Ladybug Ladybug, Welcome Home

This growing season has been a tough one for my lettuce table. Normally by Christmas we are out cutting fresh leaves for salad every day. This year the hot – cold – hot temperatures in the fall made for some rough growing. I finally got the right combination of morning sun, umbrella shade in the afternoon and a weekly hit of a 20-20-20 fertilizer and boom! Lettuce for days. Weeks. Months!

As I was cutting the first good crop, I noticed black bugs on the leaves. Like a lot of black bugs. aphids to be exact. It dawned on me later that we’ve always had a praying mantis in the garden. He (she?) reappeared sometime in the fall and apparently she (he?) was working to keep the aphid population in check. But this year he/she didn’t come back so when the mantis is away, the aphids will play.

And play those little bastards did.

I want the lettuce table to be organic so I didn’t want to spray any pesticides.  I used an insecticidal soap which is safe for humans, but allegedly the aphids don’t like it and they should leave when you spray it. I swear to God, those little assholes laughed when I sprayed it on the leaves. I saw one pretending to take a shower with the soap while he laughed with his friends. All the while eating my plants.

When I gave my mom a big bag of lettuce, I told her to make sure to wash it well to get the bugs off. “Don’t worry.” she said. ” I just serve the salad with poppy seed dressing so in case I missed any bugs, you can’t tell.”

It’s amazing I came out as normal as I did.

Anyway. I decided I couldn’t take it any more and after several phone calls to local nurseries and Google searches, I found a retailer that would ship me some ladybugs asap. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and they won’t hurt my lettuce. Not to mention they are adorable. Yesterday when the little ventilated box arrived, it was like Christmas. No one should get this excited about a box of bugs…and yet there I was, sprinkling ladybugs onto the leaves of the lettuce saying go! eat, my pretties! eat them all!!! while laughing manaicly.

The kids were entranced by the hard work the ladybugs were doing – within an hour of being on the leaves, they were eating to their hearts content. Gone were the sounds of those little jerks laughing. Now all we could hear was the nom nom nom sounds of the ladybug lunch.

Muuuahhhaaahhhhaahhaa!!!

So delicious. Until you notice the bugs…

IMG_8083 IMG_8075 IMG_8076

Workin’ hard!

IMG_8081 IMG_8082

All Natural Beauty

A few weekends ago, Baylie and I ventured out to the Scottsdale Farmers Market where there are a number of local farmers and tons of other local products. We always get the great olive oil from Queen Creek, the goat milk lotions and delicious grass-fed beef from a farm in southern Arizona. Peter and I  were horribly spoiled when we lived in DC and visited Eastern Market every weekend – this is a close second and we love it!

While walking through the maze of booths, we came across one selling all natural beauty and wellness products. The scent wafting from the small area was amazing – herbal and clean – like an expensive spa. I was hooked. I talked with Maggie, the owner of  Holistic Earth Remedies and sampled a number of the products. I was tempted by all of them, I know I’ll be sad I didn’t buy the Herbal Muscle Mist after my workout this week. I settled on the Organic Face Wash and the Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner.

The face wash is made with organic tea tree oil and Arizona honey among other natural ingredients. The tea tree oil gives a little tingle as it foams and the wash leaves the skin feeling clean but not dry. Even Peter liked it and getting him to even try something new is hard, let alone like it! I use the wash with my Clarisonic face brush and it’s like I’m at the spa and my skin looks like it’s been there too.

I use the  Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner as a makeup remover and it’s wonderful. It’s very thick , almost like an ointment. It not only does a great job of removing all my makeup, but leaves my eye area incredibly moisturized – great for preventing those under eye wrinkles and it makes my makeup glide on the next morning. Bonus? It contains caster oil which promotes hair growth – helllooo eyelashes!

The best part about these products is that Maggie, the creator and owner, has a tremendous offer for The Goon Room readers! If you purchase the Organic Face Wash, she will throw in the Ultimate Eyelash Conditioner FREE! A $10 value! Visit http://www.holisticearthremedies.com/ and peruse the variety of products and then contact Maggie directly (mzombro1@cox.net or number on her website) for The Goon Room deal. Also see where Holistic Earth Remedies will have a booth in the Phoenix area so you can smell for yourself.