How To Rid Your Garden of the Japanese Beetle

If you are a gardener, you should be familiar with the Japanese Beetle. Following are ideas on how to rid your garden of these pesky beetles by using eco-friendly, chemical free strategies.

These beetles originate from the island of Japan, which bears their name. They found their way to the United States early in this century by latching themselves onto plant roots from Japan. Now that they are settled in the United States, Japanese Beetles create havoc in gardens as they remain unchecked from natural predators. They do not discriminate with the types of plants they will disseminate. In our garden, Japanese Beetles favor our roses and okra blossoms. They devour the entire leaf or blossom, leaving little behind.

Insecticide or Neem Oil is known to work in ridding garden from these beetles. However, both solutions can cause harm to the environment. Chemical dusts and sprays are highly toxic to honey bees. Neem Oil is harmful to fish and should only be applied to plants after a rain.

Following are three environmentally-friendly ways to eliminate Japanese Beetles and keep them from devouring your garden.
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Sustainable, Ethical, and Environmentally-Friendly Gifts

Following are four ideas for sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly gift or tourist-finds from Wilmington, North Carolina.

We recently vacationed to Wilmington, North Carolina and visited the Cotton Exchange and shops along the Chandler’s Wharf, famous for it’s artisans and entrepreneurs. As many people do when they vacation, we visited gift shops filled with knick-knacks and touristy gift items. Also as many people do, we have collected cheap tourist items, filling our home with tacky-looking items.

Recently, we have become a tad bit more savvy when it comes to purchasing tourist relics. We make it a rule to only purchase practical, usable, and sustainable items. Practically speaking, it makes more sense to spend a few more dollars to purchase items that we can use, rather than throwing money into a plastic cheap items that collect dust and serve no purpose.
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How to Make Savory Cucumber and Tomato Soup

When it comes to living sustainably on a farm, the Ranchette’s refuse to allow produce to rot in the garden. What do you when you have bucket-loads of fresh cucumbers?  Naomi decided to make Craig Claiborne’s Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado soup, which she then placed in the freezer for future use. For fewer calories, Naomi tweaked the recipe. She added fresh basil and eliminated the required avocados and cream. The soup is delicious!!! It’s perfect for the hot summer months as it can be served either hot or chilled.
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Six Ideas on How to Live More Sustainably

A simple google search on the “world’s trash” reveals that the United States is leading in the amount of trash generated. We produce more trash than China, which has a population four times larger than the United States. The world’s trash problem is predicted to produce 4 billion tons by 2100. Check out this video and article on “The Guy Wearing 3o Days Worth of Garbage Around NYC.” He certainly makes us think about the amount of disposable trash the average American generates.

I believe that conservation comes down to individual actions and thought processes. Awareness is important, but being willing to try something new is key. I must begin by pointing the finger at myself. I love living in the Ranchette household because one of our goals is to live sustainably.

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Two Things You May Not Know about Jane Austen

1). Did you know Jane was a country girl?

Recently, I have been investigating books based on the letters and the life of Jane Austen.  I am reading a book by Deirdre Le Fay entitled “Jane Austen’s Country Life; Uncovering the rural backdrop to her life, her letters and her novels.” As many know, the majority of protagonists in Jane Austen’s novels are gentlemen’s daughters, such as in “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Emma,” and “Persuasion.” However, in “Mansfield Park,” the protagonist Fanny Price happens to be the daughter of a common laborer. Interestingly, this novel was Jane Austen’s least successful piece of work. However, this novel also happens to be the Ranchette’s favorite!
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Lavendar and Yarrow; It’s Uses and Benefits

The Ranchettes have been busy harvesting both lavender and yarrow at our farm. We mostly use lavender and yarrow for decorative purposes. However, both lavender and yarrow have an enormous amount of medicinal and culinary benefits.

Lavender is Lavandula in Latin. It grows in temperate climates around the world. While it is used as an ornamental plant for gardens and it’s extracted oils are used commercially, it is also used in food and medicinally. Lavender has been known to alleviate anxiety and restlessness.
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The Business of Bees

Bee keeping is now a family occupation. The saga began when my friend, Lizz, gifted us, the Ranchettes, a bee hive, bee equipment, and the book “Beekeeping for Dummies.”  At first, we were quite excited, thinking “How complicated can beekeeping be?” But, then we started reading the manual “Beekeeping for Dummies.” We soon realized that if “Beekeeping for Dummies” was trying to simplify bee keeping, it was a whole lot more complicated than we originally thought. We eventually passed the bee hives and equipment onto our brother, whose wife and four children now successfully maintain four healthy bee hives.

Here are a few pointers on keeping bees, which we have learned through my brothers’ family’s endeavors.
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Forest Ferns


On the Ranchette’s daily walks, we take great delight in the ferns that decorate the forest paths. This spring, which has been unusually wet and cool, we have noted that our local fern foilage seems to be growing fast and furiously.  Ferns have been popping up every where on the forest floor. We have found that there are many types and varieties of ferns, numbering at least seven different species in our local woods. Upon further research, we found that there are over 10,000 species of ferns in the world.
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