Meet my nemesis: the Squash Beetle.
Today we waged war against this guy and at least 100 of his friends. Probably more. I armed myself with the following and spent a good hour and a half picking off bugs.
The arsenal: a bucket of soapy water, a butter knife, neem solution and a whole lot of Diatomaceous Earth (DE).
The Plan: pick off whatever bugs we can, dunk them in soapy water. Shake leaves to knock large quantities of insects into the bucket. Use wet knife to scrape eggs off leaves. Spray the underside of leaves and around the ground with Neem solution, causing insects to flee to higher ground where they can be picked off and dunked in the bucket. Heavily sprinkle the ground with DE to discourage anyone who fell off the plant from climbing back on.
It does seem rather unlike me to use natural and safe products that encourage genetic defects in the target insects. Its a bit like chemical warfare but this way I don't end up hurting the good bugs, like the bees and butterflies and spiders. No innocent bystanders, like flowers, were treated in this process.
|pumpkin, tomato, cucumber and pole beans|
So grateful we have chickens!
Which brings me to our next project:
A chicken house remodel. The babies' feathers have grown in (the stubs of wattles and combs are showing now! I expect eggs in about 4-6 weeks.) and so they no longer need momma hen to snuggle them at night. This means we have 5 chickens demanding space in a house built to spaciously sleep three. For a while now, Ferdy has been putting herself to bed in the nesting box in the shed. Ella was distressed two nights ago and couldn't go to bed without being pecked. All signs of over-crowdedness. Time to add a wing to the house.
Naturally the girls wanted to help,
with some safety gear.
Welcome to the luxury nesting area and sleeping quarters:
All that's left is to coat the inside with food grade oil and paint the outside before the next heavy rainfall. But for now, we just needed to get the house in place before nightfall. And we did!
And now on to more important things, like giant chess.