The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Hatching braconid wasps

Parasitized hornworm

In addition to watching a bush katydid top my grapevine, I've been enjoying a closeup view of life on the tomato plant right outside our front window.  Two weeks ago, a hornworm caterpillar showed up, and I left it alone, knowing that the leaf muncher would soon be munched in turn.  Hornworms are never a problem on our farm because parasitoid wasps kill them in short order, and this caterpillar was no exception.

Hatching parasitoid waspWhat was unique about this hornworm is that I noticed when the adult braconid wasps were ready to hatch from their cocoons.  Tiny black fliers on the immobilized caterpillar alerted me to the hatch, and I was able to watch as wasp after wasp pushed its way out of the top of each cocoon.

Just a few minutes later, I was treated to a viewing of a tiny gray treefrog on our hazel bush, and that afternoon, a female goldfinch visited our greywater wetland to gather cattail fluff for her nest.  When my eyes are open, I know that's a normal day in the life of our diverse homestead.



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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I love this photo. Keep this one in mind, if you ever go back to watercolor. Love mom roseanell
Comment by roseanell Thu Jul 24 10:27:44 2014
Rose Nell --- Thanks so much for your kind words! This was another instance where I was sad the photo was too late for my bug book....
Comment by anna Thu Jul 24 16:55:12 2014





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