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March 17th, 2016

Well, we found our first deer tick last Friday. I took Tara on a hike on and when we got back this was crawling up her leg. Luckily, all those wild turkeys I see gobble them up.
The cats always end up with lots of them, luckily they don’t get Lyme disease. I pick them off the cats almost daily in the spring/fall here. I guess it’s time for daily tick checks for the pets and for us, that’s the best way to find them early.

Do you have ticks in your garden?

Soothe the Itch with Plantain

June 2nd, 2014

Now that the weather has warmed the insects have come out as well. Here in Maine they come in droves at certain times of the year, at the moment black flies are biting like crazy. They don’t stop my from working outside. For the most part insects don’t bother me too much, but I do get bit on occasion. When I do I grab a leaf off a broad leaved plantain, pop it in my mouth and chew it for a few seconds, then I put the poultice on my insect bite.
plantain 1
plantain 2
This works like a charm every time, it also works well for bee and wasp stings. If you’d like to read a fascinating collection of the historical uses of plantains head on over and check out this article.

Do you have a tried and true way to dealing with insect bites?

Hello Little Guy

August 8th, 2013

One day, Mr Chiots and I were sitting out back under the maple tree taking a break and we noticed this little guy walked across a log.
caterpillar 3
I grabbed my camera to take some photos so we could i.d. it. A quick google search leads us to believe it is the caterpillar of the white-marked tussock moth. From what I read, they defoliate trees and the birds love to eat them.
caterpillar 1
They’re rather interesting little caterpillars, so intricate with so many different kinds of hairy tufts.
caterpillar 2
This is one of the things I love about gardening, you get to see so many interesting thing, particularly insects. Check out this spider I spotted the other day. I told Mr Chiots that I found Shelob in the garden. It had a grasshopper all rolled up in it’s web.
You just never know what you’re going to see when you head out into the garden every day!

Have you spotted any beautiful insects recently?

Dealing with Pesky Deer Flies

July 26th, 2013

The deer flies have been TERRIBLE around here this year. Last week I worked in the garden one evening, when I came inside I had been bitten 6 times. One of the bites was on my eyelid. When I woke up the next morning my eye was pretty much swollen shut. The funny thing is that I also had a bite on my cheek on the same side, which was also swollen up about the size of a macaroon. That’s when I searched to find something that might work against them. I came across this post explaining how to build a deer fly trap.
Deer Fly Trap 1
I ordered up the supplies I needed: Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Brush On Sticky Trap Coating and Blue Plastic Cups. Yes the cup needs to be blue!
Deer Fly Trap 3
All you do is brush the sticky coating on the blue cup and you pin them to your hat. Really, it’s that simple. At first I was worried that it would catch other flying insects as well, like bees, thankfully that didn’t happen.
Deer Fly Trap 2
Our first test of our hats was a trip down to the mailbox, which generally ended with us running back up the hill swatting the swarms of deer flies that were chasing us. Mr Chiots arrived at the house with 9 stuck to his cup and I had 5 stuck to mine. We wore them the entire next day and didn’t notice a deer fly all day. That evening the final count was: 13 deer flies on Mr Chiot’s hat and 9 on mine. They work like a charm.

What’s the biggest garden pest for you, the gardener?

They’ve Hatched

June 16th, 2011

Remember those pearly insect eggs I showed you on Sunday?

I checked on them on Tuesday evening and they had hatched. It looks like they are leaf footed insect nymphs just as I thought. The tiny little insects are just as beautiful as the eggs were, stunningly bright red.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of these little guys in my garden before. I probably have just never stopped long enough or been in the right place at the right time to see them.

I grew up in South America so I’ve seen my share of crazy insects. Yet nature never ceases to amaze me, especially when it comes to the insect world!

What’s the craziest insect or animal you’ve spotted in your garden?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.