Monday, October 26, 2020

The Extraordinary in an Ordinary Day

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'
(not native)




Wild violets


Asarum Arifolium
Heartleaf Ginger




Chinavia huilaris
Green Stink Bug Nymph






Seeds on Woodland Goldenrod


Large-Flowered Bellwort


Threadleaf Bluestar


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.





34 comments:

  1. Great images! I've had my share of tick bites, followed by antibiotics for them. Lyme is a problem in Virginia now so it is worrisome.

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  2. These are beautiful photos.
    Pesticides are very bad for all crops.
    It is very good that you protect yourself against the ticks, Lyme is not a nice disease, here in the Netherlands there are many ticks and many people have become ill from a tick bite.
    Greetings Irma

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  3. Good morning Yvonne: It has been interesting to read of your odyssey and the transition from pesticide to non-pesticide use. I am sure this dilemma was faced by many and you have my unreserved admiration for sticking with it and achieving a natural balance in your yard. Ticks are an issue to be sure and when we have been out in areas where we might have been exposed we change our clothes on returning home and check our bodies pretty carefully. In days past we might have had fun checking each others! We do tuck our pants into our socks and spray with DEET, but other more powerful and more toxic sprays are banned in Canada. I remember that people used to spray their clothes hanging up in the garage and leaving them for a couple of days, the sprays were so toxic.

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  4. Hello,

    The ticks here are awful, hubby has been tested positive for Lyme disease. I can not stand all the stink bugs! But, we do not use any pesticides. Take care, enjoy your day! Wishing you a happy new week!

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  5. Your garden photos are just beautiful. It’s a sad part of our human condition that we have to make so many trade-offs, killing insects is just the start, isn’t it?

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  6. Very thoughtful article and some amazing images!

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  7. die Natur hält sich in Balance wenn man sie nur läßt ;)
    geschmunzelt habe ich über die explodierenden Heuschrecken ..
    letztens hatte ich eine Baby Zecke an meinem Ringfinger unter dem Ring ..nichts passiert ;)

    sehr schöne Bilder

    liebe Grüße
    Rosi

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  8. Thank goodness we do not have a major problem here with ticks, or certainly not after having lived for so long in Southern Africa.
    I think it is important to keep a balance in the garden and the only spray I ever use if really necessary id soapy water.
    Great set of photos. Have a good week, Diane

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  9. ...life is all about making the ordinary, extraordinary! You have quite the sophisticated sense when it comes to plants!

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  10. Beautiful photos from your garden, thank goodness we don't have ticks here. The stink bug is a beautiful colour.

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  11. Fortunately, as we grow older, we realize that everything has its place in the world, as long as it's in its normal environment.
    Your photos are lovely, crocuses are among my all-time favorites.

    It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week !!

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  12. Thank God, we don't have a problem here with ticks.

    Your photos are fabulous, Yvonne!

    Happy Wednesday!

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  13. Ohh well we do much strange things as kids..But I think you take care of the insects very well!
    That stink bug I have never heard of and crocus in autumm Wow!

    You must have it good and warm where you live!

    I like what you write and the photoes are very nice

    Stay safe and well Yvonne :)

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  14. So cute cats I am very excited and you have beautiful photos of your garden today.
    Greetings Eva

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  15. Your garden is a whole universe, a healthy ecosystem. ❤️
    Reading your article, many memories came to life. When I was a child I used to play with ants in my grandparents' yard. Some ants were carrying something and I wanted to help them so I took the "bean" and took it to the entrance of the anthill. My father taught me not to intervene in their activity. Also as a child, I was fascinated by muscles and lichens - today the same. 😊
    I wish you serene days!

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  16. Your part of the world sounds and looks so happening and naturally beautiful. Lovely pictures, Yvonne.
    The weather's been kind of crazy where we live too. We had a sudden big drop from the 80s to the 60s. :)

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  17. It seems much warmer in your part of the world than in mine. We've had unusually cold temps and a record snowfall this month. It's so sad fall ended so soon for us. Your photography is beautiful and I love your writing style. I have always been a flower gardener, but this year I tried vegetable gardening for the first time. I wanted it to be 100% organic, but I found it almost impossible and had to use some dust now and then. Insects can be so frustrating!

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  18. I went through a similar transition to no pesticides a few years ago. It keeps you on your toes trying to do the right thing.

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  19. Your photos truly do capture the extraordinary in the ordinary. Congratulations on your journey to a balanced eco-system.

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  20. What a wonderful thing to do. There is a great movie on Netflix about a young couple that set out from the city and buy a rundown old farm in California. They end up doing the same thing you have described and it takes a few years for things to balance out. It’s called, The Biggest Little Farm.

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  21. lol, you have a lot of photo opportunities in your garden. But I agree, ticks is not fun. :(

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  22. I love taking pictures of bugs! They are so interesting. Except ticks - ticks are creepy. Im glad you have a balance with all the other bugs now.

    I would have loved to have seen that flock of Cedar Waxwings. They are so beautiful - like paintings.

    Love your pics of the leaves!

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  23. I enjoyed reading about your adventures in gardening. Your garden looks lovely in all it's forms.

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  24. Hello, Yvonne

    The fall colors and the Autumn Crocus are beautiful, I love the purple color. We have plenty of the stink bugs here, I was battling them at my kitchen door. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and weekend!

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  25. I love the photo of your fungus, it's very artistic! :)

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  26. That fungi is very intricate and neat! And we have the Cedar Waxwings fly in as a big flock and stay for a short while too. Love your end of summer flowers! Happy weekend!

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  27. It seems to me that you have a pragmatic and realist view of everything around you. We have a pat to play in seeing that our near environment is as balanced as it can in this turbulent age.

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  28. The fungus photo is interesting, I enjoyed reading your narrative and viewing your photos. Enjoy the weekend!

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  29. Wonderful post about gardening and lovely photos of nature ~ You sure know gardening ~ ^_^

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  30. Yes, I too have my list of friends and foes of my garden. I like the wild violets, very pretty.

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