Wednesday, June 15, 2011

bug juice?!

When I was a college student I worked for 2 summers at Camp Louise, a residential girls camp near Camp David, MD. The kitchen kept kosher, so there were restrictions on what meals could have milk with them, as there are some things just not allowed to consume with dairy. So they offered a drink they called bug juice. Since then, at every summer event that includes children, there is usually an offer called bug juice..a watered down kool-aid made in massive quantities. I still prefer ice water.

Claire and I have spent the last few days picking potato beetles and their larva off of our  10 or so rows of potato plants. We started with wearing gloves but quickly shed those to use bare hands..the better to get the little tiny ones that do such horrible leaf damage. We get ahold of them and quickly transfer to a glass jar holding water and a little bit of liquid dishwashing soap, and the potato bugs sink right to the bottom. Homer then takes them and feeds them to the chickens. In between there is a nasty looking mess of dark liquid in the clear glass..bug juice of the most basic type..I still prefer water!

Over the next 8-10 weeks we will have the chance to spend a few hours every morning pulling some bug off of what is growing. There are squash bugs, tomato hornworms, melon eaters..and the chickens love them. We will use floating row covers to slow them down, sticky traps and hope for the right birds to realize we have a smorgasbord of their favorite bug waiting here for them. I hear the Ruby Throated Grosbeak has been known in the past as the Potato Bug Bird because they were such large consumers of our pests, but we don't have this bird here now. We would love them to find a home here!

The pen with 5 pigs in it has been moved to the field beyond the woods, furthest from the house. This area is still filled with shrubby stuff, poison ivy and generally woody, messy looking growth. The pigs were moved down there a little more than a week ago, and are now doing an amazing job cleaning up that ground. The 2nd picture above is of their pen, moved at least once a day, and the contrast of what was to what now is. They are tearing it up.

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