It’s cold out, yo. Maybe not so much today, but my thermostat told me yesterday that my internal house temperature was 58 degrees (you can tell how much I hate paying for heat). Anyway, it was time to take the garden down, and that’s what I’ve worked on for the last day or two.

I got a few more quirky peppers!

All that’s left now is some lettuce, this crazy mess of sugar snap peas…

…and this one giant tomato vine, which exploded like a plant possessed sometime after the growing season should have ended.

I have suspicions that this one managed to bust a root through the bottom of its pot and through a crack in the concrete below, where it is now feeding on radioactive subterranean Philly waste. I’m leaving it up as a science experiment.

As I was chopping up and composting my dead plants, I kept a careful eye out for mantis egg sacs. Figured I must have one around here, somewhere, considering that I couldn’t pick a veggie all summer long without disturbing a mantis. They’re smarter than to plant their babies-to-be on a flimsy tomato plant, though. I found this thing on my fence:

Looks like the population is secure for next year!

On my last tomato plant, I found the mother mantis herself. She hadn’t really strayed from my backyard all year. And since I’d grown fond of having her around, and it’s getting cold out there (did I mention that?), I did what any true weirdo would do and brought her inside.

I got Carolina some crickets and a black fly, which she caught in about 45 seconds. Damn, these little monsters are quick.

I actually had a pet mantis as a kid for a while. The adults only live about 6 months, and I think my last one made it to January before dying, fat and warm, of old age. Well, I suppose “warm” is a relative concept in this house…