(Doom-it-Yourself) Mosquito Bucket Styles

After I posted the Do-It-Yourself Mosquito Bucket of Doom (link), I realized two things:
1) I should have called the project a “Doom-It-Yourself,” and
2) Not everyone is excited about displaying an ugly bucket in their yard.

But, now I know that a Mosquito Bucket of Doom need not be ugly. Or even be a bucket.
Nearly any water-tight, wide-mouthed container will do.

Personally, I’m fine sharing my yard with an ugly bucket that still advertises the 30 pounds of kitty litter it once contained:

Continue reading “(Doom-it-Yourself) Mosquito Bucket Styles”

Mosquito Bucket of Doom

Mosquito season is here! Instead of spraying pesticides onto our entire yards—and onto fireflies, ladybugs, bumblebees, and butterflies—why not just kill mosquitoes?

But wait, first: let’s PREVENT mosquitos from breeding in our yards. Here’s an infographic (link) from the CDC to remind us of the free and easy common-sense ways to do this, like removing standing water in toys, saucers and gutters.

And then, why not try a Mosquito Bucket of Doom?
It’s cheap, it’s safe, it works.

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Swarm Weather

“Are you home now??” texted my neighbor. ”I think there’s hundreds or thousands of bees making a nest in our pine tree as we speak. It’s crazy!!”

To me, it wasn’t crazy: it was perfect. Two friends had already witnessed this very thing in their yards recently, and I was jealous.
So I texted back: “It’s swarm time!”

By the time I got to my neighbor’s yard, all the bees had gathered in one spot, AS one spot: one big blob of buzzing, crawling, and flying creatures, at about 30 feet up the tree. They looked like a giant dollop of bubbling goo about to drip from a branch. 

A honeybee swarm!

I am grateful my neighbor knew what to do: call me,
and I am grateful I knew what to tell her: call a swarm-catcher.

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Black Cherry Inchworm

Today’s Front Yard Nature: an inchworm on a Black Cherry seedling.
This is how nature is supposed to work: native plants = caterpillar food.
No one was eating the equally tiny seedlings of exotic bush honeysuckle in the same porch crack.

My nearest mature Black Cherry tree is blocks away, but every summer, birds poop the purple-painted seeds onto the driveway, the yard and the cracks in the porch. This too, is how nature is supposed to work.
I toss the exotic weeds to shrivel in the sun, but I plant some of the natives in cups to grow, or to give away, or to plant somewhere else when nobody’s watching.

Black Cherry / Prunus serotina is one of the Prunus species on the National Wildlife Federation’s native plant finder for my zipcode. The list states that it can feed 320 species of caterpillar, but right now, this particular Black Cherry is only big enough to support *one.*


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Bio:
Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist and writer in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world.
She writes about everyday marvels amid everyday habitat loss, and her essays have appeared in Creative NonfictionBrevity, Fourth Genre, Hippocampus, The Hopper, Flyway, The Common, Stonecrop Review, The Fourth River and other journals. Her forthcoming book is Paradise in a Parking Lot: Unlikely Stories from Urban Nature.

The Sycamore Squeeze

To squeeze a Sycamore ball is a seasonal pleasure, and the season is now.
Now is when last year’s clusters of Sycamore seeds start to fall and to fall apart.
For the next few weeks, they’ll disintegrate into drifting piles of loose, fluffy achenes: Sycamore “snow.”

To squeeze a Sycamore seed-ball is oddly satisfying.
Call it a Contemplative Practice.
Call it fun or sick or weird, but try it.

The Sycamore Squeeze is one way to get to know Where—and When—you are.

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Winter Tree I.D. by Fruit

Here’s one way to I.D. a tree in winter.
Let’s call it “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”1

I made this dry-erase Key to help a couple of friends in the neighborhood who want to learn nearby trees.

It won’t work for all trees, but it’s decent for local, deciduous street trees that still have fruit on branches or on the sidewalk. 

Continue reading “Winter Tree I.D. by Fruit”

Leaf Thief

Michael and I were walking past the storm drain, exactly where I’d hoped to finish stealing the tidily stacked bags of Chinkapin oak leaves. 

Me: “Aw, Metro must have gotten them yesterday.”  I looked for evidence on the asphalt, where knuckle-boom truck can leave scars. Nothing.
“Or maybe someone else stole them?”

Michael: “Right. Like other people go around and steal leaves for their yard.”

Me: “You’d be surprised.”

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Yard Nature: Free Chives

[Bagel from Bruegger’s, china from Spode, “wild chives” from the Mayflower]

I grew up eating what Mom called wild onion. It showed up in the yard as free food. The long, hollow leaves were good to chew, as were the bulbs, but those were too intense to eat raw unless cheese and crackers were involved.

Continue reading “Yard Nature: Free Chives”