. I was astounded and thrilled to see how full my cucumber plants have become. They are really thriving under their individual "hot houses," protected from bunny attacks, although I know soon they'll outgrow the cloches. I hope they'll be hardier by then.

The protected berries are getting their chance to ripen!

My three covered strawberry plants are also doing well under their cloches. Several berries have had an opportunity to turn deep, juicy red before being snatched by those ornery garden varmints. Next year I will be ordering about a dozen more cloches! The only drawback is that the new blossoms on the plants may not get pollinated, unless an enterprising bee finds its way through the little air holes on top. Thus, I intend to spend a little more money and get the rabbit-wire cloches, which will allow in bees, sunlight, and rain, while keeping out hungry rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

Some strawberry plants are even sending out runners, which start new plants.

The bean plants are filling out nicely, and their vines
have outgrown the tower, waving freely in the air above.

My bean plants are gorgeous and quickly filling in their tower. No problems there, knock wood. (That's another faerie reference; that saying comes from the Old English custom of knocking on an oak tree to obtain good luck from the faeries who made their homes in the tree.)

The tomatoes are also doing well. I have close to forty tomatoes maturing on the four bushes so far. There was an issue with the bottom branches turning yellow, so I dealt with them as recommended on several gardening websites. So far, so good. New blossoms bloom every day while the baby tomatoes keep growing.

My lone bell pepper continues to grow.

My only remaining concern is the pepper plants. Despite being covered with blossoms that start to form into little bell peppers, none of them make it to fruition. Only the first one continues to grow, all alone. Meanwhile, little blooms keep getting snipped off and cast to the ground, lying all around the plant. According to my research, this is indicative of a problem with snails, which seems odd because I've never seen a single snail in the twenty-four years I've owned this house. They say they come out at night, but it was broad daylight when I was weeding and heard the "snip!" just as the bloom hit the dirt. And I searched the plant and found nothing.

I treated the tomatoes and peppers with diatomaceous earth one day last week when there was a rain-less night and six hours of clear skies before the next storm. You see, diatomaceous earth only works to kill the pests when it's kept dry. As welcome as the monsoonal rains are this time of year, the constant dampness makes it hard to treat the plants long enough to effectively dehydrate the little critters. I'm watching for another dry night followed by several hours of sunny skies, hopefully for a few days in a row. Maybe Wednesday... 

If my faerie friends could just put in a good word for me...

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