Friday, December 10, 2010


Some how coexisting is a strange choice of words.  Most of the beasties around here take their quarter measure and my measure too.  We have both beneficial and detrimental insects and amphibians and mammals.  I am going to take time to share with you some pictures of our "Friends" and "Acquaintances".

This mature Mantis is perched on one of my David Austin roses.  This year I have seen baby mantises every where.  They are only an inch long, exact replicas of their Moms and Pops.   I love to watch them when they are stalking their prey.  Swiftly they grab them and give them a crunch.  It's like they are dining on a lobster "Splash" style (remember the Tom hanks movie with Darryl  Hannah".
One day while mowing in the lower pasture I spied a wondrous sight. It was  a "wonder" I saw it at all.  I was edging beside the area where I dump the grass clippings.  Growing along the edge were some Daisies. On one of the petals was a Crab Spider.  I did not own a camera at the time (that has since been rectified). 

I called my husband and told him I wished he was home to take the picture.  I told him to check when he came home to see if the spider was still there.  Wonders of wonders, four hours later the wind had not blown him away and he had not ran off chasing his next meal.  
The next beastie is what got me to thinking about writing this blog and sharing some of our friends.  Yesterday while bent over pulling weeds, I was stung on the posterior.  Our friendly neighborhood wasp decided I was threatening his territory.
This wasp was in the goldenrod last year.   We have found a fix-it for when we do get stung or bit by insects.  It works every time we have tried it.  (We used to raise bees and an old time bee keeper told us about his solution to the painful prospects of getting stung.)

When you get stung, head under your kitchen sink.  Grab your jar of cleaning Ammonia.  It is preferable to have non-sudsing, but the sudsing works too.  Even a product like floor polish with Ammonia "D" worked in an emergency.  (I don't recommend using off products though, LOL.)

Saturate a cotton ball with ammonia.  Hold the cotton ball on the sting or bite for 5 minutes.  Pain relief is usually immediate.  If you get stung on the face wet cotton balls with water and cover your eyes and nose.  The fumes will not be good for them.  Other wise I have never noticed any detrimental effects to the cotton ball saturated with ammonia. This should be done within the first 20 minutes of getting stung. 

This leopard frog travels all over my garden.  He jumps out and startles me at the most inconvenient times. 
He is in one of the many "mini" pools I have around the garden.  We used to have farm animals, their feeders remain.  The round ones are made from recycled tires.  They are about 5 inches deep.  I fill them with rocks and water.  The butterflies, dragon flies and frogs love them (the barn cats do too).  Around eleven in the morning he is usually soaking in the water basking in a sun beam.  He seems to know I wash the pools each day. See the purple reflection in the water.  This pool is under my Beauty Berry Bush.

My Echinacia is on it's last leg.  The horrible Japanese beetles have dined on its petals.  These Hornets don't seem to mind.  They are collecting pollen and nectar for themselves.

One of the most look forward to beasties every year is the orange garden spider.  Usually before I see her I see her web with the zipper like weaving.

She is the spider the story Charlotte's web was written about.
She is wrapping her lunch up for later.
Her sister lives in the green house and she has laid her eggs in a secure nest in a protected environment. 
Coexisting does not even describe our relationship with the ground hog.  We wish there was not a relationship at all.  We have had lots of ground hogs but there has been one who has been around for at least 3 years.  He weighs, we guess from his size, at least 40 lbs (we seldom see him now).  We use a raccoon trap to try to catch him. He is so big, he realizes he can steal the bait and his rump will hold the door open.  He just backs out of the trap (after eating the apples we baited it with).  He seems to know when we are at the barn.  The following is a minute portion of the damage he does every year.
While taking a picture of a bean blossom, this pest added insult to injury.  He flew in to taunt the photographer.  We have a large population of these spotted cucumber beetles, although this year it seems there are fewer than in previous years.
This blog would not be complete with out a discussion of mosquitoes and chiggers.  Summer in Missouri is not summer without them.  I grew up in the boot heel and the mosquitoes were rampant, and the chiggers, well this unseen pest made life miserable.  

I have a preventative of the chigger blues.  Do not ever wear clothes that you wore the night before, even if they look perfectly clean.  chiggers hide in the seams and when you put them on the next day the little buggers are starved and come out to dine on your flesh.  When I spend all day in the yard I always change clothes (down to the underwear) halfway though the day.  since I began this I haven't had a single chigger bite. 

To fight off mosquitoes I don't invite them.  I don't wear any lotions or deodorants with fragrance.  For the afternoon change of clothes they are always white or light colored, over sized, very loose.  Dark colors invite them to bite and tight fitting let them get close enough.  If it is humid or your clothes are damp you will for sure get bitten (Have you noticed how around a source of water they are congregated?).  I have to admit there are those people (like my hunny) Who, no matter what they do, are bitten).

Hopefully next gardening season a couple of my hints
will help you coexist with your beaties.



  1. Hi Aunt Gloria,
    I love your blog, especially the frog.(I love
    frogs)I read your whole page. Why do you get bitten if your cloths are damp or if its humid
    in your area?I want a garden of my own some day.

    your Niece SAMANTHA

  2. Hi Sam, I don't know the exact reason why they are attracted to sweat and dark colors but they are. Living where you are you don't have the mosquitoe problem we do in missouri. Any puddle or water standing in a bird bath will have larve in it with in three days. That is why I rinse my bird baths every day. If you go to here you can see your cousin in florida here at the MO farm putting up a blue bird house:

    and if you got to here you can see your other cousin in florida making a quilt: