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Friday Favorite: Snakes

June 29th, 2018

I grew up in a snake loving family. We seemed to always have pet snakes, including a 12 foot boa constrictor. I’m always happy to see snakes in the garden, which happens quite frequently. I see lots of garden snakes, some ribbon snakes, and we have a fairly good sized milk snakes that I see occasionally in the garage.

Here in Maine, we have no venomous snakes. Where I grew up in Ohio we had copperheads, which we saw occasionally. In Colombia, where I spent most of my childhood, we had a fair number of venomous snakes, including one called the Quatro Narizes (Bothrops asper), which is a highly venomous pit viper. I remember seeing one when we were hiking once.

We have a good number of snakes here in the gardens, I see them daily. I’m always trying to keep the cats away from them as they like to catch the smaller ones. The chickens will also catch them and eat them if they see them.
There’s a three foot garden snake that lives under one of my raised beds in the back garden, I see it once a week or so. Snakes are so beneficial to our gardens, it’s too bad lots of people have aversions to them and kill them when they see them. Luckily, I think the wide knowledge of their beneficial nature of them is helping make those with fears leave them alone instead of killing them.

Do you have snakes in your garden? How often do you see them?

I’ve Been Waiting for This

June 28th, 2018

I’m always on the lookout for a few specific photos. Since my name is on various photo lists for various publications, I’m always on the lookout for things to photograph that I think I can end up selling. For quite a few years, I’ve been wanting to get a photo of a tick on a blade of grass. While walking up the driveway the other day, I spotted this guy in the tall grass on the edge of the driveway. Naturally, I had to grab my camera and get a few photos. After his photo shoot I squished him between two rocks so he didn’t end up on one of the cats or me. I have a running list of photos in my mind that I’m waiting to get and I’m always super excited when I finally get one of those checked off.

I grew up spending lots of time in the woods, so ticks don’t creep me out like they do some people. They can carry diseases, thorough tick checks are the best way to minimize the risk. During tick season, everyone in the family (including cats) gets a thorough tick check.

Are there any things you’ve been waiting to get photos of?

Cheep, Cheep, Cheep

June 12th, 2018

Ever since we moved here, we have a pair of phoebes that build a nest or two each summer in the alcove above the door to the garage. They keep building up on the previous nest, when that one got too close to the roof, they started a new one. The other day I heard the little birdies in the nest chirping when I walked by.

Phoebes are great birds to have around, I see them swooping around to catch flies and mosquitoes all the time. Yesterday, while I was working in the office, I could see one catching cabbage butterflies in the potager!

I’m happy these lovely birds come back year after year. Any bird that eats mosquitoes and garden pests is always encouraged. We didn’t have phoebes in Ohio, so they were a new bird for us when we moved here. They’re much like the wrens that we loved in Ohio as far as pest control.

What birds are you enjoying watching at the moment?

The Mad Dash

May 7th, 2018

Here in Maine, we have black fly season. It’s annoying. Black flies buzz in your ears and bite, hard. Typically, the season goes from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. We wear head nets during the season if there’s no breeze, but we try to spend LONG days in the garden before they arrive to get as much done as possible before the little buggers hatch out.

I often take a lot of days off work this time of year, or I work in the evenings when it’s dark. These past two weeks have been no different. Any day it’s nice, I’m outside working, unless there’s something pressing I need to get finished. Naturally, I always have furry helpers when I’m working outside.

This weekend, I accomplished a ton in the garden. All brassicas, lettuce, celery and beets were transplanted. Peas were seeding, shrubs were pruned, perennials were transplanted, perennials borders were weeded and a layer of mulch was applied.


I also started working on a rock wall around part of the old apple tree up front. It’s really starting to look GREAT! On Saturday evening, after a long day of working in the garden, a black fly buzzed my ear. Even though I’ll still be out working in the garden, I won’t be out quite so much.

What insects are annoying you this week in the garden?

Munch, Munch, Munch

March 14th, 2018

The last two years have been great for acorns in our area of Maine, which translates to a large deer and turkey population. While deer are beautiful creatures, they’re also destructive to a garden. This winter has been particularly rough. Almost every shrub and tree in my gardens have been browsed heavily.

They hydrangeas were hit especially hard, I doubt there will be any blooms this coming summer. Now I have to take extra care to protect plants. Next fall you’ll find me wrapping things with burlap, adding fencing around the garden, and probably spraying some things with hot pepper oil to keep them safe from browsing deer.

Do you have issues with deer in your garden? What’s your preferred method of dealing with their winter browsing?

Seeds and Sundries
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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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