Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Mistake of Epic Proportions

Remember this? Oops I lied. Not on purpose mind you! Trick is on us. The little guys grew up into Leaf Footed Bugs! Ack! They poke holes in tomatoes! This is completely unacceptable. No one messes with my homegrown tomatoes. NO ONE! I read a suggestion online to suck them up with a cordless dirt vac and dump them into a bucket of soapy water. You can also just pluck them off but because I falsely informed my family they were the good assassin bugs- we didn't bother and they have multiplied. As of yet- they don't seem to have eaten any fruit or tomatoes. But they have to go regardless.

To Be Continued... With photos of us vacuuming our tomatoes. Alternate title: The many ways to freak your neighbors out.

Also, I totally could have made up the name leaf footed bug. I mean really. It is so obvious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Internet: Meet Hungry

I have been pondering buying one of the butterfly kits that I keep seeing around town. You send away for butterfly eggs and get to watch the whole process in a little butterfly mesh tent. Dirtiest Kid in the World loves watching caterpillars outside in the garden and it was on one such occasion that I realized, Duh, I can take one inside and we can watch the whole process without buying a thing.

So we did.

Meet Hungry. My daughter reads him his "favorite book." I don't know- I thought he might like Vonnegut but apparently he is a purist. Eric Carle all the way. My daughter put a soft washcloth over the top to keep him cozy.

We have managed to keep him alive for 4 days and counting. We have lots of caterpillars outside on the rue and parsley. I just cut off some snips of rue, including one this caterpillar was climbing on and put some sticks into a mason jar. I originally put water in the bottom but then read online that they can 1. drown and 2. get all their water from their host plant. I put fresh rue in the jar every day or so. I think I am as excited if not more excited about this project than DKIW is. And she is pretty excited. We upgraded Hungry's mason jar for a huge glass jar and rubber banded some breathable fabric over the top. I read that swallowtails need room to flap their wings after coming out of the cocoon so we will need to clean out the excess leaves when he is getting closer.

Being a parent is the coolest.

"We have eyes, and we're looking at stuff all the time, all day long. And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important."
Eric Carle

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cat Nip

Here is our cat nip:
Here is our cat after eating cat nip:

Also, when looking up cat nip and how it works, I found this site: The Chronic Cat Nip and it cracked me up. 100% organic too. I recommend you just grow your own... cat nip. Cat Nip only please.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Bee enjoying the lavender.

Future swallowtail butterfly! For people looking to put in butterfly gardens- don't forget something for the caterpillars to munch. The plants our hungry caterpillars gobble up most often are the parsley, dill, and rue.

In all my years, I never realized ladybugs look like caterpillers in their life cycle. Who knew this? It blew my mind. Here's a future lady bug who will hopefully come hungry and eat up the feast of aphids we have provided for him.

"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf. " Eric Carle

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Organic Seed Winner!

Grand Prize

We numbered the comments and put them into a bowl and let the two year old decide so there can be no accusations of unfair play.




Congrats to Jenniferina! And congrats to her mother-in-law Bobby Jo for inspiring her. Send me an email to with your address and I'll postmark the seeds post haste. These are summer seeds if you can get them into the ground quick enough.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Assassin Bug Nymph: Or Other Names I Never Could Have Made Up

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Red orange bugs swarming all over my precious blackberries.

Google to the rescue- they are Milkweed Assassin Bug Nymphs and they are good guys! They eat aphids (which we have begun to see on the corn) as well as flies and mosquitoes. They look mean and scary but apparently only if you are a crop eatin' bad bug. People are quite quick to reach for a spray or chemical to kill off any and all bugs but bugs are our friends. Sometimes. These can bite.

Edited to say: These grew up to be Leaf Footed Bugs! Commonly confused in their youth with assassin bugs. So Sorry if I led you astray. Info on leaf footed bugs here.

By the way, the blackberries are juicy, amazing backyard delicacies. I'm glad I have these little heroes around to protect them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Seed Give Away!


I have been meaning to do a giveaway to my lovely readers but never got around to it at the blog year anniversary. Until now!

Little known fact: when I'm not a mom, wife, garden blogger, I am a social worker. I work with these inspiring families each with a child with a medical condition. One of the moms I work with lives in low income housing and on my last visit- she had renegade gardened a huge plot of land in her complex. She showed me and stated she wanted to try to grow the organic vegetables they could not afford to buy. GIRL YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW! You just gorilla gardened in front of the wrong woman. Little known fact to my clients: I am an amateur veggie growing queen. So I went to my favorite nursery and bought her lots of organic veggie and fruit seeds to help her get started. And as a thank you to my readers, I bought you a matching set!

Leave me a comment about a woman who inspires you for a chance to win lots and lots of organic seeds. If the winner is in this area, we will write when you need to plant what.

I will pick a winner at random on let's say...Weds. and send the seeds off in the mail for you. Good Luck!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dragon Tongue Bean

I love the name. I love the colors. Tastes the same as regular green beans when fresh or you can dry them and eat as shelled beans.

Here's DKIW hiding in her artichoke fort and eating just picked Dragon's Tongue Beans. It's a hard knock life being 2.

Home Grown Dinner

McMuffin Revisited
Dirtiest Hand in the World Grabbing An Artichoke
Raw Kale and Beet Salad

We have been cooking our Thursday night 95% backyard dinner, I just have not been posting about it regularly. This is basically the meal we have had the last two weeks. Only additional ingredient- home made bread. Home made bread should always be allowed.

We had kale and beet salad, egg mcmuffins, and artichokes. We have also had Brussels sprout greens with onions as a delicious side dish. Backyard dinner night is one of my favorite nights around here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Take Back Everything I said About Borage

Very late last night, my husband was watching a movie when he realized our neighbor's deck was on fire. He called 911, woke our neighbors up and started spraying down the fire with a garden hose. He saved their house from burning down. Someone pointed out to me that I said this only a few days ago in the blog Borage Hyperbole, "Regardless, I am going to put more (Borage) in my tea tonight and then see if I can lift a car off someone or save a child from a burning building."

Ok... maybe the borage tea works after all.

Dirtiest Husband in the World = hero.

Monday, May 3, 2010

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Growing food might teach me a bit of patience yet. You can't rush the harvest.