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Will it be a Mild or Cold Winter?

October 27th, 2008

Here in Ohio we have a huge festival in the fall called the Woolly Bear Festival. Here in Ohio we call the caterpillars of the Isabella Tiger Moth “Woolly Bears”, in the south they are called “Woolly Worms” in other areas they are called “The Black Ended Bear”. You always know that fall is coming when you start seeing these crossing the roads and around the yard looking for a warm spot to overwinter. I spotted a teeny tiny on earlier this summer on my parsley plant.

There’s a saying that the bands on the woolly bear will tell you what kind of winter you’re having. According to legend the wider the band the milder the winter. So does it work? Read this article and see for yourself. You have to be careful because the all-black or all-tan ones aren’t really woolly bears, they’re caterpillars of a different species of moths. Accurate or not in predicting the winter, they’re fun to have around.

I always like spotting them about the garden, it seems like they’re always headed somewhere in a hurry. Sometimes I uncover them when raking leaves or moving a bale of straw. Usually I find them another warm spot where they won’t be disturbed and put them there. In the spring they will emerge as the Isabella Tiger Moth.

Have you been spotting these little fuzzy caterpillars around your home? What are they telling you about the winter?

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

October 10th, 2008

While out walking through the woods last week I almost walked right through this little guy’s web. He’s barely bigger than a kernel of popcorn. Amazing how intricate their webs are.

Spiders are one of those insects most people hate, but they’re so beneficial in the garden. They eat all kinds of other bugs (including mosquitoes). When we first moved here we had tons of those huge wolf spiders in our basement and around property. I grew up in South America with tarantulas & brown recluses, so I’ve easily made peace with the small North American spiders that inhabit Chiot’s Run. I know they’re good for my gardens, so I’ve taken to naming them instead of trying to kill them, makes them a little more endearing (I had a huge one I named Winston last year and it turned out he was a she – so Winstonette she became).

So do spiders creep you out or do you welcome them to you gardens?


July 9th, 2008

It seems like there’s always some sort of critter that makes it’s way in on the produce. I harvested some broccoli and lettuce the other day and found 3 stowaways on the veggies. They all went back outside to finish up their gardening chores.

Reading & Watching

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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.