Any day can be viewed as
extraordinary or ordinary.
The choice is up to you.
Since I was a child, there has been much talk among gardeners about good bugs and bad bugs; which to keep as friends of humankind, and which to annihilate through insecticidal hell. Mom and dad had their favorites to keep and perpetuate, the ones they were indifferent to that stayed under the radar, and then the unfortunate ones that were targeted for genocide.
Dad grew a row of asparagus plants the length of the side yard, and as children we would catch large grasshoppers among the greenery and toss them into the trash burning can when it was on fire to watch them explode. Well...you know how kids are, so don't judge us too harshly. We turned out just fine as adults.
Mom and dad had labeled grasshopper as bad, so we had a field day destroying each one we caught. It was that way for everything grown in their gardens; each plant had enemies, so as I began to take care of my own gardens, I already had my list of plant enemies engraved into my brain.
Signing up for the Audubon International back yard program sometime in my forties, I had to alter my perspective on good verses bad in nature. The whole idea of the program was to be a steward of my land and create a balanced ecosystem in my small, medium or large acreage of land...pesticides not allowed!
A balanced ecosystem includes the idea that all insects are valuable no matter our individual preferences to them. Good and bad are labels humans attach to things in accordance to how they perceive those things affecting their personal existence. Nature has no labels. What is...is.
I think the first three years I wildlife gardened was like living in Little Hell, USA. Aphids...what seemed like an infinite amount of those little guys, were wall to wall on the stems of many of my plants. Tiny green caterpillars quite often lowered themselves on thin threads from the ash tree branches above to the ground below creating a dodge the green worm game.
I had to suck it up and just let it all be. I did buy lacewing larvae and turned them lose in the lower branches of the ash tree, as it was green worm hell on that poor thing. It was in the fourth year that everything stabilized and was kept under control by what eats one thing is eaten by something else.
Do I use pesticides today? Of course, I do...I dance with the ticks! Pyrethrum spray is my go to for my garden shoes, which are light weight hiking shoes, and for the socks that are pulled up over my denim pant legs. Do I like poisoning my clothing? Well, since I'm not a lover of tick transmitted diseases, the answer is a definite yes.
Interesting photo opportunities of my gardens this late in the season are a bit tricky. I don't usually gear up in my hazmat suit during a photo shoot, but last week after I returned to the house to remove laundry from the dryer, I heard a little tink, looked down, and discovered a 1/4" tick trying to gain traction on the slick floor after dropping off my dress. How dispiriting that made my next few hours!
Autumn crocus 'Goulimyi'
Green Stink Bug Nymph
Seeds on Woodland Goldenrod
Lichen, moss, fungus on rotting tree limb that fell to ground.
It's in the 50's today and wet from a late night rain; but in my morning walk-a-bout with Dustin on his potty break, I take stalk of how the cooler weather is affecting my surroundings while a duel between two squirrels stampeding back and forth across the back fence boards is disrupting my thoughts. Anyway, today feels like winter, but tomorrow warms back up to the 60's. What's up with the perfect temp 70's only lasting one week!?!
Birds are pigging out on the backyard berries making a mess the rains will eventually wash away, bringing back memories maybe ten years ago when a large flock of Cedar Waxwings flew in one day, joined by a flock of robins the next day, and after they left at the end of day two, just a few berries were left on one little twig. The feeder became the winter focal point for the residential birds after that visit.
Light rains have chased me back into the house, so I gaze out my window to discover a downy woodpecker at the feeder and three squirrel youngsters frolicking through the branches of the rusty blackhaw viburnum. It's an ordinary day, much like all the other ordinary days that make up my ordinary life, that is so extraordinary if I chose it to be.