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Or a purple heart, or silver star or SOMETHING.

When a caterpillar is so big that it requires TWO HANDS to pry it off your plant, friends, that caterpillar is simply too big to live. And when the meter reader hombre who looks like he eats sheet metal in his spare time SQUEALS LIKE A GIRL and flaps his hands when you accidentally fling said caterpillar towards him and an awaiting bird, said caterpillar is too big to live. The length of a deck of cards, thicker than my thumb. Horrible stinger on its butt. (Tomato horn worm.)

Six today, five yesterday, and I'm just about to nuke my whole garden. I had to cut a grasshopper in half in a parry move with my clippers, a grasshopper hell bent for leather on flapping its hideous wings in my face, forcing me to cut off my face meat due to contamination.

Why am I a gardener? Why do I make a habitat for all creatures? I've had rats in there (okay, field mice, but when they're dead and gutted from a hungry owl, it becomes something gross) snakes (I'm okay with snakes) ginormous grasshoppers, KILLER SPIDERS, and caterpillars that are more like baby anacondas. If my neighbors would stop setting out friggin' bird feeders, I'd have more hungry beasts doing the work for me. (I am grateful to my faithful family of mockingbirds that see me out in the garden and line the fence, waiting for me to fling something towards them.)

I just want flowers and veggies, is that too much to ask? I stood in the driveway, arms bent in to my sides, hoping up and down on my feet, slapping at my arms and torso because I thought one of them got on my shirt. Good morning, neighborhood!

Disclaimer: I only got rid of the ones on my actual tomatoes, because I would rather eat the tomatoes than those buggers. I left the ones on other plants, because they turn into this, which is really beautiful. The caterpillar is all muscled and grody to the MAX. Blech.

Disclaimer 2: I am a former Master Gardener, so I *must* garden. It's like asking me to stop smoking hash. Or murdering hobos. It's in my BLOOD. Ahaha. Heh. One portion of this second disclaimer is true, but which??

Comments

( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
beadattitude
Sep. 23rd, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
OMG omg OMG omg!!!! ::gets you beekeeper netting and a hat::

::shudders:: Bugs is gross.
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
BUGS IS SO GROSS. (I do like beetles and worms and butterflies and moths and dragonflies.) The others are GROSS ZOMG.
entrenous88
Sep. 23rd, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
Ewwww!

I'm worried one day I'll have to travel there in a rescue mission and find you all wrapped up in a pod!!!
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Clearly we need to find you a dwarf that can craft you Stinger, so you can a) be made aware of evil's presence and b) you will be able to kill Shel-bob whatever monstrous creature is trying to eat me!

:(
drusplace
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
What is it with you and creepy crawly things lately? HEE!
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
I don't know if they think I'm their FRIEND because of the daily buffet, or if they're mad that there's not MORE and are eyeing me appreciatively!

*is filled with woe*
turnonmyheels
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
*climbs on your shoulders and cries*
rikibeth
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
omg tomato hornworms are DISGUSTING. I suggest parasitic wasps to go after any more that might be lurking, once you've chopped that one into TINY BITS.

me, I do not garden utside any more, I am playing with a contraption on my kitchen table that produces lovely herb plants.
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
I have no parasitic wasps in my vicinity (and buying them is a waste of money - they'll take off to the furthest point from where they were held captive.)

I, unfortunately, need to garden. It's my happy place. Except when portions of it attempt to eat me alive! :(

Edited at 2008-09-23 03:35 pm (UTC)
rikibeth
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
I am renting, and have not had the time and money to spare in using the landlords' yard, esp. when the neighbors in the other half of this duplex have picked the sunniest spot in back for their tomato patch.

Next year, I aim to afford an arch trellis for the end of the front walk, and roses to grow on it.
lynnenne
Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeep! *hugs you to protect you from the creepy crawlies*
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I'm going to make like a spider monkey and get up on your head, mm'kay?
lynnenne
Sep. 23rd, 2008 08:23 pm (UTC)
He's groooming me!
jenshih_blue
Sep. 23rd, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, the joys of gardening! I'd forgotten how sometimes it's like going on a bloody safari in the deep jungles of Africa. You never know what you might find.

*rustling noise*

OMG! It's a raptor! RUN!! *out screams the meter reader* Oh, shit that was a caterpillar...*is embarrassed*

Sometimes those caterpillars are carnivorous--Scouts Honor! *grins*
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
I KNEW I forgot something! My machete and guide book! *marks down location of R.O.U.S.s and fire swamps*

I believe you - they would totally eat me, I know it!
cappy
Sep. 23rd, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
THAT'S what those ugly things turn into? That moth with the eyes on the back of its neck? I never knew that. I have tons of both of those all over the place.
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
YES! I'm a big fan of pretty moths, which means I'm a big fan of most of them. I just don't want these bastards eating my tomato plants as they're just about to be ready for picking.

(I even plant stuff for them to live on, the greedy bastards!)
julia_here
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Did I tell you I have a weasel? A real furry little weasel, much more attractive than the human kind, and apparently hell on rodents.

Not much bigger than your caterpillar, and yet, it has put paid to the idea of raising chickens once and for all.

Julia, one gardens because that is what one does, j'espere?
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd love to raise fancy chickens with floofy feet and exuberant crowns, but instead of a hard-working weasel, I have stalking, serial killing kitties.
windstar
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
We haven't had any tomato horn worms, but all the rest and more reside in our yard. We are the bird feeders in the neighborhood though, (a few years ago we had to call the cops on the neighbor behind us because he was shooting grackles). In the winter when there isn't much in the way of garden going on, I put out tons of seed and suet, so that they know where our yard is, and then of course, in the summer it is just a buffet.

This year we are actually going to get pomegranates off our trees, for the first time. We have had them for about 8 years now, and they have had fruit since the second year, but usually those funky little black and red bugs with the long antennae get into them. For some reason this year those bugs are MIA, and I am not unhappy about that.

We are still getting tomatoes, although Patty is doing her best to kill them, darn her. She keeps forgetting to water!
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
This is the first year they've actually gotten to my tomatoes. Normally they're fine with my datura, which I keep just for them. They're just greedy bastards, is all.

I've got plenty of food for the birds in the form of plants, berries, snails, and giant, killer caterpillars, but when there's food that they don't have to work for... They're not so interested in walking all over the lawn pulling out a meal.

Bugs in general are low in numbers this year due to the population explosion of last summer. I'm not complaining either, as it means I've not had a repeat of the Spider of Doom at my front door like I have every year prior.
windstar
Sep. 23rd, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
I have also noticed that my fire ant problem is much less this year than in previous years. I think I have run into two hills this summer in the garden, and that is all.
botias
Sep. 24th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
I noticed low bug numbers this year also, and I live in a much different climate. I tried googling and got similar anecdotal reports from France and the UK. How does a boom last summer produce a dearth this summer? *is curious* The food sources don't seem to have crashed. Unfortunately, while my fave pollinators are AWOL, there were plenty of flies. I will be very sad if seeing flies all over my flowers is the way of the future.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
Last year had record numbers for moisture in the Northern Hemisphere, which affects specific bug populations, and - given what we know about balance in the ecosystem - predators react in kind by producing larger numbers. Since the last winter and this spring were drastically different from the year before, numbers for those same bugs went down. Mother Nature balances herself.
botias
Sep. 24th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
Moisture would do it. I loved the relative lack of bugs in arid Colorado. No fleas on my cats! Still, I hope to see more butterflies and bees here next season, even the big, fat pumpkin spiders like we had the year before.
outsideth3box
Sep. 23rd, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
I would *never* ask you to stop murdering hobos. You know that, right?
stoney321
Sep. 23rd, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
Well aren't you the sweetest?! I love it that I don't have to change for you. ;)
kseenaa
Sep. 23rd, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thats one hell of a caterpiller... o.O
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
Yeesh, I know, right? Blech.
padparadscha
Sep. 23rd, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
Big single ones I can live with. Its swarms of wormy things I can't take.

I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
I've got my space suit ready for launch. *salutes*
ellid
Sep. 23rd, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
WHAT are those spiders? They're huge!

Also, that horn worm is BLECH.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)
That's a yellow orb weaver. They are WALKING DEATH. This is the first summer I've not had a plague of them.
siapom
Sep. 23rd, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
Okay, so you seriously touch those things? *shudders and starts to brush away imaginary bugs* Ugh.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Not with my bare hands!! I wear my heavy duty rose-vine gloves made of thick leather. Eww, I don't want to TOUCH them!
siapom
Sep. 24th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. That's much better. 'Cause otherwise... *shudders*
angelbuffy0
Sep. 23rd, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
Ya know if ya gift them with three young nubile girls each year you will guarantee money and success.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
Oooooh. There are some snotty neighborhood girls around the corner that could work....
botias
Sep. 24th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Those caterpillars are wild! I was astounded when I first encountered them in Colorado.
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Aren't they horrid? Now, swallowtails and Monarchs and gulf fritillaries, those I like!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
*sobs against your shoulder* I really really deserve it. ;)

I will say that I believe I've gotten them all - a quick scan of the plants this morning with my coffee showed no bugaboos, so... \o/
( 43 comments — Leave a comment )

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