Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Patience, Grasshopper

[contented sigh]

The summer has been lovely – no threat of forest fire like we had last summer, and therefore no stinky days with windows closed against the smoke.

The evenings have been great for sleeping – full moons and digestive issues notwithstanding. Cats romping and roaming, notwithstanding. (One doesn’t get to use big words like notwithstanding often enough, wouldn’t you agree?)

I’m not so sure about the garden, though. The beets have been terrible producers this year. The first few days after I sowed the seed, we had a period of frosty evenings. I guess beets aren’t as cold tolerant as I thought.

The lettuce has been great, but we haven’t been eating salads as much as we used to, so it’s bolting and going to seed. Ah, well.


To compensate, I’m happy to report that the yellow wax beans are producing phenomenally– which is a complete surprise – I planted them on a whim, totally expecting crop failure. Several pints of pickled beans are stewing in the fridge.

[high five]

In the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” department, what the heck were they thinking when they designed black tomatoes? How do you tell when they are ripe? I tired the taste test three times before I decided that was foolish. Finally, I checked the label and sure enough, they are supposed to turn red. But for Pete’s sake, when? They’ve been excruciatingly slow to ripen.

I’ve discovered that I’m not good at waiting for the taste of fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes in the summer!

“Patience, Maggie,” said the hubby.


Winter took so long to leave this year that even though it’s halfway through August, I still experience a mild shock to see that the snowdrifts are gone. Gone! And so are the bugs. It’s been so nice to step outdoors, without winter clothing, without bug spray, in my bare feet and walk through the grass…


Well, most of the bugs are gone. This year, grasshoppers are borderline plague status. Do you remember grade school and reading about the sky darkening by clouds of locusts and the devastation wrought by the bugs as they devoured what little of the crop that survived the dust bowl of the dirty 30s? Do you recall the passages that described the wall-to-wall grasshoppers and the disgusting slimy crunchy horror as the protagonist gingerly made her way from the cabin door to the hen house?


Not quite like that, but near enough.

The bugs have even made it indoors. Thanks to hubby who thought it would be cute to bring in a grasshopper for the cats.

Oh, great fun! Sure! You bring in the bugs and then skedaddle outdoors while I get to supervise the carnage!

[insert glaring stink-eye here]

Patience, grasshopper.

Categories: Blog Blog Blog, Husband


53 replies

  1. Delightfully normal. Well, for you ! [grin]
    LOVE the meme !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What did the cats think of the grasshoppers? And “notwithstanding” is a lovely word and definitely under used.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie, the meme is perfect. Sending it to my cat lover daughter-in-law. Well, sort of peace in the household… not withstanding! Like that word! Enjoy the rest of your summer however your garden grows! 📚💛 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I gave up on growing anything, herbs or flowers, this summer. We had too much rain early on, then too much humidity, but no grasshoppers. I understand your impatience. You could rip everything out by their roots and accept your fate. There’d be no waiting then. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • After, what, almost 35 years of gardening, it feels wrong not to have a bazillion tomatoes by now. The move to a growing zone several degrees colder than I’m used to has forced me to readjust my expectations – and I’m resisting. I like your suggestion, Ally. The ripping up part would be satisfying in a “take that, you stupid genetically modified abnormality” kind of way. How’s that for mature? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I planted only tomatoes and Thai basil. Now I wonder if I’ll do tomatoes again because they are not ripening in large enough quantities to sit me and really, the grape tomatoes I get at the store are delicious.
    Other than houseflies, our bug population seems pretty minimal this year. Now watch what tomorrow brings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ooh, I know what you mean about tempting the gods when you make declarations like that – I thought the same thing when I wrote that we haven’t had forest fires this year.

      Hubby bought a large 3 quart basket of field tomatoes yesterday, and given the poor yield this year, he remarked upon how much cheaper it is to buy veggies at the store. But I am a die-hard, I guess. I like being able to roam the yard and graze on cherry tomatoes and snap peas.


  6. You have the same tomatoes my neighbor has. She was so perplexed as to why they were doing nothing but looking purplish-black and green and even did the taste test like you. A week later and she has been harvesting red tomatoes every day. It had to reach the mid 80’s for that to happen but the first batches got nicely red and juicy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A bumper yellow wax bean crop? Notwithstanding the whim, that’s fantastic! 😉 Seriously, congrats on your garden successes and the smoke-free summer. All things to celebrate. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s been a rough year for my garden too. Sickly plants from too much rain or humidity or both. Not complaining though. So much better than raging snowstorms.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s been a great year for my pole bean crop as well! And I’ve noticed the odd grasshopper in my rooftop garden this summer – a first. It must be a plague year, indeed!


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Black tomatahs?? EEew. Here in Northeast America, things are growing just fine. It’s a complete mystery to us, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve hurled stronger curse words at these silly plants, but let’s go with EEew for now. Glad to hear your garden grows as it should!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not unheard of that we lost an entire Spring month to rain, but it was followed by consistently good weather all summer and right up to now — maybe that spelled the difference in growing. (It’s the first time in years that we haven’t felt sorry for vacationers picking this or that bad week.)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I would have murdered my husband if he did that, life in prison notwithstanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – my husband is such an enigma – he stands on guard through the night, in bed, in the dark, with his electronic bug zapper at the ready, swishing the dang thing inches from my nose in the hopes that he might catch a mosquito. And then he brings in grasshoppers??? [muttering and mumbling]

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Maggie–this was so much fun to read….notwithstanding…. I love the [emotions]. How fitting is that?! My cats will just have to enjoy string and paper bags. Grasshoppers ain’t coming in my house!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Grasshopper in the house….never a good idea. But he meant well, so I guess you should keep him.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m trying to wonder what our cats would do with a grasshopper. I’m guessing it would end with a crunch of some sort, or a legless hopper. I do understand the stink-eye addition. I think I’ve received that for similar “great ideas.” This was fun to follow. You’re right about the black tomatoes…why? I guess I’m happy for your yellow wax beans, the fact that I think they’re gross notwithstanding. I am happy that you don’t have the fire threat.


  15. Thankfully Gilles only talks about doing stupid things like bringing grasshoppers into the house for Theo’s amusement. Like Janis said, I think I would have to kill him if he ever executed it. Rogue grasshoppers in the house fall under the category of justifiable homicide!!

    Spring was so abysmal this year that I didn’t even bother to plant anything, so as a result, this summer I’ve been looking at empty beds of dirt. Interestingly, even the weeds aren’t growing there. My brown thumb must be worse than I thought 😉


  16. I’ve never heard of black tomatoes, but I’m like you: I don’t think it’s such a great idea. What’s wrong with red tomatoes??

    Liked by 1 person

    • The added frustration with this variety “Midnight Snack” is that the plant is full of nice big fruit – glossy, and healthy, and bountiful – and I can’t eat any yet because they won’t ripen! Apparently we are too far north and don’t have the required sustained heat. Lesson learned, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m with you – no bugs as houseguests! Even if the cats are amused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m paying him back – the hoppers are so prolific, the last couple of times we’ve been in the car, a grasshopper jumped on me — I’m not squeamish about bugs, but I startle very easily. I shrieked a blue streak.


  18. Sometimes it is the most humble image that lassoes a memory and pulls it in all the way it’s kicking and screaming to stay in the background. The yellow wax beans. You made me remember my grandparents’ garden and my grandparents and made me teary. All with those “stupid” beans. I haven’t even seen yellow wax beans in how many years?! Thanks, Maggie!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pickled wax beans, YUM!
    I’m not good at waiting on ripe tomatoes, either. I haven’t grown black, and now I won’t.
    We have a gaping hole in our back door’s sash, so we always have insect invaders. June bugs and slugs mostly, but we get a bit of this and that.
    Nice to read you 🙂


  20. Hi Maggie – glad your wax beans were a delight – I have had this happen a few times and it makes gardening fun – in fact – one year the beets were the treat – but then other years not so much – like yours –
    well it is now late September and I am sure your garden looks much different now – and wishing you a great rest of the month

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Catching up on missed posts, I can’t say I’ve experienced a locust plague, but I remember the disgusting summer the tent caterpillars were everywhere. They hung likely wiggly, wormy sheets from all the trees hereabouts. They ruined the fruit tree harvests, I imagine. (I was only a little girl, what did I know?) they certainly ruined summer camp, I remember shrieking and bolting in horror as I made my way back and forth to the cabin, terrified the creepy-crawlers would fall on me from the sky. Forever they remain the bugaboo that haunts me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! Those wiggly worm sheets are an annual spring event up here – the poplars are a favourite host tree, apparently – surprisingly, even when the tree is denuded of leaves, it sets up another bunch of leaves and makes it through the season. It seems that the worms are smart and they stage their feeding grounds in a different spot, one year to the next. This year, we had no caterpillar plague. Grasshoppers, however… well, you know the story there!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Gardening can be such an adventure. This post brings back memories of last summer – and dreams for next summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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