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Friday, July 9, 2021

I Heard A Caterpillar Chewing

Howdy there! I'm "glad" you're here!




Happy summer's day, my bloggie frens! I went out into the courtyard this morning, coffee cup in hand, to look around, sweep, and just enjoy. The pups especially love going with me, so it is our new routine. We used to go to the back patio first. Now that's second. 

pretty blue and red flowers

Old, new, borrowed, blue!


A big bush squash of some type is growing in one of the fire-rings! It has silvery leaves. That is some lemongrass in there, too.

The doggies are so good about staying inside the gate, which they can squeeze through. I just say, "Enh-enh-enh, no-no!" and they stay inbounds!

doggies at the courtyard gate looking out



Catmint! Growing well now.


Looking up the courtyard towards the circle driveway. I love the little circle drive because I hate backing up! 

One of the first things I saw this morning was that my orange mint was quite raggedy, with many a bite out of its leaves! I put the coffee down and started looking closely at the clump of mint, trying to spot the caterpillars. I was having no luck, and that's when I heard it.

mint eaten by caterpillars


Crunch -- crunch -- CRUNCH! I could hear the caterpillars as they took each bite! And I could just listen a bit, and know where they were! It was quite noisy at first, and then as each was found and relocated, it got quieter, until I could hear no more bites being taken. It was a plucking sound, a snap and a crunch kind of sound.


I Spy...a little minty caterpillar!

As I picked the stems they were on, immediately they would go into their defensive posture, designed to scare predators, I guess. They rear up, Caterpillar Rampant. Poor things, just an inch or so long, and trying to scare me (it worked; I frequently shrieked). I don't want to kill them, because I am just worn out with all the death and misery on the news. I don't want any carnage in my own courtyard. But I worry that by moving them, even with a goodly supply of plucked mint (and basil, which they were also eating but less heartily), I might be sentencing them to death. 


I love the little canning jars with the solar fairy lights in them. I have two hanging on the gate, two hanging off a pine near the street so the walkers can enjoy.


The sun is bleaching the pink color of this jar!

My husband says he thinks they will inch right back over and get on the mint again, anyway. I put them about four feet from the mint. I will have to go "listen" for them later, and see if they did find their way back to the caterpillar salad bar. I will let them stay if they come back. Mint has good regenerative powers even eaten to the ground.


The sedum is coming along. It was just a little stem I planted this spring.


My winecup blooming again after the rains, against a pretty silvery neighbor.


I do not know what kind of squash I planted. Or if it's a bush pumpkin. We will find out, I hope!

Any pests over your way? Weekend plans? 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

33 comments :

  1. You are way too funny...relocating munching critters. Ahhh, yes....we have a good many here. I have a fondness for using sweet potato vines in my container plantings and they are always the first to be found. And they have.... As well as my blue geraniums and many other varieties. The wetness this year (almost 9" of rain since mid June) has contributed greatly to the feeding frenzy I believe. What are the blue flowers in your second photo?? They are so lovely and I am not sure I am familiar with them?? You and your pups have a very beautiful courtyard. I would go there first as well. ~Robin~

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    1. I just found some snails on my plants, too! Eating holes in the leaves! I would love to see the blue geraniums (if anything is left of them!). The blue flower says "Blue My Mind" on the tag, and "Dwarf Morning Glory" although it looks nothing like a morning glory to me!

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  2. Ha Ha Ha. You are much kinder than I would be if I caught one with its mouth full! LOL. Something was eating my pretty Stars and STripes crinum lily stalk. I didn't see the culprit, but if I do, well, let's just say you'd better close your eyes. LOL. But then, if I saw what kind of pretty butterfly it would become, I would have mercy. Your flowers are so pretty. And a squash! What fun. I have a place in the bushes where I like to throw my cantaloupe and watermelon seeds when I cut them up. I keep hoping something will grow there, but so far nothing. Maybe will get a surprise melon someday! Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. I wonder why the seeds from your melons don't sprout? Maybe they aren't ripe when the melon is harvested at the farms? I like your hope of a surprise melon someday!

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  3. Does exposing canning jar glass to sun over time turn it pink? I would love to try that.

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    1. No, the jar was pink glass, and the sun is bleaching it lighter and lighter and turning it an orangey shade!

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  4. Oh that blue flower is just amazing! Caterpillars dont bother me, but snakes do. Hope you have a nice weekend! Janice

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    1. My little kitty Morgie has killed multiple snakes in the yard - I feel bad when it is just a regular little snake but he got a baby rattler once, and although I want them to live happily, too, NOT IN THE YARD!

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  5. I hate backing up too and I'm really bad at it. A circular driveway would be great.
    I always thought caterpillars avoided the plants with strong smelling leaves but both Mint and Basil have very fragrant leaves and they were being munched on so now I know better.

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    1. I didn't think they would like mint, either. Maybe in the desert they don't have much to choose from and thus the mint attack! That circular driveway has sure been helpful. The time I tried to park in the regular place, I backed up and knocked over the trash can.

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  6. We have pesky squirrels here at our bird feeders. OK, they are cute, BUT they destroy the feeders and even now I've put a baffle over the top, have learned to leap onto it! They eat far too MUCH!

    I can reverse no probs, but parallel parking has gone to pot since moving here as we have a VERY busy High Street (through traffic) so you don't get much time to manouevre and I often drive to a further edge of town spot instead.

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    1. I can't parallel park, either! Our crazy downtown has put in slot parking, that you have to BACK INTO. Needless to say I have to park way away and walk...those are some smart squirrels you have - able to defeat the baffle! They do stuff themselves, don't they.

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  7. Our torrential rains and standing water everywhere brings hoards of mosquitoes. I'd much prefer your inch worms. You don't like to back up...I don't like to parallel park. SWEET DOGGIES!!!

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    Replies
    1. Mosquitoes are the worst! Horrible! And so dangerous.

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  8. We are fighting the deer so a big pest. I have some tomatoes ans zucchini going now for them to ripen.
    Cathy

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    1. Oh yes, the bottomless-pit deer who loves to eat all your pretty plants!

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  9. Maybe the caterpillar damage is worth the butterfly. I had swallow-tail caterpillars on my parsley once, I keep hoping they come back.

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    1. Yes, they came back and are just eating and eating.

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  10. you must have ears like mine, when I saw the title I thought I can hear them too. I can hear a gnat sneeze if my favorite saying. I would not kill them either. bob wants me to kill the snails and the beautiful green beetles. I refuse. I even leave the outdoor spiders alone but the ones in the house must die. and i feel bad when I do it. i am wondering if the catapllar will become a butterfly.. now if they were decimating my food supply that feeds the family, that would be different.. we leave our snakes alone also, none of them are poisonous.you may have given amazon another sale, i want those solar fairy lights. i did not know about them and i love those jars. i don't like the ones that use batteries but the solar i would love

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    1. The solar ones are great! I have both the kind that fit jars, the kind that fit like a wine cork, and the kind with a flat panel and a long string of 100 that I have put up along a fence and all around our patio ceiling. They are great and two years in, they are still working beautifully!

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  11. You must decide whether you are growing the mint and basil for yourself or the caterpillars. When another being encroaches on the property of a being they must suffer the consequences.

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    1. Oh, I don't mind them and I don't mind sharing with them! They did inch back over and are eating merrily.

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  12. I love how your dogs stay in the fence even though they could squeeze out. Good dogs! What a caterpillar adventure. I used to hear something munching inside our firewood back in the day when we heated with an indoor woodstove. I've had a lot of ants lately, but almost as soon as I got around to getting some poison baits they began to disappear. Love the fairy lights idea! Coffee sounds good. See you later! :)

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    1. The doggies are being very good about staying in when I'm out there with them! I don't let them stay out without me, because "out of sight out of mind" and the lil' fat chiweenie would squeeze out immediately I'm afraid!

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  13. I guess I've been lucky. No critters on my mint or even my basil this year. By now, I often have a caterpillar eating it's weight in dill, but none so far this year (knock on wood). You are quite kind to those caterpillars. But you are correct in that mint of any kind comes back in full force each year. Mine overwinters outside, so I am well aware of how quickly it recovers each spring.

    You have very well trained dogs. It's always good to have an animal that minds you. Cats could care less (grin).

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  14. None of my dill grew this year and I planted a whole seed packet! I am glad yours is up and uneaten by our inch-wormy friends! Oh I hear you about the cats, it's hard on the dogs to watch them squeeze out and sit right outside the gate!

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  15. That would have been interesting to see the caterpillars in the garden, and a bit startling. Thanks for taking us along with you on your walk. It was if I was there looking at all the pretty things that are blooming. The winecup is such a pretty color, and I love those blue flowers. I wonder if they would do well here in the mountains. Do you use the orange mint to make tea? Those fairy lights in the canning jars are delightful. Your doggies look content just looking around. Everything looks so nice around your yard, Holly. I only have two mini roses planted and a bridal wreath plant. I must get some more delightful things so I can appreciate the beauty when I have my morning coffee.

    Have a wonderful week ahead, Holly.

    ~Sheri

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  16. Love the furry little butts!
    I had no idea you could hear caterpillars munching. I learn so much from you!

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  17. I am quite sure I could never hear a caterpillar’s munch, but if I should it would thrill me to think there might soon be another beautiful butterfly in the garden. I love the idea of a courtyard!

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  18. Lovely flowers. I would do the same as you with the 🐛 I could not kill them!
    Mint is a strong plant! Your dogs are well trained . I love the jars, I have some
    And I will decorate the garden with small fabric flags.

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  19. Yes, I was surprised that it was so hot this Summer in the mountains. And I don't have ac yet, so it's awful. Will be getting an air/heat unit in a couple weeks. I heard it usually doesn't get this hot, but we are in a heat wave all over California. But I can't complain cause it hasn't gotten higher than low 100's, and some states are having 116 degree temps. Oh my, that is hard to deal with. In the mountains, the Summers here are usually mild ones. : )

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  20. Hi,
    I just love your posts. You are creative in the writing. I enjoy learning about life in your neck of the woods.

    We are in a drought here in Northwest Wisconsin. Very sad to see the crops struggling.
    My garden is doing alright, but it would love a real drink from Mother Nature!

    As far as pest.. the White Cabbage Butterfly.. They are pretty, but their offspring eat my cabbage!

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  21. Dear Holly, I guess your husband is right: they will come back :-)
    I had the same experience with slugs. Do you know how the mint-butterflies will look?

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