Forgive me while I complain for a moment. The truth is, writing a book is difficult under the most ideal circumstances, when the words are flowing and the light is faultless both inside and out, when I’m swimming in the deep end of creative waters. BUT. Writing a book is impossible when Japanese beetles are chomping away on my rose bushes.
Yesterday, I planned out the whole day—an entire luscious day with nothing to do but work on the book I’m writing. But you know the saying. The best laid plans of mice and men and writers. Somehow, even though I am “one with my garden”, piddling around in it at least daily, often twice a day, even so, yesterday morning completely by chance I noticed Japanese beetles swarming my roses like something straight from the Old Testament.
The Book of Exodus, to be specific.
How did I know I had Japanese beetles? It’s easy to tell. They don’t hide. They are proud, these vulgar, uninvited guests. And they leave a trail behind in skeletor leaves and sad buds, their souls sucked lifeless.
My efforts to ignore them didn’t work. I could practically hear the pests munching on the tender petals of my knockout roses. They may as well have been crawling on my arms. I slammed shut my journal and Macbook and headed to the nursery in a huff.
It’s hard to write a book when your garden is under attack, and there’s not a moment to lose. Those plants, they are my babies. My responsibility. And when I faced the lady at Westwood Gardens it was with failure and remorse.
But she wasn’t judgy. “Beetles are marching from one end of Fayetteville to the other,” she said. They are marching from one end of my yard to the other, that’s a fact. I left armed with a recommended spray, one to be mixed with water in a pump sprayer. “I have a sprayer!” I announced as though this validated me in some small way.
My pump sprayer was filled to the brim with last summer’s garlic mosquito spray. (Spray I used not only on mosquitoes but also to deter armadillos which may or may not have helped.) Waste not, want not. It’s hard to write a book when one must spray out all the garlic mosquito spray before one can mix the beetle spray. I coated the entire back yard in (stale?) mosquito spray for mosquitos I haven’t yet noticed, knock-on-wood.
Still, the pump thingy was half-filled. I abandoned it back to the garage leaving it in a spot where no doubt later I will trip over it.
Plan B. I decided to mix up a tiny, quick batch in a spray bottle which involved finding an empty spray bottle. This, as you might imagine, led to polishing the dining room table to rid said bottle of the thimble full of furniture polish inside. This also led to a bit of math conversion which I try to avoid at all costs. Gallons to teaspoons? Puleeze and 有難う very much. I speak better Japanese.
At long last, I sprayed the two immediately afflicted rose bushes and four others not yet afflicted.
If you give a beetle a rose bush, next they’ll want a cherry tree. So I sprayed two cherry trees.
I hear they like Japanese maples, too. Native food and all.
You see how this turned out.
How hard is it to write a book? It’s hard enough under the best of circumstances. But on any given day it’s near impossible what with…
- Ichi. Japanese beetles destroying all that is holy,
- Ni. Two schnauzers vying for attention,
- San. A nest filled with baby cardinals peeping outside my window,
- Shi. Herbs going to seed,
- Go. Blog posts begging to be written,
- Roku. Lunch calling to me,
- Shichi. Books waiting to be read,
- Hachi. Dirty laundry mounded in the bedroom,
- Kyuu. Bills needing to be paid,
- Juu. And so on.
Happy Saturday! I hope you have a productive, pest-free day.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Fight Song, Rachel Platten