Our friend Beth used to buy praying mantis egg sacs for a few years and even gave me one for a present. These days she doesn't have to buy them as they do what bugs are quite good at- reproducing, and now she has dozens of egg sacs all over her garden. She even gave me a couple for my birthday this year. I put one in a jar to observe when it would hatch, and when they did on June 20 I scattered them around the garden. I decided to put the other in the jar and get to see the show all over again, when I took this blurry video this morning they were still pouring out of the sac and now they're all on search and destroy missions around the garden.
Quite a bit has changed here at Columbia St. since Gail bought it in 2002. One of her first tasks was to get help from friends to remove the carport off the back of the house. I would have been there, honest, but we hadn't really met yet. She claims she had a vision that day of someday having a nice stone patio where one could sit in the shade with a handsome man and drink cold tea or alcoholic beverages accented with fresh-picked herbs out of the garden beds surrounding the patio. I got right on that as soon as I met her.
Over time we realized the remaining asphalt we used for a patio was getting all the sun and the garden beds were in the shade. We took out more asphalt, moved the beds into the sun and got to work building a patio. For awhile I considered making it out of plastic sleds but the color didn't sit well with Gail so I switched to stone. This one was from steps on N. Quarry St. that were replaced last year. I walked past the pile for a month before leaving a note inquiring about their availability and a guy called and said, "Take 'em all." A couple days before getting them someone else took the majority that would have gone into the patio, but they left this one whose calculated weight is about 371 lbs.
After a trip to Finger Lakes Stone, commonly known as Llenroc, I thought I had enough to do the job but grossly misunderestimated. Part of the problem was our neighbor Casey insisted I borrow his diamond tipped saw and grinder to cut the rocks and get them to fit together, but that made the rocks much smaller. When I went back to the quarry the seconds pile all these came from had been bulldozed and covered with dust from their cuttings. I got a few, but then got really lucky and scored some from various sources in the neighborhood, including from Casey who has just finished his patio. Did I mention I got quite a haul of rocks and two loads of gravel with Casey's truck? I think we owe him many drinks.
At one point I figured I'd let the rocks sit awhile and see if they spread themselves out and fill the gaps. It didn't work so I went back to cutting and fitting. I think the dust counts as fertilizer for the garden as well.