Now that my latest experiment, a Hibiscus plant called Roselle that is supposed to make wonderful cranberry flavored teas and jellies, has sprouted, I pop in and out of the greenhouse several times a day to monitor the progress of the small sprouts. And to bask in the 90+ degree temperature when it’s in the fifties outside. On one of those visits, I happened to look up into the branches of the banana tree and noticed that it was looking back at me with two green, triangular shaped beady little eyes. After taking an involuntary step back, I looked more closely and realized that what I thought was a branch was actually one of the 400 tiny baby mantises I had hatched back in April. Apparently Esmerelda ate the other 399, because not only is she almost the length of my forearm, but I can’t find any more of them. I know they eat harmful garden pests (precisely the reason I bought the two egg sacs in the first place), but I’m a little worried there won’t be enough pests in the greenhouse over the winter to sustain her rather substantial size. I think this winter is going to be a repeat of Gertrude, the greenhouse spider for whom I bought crickets and lovingly pelted them at her web all winter so she wouldn’t starve. I’m a little scared not to feed Esmerelda, because if she gets any bigger she’ll be able to reach the doorknob. I know she doesn’t look that imposing in the photograph, but keep in mind the banana leaf she’s perched on is almost six feet long. She’s a beast.
Speaking of beasts, I went into the Bunny Ranch today to try and count Cinnabun’s babies. If not for my catlike, lightning quick reflexes, and my ability to defend myself with distractingly tasty Wheat Thins, I would have withdrawn a bloody stump. Apparently she’s not ready to share her babies with the Internet public, but I’ll get some cute pictures as soon as I can.
So after being intimidated by both an insect and an overly protective mama rabbit, all within the same 30-minute time span, I decided I needed a delicious snack to boost my self esteem. I have discovered that fresh, ripe, sun-warmed figs are perhaps the most amazingly juicy, tasty fruit on the planet. My prior experience with figs has been limited to Newtons, which are nasty, but that didn’t stop me from getting a fig tree when they were on sale at my favorite greenhouse. I was so enamored with the experience of eating a ripe fig that Gene said I could go buy another tree! Now I just have to figure out where to put it.