You’ll remember that with the drought last year, we had lots of grasshoppers? Well, with half of them being female, they laid lots of eggs. Just like in Laura Ingles Wilder’s book. And, this year, they hatched. Yep, we have lots of them, although not as bad as last year. They’re not bad enough to cause much damage but our little flock of baby ducks escape their fence every day and go grasshopper feasting. All the while, their irate mother quacks madly at them from the other side of the fence. They have a route; backyard, flower beds, lawn, then take a dip in our fishponds, eating water bugs, then go back in the pen, through the fence to “obey” Mom.

Our gang of ducklings foraging for grasshoppers.

But grasshoppers aren’t the only bugs. We also got blister beetles two days ago. These inch long, dark charcoal, hard-shelled, flying beetles flew in, landed on our potatoes, and started eating the leaves. I looked at them on Saturday and they were fine. Will checked on Monday and they were already hard at work. While he and Charis continued hilling the potatoes, I rounded up the two cans of pyrethrin dust I still had from last year. But I knew it wouldn’t be enough. So, while they dusted, I drove to Virginia to buy some more. Boy, was that a chore. Evidently, others have been having them too. Two of our friends had reported them just a day or two ago. I drove from store to store, finally finding some. Back home, Will and I went out and dusted the remaining parts of those two long rows. Nasty beetles, anyway!

Will and Charis hilling potatoes while I ran to town for more pyrethrin dust to kill the blister beetles.
Will dusting while Charis continues hilling. Today, they’re all dusted and hilled, plus I still have a box of pyrethrin dust … just in case.

— Jackie


  1. We have swarms of grasshoppers. Even the guineas cannot keep them down in areas that they normally do. They are wrecking havoc on the garden. Really considering letting the chickens out some to get more of the hoppers. Top that with highs three days in a row reaching 112 (yes, 112) and drought……… Homesteading is getting harder each year, it seems……

    • There are always challenges, no matter what. Temps of 112 are really, really hard on a person, topped with drought and hoppers. Hang in there. It’s bound to get better.

  2. It’s Japanese beetle time here in Maine. My cabbages are under cover and they managed to get in anyway. I was going to go after them but realized they weren’t eating the cabbage, they were just stuck under the netting so I left them to starve…I hope. We all contend with so much between bugs, critters, and weather that it’s a wonder we get anything preserved!

    • That’s why I can up everything I can on bounty years. You never know what the next seasons will bring.

      • I’m relatively new to canning. And I am so glad I canned up more dill pickles than we can use. This year my cukes are just little round balls. I don’t know if it is because of the extreme heat we’ve had this spring or what. But, we still have 20 quarts to keep us until next year. Hopefully, they will be better then. This year is the year of purple beans. So, I’ve learned how to pressure can this year. I froze 19 meal sized bags and canned 10 pints so far. Looks like I should get enough beans for another 10 pints. Then, who knows!

  3. We are lucky that we don’t have much if any plant eating bugs but it is a bad mosquito year so they are trying to carry us off to their nests while working outside! I got all 560 feet of potato row weeded and hilled before it rained a couple days ago. We went from highs in the upper 80”s to upper 50’s and low 60’s and clouds and heavy showers! I’ve got beets and carrots to weed yet. Lost about 25 cabbage, caulifouwer and broccoli to the moose before we got the new fence up but the ones in the hoop houses are safe. There was termination dust, (snow) on the Wrangell mountains Sunday morning. Good luck with your bugs!

    • They’re getting fewer and fewer. Thank God!! I sure like 50’s and 60’s better than 80’s, for sure. I’ve still got lots to weed, but hope to get started again this afternoon.

  4. Enjoying the weather? We had hay down this weekend and it got rained on by that wild storm Sunday night, what a pain that was! We still haven’t finished it all, and it rained again tonight. What a total pain, but we are thankful for every drop we get! I am loving not having to water the garden so much! Makes my life easier.

    My meat birds keep escaping and foraging around the other chicken houses. It’s fun to watch Waylon round them up, he has no fear. We, the kids and I, round baled today for 3 hours, and yesterday they rode with their dad for 6 1/2 hours and baled while I raked. I never thought this is what my life would be like 10 years ago, but I do sure love it! A few family members were saying they were missing the cooler weather (75-68) and I told them that’s too cold! I freeze! I may sweat with the heat and humidity, but it feels good on my knee! Round baling sure is working my bad, but fixed, knee.I hope you’re resting as much as you can, but I know you’ll push it, just like the rest of us! . I got up at 430 this morning to take it easy, do some laundry, and just relax for a while before the kids got up. It was much needed, and fun to listen to the roosters battle out their morning duets.

    • I LOVE high sixties and low seventies! I guess that’s why folks live in different areas, huh? We’re haying like mad. Got a bit of rain last night, but not more than a heavy dew. We’ve got hay down and it needs baling before the next rain comes tonight or tomorrow. Whew, it’s hard, haying between rain storms. But we sure are glad to get the rain for the gardens!!

  5. Bugs and weeds – if not one variety, it is another. So far nothing is “feasting” on our tater plants – the early potatoes are good sized which makes me very happy. We’ll be digging garlic this week (watching the weather – always welcome rain in the forecast this weekend). Which reminds me I’ll need to set up a place inside for a bit post harvest.
    Most recent rescue is good buddies with prior rescue, I am so happy as are they. Prior rescue needed a younger companion and he got it.
    I’ve been quite vigilant re: ensuring I have at least one spare of anything – supply chain issues are going to be with us for a long time since the US produces/manufactures but a fraction of what we use. For those of use who have the luxury being able to afford but not-happy with a price increase, ensuring a spare or two is doable. But for many it is not an option which can make a future/necessity purchase much more of a budget buster.
    Glad Charis is a competent helper – always nice to see knowledge being passed down.

    • Mittens and Buffy are finally coming to terms. Mittens mostly beats up Buffy if she comes upstairs, into “her” territory. Otherwise, there are just a few small tiffs. We were wondering if they ever would come to a peaceful existence. Then, Buffy is getting bigger than Mittens so that may have something to do with it……
      We are thankful to have Charis around to help. She does a great job is is so pleasant to be around!! Just like her Mom.

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