Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 11th and 14th: Bugs

Fall Caterpillars

Even though the air is still warm, fall certainly feels like it is moving in.  At least by looking at the gardens I can tell summer is coming to an end.  The cukes and squashes are all getting tired.  The green beans are slower to mature and veggies like potatoes, carrots and onions are calling out my name, asking to be harvested for winter storage.  It is the time of year that my body naturally starts to slow down and I welcome the darkness earlier in the day.  I sometimes let my guard down to weeds and insects, but am on high alert for warnings of frost. 
Fall brings a whole new set of farm tasks...and bugs.  There is much much much to clean up in the fields this fall...many bugs like to overwinter in plant debris. And with this year's record insects, I want to give them as little chance as possible to survive.  I have always been sensitive to insect bites and stings.  Nothing life threatening, but I generally swell up, itch and look hideous for a few days.  Some of you may have seen my neck a couple of weeks ago--swollen, bumpy and oozy from a Hickory Tussuck caterpillar that landed on my neck.  Well Saturday that was topped by some Brown Tail hairs that landed on my shirt and were inadvertently rubbed onto my eye.  Yowza do i look like a goon!  I will spare you a photo...and hopefully by Tuesday's pick up the swelling will have subsided enough that I can actually see.  May you all blessed never to cross the path of  either of these hairy little creatures:
Hickory Tussock

Brown Tailed  
Now these next few photos are of caterpillars I see in our fields often but luckily are not hairy or dangerous to humans and I find pretty spectacular!  (well touching is ok, but I wouldn't eat them!)

Black Swallow Tail
I find this guy on my parsley and dill plants.  When you get too close to them they put out 2 little orange antennas from their head and omit a funny smell. 

Tobacco Hornworm
Many of you were introduced to these this year on your tomatoes.  They love, no devour, anything in the Solanaceae family--peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, tomatilloes

Luckily for us we have lots of milkweed in our back field so we always have these guys around.  This year there are more than usual and they are all over the PYO garden.  Beautiful.
Note that all of the bad bugs, critters or diseases in my blogs are refered to as him, he or guys : )
This Week's Harvest: lettuce, leeks, potatoes, beets, greenbeans, edamame soybeans, cukes, summer squash, tomatoes, dill, parsley, basil, mint, sage and caterpillars (just kidding)
Last Nights Dinner
Sorry no photos, but we ate yummy gazpacho and summer squash soup with parsley mint pitou

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