I miss those gatherings, and I haven't quite figured out what to do on these small holidays, away from extended family. This weekend's been pretty good so far: a graduation party on Saturday, trip to the Amanas yesterday, and a walk in the park today (and a bike ride later on). I'm also working on a few small projects, like this tiny denim elephant.
I'm also doing a bit of gardening work: gardening first aid. I thought I'd killed all the magnolia scale on our small magnolia tree in the backyard. But the other day when I was out there, I saw that a few of the branches were covered with tiny scale insects. ARGH!
I remembered that insecticidal oil is one way to kill the immature scale bugs, and I found some "Oil-Away" from Gardens Alive in our garage. I'd bought it when we lived at our old house, intending to spray it on our apple tree--but never did it. So I mixed it up, put it in a small sprayer, and sprayed the infested branches.
Apparently, horticultural oils kill bugs by suffocating them, rather than by poisoning them. I like that. The spray is very non-toxic on other creatures, and it smells rather nice. The two ingredients are cottonseed oil and sodium laureth sulfate (the stuff that's in shampoo, I think). Oh, and water. This type of oil can be sprayed any time, not just during the tree's dormancy, so it's good for this kind of situation.
I'll check the plant tomorrow to see if it's working.