Don’t forget the pepers

We are winning the aphid war. Or, I should say, the ladybugs are.

Between work, the heat, and aphids, I’ve ignored my peppers. They’ve not been bothered by the aphids. I figure that the thicker leaves and stems are the reason.

I’ve been watching one of my red cheese peppers turning for the last week. Today, as I was fertilizing I said, “Gosh. There are older peppers on it that haven’t changed?” I crouched down and started shifting leaves and low and behold, I had several changed peppers.

The realization that I had ignored the peppers hit me. The tomatoes have started to change and I’ve been focused on them. Over on the miniature chocolate bell pepper I found several peppers ready to go.

Aphid War

I gave in and purchased ladybugs at the end of May. The aphids where so bad that they looked like scale on the plants. Going into the garden felt gross. Aphids would fall off of everything. Then it wasn’t just green aphids but brown as well.

Why me? I wondered. I’m not the only one to be attacked but it was very, very frustrating.

That is where the ladybugs came in. I ordered them, set them out as instructed, and left the garden alone for the next two weeks. The good news is that we have baby ladybugs in the garden and the aphid numbers feel as if they have been slashed in half. They are still there but it is not as oppressive as it was.

Just in time for the tomato disease to appear. I believe it is a leaf spot disease. It punched the Yellow Brandywine in the face. That plant has not yet made fruit. The Orange Russian 117 is also looking bad but I think its struggle to produce has to do with the aphids draining the blossoms dry. At one point we where uses brushes to try to get them off.

So, now I have fewer aphids and a tomato disease ravaging the garden. I pruned heavily on Monday and everything looks better. We’ve seen more young ladybugs and the aphid population is decreasing. Hopefully, we have made ground in this war and the garden will be able to recover.

Comic Books

When my father died I inherited his comic books. I gathered them out of the dusty, decrepit Xerox boxes he stored them in. I sorted them, I got bags and backboards, and I organized them.

I then struggled to find any help on how to sell most of them. I put out a few feelers but none of them where things that would benefit me. I’m not comic book ignorant. I went through quite a phase when I was 11-15. I still read graphic novels although I have a taste for longer, more complex stories that cause me to buy bundled books instead of individual comics.

I spent several weeks documenting the entire thing. I should have alphabetized them at the time but I was too tired. And now, when I go looking for it, I have no idea where I put the file or what I named it.


I did try to post on a comic website or two. I was mostly ignored. It is only now, years later, that it occurs to me that there was probably an assumption that I was a troll or lying for attention. After all, it is the perfect storm. “I inherited a bunch of silver age comic books, what do I do?” For as long as I have been online I still forget that many people do nothing more than lie and attention seek. I’ve always seen the internet as a place to gather information, share, discuss, learn, and amuse oneself. Not finding amusement in making up stories for attention leaves me a bit behind the ball at times.

I’m going to go for it. Make a spread sheet to track the books and their pictures and put them up on eBay. My husband also has a large amount of ram he has salvaged that we will put up. He doesn’t want to do the leg work but I am willing to do so.

Pre June Tomatoes






It was only two days early but it counted. May 29th gave me ripe tomatoes on my Rapunzel. This has been my goal and I am pleased to accomplish it. I’m surprised that it happened between the cool days, rain, and the aphid infestation.

Ripe Tomatoes in May

I will admit that it is only May 29th, but this year I achieved my goal. I have a ripe tomato before June.

The aphid infestation is still ongoing. I’m going to have to poison some of the ants I believe. They are making nests under the containers and harvesting the aphids. What happens is I clean the plants off on my days off. Then I work a lot or it has been cool and wet and they explode in population. I fight them off again and we go in a big circle.

It course be worse.

The deck is looking great. The ground cherries are enormous. The fruit better be awesome. The plants are loaded with fruit but none is ripe yet, which I understand.

Unexpected Goals

I have veggie pictures but I am waiting for the photo upload to be fixed for the blog. If not, I’ll go back to pushing from imgur as I used to do. Everything is going great minus the aphid infestation.

With my little windfall I have moved my debt pay off ahead by a year. Doing some research led me to dump my emergency fund into the pay off as well. We still have an emergency fund but it is my husbands. Before I made my decision I checked in with him, to his amusement. The fact that we do not share our cash has always left me feeling strange about making assumptions with his money. Yet, for the first time I do and I do so with comfort.

It was not until today that I realized this debt free level frees us so much. Before, I needed to work at my job to just pay my bills. Now, I’ll be free of all but my part of the mortgage. If we sell the house, my revolving debt consists of my cellphone bill ($30), netflix, and google play music.

What a place to be.

Becoming financially responsible has been a long road. I was never terrible but I was often not s good as I should have been. A thousand dollars seems like so much but spends so fast. Payments seem like they will make a dent but the the credit goes down so slowly.

And cars did not help. The urge to have a dependable car was strong and a car payment has consumed much of my income. It was also today that I said to my husband my next car will be nice but it will be used. We are past the point that I will pay more to minimize the negatives of working on my car. Gone is the stress from my first years of vehicle ownership when a break down was such a  devastating moment.

It feels so strange. This year will be my 20th year since I left high school. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. It has gone very well. Sometimes it feels as if it went better then it should have. Yet, even if a shoe was to drop, I could catch it.

It is all very unexpected.


Unclaimed Money

Around January, my husband and I got into a discussion about unclaimed money and was real it was. I did some research and discovered that the entire idea of unclaimed money was true. Not only that, the website looks like a scam and isn’t.

We started with our own state. I found one hit for myself.  I checked where I used to live. I then checked my father. He died several years ago and I was his executor. I found several hits on him. I then checked my mother and grandmother.

It had to be a scam. Had to. I checked the state websites and only NY had their own website. The other’s had forms and told you to use Missing Money’s website. I was shocked because the website oozes scam to me.

But it wasn’t. Today, I got the estate payouts for my father.

I feel like an infomercial. Check it. Check your state as well and compare the two.

The idea of Missing Money is that companies cannot just keep money that does not belong to them. By having to send it to the state people do not develop create ways to keep these funds. They give it to the care of the state that the person lived in. The state keeps it in an account and the owner can come along and claim it.

For my father, one account was for a stock. The other was from his previous mortgage company. It was an over-payment of some sort. For myself, I found an interest refund from my previous vehicle that I had sold. I moved after they sent it and I had used a PO Box in between so they just sent it to the state when they couldn’t easily find me.

Sometimes things really do just work.

A little bit of cheating

This morning I went to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. My husband and I are both due for renewal within a week of each other. He is going to be out of the country when his driver’s license expires. I’ve been pushing to get it done and this morning we woke up at the ungodly (to us) hour of 0700 to go.

It was a much smoother process then I expected. The cold, overcast skies kept people away. The middle of the month is a much safer time to go. There are fewer people rushing to meet deadlines for expired things. I saw couples getting titles for new vehicles and a mother bringing her daughter in for her learner’s permit.

My husband was grumpy. He is such a grumpy, growly person in the mornings. I finally stopped trying to talk to him. Thankfully, we waited for about fifteen minutes before his number was called. Another five minutes later, I was called to the opposite side of the line of counters.

I asked a few question to the puzzlement of the  staff member. The application asks if you have or have ever had a driver’s license from another state, territory or country. It then asked for the number and the date it was issued and expired. I changed my license to this state ten years ago. How am I supposed to know what my driver’s license number, issue, and exasperation dates where? He tells me that is only for people coming in with new licenses. I stared at him and commented that ‘ever’ is a rather confusing term.

As I smiled for my picture, I watched the security guard come over and say, “#7 is cheating.”

#7 was the 16 year old girl getting her learners permit. There is a row of stalls where the tests are done. Above their walls is a mirror. They called her out and her mother over and told them she couldn’t retake the test for two weeks due to cheating. Her mother seemed so confused. She walked out and then came back and to my delight, asked for details.

It seems that the young lady made google searches four times. The fourth time is when the security guard called her on it. She was slipping her phone out of her pocket and then back in. The girl had that stone faced look that said, “I have been denying it and now I know they really saw and didn’t just get a lucky guess.”

My husband says that he blames the parents for not making sure she was prepared. I can see that. I remember walking around with my manual reciting passages and begging for quizzes. On one side I thought that she should have not had her phone. On the other, she should not have cheated and her ability to resist temptation is part of growing up. A part that she failed. It also makes me think, what else does she cheat on? To cheat at the DMV is a rather aggressive first attempt. To me, this means it is not a first attempt.

First Peppers

I am trying to learn to like sweet peppers. Last year, my mother gave me a piece of a very ripe red bell pepper. It wasn’t horrible. Green bell peppers make me want to vomit a bit. This was not awful and it started me on my quest for tasty sweet peppers.

This year I am trying the miniture chocolate bell pepper, red cheese peppers, and heatless habanaro called habanada.

This is a red cheese pepper. I have a few other peppers peeking out on their plants. It looks like it will be a good year.


On the 13th I dropped my plants. I was very, very annoyed and mad. I was mad at myself. I was trying to do a lot before I ate anything and right after waking up. I broke one of my Sungolds and for a moment I was going to throw it away.

Instead, I figured that I’d give it the chance to recover.

That was the broken stem. I incorrectly attempted to root the old top. That shriveled up and died. I did learn some about rooting.

Here it is today. I just planted it out. It is half the size of everyone else and it has grown two main stems. It is a strong, healthy looking plant with great roots. I expect an explosion of growth over the next few weeks now that it is moved to a bigger container.

I’d have moved it earlier but my time has been rather hectic. I’ve not had the energy to go out late and night to go shopping and avoid traffic. My days off have not actually been days off. Still, we’ve gotten there.

Next is setting up my drip system. I purchased new hoses. I made the mistake of not pulling my hoses in for the winter and the seals are all blown.